To the Editor:
I am writing in response to the letter to the editor from the Republican members of Fairfield’s Board of Finance, authored by James Brown. I feel compelled to respond to Mr. Brown’s inaccurate statements.
I caution Mr. Brown to avoid libelous accusations. I am not, and my letter was not, in any way “unethical.” I did not, and would not, personally attack anyone in a letter to the editor. I know how much time Mr. Brown and all of us who hold voluntary positions in Fairfield’s government contribute to the betterment of our town, and I do not believe that anyone who does so should be personally attacked. I suggest that Mr. Brown follow my lead in this regard.
The Republican members of the BOF may be unaware of one of the common meanings of “slush fund”: “In accounting terms, a slush fund describes a general ledger account of commingled funds which does not have a designated purpose.” (Investopedia). It is similarly defined as “money that is kept for unexpected costs” (Cambridge Dictionary). While the term is sometimes used in other ways, I obviously meant it as it is defined above. The contingency fund in the Town’s budget is a line item and it used for unexpected costs the Town might face.
As Mr. Brown pointed out, the contingency fund has been used frequently for that purpose. Needless to say, I have no objection to that. But paving is not an “unexpected cost;” it is anticipated that paving costs will continue to increase, for a variety of reasons that were clearly presented in the Department of Public Works’ presentation at the RTM’s budget meeting on May 6. Mr. Tetreau wisely increased the DPW’s proposed budget knowing that more funds would be needed, and the Republican members of the Board of Selectmen unanimously supported that increase.
I suggest that we congratulate First Selectman Tetreau and all of the Town’s departments and governing bodies for passing a budget that resulted in only a small increase in taxes while keeping our Town Services intact.
Fairfield RTM District 7 and Majority Leader
To the Editor:
Here she goes again.
In her recent Letter to the Editor, Jill Vergara once again misses the point of the 2019 budget vote regarding an appeal for paving funds and is now convoluting my vote on contingency in 2017.
In 2017, I voted to reduce taxes and I was upfront about it. I didn’t want to cut paving at the time, but the BOF had put money in the contingency fund and the only way to reduce the tax burden was to reduce contingency, so I voted to do so. I was completely upfront about it as Vergara quotes me in her recent letter to the Editor. My vote in 2017 was to reduce taxes.
As is typical with Washington DC political theatrics, which are sadly in practice by the RTM Democrat Leadership, Deputy Majority Leader Vergara talks at people not to them. If she had asked me on the floor or even in a phone call I could have explained this all to her neighbor-to-neighbor, Representative-to-Representative, but this RTM — under the leadership of Karen Wackerman and Vergara — is divisive.
My 2019 vote to keep the money in contingency for paving this year was just that a vote to dedicate it to paving. And I said so on the floor. There was a two hour debate at the RTM budget meeting where Vergara and her counterparts made it clear that the “BOF practice of putting money in contingency has to stop” and as a caucus they repeatedly argued to move the money from contingency to paving. Over and over again we heard this argument, “restore the paving money to the DPW budget, send the BOF a message”…with not a single mention of ever wanting to save on taxes.
Only after the RTM Dems didn’t get their way on the paving appeal was there a political flip flop. Suddenly, the Democrat message became cut contingency to save taxes, and to heck with the paving. All in the span of 3 hours, sounds crazy right? It was.
Don’t be fooled by political theatrics. And you don’t have to take my word for it....it’s all on tape just check out FairTV on demand.
In 2017 I voted to reduce taxes in an open transparent forum. I understood my vote then and I stand by it now. I didn’t show up for that vote, argue for one thing, and then do the opposite to capitalize on a political headline. I was consistent. In 2019 from start to finish at the budget meeting I voted to keep contingency money in place for paving because I know we need it and I was very clear, on the record in an open transparent forum. I also prefer to wear my flip flops on my feet.
Minority Leader, RTM
Biennial hissy fit
To the Editor:
Oh, for goodness sake, the majority Republicans on the Board of Finance (BoF) and the majority Democrats of the Representative Town meeting (RTM) are into a big hissy fit letter writing campaign. They can’t agree on how the the recently completed 2019-2020 fiscal year budget histrionics actually played out. There is only one reason for that: we are moving into a November municipal election with the usual unintelligible ballot to be cast; each side thinks it is vying for votes to stay in power on that antiquated executive board, the BoF, and the one and only town body, the RTM.
The hissy fit only plays to the left and the right voting blocks in town. From the left perspective, the Democrats got it right. From the right, Republicans only rock. For the rest of us, please move on and try to catch up and catch on. It is the middle of the road voter, not your fellow political insiders, who will cast the deciding votes.
The Board of Finance was added to Fairfield Town government in the early 1900’s. There was no RTM at that time; a real New England town meeting was in place. There was no full time First Selectman (FS), nor was there a a full time Chief Financial officer(CFO). The BoF was a necessity way back then; today it is a butt on the wart of progress. The FS and CFO are well qualified to do the executive functions of the antiquated BoF. The BoF represents a government process step we simply no longer need.
Likewise we could do without the RTM, with its extremely limited, upside down, and convoluted legislative role in shaping and guiding the town. Fairfield needs an elected town council, with all the powers and duties the state gives to town councils to keep a check on the FS, the CFO and all of the executive branch department heads for that matter. Ask someone to explain the town charter defined the function of an RTMer and most have no clue.
It would be nice to know that for once, everybody who casts a vote for an elected town office actually understands the powers and duties of the office in play. But until our elected and appointed political town government gets rationalized and modernized with a simple FS and town council, just count on these biennial hissy fits only guaranteeing a confused voter looking at a ballot.
In other words, guys and gals, try to move forward and catch up to the rest of the world, .