Board of Selectmen –April 9, 2012
I am very concerned that First Selectman Mary Glassman with a base salary of $113,850, has testified that Simsbury is not quite ready for a Town Manager. Glassman testified that she has delegated her duties to a pseudo-Town Manager, the Director of Administrative Services, Tom Cooke, with no public policy experience. This position was not advertized but given to a Head Hunter eliminating many qualified people from applying. Under the new Charter the First Selectman can delegate all her duties to a non-elected pseudo Town Manager to manage the town. Now that Mary Glassman has delegated all her duties to a pseudo Town Manager she has made her position a ceremonial office, similar to a Mayor. As a result of this change in the duties of the First Selectman, I would urge the personnel sub-committee reduce the First Selectman’s salary to a ceremonial fee. At the last meeting of the Personnel sub-committee headed by Lisa Heavner, with John Hampton and Moira Wertheimer, these members never once suggested a reduction in the salary of the First Selectman, only that she has not received a raise in a few years. Before they increase the salary of a ceremonial First Selectman, they should review the salaries of Mayor’s in various towns with Town Managers and use those figures for the salary of the First Selectman.
I am very concerned about the articles discussing the sale of The Hartford Life Insurance Company in Simsbury. If The Hartford closes its doors and reduces the approximately 1900 employees, the domino effect on Simsbury’s revenue would be greatly reduced. With these issues looming over Simsbury, it is not the time to burden the taxpayers with future educational costs associated with an all day kindergarten without full disclosure on the operating costs. I am not questioning the need for an all day Kindergarten but the way it is being presented. Telling the taxpayers that there are no associated costs with this proposal is disingenuous. There are significant costs in the per pupil cost, increase in staff, the busing and the additional costs associated with monitoring the Grant and the long-term costs associated with the students moving through the school system without additional revenues from Grants. The Simsbury Board of Education should follow the lead of the Avon School system and add all the costs associated with an all day kindergarten in their operating budget. All these present and future costs should be presented by the Board of Education to the taxpayers before this proposal comes before the voters.
I was very surprised when I read that First Mary Glassman is endorsing John Hampton for State Representative without giving the Democratic Party additional time to get a substantive candidate. Does First Selectman Mary Glassman believe that John Hampton has the background and qualifications to represent the Simsbury residents? This endorsement is as nutty as a Snicker’s bar.
At the last Town Meeting where there was discussion on Capital projects, a representative from the Ethel Walker School stated that we the taxpayers should approve the purchase of the overpriced property at the Ethel Walker School and that this property is on a major aquifer that must be protected. She forgot to state many other homes were also on that same aquifer without any damage to the water supply. Many of the homes on the aquifer are on Longview, Woodhaven, Fawnbrook, Merrywood, Banks, Crescent Way, Stratton Brook, Pond Side, Farmstead, Camille, Wild Flower, Tangelwood, Sugar Hollow, Tulmeadow Farm, Shingle Mill and Meadowlark. There are at least two Farms on the aquifer that are not regulated. All these properties are situated on the “pristine aquifer.” The representatives of the Ethel Walker School are trying to scare the taxpayers of Simsbury into purchasing property at an inflated price. Having a few more mega mansions will increase the town’s revenue and will not destroy the aquifer. This expenditure should be voted down.
The Charter Revision Commission recently had a hearing on the changes to the Town Charter. There was discussion about placing the appointed Design Review Board in the Charter and it is now designated in the Charter, Sec. 617. This Commission has professional people with expertise in architecture, planning, and landscape to oversee projects and give expert advice on land use coming before the Planning and Zoning Commission. I was surprised to hear that Dave Ryan, a member of the Zoning Commission and a member of the Charter Revision Commission wrote the wording for the motion to have the Design Review Board incorporsted into the Chater. It states,” the qualifications of the members shall be determined by the Zoning Commission”. What expertise does the Zoning Commission have to appoint the members to this board? The charge for the Design Review Board as stated in the Charter will be to review land use plans at the request of the zoning commission, instead of reviewing all plans before the Planning and Zoning Commission. Why should the Design Review Board members be regulated by a land use board? It would appear that Dave Ryan should have recused himself from this issue since he is on the Zoning Commission. Our land use boards should be free from control since they all serve an important purpose in keeping the character of Simsbury as a legacy to present and future residents.
Over the years Eno Farms has been under the scrutiny of the Attorney General’s Office for compliance with the Eno Trust, “for the poor of Simsbury.” . Before there is any vote on any acceptance of the wording of the Ground Lease, the Attorney General’s Office should review the document for compliance.
The morning of April 4, 2012, the Fire Department was dispatched to 73 Wolcott Road, the Community Farm of Simsbury for a bonfire. There were no permits issued for open burning. This fire was started during the highest fire danger and could have destroyed the farm. How can the Town allow these irresponsible people manage the Town’s poor Farm?
Joseph Patrina continues to use his Barn on 93 West Mountain Road to have concerts with his LittleHouse Band. Patrina appears to be in violation of Simsbury Zoning Regulations. However, since Patrina has lawyered up First Selectman Mary Glassman has asked the Town Attorney to review this issue. What is the opinion of the Town Attorney?