Nancy Barton, who has been a member of the Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation since 2006, announced her resignation from the Board earlier this week due to personal reasons. An illness has Barton recovering at home, but rendered her unable to complete her current two year term on the BET.
Barton is known in the Town as a loyal Democrat who has furthered a family tradition of public service with her contributions to the Town of Greenwich. Described as "no shrinking violet," she has always aspired to emulate her late grandfather, H. Allen Barton.
The late Barton held the 36th District State Senate seat 80 years ago and was the last Democrat to represent Greenwich in the General Assembly. Last year, the younger Barton tried to follow in her grandfather's footsteps, but lost to State Senator L. Scott Frantz.
Barton, now 60, retired in 2003 with more than 30 years experience as an attorney most recently as general counsel for in Stamford, CT.
While serving on the BET, Barton was known as “an ardent supporter” of the Town’s Social Services Department, the Greenwich Public School system as well as Nathaniel Witherell.
In addition to her service on the BET, Barton is also the current President serving on the Board of Directors of the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides mental health services to children, adolescents, and their families. The Child Guidance Center supports the needs of families in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, and New Canaan.
BET Chairman Steve Walko called Barton a valuable member of the Board who will be missed; "Her perspective on the Town's issues contributed to the BET's thoughtful discussions."
Selectman Drew Marzullo called Barton not only "a great Democrat" but also "more importantly, a great person." When asked about Barton's service, Marzullo said "Nancy lent and gave voice to individuals who did not necessarily have one."
Marzullo, who is relatively new to the political scene currently finishing what he hopes to be his first and not last term, wishes Barton a "speedy recovery" and he is "looking forward to seeing her again." He also recalled the assistance that Barton bestowed upon him when he entered the politics as "invaluable."
Chairman of the , Frank Farricker, said that in both the BET and in her everyday life, he characterizes Barton as an individual who truly "walks the walk" stating that with Barton "you get what you see."
Whether it was on the BET or in her campaign bid for State Senate, Farricker describes Barton has "tough" and standing up for what she believes in. “Nancy is a very hardnosed, very professional, exceptionally intelligent" individual, he said.
Barton's contributions define her as a "champion" for those who do not have a voice; "she spent her time looking out for the most vulnerable; the people that are sometimes missed or forgotten," said Farricker.
Her colleague on the BET and fellow Democrat Bill Finger says that in addition to be very fond of Barton, he also has "great respect for her." Echoing his nomination speech for Barton during her State Senate bid last year, Finger said "Nancy's passion and commitment for issues and causes served to elevate everyone else's 'game.' Finger also said that through a “consistent and forceful voice for fiscal prudence and accountability,” Barton was able to earn and enjoy “the respect of her colleagues on the Board, both Democrat and Republican.”
When Finger nominated Barton last year he warned his fellow Democrats; “when you are on the other side of on an issue from Nancy, you better be prepared to up your game and you better have a full grasp of the issue at hand because she is relentless in challenging you and advocating for her position.”
And game on. Barton, known for her quick wit and ability to take quite the stand, will be difficult to replace in terms of that level of passion and tenacity.
The Democratic Town Committee will be voting on Wednesday, September 14, 8:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Meeting Room on Barton's replacement on the candidate slate for Election 2011.
Currently there are five individuals who are being considered for the Barton spot on the ballot: Jill Oberlander, Laura Erickson, Sean Goldrick, Herb Johnson and Greg Schulte.
In the interim, Mary Lee Kiernan will fill Barton's seat for the remainder of the term.
As many have expressed wishes for a speedy recovery and commented how much Barton will be missed, perhaps it was Farricker whose description will be most experienced by Town residents and those who were fortunate to interact with her; "People will notice and really feel her absence."