Marzullo: Richman should lead the way on tax collector charter change

Letter to the editor submitted by Drew Marzullo, Dec 29, 2017

Oct. 9, 2015
Greenwich Time 
“I will do everything I can to change this position to an appointed one if elected.”

Oct. 14, 2015
Greenwich Free Press article titled, 
“Elect Me, Then Hire My Replacement.”

“The Tax Collector does not have to have any qualifications. It is a patronage position.”

“It’s time for Greenwich to have the position appointed and not elected – hired through the human resource department. If this becomes a hired position through the traditional hiring process the employee might potentially receive BET oversight.”

Greenwich Free Press 
Oct. 30 2015
“This will allow for better accountability, saving $100,000 to over half a million of Greenwich tax payer dollars each year.”

Greenwich Democrats Facebook page 
Oct. 24, 2015
“Here is something we agree on: if we eliminate the elected tax collector position Greenwich could save 100 K annually. GOP talks about reducing spending, Democrats deliver.”

We shall see. I have my doubts.

Do the first five quotes by Mr. Richman when he ran unsuccessfully in 2015 seem true to his position today? After a rematch and victory this past November, he became our newly-elected tax collector. The question now is will he live up to his promise and advocate for change to the charter, effectively eliminating his own elected seat.

This sentiment of tax collector charter change is shared by both Republicans and Democrats, and is a non-partisan issue.

However, Democrats now have the ability to advance such change to the RTM for further deliberation. Democrats need to begin this process and “deliver.” They need to continue what they began last year. This change will reduce operating expenses without diminishing services. The result: a substantial savings.

The tax collector’s almost six figure salary as appropriated today is not justifiable. Many prominent Democrats are on record including Mr. Richman himself agreeing with such.  But this is not about one person’s take. It is about an opportunity to examine how the department functions, offer support and if necessary make change.

Greenwich was well served by Jim Lash and now under the stewardship of Leslie Moriarty as budget chair, many positive initiatives can happen for all in our beautiful town.

I have no doubt she will lead the finance board in a responsible and inclusive way.

But the time is now for Republicans and Democrats alike to act on the bi partisan tax collector charter change initiative and Mr. Richman needs to come out in favor of the plan he advocated for so vigorously during his campaigns. Because if he does not, it appears that he doth protest too much.

Drew Marzullo
Democratic Selectman 2009-2017