Exercise in futility

FI-EditorialThere would be something to laugh about seeing the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) soundly vote down a townwide lease policy proposal put forth by one of its subcommittees after months and months of work if the whole process hadn’t been so aggravating and unnecessary.

So many opposed and wondered why it was even taking place, so there’s an irresistible dark humor in seeing, after all the months of debate and controversy, that the only obstacle this RTM subcommittee couldn’t overcome was the RTM itself. There’s something so very Greenwich about that, and it fits perfectly into the spirit of the RTM, which came back into session this week after the summer break and hit the ground running with infighting, politicking and, of course, lots of shouting and interrupting.

But finding the humor in this or, as the kids would say today on Twitter, just going “SMH” (meaning “shake my head”) doesn’t change the fact that a whole lot of people, both for and against this new policy, wasted their time. Maybe it’s one of those crazy aspects of the wonderful world of democracy where you can painstakingly craft a bill only to see it shot down in flames, but this was unnecessary from the get-go.

As has been abundantly clear from day one of this process, there was no need for the RTM to step in.

The Board of Selectmen has itself a fine policy to deal with town leases and it was working perfectly. The best policy remains the one the selectmen have, which is to consider each and every lease on the individual merits of its circumstances. Treating a boat club the same way you treat Abilis or the Garden Education Center or the Greenwich Arts Council is impossible, and the selectmen (and clearly many members of the RTM) knew it.

Looking at each individual lease allows for the merits of that organization’s arrangement with the town to be considered to determine what is best for both parties. And it’s a policy that will hold too. The past few years have seen the steady heads and careful care and use of town assets from First Selectman Peter Tesei and Selectmen David Theis and Drew Marzullo but, no matter which three people are on the board, the board can put this policy to good use, having earned the trust of the voters.

These are the kinds of decisions we elect our selectmen to make, and it wasn’t as though the selectmen’s word was imposed on the town either. The RTM had approval rights for town leases all along. Adding an extra level of bureaucratic approval never made any sense. This was obvious from the first moment the brakes were thrown onto the renewal lease for the North Mianus Boat and Yacht Club, and it was even clearer when the RTM’s final vote came in.

The town has a lease policy and it makes sense. All this process did was waste the time and efforts of the subcommittee members (who, despite questions about why they were doing this, gave it a full and honest effort), cause arguments between the selectmen and the RTM over authority, and held the boat club’s lease hostage for nearly a year.

So now the town is left exactly where it was when all this started. It  is hoped that next month we will see the boat club get the up-and-down RTM vote on its lease it has deserved all this time. These leases are a chance to offer town residents services and privileges and make excellent use of town property. The boat club is a case of residents taking nothing but mud and turning it into a real asset, and there’s many more stories like it.

This was an exercise in futility and always had been. Perhaps there’s no better way, then, to welcome our RTM back into session.

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress