Back to Business

After a one month break, the RTM got back to work this month. As you recall, last week at the committee meetings, I stepped up to Finance Chair as part of the dominoes that tipped over in the wake of Mary Tinti’s resignation.

Last night, at the caucus, I met Paul Cramer, her replacement on the body. I recognized the slight deer-in-the-headlights look, since it wasn’t all that long ago I was stepping in to replace someone. Paul has only been in town two years and sounds ready to step up and get involved. Partly to serve the town, he says, and partly to meet people. Well, last night he met plenty.

As caucus broke, our Moderator, Joel Green, told me to have Paul at my side during the meeting so I could talk him through the process. It was more or less like having live color commentary during the action. We put Paul between myself and Martha Brooks, a shrewd political mind and a nice neighbor to know.

During all this time, I was seeing just how far I had come since finally giving in and getting more involved in town government. I knew everyone on sight, by name if not by district. I knew most of the opposition party, could deal with town officials, members of the School Board and Board of Finance. I was far more comfortable with the process, the players and the politics involved.

The meeting itself was mild and a perfect first exposure for a new member. We made several appointments, accepted several state grants, debated an offer of property which we chose to put off until someone could tell us if it’s been used as a dumping ground. While approving three contracts with unions, one got snarled when a seemingly innocent question turned into an accounting show and tell that took our Chief Financial Guru and our First Selectman nearly ten minutes to explain (all they needed were 27 8×10 color, glossy photographs with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one to make it any clearer). In the end, we all learned that the Pension Funds outperformed expectations the last two years running which means they are very well over funded allowing us to divert some of the money to start up a new fund that we’re mandated to create. Said fund is new and few in the state or nation have done it before us so we’re slowly and cautiously figuring out how to do it. Me, I’d go to the bank and say, “I want to open an account, here’s $4 million dollars”, and move on. Apparently, government doesn’t work as simply.

We were done by 9:15 which also meant we could all enjoy our bi-partisan socialable soda without making too late a night of it. Paul joined us and got to hear more about the people and the town and he seemed to be fitting right in. Sort of like me.