Greenwich BET Tries to Settle Into Business

Democrats are not happy with committee assignments for their new two-year-term.

The Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation is sworn into office on Jan. 6, 2014. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.
The Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation is sworn into office on Jan. 6, 2014. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.

It was billed as the organizational meeting for the incoming Board of Estimate and Taxation and the Monday night meeting bared the differences between the board's Republican leadership and the minority Democratic caucus that wasn't happy with committee assignments.

The leadership of the board which sets the town's fiscal policy and tax rate, will continue under Republican Michael Mason who was re-elected chairman by a 9-3 vote. Democrats Sean McGoldrick, Randall Huffman and John Blankley voted against Mason's nomination.

The board's leadership is determined, in part, by the total number of votes cast in the Nov. 5 election for BET members. The party with the most votes is granted leadership.

Any political divisiveness among the board membership was temporarily set aside when Democrat Jeffrey Ramer seconded the nomination of Republican Arthur Norton as vice chair. Ramer said, "It has been a privilege to serve on the audit committee (with Norton) and to serve six years on this board with him. I admit I am on the other side of the aisle, but he's a fellow, you look him in the eye, he tells where he stands even if you don't agree with him. You can't ask for anything else from a son of a gun across the aisle."

However, Ramer wasn't as conciliatory when it came to Mason's announcements of membership on standing committees. "I beseech the chair to weigh carefully the requests made by the minority party ... we should at least have the ability to choose our representatives on committees."

At issue was that Democrat Sean Goldrick was not assigned to any committee. Democratic Selectman Drew Marzullo called the lack of committee assignments for Goldrick, a frequent critic of the administration, "retribution."

Following the meeting, Mason said he considered all options in the committee assignments and that not all committee assignment requests could be accommodated.

William Drake was unanimously elected recording secretary.

The board also unanimously reappointed comptroller Peter Mynarski and tax assessor Lauren Elliott to two-year terms. Mynarski's salary will be $187,882; $148,110 for Elliott.

Committee assignments:
Budget: Marc Johnson, chairman; Mary Lee Kiernan, Leslie Tarkington, Ramer.
Audit: Norton, chairman; William Finger, John Blankley, Tarkington.
Investments: Drak, chairman; Norton, Huffman, Blankley.
Human Resources: Nancy Weissler, chairman; Drake, Huffman, Kiernan.
Law: Ramer, chairman; Tarkington.
Policy procedure: Norton, Finger.

Community Development Block Grants: Goldrick, Drake.
Capital Improvement Projects: Finger, Mason.
Education: Mason.
Finance: Mason, Kiernan.
Assessor: Finger, Tarkington.
Retirement: Drake, Blankley.
Nathaniel Witherell: Norton.
Fire/Police: Mason, Finger.
Revaluation Team: Tarkington, Finger.
Parks & Recreation: Drake.
IT: Blankley.


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