UPDATE: First Selectman Reflects on Reappointment of Greenwich Harbor Master

UPDATE June 12 10:00am: During his weekly Ask the First Selectman show on WGCH 1490 on Friday morning, Peter Tesei fielded a question from WGCH radio intern Sara Jarosz, who asked Mr. Tesei to weigh in on MacMillan’s reappointment by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat.

“There’s been a lot of misunderstanding as to the harbor master’s role. It’s a very narrow role,” Tesei said, referring to MacMillan’s reappointment as a “patronage position.”

Mr. Tesei said the accountability for performance and conduct for the harbor master rests with the Governor, but that Greenwich provides far in excess of what is required. “We provide a boat. We provide an administrative staff person to assist with collection of mooring permitting fees,” he said. “We also  provide for expenses directly related to the duties proscribed by the statute. Our financial support is discretionary and predicated on prudent use of the resources in adherence to town policies.”

“A good analogy someone made to me early on is to think of the mooring fields as like a parking lot for boats, and the harbor master is in charge of seeing to it as those boats are properly moored or parked.” – Peter Tesei

“He’s the Rita Azrelyant of the water,” radio host Tony Savino joked, referring to the Town’s director of parking services.

Mr. Tesei said the Town would continue to provide resources and use discretionary funds according to Town policy. “These are discretionary funds, and are not required,” he said.


Original Story Thursday, June 11 6:45pm: Ian MacMillan, Greenwich’s Harbor Master, has been reappointed as Harbor Master for the harbors and navigable waterways of Greenwich. In a letter from Monika Lazauskas, Executive Aide to the General Counsel  Office of Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy Dated June 11, MacMillan learned of his reappointment by the Governor.

As Harbor Master for Greenwich, MacMillan is a Public Official of the Executive Branch.

See also:

Interview with Ian Macmillan, Greenwich’s Controversial Harbormaster

Mazza Re-Elected Chair of Harbor Commission. Public Feedback Sought on Harbor Plan Draft Chapters

Harbor Management Commission Hoists Delta Flag: Maneuvering with Difficulty

Harbor Master’s Disputed Phone Bill Gets a Resolution

Harbor Management Commission Denies Parks & Rec Request for $2,900 to Upgrade Key Buoys

Mantra for a Harbor Master: Dilution is the Solution to Pollution.

The Current State of Planning for Greenwich Harbor and the Mianus River

Making a Plan for a Harbor Management Plan? Hire a Consultant?

Harbor Management Commission Discusses Harbor Ambiguities

Harbor Management Commissioner on Unpermitted Moorings: “Ian Was Right”

Harbor Master Expenses Discussed at Harbor Management Commission Meeting


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  • Frank Farricker

    Except that Rita gets a big salary, a reasonably new car to use, a fine office out back of Town Hall, benefits and such. Ian gets $600 a year, and provides incalcuable benefits to Greenwich for that. I’m sorry the First Selectman set this up as some kind of referendum on himself, but the behavior toward someone doing this kind of work as essentially a volunteer is very upsetting, and one he wouldn’t copy with, say, Frank Mazza

  • I explained at the first Harbor Commission public hearing last October with Mr. Tesei present that the role in law of the Harbormaster derives from the English King’s ownership of the seabed and his sovereign right to license all trade and traffic on navigable surface waters. The King enforced his licenses, both of submerged land bottom usage along with surface rights, by the appointment of local harbormasters and surveyors.

    Within a week of the July 4, 1776 act of rebellion known as the Declaration of Independence, the Congress assigned these rights to the individual 13 states. But the underlying grants, rights, and enforcement powers continued, administered by State law.

    Thus the State owns the submerged land to the high water mark, and it regulates all activity above it to the line of “coastal jurisdiction” enacted by law effective Oct 1, 2012.

    Further, the Federal government controls channels and anchorages, as well as the Bush harbor of refuge, established by Senator Prescott Bush in the vicinity of Roger Sherman Park, site of the Town Party.

    The State’s Harbormaster, Ian Macmillan, is charged by State and Federal law with duties to perform, acting as “eyes on the water” in behalf of our “king”, the Commissioner of DEEP.

    If and when successful in gaining approval for their Harbor Management Plan from the State and Federal agencies, then there will be an inferior component of local additions to this body of maritime law. If the Town is successful at establishing approved mooring fields in grid patterns under their plan, then it might be possible to add “maritime parking attendent” for millions of dollars worth of private vessels riding at anchor in State and Federal waters to the assigned duties of the Harbormaster.