From Town Tribune, Oct 19, 2023
I have been your First Selectman since 2018 and I am running for re-election. Lately, the Sherman School renovation project and subsequent failed referendum has been the number one issue in Sherman and it’s the number one issue for me, too – and then there’s about 25 other things I attend to that keep Sherman running smoothly.
In the clamor over the school, a few residents have forgotten how well Sherman has done over the last 6 years. Due to a teamwork approach, Sherman has never been financially stronger, the synergy between Town entities (SVFD, Public Works, Park and Rec, Senor Center, Library, etc.) has never been as efficient, and the effectiveness from the “lack of politics” over the last 6 years has been refreshing. Now, with the acrimony over the school, Sherman has had a taste of what it used to be like here on a weekly basis: Every issue a battleground, the borders drawn by a few extremists fighting unfairly to win their point. I. Do. Not. Want. To. Go. Back. To. That. And we won’t if I’m re-elected.
As I said the school vote results are on people’s minds and I have received criticism from No voters and YES voters alike for not supporting their point-of-view. There is a certain misunderstanding of the Board of Selectmen’s role here. Our primary function is to bring issues and projects to the voters. Yes, we can lobby one way or the other when it’s appropriate, but our primary function is to see that voters understand the facts, have access to them, and then to let the voters speak. This is called democracy, and I’m all for it! Sometimes, though, we don’t get what we want in a democracy. And if someone is mad at me over that, and willing to forget 6 years of success from an effective and responsive Board of Selectmen to be a single-issue voter, then so be it. But while they are mad at me over one issue, the rest of the Town needs safe-keeping.
Just a word about information from dubious sources on my wanting to be re-elected to keep my salary. Frankly, that’s offensive. It’s also wrong. Believe me, I can make more money doing many other things than working 60 hours a week on a Sherman First Selectman salary – by the way, among the worst salaries of Town CEO’s in the 169 Connecticut towns.
I want to be re-elected so that I can finish what I’ve started. I want to give Sherman voters an opportunity to vote on a fully functioning school facility, the opportunity to vote on a much-needed new Senior Center, and to vote on more docks at the Town beach. I want Wakeman Hill Road resurfaced this spring. I want to continue advocating that the State leave our zoning alone and let us manage Sherman the way WE want to manage it. I want to supervise the construction of the pickle ball courts this late spring in order to realize the grant that I received to build them. I want to oversee, now that we have so efficiently repaired and revived it, the development of Happy Acres into a thriving public entity. I want to continue to assist the excellence of our emergency services. I want to continue increasing our Park-and-Rec offerings. I want to continue our tree cutting efforts because it’s working.
This is enjoyable work for me and I’m good at it. That’s why you often see me with a smile on my face. It’s a privilege to come to work in a job I love and a job where I help people every day. Sometimes that help is with high level planning and projects, sometimes it’s in finding efficiencies that make life easier or less expensive for residents, and sometimes it’s in answering complaints and addressing individual needs. Heck, sometimes it’s chasing cows and pigs off a roadway. Every day is interesting. In six years I’ve taken seven days off.
One more thing: our Board of Selectmen always has the future of Sherman on our minds. We recognize the delicate balancing of retaining Sherman’s rural aspects, keeping taxes low enough to make us an attractive town to move to while also keeping our residents on fixed incomes living here, and in attracting a population that serves our volunteer needs (especially the SVFD’s needs). We also see value in adding to our commercial base. Sherman’s future depends on making us an attractive town for families to move to. This is why a strong school is necessary; this is why low taxes and all of the other components of Sherman success are necessary. Depend on me, Joel Bruzinski, and Bob Ostrosky, to keep our eye on Sherman’s present while never losing sight of the future.