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Local officials pledge to foster more respectful public meetings in Connecticut

Ebong Udoma
Legislative public hearing on Connecticut vaccine policy in Westport in September 2019

Officials from more than 50 Connecticut cities and towns have pledged to foster more respectful civil engagement in their communities.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the state’s largest association of cities and towns is responsible for the pledge.

The CCM “Civility Pledge” is in response to an increase in contentious public meetings, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Joseph DeLong, CCM executive director and CEO.

“To have a dialogue and to disagree is very important and very necessary, particularly to carry our local government and the work of the communities,” DeLong said.

DeLong added that it must be done respectfully. “And these are elected officials who are pledging to do everything that they can to create an environment or space that is respectful and productive.”

Ninety-two local officials have signed the pledge in the past month, including several mayors and first selectmen.

The pledge is derived from Princeton University’s Bridging Divides Initiative, which CCM has used to teach how to lead public meetings in contentious times to municipal and school board leaders from across the state.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.