In statements filled with the usual blah, blah, blah of political-speak, the Republicans on the Simsbury Board of Selectmen say they will reconsider their pathetic and partisan vote to cut the first selectman’s salary midterm. The move prompted current First Selectman Mary Glassman to resign. If the speeches made by Republican selectmen at a Friday afternoon news conference was designed to put the sad chapter behind them, it failed.
Glassman responded to the news of the reconsideration of salary-cutting move strongly. “This is worse. They decided on a whim to make a move that is disrespectful to the people of the town. Now that there is a backlash, they decide on a whim to reconsider. Shame on them. They don’t deserve to be in office.”
Glassman is stunned that none of the GOP selectmen called her before or after the vote that so roiled people in town that they started a petition drive to urging the board to reconsider the vote and get Glassman to stay. The Republicans are reconsidering the vote but are looking past Glassman.
“I am committed to continuing to work together with the new First Selectman to face these issues and to provide continuity in the leadership of our town,” said Republican Deputy First Selectman Lisa Haase who voted to cut Glassman’s salary and is the person Glassman defeated for the top spot in the last election. “Though we each vote our conscience, the Republicans on the Board of Selectmen don’t always agree. But I know I speak for the four of us as we all offer our support today for our next First Selectman, Lisa Heavner. There are many pressing issues in the weeks and months ahead. We look forward to working side-by-side with Lisa and with the newly appointed Democrat member of the Board of Selectmen and to continuing our work as volunteers for our great town.” Please. Spare us the platitudes.
“It’s an abuse of power,” Glassman responded. “They disrespected the people of the town and their decision of who to put into office. They never spoke to me. They never took the time to see if the move is legal or illegal. It’s unconscionable. This latest move shows they just don’t get it. This isn’t about me. It’s about doing what’s right for the town,” she said.
The whole controversy came about because Glassman was trying to make the town run more efficiently. She asked for a review of what can be done to make that happen. The consultant recommended several changes including passing some of the first selectman’s duties to others and cut the salary and pension plan for the position. It recommended doing all this doing all this after the current term is up, not midterm.
Moves like this by one small town political party against another is exactly why good people are hesitant to run for office. Glassman is universally respected in the state. It’s Simsbury’s great loss.