Board of Selectmen – September 10, 2012
It is time to get the record straight. Our elected officials are elected to represent the people. At the last Board of Selectman meeting we heard concerns about the public rhetoric at Board of Selectman meetings from the head of the Democratic Party, Jeff Tindall and his sidekick, Alan Needham. We the people have our right to challenge the policies and actions of our representatives. All these elected officials have chosen to represent the people. Policies that are approved by our representatives affect our lives and our pocket books. The taxpayers pay the salary of Simsbury’s First Selectman’s six figure salary and should require accountability. First Selectman Mary Glassman is working for the people and it is the people who should come forward and challenge policies and decisions that are not consistent with their expectations. To have the head of the Democratic Party tell the public that the Board of Selectmen is not interested in the concerns of our residents in public audience is inconsistent with democratic values. Since public discourse is one of the most important values of democracy, which appears to be inconsistent with Jeff Tindall’s philosophy, Tindall should resign as the leader of the Democratic Party.
Prior administrations have voted against the recommendations of the past Charter Revision Commissions and did not pass the revised Charter to the people for a vote. They had the courage and conviction to vote against the Charter Revision’s recommendations. Both Deputy John Hampton and Selectman Lisa Heavner voiced their disagreement to many serious issues in the revised charter that they stated required a no vote and yet they refused to vote down the Charter and passed the failed charter to the people for a vote. There are serious objections in the revised charter and should not be approved. Is this the kind of failed leadership we could expect if Hampton becomes Simsbury’s State Representative?
Many of the concerns highlighted in public audience are issues of concern affecting the public policy decisions and are only noted in the minutes of the meeting as part of the public record and ignored by our representatives on the Board of Selectmen since they sit silent like robots. There is no follow through on these concerns considering the public a nuisance that they are required by a legal decision to set aside time to listen. The only people who are given special treatment are organized groups of the 1% who get unlimited time and resources from First Selectman Mary Glassman.
According to the minutes of the Performing Arts Board, August 8, 2012, “Mr. Hensley reported that Mary Glassman,(First Selectman) has authorized the funding of a large tent for the use of the town’s many 501c3 organizations.” Does First Selectman Mary Glassman have the authority to use unauthorized town funds? Where did the money come from? How many tents were used? What was the cost to the taxpayer?
The PAC also reported that the Hartford Symphony paid 50 cents instead of the contracted one dollar per ticket. Has the town received the revised payment of $1106?
The town recently received the Consultant’s Report which cost $24,500, reviewing the management of the Performing Arts. The conclusions in the 44 page report are consistent with the concerns of David Bell the first Manager of the PAC when he reported to the Board of Selectman. Tom Vincent was chosen to take his place against the wishes of town staff. First Selectman Mary Glassman’s pivotal political vote for an unqualified person in Tom Vincent over David Bell, with professional experience was the wrong choice.
The conclusions states, “ that the venue is not effectively utilized, marketed or programmed.
Its governance structure and related politics prohibit increased use and prevent the facility
from operating in support of a mission. The costs required to rent equipment and bring the
venue to a place where it can effectively accommodate live events are also prohibitive—and
compounded by frequent rain. While the PAC should not be straining Town resources
(particularly Public Works, Culture, Parks and Recreation and Maintenance,) it should also not
be seen as a potential profit center.”
It appears that the Town should not be in the Performing Arts business and should use this facility for low cost cultural and entertainment activities provided by the Recreation Department since this facility will continue to be costly to manage and resources strained.
Another issue that has not been addressed is the projected use of the adjacent property for a 4 story apartment house which would be inconsistent with loud musical venues and fireworks.
The Town has hired Imagineers to manage the Town’s rental units.. After reviewing the files it appears that the units are extremely costly to maintain. It appears that thousands of dollars are paid each month for services and repairs. Has anyone audited these expenses?
Recently I mentioned that I was concerned that First Selectman’s pseudo Town Manager, Tom Cooke had illegally placed agendas in the mailboxes of the tenants at Eno Farms. Since there were 50 mailboxes, Tom Cooke should have paid the Postmaster $22 for postage. Once again there has been a violation of Federal Law when Charity Folk placed her campaign literature on letter boxes in my neighborhood. How can Charity Folk ask the people to be their State representative when she violates federal law? Has Charity Folk paid the Postmaster for the use of the mailboxes without paying for postage?
It appears that the Tariffville Gazabo has recently gotten a facelift with a brick walkway. Money has been spent on this new project while the Tariffville Park tennis courts, pavilion and bench are in disrepair and the inner roads are falling into the river leaving the pathway dangerous for travel.
Presently the Eno Farms lawsuit has been finalized in favor of CHFA with the 5 defending tenants being required to vacate the premises. That would leave 10 vacant rental units in a complex of 50 units. The town has asked Local Initiatives Support Corporation, LIC to assist the town in overseeing the low and very low income housing. It appears that this is a little late in coming since the sale is almost finalized. This complex has been mismanaged from day one. Maybe now is the time for the Town to take control of the complex as stated in the Eno Trust,” for the poor of Simsbury.” The Simsbury Housing Authority is the appropriate agency to manage this complex since they are non-profit, already managing
Owen Murphy and Virginia Connolly apartments and the rents would be appropriate for the renters. Many people whose income is consistent with low and very low income cannot afford the present rent structure at Eno Farms.
With continuous reporting on the selling of The Hartford Insurance Company, Simsbury’s highest taxpayer, to various out of State companies, is the Town reviewing its 6 year Capital Improvement schedule to reduce expenditures? Is the Town developing a financial plan if the entire company with all its employees leave Simsbury? The financial impact will be enormous and the Town should plan for a worst case scenario.