Universally respected and highly effective Simsbury First Seletcman Mary Glassman has resigned, the result of one of the more sorry chapters in local politics in Connecticut.
If there one thing that is a certainty regarding politics it’s that voters are sick and tired of government being overrun by partisanship. The Republican selectmen of Simsbury have done nothing to alter this view. In fact, they’ve engaged in one of the most pathetic displays of partisan politics in recent town history–the cutting in midterm of the first selectman’s salary by some 35 percent. Glassman is a Democrat.
Glassman made the announcement at a noon press conference. The Hartford Courant quotes the longtime public servant as saying, “The recent action of the Republican majority on the board of selectmen to cut my salary and impact my pension affects me personally and financially. What is most troubling is that the action the Republican board members took is a politically motivated abuse of power. It is a calculated step taken by the Republican party that should trouble the people of Simsbury.”
Legal action certainly is an option for Glassman but true to her love of the town and her general class, she has ruled out such action. “I believe it is not in the town’s best interest, nor is my style, to pursue legal action against the town that my family and I love,” she said.
The Shad is calling out the Republicans that made the offensive and insulting move that ignores the will of the voters. Cheryl Cook (860-408-1577), Nancy Haase (860-651-1810) and Mike Paine (860-658-9481) voted for the bush league move.
Possibly more insulting to the people of Simsbury are the lame and simply unbelievable claims that the salary-cutting move was not personal or partisan. It was “absolutely not political,” said Paine. Yeah, right.
Haase said the decision was “not at all” political. She cited the fact that one Republican voted against the move. Um, no, that just means there was one GOP board member who refused to make a patently personal, political move against Glassman. Haase was the candidate Glassman defeated for the town’s top office in 2013.
The insulting move was in response to a consultant’s report, requested by Glassman’s office, on the operation and responsibilities of the first selectman’s office. The report mentions cutting the salary for the position but not until the beginning of the next term. This cut was made in midterm.
The partisan move would not be acceptable even if the current first selectman was doing a crummy job. But Glassman is one of the most respected municipal officials in the state. (Full disclosure: I worked closely with Glassman in the Senate Democrats Office years ago).
The Courant adds another twist to the story by reporting, “Glassman warned voters that the Republican party is the sitting party that increased a Republican first selectman’s pay by 16.5 percent and increased his pension by 25 percent.”
Glassman summed up the GOP move by saying, “The message being sent by the Republican party in Simsbury is that they will do what is politically expedient for them whether it is arbitrary or not, whether harmful to others or not, or whether beneficial to the town or not…This is a blatant violation of public trust and their oath to serve the town faithfully,” she said.
Voters in Simsbury would do well to remember this incident of partisan nonsense when they head to the polls next November.