Tesei Issues Statement on Use of Town Hall by Carl Higbie’s Organization for Public Forum

On Tuesday afternoon Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei issued the following op-ed concerning the use of a Town Hall meeting room for a public forum.

The Greenwich Town Hall is the focal point of government of the people, by the people and for the people and provides the opportunity to exercise constitutional rights – including those of free speech.

The Town offers several public venues where individuals or groups can hold forums such as Greenwich Library, the Civic Centers, any of the Town’s schools or Town Hall.

As First Selectman it is my determination of the policy on the use of meeting rooms at Town Hall. In the interest of safety, we have determined that Town Hall offers the most secure environment given the nature of the potential controversy that might occur. In this instance, the forum organizer is paying for police and fire protection and has met the insurance requirements.

Greenwich is a diverse community representing more than 50 countries from around the globe, as well as many races, religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations.

The forum organizer’s past rhetoric and bigotry do not reflect the Greenwich community and the civility that our residents show one another. While we do not agree with the organizer’s opinions, it is our hope that we will demonstrate that Greenwich is a place where the right of free speech can be exercised with civil discourse in a safe environment.