Peter Tesei’s Steady Hand on the Helm (corrected column)


Last week the Greenwich Sentinel made a mistake when laying out this column in the print edition and only ended up publishing half of it. We appreciate Ed Dadakis’ sense of humor about it and sincerely apologize for our mistake. Here is his column, in its entirety. 

By Edward Dadakis

In just under a week, voters go to the polls to select who will lead Greenwich for the next two years. Our local campaign has been waged under the specter of Connecticut in fiscal turmoil. Years of Democrat control of Connecticut’s fiscal strategy has left our state in “a permanent fiscal crisis” to quote Malloy Budget chief Ben Barnes.

Republicans and a few fiscally responsible Democrats passed the first bi-partisan state budget in years, but most Democrats refused to override the Governor’s veto plunging Connecticut into more fiscal uncertainty. Additionally, the city of Hartford, controlled by Democrats for decades, is on the verge of bankruptcy.

The contrast between our state and our town is stark. After years of Republican leadership in the First Selectman’s office and on the Board of Estimate & Taxation we have a town which is fiscally strong, able to pay its bills and expand services to its residents.

During this time of fiscal responsibility, First Selectman Peter Tesei has had his steady hand on the helm, first as Chairman of the BET and, now, First Selectman. Tesei is asking voters to return him to office by running on a platform of success for our citizens, taxes that are under control and improvements to our Town infrastructure which will make Greenwich even better.

Tesei is a balanced fiscal hawk. Under his stewardship, Greenwich’s finances continue to be the envy of towns across America. With what Democrats have done at the state level, the value of Tesei’s competent and experienced fiscal leadership cannot be overstated.

This year Tesei actually proposed a budget which cut, truly cut, overall spending by $10 million while reducing head count by more than 10. Most governments only dream of achieving year over year spending declines but Tesei delivered while providing residents quality services.

Even with Tesei’s outstanding record, Democrats are fighting hard to win yet almost failed to field a candidate to challenge him. At the last minute, they ended up with Sandy Litvack, the husband of the president of the left wing Indivisible group. Litvack doesn’t seem to have any substantive community experience. To me, he appears to be a fixer for the Hollywood elite with long service as the loyal right hand person to Disney’s Michael Eisner and identified by the Hollywood Observer as the “Disney in-house consigliere.”

Watching the Selectman debate, an observer could only come away with the impression that Litvack, although charming, lacks knowledge of the town and how its government works by speaking only in generalities. It was left to Tesei to provide in-depth answers to citizen’s questions demonstrating his knowledge, experience and commitment to the town. In my opinion Litvack really needs to spend some time on the RTM to understand how Greenwich works.

Litvack is out meeting voters, stressing the importance of turning out at the polls, insisting this local election is significant. While I don’t disagree with his assertion, what’s actually funny about his plea is that Litvack himself has failed to vote in any municipal election in the past decade except one. Perhaps the reason this election is significant to Sandy is that he is a candidate. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem he cares much about Greenwich and even his web site fails to cite anything he has done in the Greenwich community.

Working closely with Tesei have been the Republicans on the Board of Estimate and Taxation who are also on the ballot this year. While they have kept a lid on borrowing, Democrats continue to advocate for Greenwich to take on significant debt. In fact several years ago one BET Democrat suggested that Greenwich could absorb up to $1 billion in debt and no other BET Democrat challenged him. I think our future generations have been saddled with enough debt thanks to Washington and Hartford. Don’t you?

The six BET Democrat and six BET Republican candidates are assured election, but its still important to vote for them because the party whose BET candidates receive the most aggregate votes get the Chairman’s seat. The Chairman then has a crucial tie breaking vote and the ability to set the agenda.

We can see clearly at the state level, and locally in the city of Hartford, the damage Democrats can do to a government’s fiscal condition. Please don’t let it happen in Greenwich.

Edward Dadakis, a lifelong Greenwich resident, has served more than 35 years on the RTM, having been first elected as one of its youngest members. He is a former chairman of the Greenwich Republican Party and currently represents our 36th Senatorial District on the Connecticut Republican State Central Committee. For the latest on politics, follow him on Twitter @EdDadakis.

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