REFLECTION CONNECTION: By the Way, Where's That Written Policy?
The Reflection Connection section of the Groton Herald [below] is reserved for items with no obvious home in a traditional story or section of the newspaper. Items printed here are an eclectic mix of opinion, ideas, observations, insights, transcripts, quotes from government documents, and personal reminisence.
When the Charter Review Committee was reviewing suggested changes to the existing Charter, they discovered that revenue from adminstrative fees and fines was a significant contributor to total town income and that there was virtually no procedure limiting the powers of Boards, Committees or empowered individuals to waive or reduce such town fees and fines.
The Charter Review Committee also discovered that there had been no history of Boards, Committees or individuals abusing their power to waive fees. Still, it seemed to make sense to put some commonsense control on the administration of these fees so these could be easily understood and fairly adminstered. Therefore, at the urging of citizens, and after considerable thought, the Charter Review Committee recommended amending the Charter to include the language below.
The updated Charter including this language found in Section 7.10 of the new Charter was approved by voters at Spring Town Meeting. Technically, it still needs ‘Home Rule’ approval by the legislature, but it is understood that the new Charter, approved at Town Meeting, is being followed.
Section 7.10: Waiver of Administrative Fees
Administrative fees, fines, and penalties that may be charged by any Town department shall not be waived unless such waiver is authorized by a written policy, available to the public, adopted by that Town department, official, or board; such policy to authorize the waiver of a fee, fine or penalty may be made on an individual basis or as part of a policy decision of uniform applicability.