Camillo: Letter about YWCA Sexual Assault Funding was Misleading

Submitted by Fred Camillo, First Selectman, Town of Greenwich

To the editor,

A recent letter to the editor  from Ms, Sherry Wernicke (LETTER: Greenwich Should Fund YWCA Sexual Assault Program Jan 24, 2023) was, at the least, misleading, and worse a total misrepresentation of facts.

The letter writer complains that the YWCA was somehow shortchanged by me, the Town, and the Board of Human Services when it comes to Town subsidies. The facts tell a different story.

The Town has upped the funding since my administration started in December of 2019 to a level that makes the organization a recipient at the top of the Town’s funding list for service entities like the YWCA. Moreover, the YWCA receives funding from several other sources as well as being blessed by very generous donors. 

The issue that the letter writer focused on was last year’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. The YWCA was already receiving $175,000 (for the past three years, the annual amount we give to them). I decided that the additional money that came from the Federal government needed to be divided up more equitably (and not to a new program ) and thus gave the extra money from the ARP bucket to another non-profit organization that had not previously received any Town money.

Ms. Wernicke injected politics into her piece with a reference to this November’s elections. As shameful and baffling as that was, she conveniently forgets to mention that it was a Democratic BET member who first raised the question about why the YWCA was getting even more money than the substantial amount they get from the Town on an annual basis. 

I would hope that the very generous YWCA board knows that the Town is very supportive of the mission of the YWCA when it comes to domestic violence, as was I when I was in the CT General Assembly and now here in Town Hall. Continued misleading claims and red herrings directed at a very generous and supportive town government is the wrong path to travel down and does harm towards the existence of a cordial and good working relationship.