Greenwich Flourishes with Volunteer Spirit

By Tess Furno

The Town of Greenwich thrives thanks to the hard work of hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time and expertise to various Commissions, Committees, and Boards. These volunteers are the unsung heroes that ensure that the Town’s operations run smoothly and efficiently.

Greenwich is run by its many bureaucratic groups that are the sole reason for this Town’s everyday working and successes. They take over everything from governing on our Town’s legislative body to promoting the welfare of vulnerable individuals in the community. Greenwich’s administrative framework relies heavily on the contributions of nearly 200 volunteer residents. These individuals, along with more than 200 more elected members who also serve without financial compensation, form the backbone of this Town we call home. Their commitment is not just a testament to their civic duty, but also a reflection of their deep-rooted love for our community.

The number of Town residents we have that fill these roles speaks volumes toward these volunteers’ effect on Greenwich as a whole. The sheer number of individuals dedicated to this cause highlights the community’s strong volunteer spirit and collective effort towards maintaining and improving the quality of life in Greenwich.

The selection process for all these valuable volunteers starts with the Representative Town Meeting that conducts the interview process. Candidates will interview for the certain job they are interested in. There is also a designated search committee to look for more candidates to interview. Once appointed, a term will last for three to four years and candidates also have the opportunity to reapply once a term is up.

These responsibilities of our Town’s volunteers span a wide range of areas, from Town energy conservation to public health services. Each Commission, Committee, or Board has its own set of policy that affects every part of our Town’s workings. The impressive range of Greenwich’s volunteer opportunity in the bureaucratic region speaks to how as a whole, each resident is positively affected in one way or another by the hard work of our volunteers. Each volunteer brings a unique set of skills and perspectives, contributing to a diverse and dynamic decision-making process to pass policy and bring about important ideas for their Commission, Committee, or Board.

Members of the Board of Health focus on public health initiatives, ensuring that residents have access to necessary health services and information. They also lend a helping hand to community health contributors. Their help prevents disease and death for many residents in the Greenwich area.

The Citizens Police Advisory Committee reviews performance reports directly from the Greenwich Police Department (GPD). They review GPD monthly performance reports to ensure that the work of the Department is inline with the values of Greenwich itself. The Committee will also oversee some citizen complaints and internal investigations within the GDP to guarantee they are dealt with accordingly. The great work from the Committee is what creates accountability in our Town’s police.

Some other sources of volunteerism within Greenwich are the elected members who govern our people. Some examples of these volunteer opportunities are the Board of Education and the Board of Estimation and Taxation. The Board of Education is the foundation of our Town’s public education system. The Board of Ed decides on fundamental policies for personnel, creates any changes to curriculum, and more crucial actions towards the workings of Greenwich Public Schools.

The Board of Estimation and Taxation has control over our Town’s Budget which they issue and recommend every year. They are also in charge of any requests for additional adjustments during the fiscal year.

Managing all of these volunteers and elected members is a monumental task, which, until recently, has been analog. To streamline operations and enhance efficiency, the Selectmen’s Nomination Advisory Committee, the Committee that is in charge of appointing the majority of these volunteers, has adopted a software package called “On Board.” This digital tool has revolutionized the way information is managed and accessed within the process of appointment of these many residents.

With a comprehensive database, “On Board” ensures that information is readily accessible to both the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) and the Board of Selectmen. The database does this by keeping track of when appointments’ terms end, the actions taken by the volunteers during their term, and information involving candidates for the volunteering job as well.

One important hurdle that “On Board” helped the Town clear was scheduling candidates interviewing for these positions. This new tech package helps efficiently schedule hundreds of possible appointments and tracks these interviews with information gained about each applicant. This technological upgrade has and will continue to streamline efficiency. It will make important information on candidates accessible to all people involved in the interviewing process making the process more successful in choosing the best people for these vital positions.

This digital transition is a significant leap forward, making it easier for the appointers of these volunteers to stay informed and connected. Selectwomen Lauren Rabin described the package as “more secure” and overall vital towards the future of our Town. The introduction of “On Board” signifies Greenwich’s commitment to leveraging technology to support its governance and community engagement efforts.

The Town of Greenwich owes much of its success to the dedication of its volunteers. These individuals, through their service, ensure that the Town operates smoothly and meets the needs of its residents. The transition to digital tools like “On Board” further enhance the volunteers’ ability to serve effectively.

As we look to the future, it is clear that the spirit of volunteerism will continue to be a cornerstone of Greenwich’s prosperity and community well-being. Selectwomen Rabin speaks to her “debt of gratitude” that we as a Town have towards our volunteers and their indispensable actions that contribute to the wellness of our community.

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