In a special meeting Monday night, the Board of Estimate and Taxation voted to fill the vacancy the resulted when Mike Mason, BET chair, resigned after 17 years on the board on the board in order to serve as a consultant handling labor contract negotiations for the Town of Greenwich. The position reports to the First Selectman.
The remainder of Mason’s term was until the fall. Municipal elections are Nov 2, 2021.
Debra Hess nominated Harry Fisher, a lifelong Greenwich resident, noting that he previously was a member of the BET until 1992, and served as vice chair. He also served 6 years on the RTM and was chair of his district.
“I think Harry has remained involved in what happens with the BET and has been to many of our public hearings and has at times spoken,” she said.
Beth Krumeich said she would vote for Mr. Fisher.
However, she said, “I am concerned when I heard he was responsible, as a member of the school building committees, for failing to install air conditioning at North Street School and another elementary school, and for deciding to return unspent appropriations that should have been used to air condition the school buildings.”
Krumeich said that as past president of North Street School’s PTA, “the defect later had to be rectified.”
There were no further nominations and a role call vote resulted in nine in favor (Kreuzer, Hess, Drake, Krumeich, Moriarty, Tarkington, Fassuliotis, Ramer, Duus) and two abstentions (Weisbrod, Erickson).
Ms Erickson later explained she abstained because she did not know Mr. Fisher.
Town Clerk Carmella Budkins went to Mr. Fisher’s residence and joined him on Zoom to administer the oath of office.
New BET Chair Selected
The BET then voted to fill the vacant position of chair for the remainder of the session. Mr. Drake nominated Ms. Fassuliotis.
“We all know Karen very well. She has the experience that would equip her to be an excellent chairman having been vice chair of the BET. She was 7 years on RTM and was elected twice to BET – in 2017 and 2019,” he said. “She has a knowledge of Robert’s Rules that she puts together in a non partisan way.”
Jeff Ramer said he did not object, but noted there was no precedent for voting to elevate the vice chair to chair following a vacancy. He said Peter Tesei had stepped down from BET when he was elected First Selectman, and vice chair at the time Bob Stone became chair without a vote. Then, 10 years later, he said Jill Oberlander stepped down as chair to take on her responsibilities as Selectperson. At that time Mr. Ramer was vice chair and became chair without a vote.
“This is a new process and doesn’t follow our precedent,” he said. “It’s not what’s called for in Robert’s Rules, and it’s not what’s called for by our Charter, section 4.”
Ms. Krumeich said she would abstain from voting on the nomination of Ms. Fassuliotis for chair, because she intended to remain as chair of HR and Law committees, which she said was against longstanding BET tradition.
Mr. Duus responded to Mr. Ramer, saying Mr. Mason still had half of a term remaining, whereas Mr. Tesei and Ms Oberlander had jut a month remaining in their terms when the vice chair assumed their role of BET chair.
“If it were my choice I would like to see Leslie Moriarty as chair, but we didn’t win the election,” Mr. Weisbrod said, adding that he would vote in favor of Ms Fassuliotis’s nomination.
A role call vote resulted in nine in favor of Ms. Fassuliotis (Erickson, Weisbrod, Duus, Fassuliotis, Drake, Fisher, Tarkington, Hess and Kreuzer) and three abstentions (Ramer, Moriarty, Kreumeich).
Ms Tarkington nominated Andy Duus to replace Ms. Fassuliotis as vice chair of the BET for the remainder of the 2020-2021 term.
Mr. Duus has served two terms as a BET member. He is a member of the budget committee, which he joined 9 months ago. He also chairs the Investment Advisory Committee and serves on the Audit Committee.
Additionally, Mr. Duus chairs the First Selectman’s Nathaniel Witherell RFP evaluation committee. He has a background in corporate finance, primarily at Goldman Sachs and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Mr. Duus was elected in a vote of 9-0-3. Voting yes were Kreuzer, Hess, Tarkington, Fisher, Drake, Duus, Fassuliotis, Weisbrod, Erickson)
Abstaining were Krumeich, Moriarty and Ramer.
Mr. Duus was elected vice chair.