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Help wanted: Resignations hit town boards

A police commission veteran, a Conservation commissioner, volunteers on the Ridgefield Prevention Council and the Commission for the Disabled —  resignations have depleted the town’s human capital in the last month.

First Selectman Rudy Marconi announced the resignations at the selectmen’s Nov. 28 meeting. They included Pat Sesto of the Conservation Commission, Susan Craig of the Police Commission, AnneMarie Surfaro-Boehme of the Ridgefield Prevention Council and Dr. Connie Taibi-Lewis of the Commission on Aging.

“I feel really sad,” Selectwoman Di Masters said. “These are really outstanding people.”

“Great people,” Mr. Marconi agreed. “They’re going to be difficult to replace.”

With the exception of the Police Commission — which, as an elected agency, will refill its own empty seat — the job of finding replacements will fall to the selectmen.

The resignation letters seem regretful, for the most part.

“Unfortunately,” Pat Sesto wrote Nov. 27, “upcoming personal circumstances will prevent me from being able to consistently contribute to the commission and with so much to do, it is unfair of me to hold onto a seat and not carry my weight.

“Despite my resignation, I remain committed to the town and conservation issues in particular. If a need arises and I can be of value on a particular project or issue, please do not hesitate to call on me.”

Longtime Police Commission member Susan Craig resigned, effective Jan. 7, in a Nov. 15 letter to commission chairman George Kain.

“It has been both an honor and a privilege to serve on the commission,” she said, “and I feel very proud to have witnessed to much positive change at the Ridgefield Police Department over the course of the past decade.”

With a Nov. 20 letter, AnneMarie Surfaro-Boehme stepped down from the Prevention Council, a volunteer organization which helps lead the town’s effort to combat alcohol and drug use, with an emphasis on fighting the problem among young people.

“Since retiring, it is now time for me to explore my passions in new directions,” said Ms. Surfaro-Boehme, who in June ended a long career as a Ridgefield elementary school teacher. “I want to take this opportunity to thank the Prevention Council for its work in supporting efforts for a safe and healthy environment for all Ridgefield students, family and community.”

Dr. Connie Taibi-Lewis, with a family move fast approaching, resigned from the Commission for the Disabled in a Nov. 21 letter.

“My house will be sold within the next few weeks and my family has decided to relocate,” Dr. Taibi-Lewis wrote.

“I truly enjoyed the various projects the commission has taken on and the collegiality of all the professionals on the commission. It was pleasure to work alongside them and to serve as secretary for the commission.”

The selectmen are also trying to fill seats on about a dozen other town boards, with the Parks and Recreation Commission high on the list. A release on the vacancy from Mr. Marconi’s office said the position requires “a professional with experience in outdoor education, park preservation, and recreational development.”

Other boards with vacancies include: the Affordable Housing Committee; the Architectural Advisory Committee; the Annual Town Meeting Committee; the Cable TV Advisory Council; the Ridgefield Design Council; the Golf Committee; the Graveyard Restoration Committee; the Parking Authority; Ridgefield Arts Council; the Youth Commission.

Anyone interested in any of these boards or commissions may call or email the first selectman’s office at (203) 431-2774 or selectman@ridgefieldct.org.

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