How interesting that my previous letter to the editor – a call for consensus building and bipartisanship on the evenly divided Woodbridge Board of Selectmen – has provoked such a tantrum from Board of Finance chairman Matt Giglietti. It is only because he has the basic facts so muddled that I need to respond.
Giglietti asserts that the Republican Selectmen protested the First Selectman’s tiebreaking vote. False. The Selectmen never objected to the additional vote permitted by Town charter. The protest was over the process in which all of the board and commission positions are filled by the other party before any of the Republican Party nominees could even be voted on. To me this seems undemocratic and treats the Republican nominees as second class citizens. The only justification offered for this process is “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Whether this has occurred in the past is irrelevant. Past practice is not a good reason to perpetuate a flawed process that treats nominees unequally.
Giglietti then falsely accuses the Republican Selectmen of violating the town charter, which is quite a serious accusation. Yet he does not cite any specific charter provision he thinks has been violated. Of course, he cannot do so because there is no violation. He then accuses me of not understanding how our government works. On the contrary, it is Mr. Giglietti who seems confused about how the government works. I was well aware that if new appointments were delayed, the current officeholders would remain in office and there would be no disruption in town operations. I was surprised that the Scalettar administration was ignorant of this provision.
I am delighted by Mr. Giglietti’s invitation to offer my alternative approach. If I was faced with more than half of my board colleagues raising objections about an important matter, rather than dismiss their concerns I would negotiate with them to arrive at a bipartisan, mutually agreeable solution. In this case such an agreement would not have been difficult or time-consuming to achieve and a boycott could easily have been avoided. But if for some reason I arrived at a meeting and found no quorum present, since I am familiar with parliamentary procedure, I certainly would not have gone ahead and conducted invalid votes. I also would not have attempted to justify these invalid votes by asserting that “quorum requirements don’t apply” to this type of meeting (ridiculous), nor would I have threatened my colleagues with financial penalties (offensive). Further, I would have a Town Attorney who would know that these actions were improper.
Traditionally in Woodbridge, if you go back further than the last decade or so, a certain courtesy was observed between the two parties. I would like to revive that bipartisan spirit of cooperation and respect for one another that used to govern our town. Woodbridge citizens deserve nothing less.