RTC Chair: Democrats Attacks on Debra Hess are Attempt at Deflection

Letter to the editor from Rich DiPreta, Republican Town Committee Chair

It’s hard to believe that we are still discussing the work of Greenwich’s discredited Internal Auditor who has been fired from her job. Interesting fact– that auditor was fired with the acquiescence of BET Chairman Jill Oberlander, a Democrat, since the auditor reports to the BET. Yet Mrs. Oberlander just recently voiced strong support for the auditor.

And since were talking facts, what were the findings that the Democrats are so fired up about?  The audit of the Town Clerk’s office found zero discrepancies. Zero. That is what all this Democrat grandstanding is about – zero discrepancies. Our wonderful Town Clerk, Carmella Budkins, continues to serve the town well and the audit confirmed this. Look, I get it. Democrat party Chairman Joe Angland is in a tough spot. His six BET Democrats, four of whom are seeking re-election and another running for First Selectman, are ensnared in a massive political scandal involving campaign finance corruption that has already resulted in a $67,000 fine against their 2017 campaigns, one of the largest in Connecticut history. And there is more coming. So I understand why Angland wants to attack dedicated, hardworking, honest BET member Debra Hess. It’s called deflection.

The simple fact is, once nominated, all BET members are elected even though they are not sworn in until January 1 st . For decades, incoming BET members have engaged right away so they can hit the ground running. Debra Hess was simply trying to get engaged so she could start delivering for Greenwich taxpayers right away. For Democrats to attack Debra for that dedication is just mean.

By the way, the information she received about the audit in question was all provided in a public meeting. And I believe I already mentioned the audit found zero discrepancies.

What I really wonder is why the Democrats are choosing to attack two of our most accomplished women in town government— Carmella Budkins and Debra Hess.

The success of the BET demands that members of both parties work together to craft our town’s budget. It also demands that the BET has a good working relationship with town employees. That does not mean that BET members are “friends” with town employees – rather, it means that Board members should respect them and listen to their side of the story without condemning or bullying them before the “facts” are gathered.

The facts are clear. Debra Hess has performed admirably and always with the best interests of the town at heart. I don’t think the same can be said of others.

Richard DiPreta
Chair, Greenwich RTC