Gov. Dannel Malloy has taken the wind out of the sails of the Greenwich Board of Selectmen.
Malloy's rejection of the Board of Selectmen's recommendation on who to appoint as Greenwich harbormaster has prompted cries of 'petty partisanship' and a lack of respect for the town's chief elected official.
It was less than 24 hours before Thursday's bi-weekly board meeting that the selectmen found out that Malloy appointed William "Ian" Macmillan as harbormaster instead of the board's unanimous choice Billy Fox. Democratic Selectman Drew Marzullo said, "Andrew McDonald, the governor's chief counsel reached out to me to notify us of the decision" on the post that is responsible for overseeing the Greenwich harbors and coastline.
First Selectman Peter Tesei, a Republican, said he received an e-mail from Macmillan on Wednesday night notifying him of the appointment. And as of Thursday afternoon the governor's office had not contacted him.
Tesei expressed disappointment that Fox — a Stamford police officer assigned to that department's marine division, and a Greenwich resident — was overlooked despite his qualifications. "I'm disappointed there wasn't more of a dialogue," Tesei said. "We never heard anything formally from them and I don't think that reflects favorably on their office and the fact that they didn't have the courtesy to address it to me reinforces the fact that they see it as a political thing when it shouldn't be."
Theis didn't mince any words either. "I'm a little disappointed it took this course of action. We felt we put forth the best candidate It's petty partisanship that's going on and it is disrespectful of the town's chief elected official." He said Fox and Macmillan were the only two candidates to apply for the job and Fox had the professional skills and had a demeanor that was helpful in this role.
Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said, "We chose another name that was on the list submitted by them." He said Malloy's legal advisors said that given Fox's job as a Stamford police officer, "there was concern conflicts of jurisdictional authority could arise. ... We ultimately made a choice from the list. It's still one of his recommendations ... but it wasn’t his first choice." He did not address the partisanship allegations.
Despite their feelings, boh Republicans said they would support Macmillan as harbormaster. For years, Macmillan has had a regular presence in Greenwich Harbor, mooring his houseboat near the . According to the resume Macmillan submitted to the selectmen when he applied for the post in 2008, Macmillan is the founder of Macmillan Yacht Services in Greenwich, is a charter delivery boat captain and has 40 years of ocean racing experience.
The appointment of a harbormaster . The selectmen submitted Fox's nomination in June, to replace Jonathan Asch. The three-year appointment will expire June 30, 2014.
The harbormaster is responsible for approving more than 300 applications for town moorings each spring; be knowledgable of state and local regulations of moorings, shellfish beds and conduct periodic field surveys of town waters and work with local harbormasters and private yachts clubs. The mostly volunteer position pays a $700 stipend and the harbormaster enjoys the use of a town-owned boat to carry out official duties.
Tesei said that while Macmillan has an impressive boating and marine background, the selectmen nominated Fox because of his marine police work and "has a very clear understanding of the state regulations that deal with waterways and he is trained to deal with people."