Board of Selectmen Sworn in at Teen Center as Camillo Notes, “We have to look forward to the future”

Before an a live audience at the Greenwich Teen Center on Wednesday, the newly elected members of the Greenwich Board of Selectmen were sworn in.

The event marked the start of a second term for Republican First Selectman Fred Camillo and Selectwoman Lauren Rabin.

They were joined by Janet Stone McGuigan, a Democrat replacing Jill Oberlander who declined to run for a second term.

Selectwoman Lauren Rabin, First Selectman Fred Camillo and Selectwoman Janet Stone McGuigan at the Arch Street Teen Center just after being sworn in. Dec 1, 2021 Photo: Leslie Yager

“It’s a great honor having grown up here in town, from a working class background, the son of a US Marine Corps drill instructor, I’d never have dreamed I’d get a chance to serve the town I love like this.”

“It was a difficult two years,” Camillo acknowledged, but he added, “Within every crisis lies an opportunity. Boy, we had crisis after crisis, but that meant there was opportunity after opportunity, and through resilience, determination, and imagination, we not only got through them, we came out of them stronger, more unified, more effective, and more efficient than ever before.”

As for the crises, Camillo listed the crises endured by the town: a 100-year pandemic, a 500-year flood, a couple super storms and civil unrest.

“But we were able to keep our eye on the ball – and look at what we pledged to do in 2019.

“Things like pedestrian-friendly streets, neighborhoods and business districts, enhanced public safety, blight, public-private partnerships, increasing recycling/decreasing municipal solid waste, looking at some dormant projects that were lingering. We got a few of them through, including the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center and GEMS station 4.”

“We talked about a few other tings in 2019 to make the town more active and fun. Just walking around Greenwich you can see that. That’s a tribute to everybody here. We were one of the first towns to get outside with outdoor dining. We’re going to continue to do that and try to expand that even more.”

Camillo quoted former Giants coach Bill Parcells, who said, ‘You are what your record says what you are.’

“While we are extremely proud of it, but you can’t live in the past. We have to look forward to the future,” Camillo said.

Lauren Rabin credited her family, starting with her grandmother and grandfather, who was confined to a wheelchair when he helped raise Rabin and her siblings while their single mother worked.

“They both instilled in me the notion to treat everyone with kindness and respect,” she said. “It is with that respect for my role that I commit to you that I will listen and look for ways to collaborate and compromise on solutions that benefit all. I’m going to speak up on the things that benefit our community that may be under the radar for some, whether it is to support our elderly population, those striving to make ends meet, and I want to make it easier for residents and businesses to avail themselves to all things Greenwich – the best place to live, work, stay and play.”

Janet Stone McGuigan,the lone Democrat on the board, said she planned to meet with residents of all affiliations to build working relationships, and seek input from the broadest range of perspectives. 

“I hope to help Greenwich move forward in the areas of sustainability and public engagement,” she said.  “These are areas I have professional experience in, and I’m confident I can add value.   In this campaign I talked about my priorities, values and experience, but that didn’t leave much time to share who made me.  … I think my younger self would have been surprised at how much I’ve learned from my children.  And when they told me how proud they and their friends were that I was running for the Board of Selectmen, win or lose, I knew that was the highest mark a parent can get.  And that is the standard I will continue to strive for.  Because our future is watching us.”

Former State Senator Scott Frantz described Greenwich as one of the most respected towns in Connecticut, if not nationally.

“We have a stellar balance sheet. We have amazing first responders. We have a low mill rate. We have a very low crime rate, outstanding schools, incredible parks and incredible athletic opportunities for all,” Frantz said before going on to praise Camillo’s leadership.

“He ushered the town through some of the most incredible circumstances and an almost unprecedented pandemic,” he continued. “…other towns just dropped the ball. These guys were on it. They adjusted daily if they needed to adjust the town’s policy so you didn’t feel like you were locked up and in a jail cell.”

“These guys did a great job dealing with – we didn’t have riots, but we came close to having riots, but we did have protests, which is very unusual for this town and they handled it very well, the police department in particular.”

Frantz described outdoor dining as a godsend. “The restaurateurs were deeply grateful for that kind of leadership.”

The First Selectman thanked his executive assistant, Barara Heins for organizing the event, as well as Kyle Silver and the crew at the Teen Center, and the three restaurants who provided food and drinks for the event: Caren’s Cos Cobber, Chicken Joe’s and Randy’s Wine & Spirits.

“All from Cos Cob. Triple C,” he said.

Scott Frantz praised First Selectman Fred Camillo at the swearing in ceremony at the Arch Street Teen Center just after being sworn in. Dec 1, 2021 Photo: Leslie Yager
Fred Camillo was sworn in for his second term as Greenwich First Selectman on Dec 1, 2021 Photo: Leslie Yager
Selectwoman Lauren Rabin at the swearing in ceremony at the Arch Street Teen Center on Dec 1, 2021 Photo: Leslie Yager