Letter to the editor form Mike Warner, Past Chair, RTM Finance Committee
Who would a Corporate Search Consultant Pick for First Selectman?
What if we hired a corporate search consultant to choose the best candidate for the 1 st Selectman’s job? They would first ask three fundamental questions: What academic or professional training does each candidate possess? What is the candidate’s work experience related to local municipal management and administrative issues? Lastly, what executive leadership qualities has the candidate demonstrated? Does the candidate have the temperament and vision needed to direct a large service-oriented organization?
Thankfully, this year, the choice for voters is easy, because we already have someone who exceeds these qualifications and is successfully doing the work — Jill Oberlander, Chair of the BET. With a degree from Cornell in Government, during her last term Jill worked tirelessly with her Democratic team, including working “across the aisle,” with Republicans to deliver low taxes and first-class services to Greenwich citizens. (Only by applying rigorous financial discipline, was the mill-rate increase during Jill’s 2-year term lower than the average of all prior mill-rate increases in a decade.)
But the First Selectman’s job is not just about keeping an eye on the town’s general ledger, it’s also about the future: As BET Chair, Jill has had to think strategically about
what our town needs to keep us competitive with other Gold Coast “enclave” towns that are also working to improve their parks and schools and are also seeking to attract newcomers. She knows there is a direct relationship between the quality of the services we provide and our ability to attract new families and businesses that will keep our Grand List strong and our taxes low.
This race is shaping up to be a contest of competing “visions” for the future. Fred Camillo envisions a future based on public-private partnerships that could, for example, dredge the Mill Pond in Cos Cob and build an illuminated fountain there for all to see.
He is preparing plans to “develop” the town’s waterfront to connect it to Greenwich Avenue, with the possibility of connecting Roger Sherman Baldwin Park to Grass Island,
as a way to improve the economic attractiveness of our town.
On the other hand, Jill Oberlander emphasizes the “Three E’s” – education, environment and the economy, which means she’ll want to begin replacing our obsolete schools, clean up our contaminated playing fields and find incentives to attract new businesses to town.
The job of First Selectman is too important to be left to party politics. Voters need to hire the best qualified candidate for the job that can have so important an impact on shaping a strong future for Greenwich. That’s why, if I were a search consultant, I’d pick Jill Oberlander, hands-down.