Marzullo says charter change needs to look at selectmen, too

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

All this talk about charter revision is, at this point in time, just that: talk.

And while some are rightly concerned about the suggested changes, I, for one, support the idea of examining how town government functions and how “We the People” elect individuals to oversee a half-billion-dollar budget and elect individuals who are responsible for setting public school policy. An honest discussion, to include a healthy back-and-forth debate not dominated by one side or the other, and possible suggestions to improve structure and accountability makes for a better Greenwich.

Four years ago, I wrote a  letter to the editor that resulted in follow-up articles about this very topic and, more specifically, about charter-given authority in regard to first selectman power versus the power and authorization of our financial board. While the discussion of charter revision thus far has focused on how we elect BET and BOE members, we should also have an opportunity to opine on how our chief elected officials in the selectmen’s office actually get there.

The job description of first selectman and selectman come with very specific but very different charter-given authorities. A candidate seeking a win to become first selectman does not necessarily want to be selectman. And that’s exactly what can happen (and what has happened) under current rules when a first selectman candidate loses but still receives more votes than the other three.

If a charter commission is formed, I support a close look at not only BET/BOE-related changes but also Board of Selectmen-related changes. What would the pros and cons be to increasing terms to four years? Let’s explore a scenario when running for first selectman and you lose your race, you do not automatically become a selectman if you receive more votes than the selectman candidates. You don’t get factored back in.

And maybe both town committees should start thinking about fielding more than one candidate at a time for selectman (modeling the BOE method). I am a proud to call myself a Democrat, and while some in my own party may disagree with this exploration idea of charter revision, I look forward to what suggestions may be offered.


Drew Marzullo


The author is a member of the Greenwich Board of Selectmen.

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