Continuing my Public Service

Losing the election was a real kick in the teeth and while I campaigned, somewhat confident in my getting re-elected, I did tell our First Selectman I was hedging my bets. In September I leaned over to him at a meeting and said, “Keep me in mind for appropriate boards and commissions in case I lose.” He looked at me as if I spoke to him in Klingonese.

No sooner did I lose than I reminded him of this and we met for breakfast the following week and spoke at length. The bottom line was that I intended to continue serving the public in some capacity because I strongly believe in giving back to the community.

A few weeks later he called with a few suggestions, most of which I did not feel were good fits for one reason or another. He then brought up the Greater Bridgeport Regional Planning Agency. This is a six town organization that takes a look at the Big Picture when public works projects skirts town borders. This way we work together rather than possibly butt up against each other’s projects. There are three reps from Fairfield and one had just resigned to take up a new post.

Having served on the region 2 Cable Advisory Council I have some idea about Big Picture initiatives and thought this would be a good match. The Board of Selectmen met in late November and quickly approved my appointment. The somewhat funny aspect was that I would then have to be approved by the Representative Town Meeting.

I was invited to meet my prospective fellow members at their annual dinner right before Thanksgiving. The people all seem very nice and they handed out their annual report so I have some reading to do to come up to speed before my first meeting in late January.

The committee meetings I would have had to appear before were the week we were away so I dutifully reported to the two committee chairs and the moderator that I would be unable to attend but expressed my desire to serve and availability to appear at the monthly meeting, which was on Monday.

Upon returning home that day, I found a call from Moderator Jim Walsh inviting me to lead the RTM in the Pledge of Allegiance. It was very weird walking in just before 8, being greeted by our town clerks, and not talking strategy with my peers. When Jim took the podium, I listened to many unfamiliar names called and then he began a very nice and sincere introduction, acknowledging my public service. He has quickly come to learn what is involved in being meoderator and has come to a new appreciation of my efforts. Best of all, he praised my work to ensure both sides of the aisle had equal time at the microphone. I was then stunned to receive a standing ovation as I walked to the podium.

When we got to my item on the agenda, the committee reports acknowledged my absence so when it came to comments from the Body,  Jamie Millington got up and asked that I provide a brief background to those who have yet to meet me. I did that, apologizing for missing the committees and then quickly recapped all my public service and mentioned the work the GBRPA does. After that, there were no more questions and I was unanimously voted in.

My new assignment is for two years and my first meeting is the end of January.

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