LETTER: Thank You From the Outgoing BET Chair, Karen Fassuliotis

At their organizational meeting on Wednesday the BET elected a team of newcomers to the board in leadership positions, including Dan Ozizmir as chair, Mike Basham as vice chair, and NIsha Arora as clerk.

The following was submitted by Karen Fassuliotis BET Member, Current and Past BET Chair of the Law Committee, Past BET Chair and Vice-Chair, Past BET Chair of Human Resources Committee

I am obviously disappointed in the final outcome of the vote for Chair of the BET. I had hoped to have the clear endorsement of my Republican and Democratic caucuses but that was not to be.

My vote today in not supporting the ultimate choice for Chair had nothing to do with the person or the fact that I nominated myself and received only my vote. Rather, my purpose in nominating and voting for myself reflected my firm belief that in order to lead this body, you should first serve on this body. That belief is unwavering and it is the reason I still placed myself in nomination even though, going into tonight’s meeting, I knew I would not emerge as Chair.

The complexity and variety of issues facing the BET is far different from the RTM or any other Board or Commission, and requires service on the board to know what they are and how to deal with them. During my tenure as Vice-Chair, my role was to support the Chair and also learn the intricacies of the leadership within the BET. I served in that capacity and it allowed me to take over as Chair seamlessly when Mike Mason left the BET. Doing the job is not the same as watching from the outside. Countless of other BETs have agreed. Unfortunately, this board did not agree with me or past precedent, and, while I don’t necessarily agree with their position, I
(reluctantly) accept it.

I have always strived to put the BET and the people of this town (who are the ones who pay for the wonderful amenities we enjoy) first and foremost. I know my message of fiscal discipline, while not sacrificing services for our town and our children’s education, has resonated with those who voted this past November. My two sisters, my brother and I graduated from Central Junior High (now Central Middle School) and Greenwich High School and I will continue to support a public school system that gave us then, and strives to continue to provide now, a world class
education. I thank all of you who voted for me and for affording me the highest majority votes for the BET. Your confidence in me is humbling.

I will continue to be outspoken on the need for efficiencies and common sense spending within all aspects of our government. It is easy to spend. It is a lot harder to ask the tough questions and to say “no” when warranted.

I wish to again thank of those who expressed their support for me. I also wish to thank the town department heads and those that work with them for their support during these past two years. You are the unsung heroes of our town government and I know that “thank you” is not heard often enough.

And I particularly wish to thank my family for putting up with me these past few years. My dad has a tough road ahead, fighting mesothelioma, and, at 97 years young, he is the bravest person I know. My mom, at 92, has the Spartan warrior spirit that she has instilled in me and my siblings.

My parents fell in love with Greenwich over 60 years ago. They, like I, know how special Greenwich is.

I once heard the phrase “change is the essence of life.” Truer words have never been spoken. And, while I am not going anywhere any time soon, I look forward to my next chapter on the BET, albeit in a much lesser role than I had yesterday.

Karen Fassuliotis
BET Member
Current and Past BET Chair of the Law Committee
Past BET Chair and Vice-Chair
Past BET Chair of Human Resources Committee