Editorial: Good choices for a well-run town
Ridgefielders are fortunate to have many good people running for office in our small town government. Voters will have their own ways of choosing — one candidate used to coach a youth soccer team, another is remembered from knitting class, someone is a former neighbor or work colleague, another candidate was a regular at PTA meetings.
At The Press we’re not so different, though we may get a closer look at some office holders by going to a lot of board and commission meetings, seeing people debate, vote, do their work as public officials. In a well-run town like Ridgefield, that leaves us with an inclination to support incumbents — folks we know, and have seen seriously and honorably doing the public’s business.
Voters probably can’t go too far wrong with any of the people running — Democrats, Republicans, a mix of choices. That said, here are some folks we support.
For first selectman, Rudy Marconi has surely earned another term. He knows the town’s people and its problems, and has worked tirelessly to benefit Ridgefield. Anyone thinking he might be mailing it in after all these years need only look at last year’s budget work: Rudy led a comprehensive reorganization of town staff, reduced a half-dozen positions, and brought the town budget in at a zero increase. Union negotiations, board and commission meetings, fund-raisers and funerals — Rudy’s always there for the people of Ridgefield, and deserves their support.
For the remainder of the Board of Selectmen, Democrat Barbara Manners — founder and ever-busy organizer of the summer concerts in the park — and Republican incumbents Maureen Kozlark and Bob Hebert all work well together, not as partisans but as respectful collaborators in the project of making Ridgefield better. All deserve re-election. That leaves one selectmen’s seat — which Steve Zemo is stepping down from — to be filled. Joe Savino would fill the seat well, bringing to the board years of experience on town boards.
For finance board, longtime Chairman Dave Ulmer, a Democrat, has proven vital to the board’s — and Ridgefield’s — grounded, fact-based fiscal decision-making. Voters of both parties should want to keep him working for the town. Democrat Karen Ogden, a veteran capital markets professional, and Republican Greg Kabasakalian, a lifelong Ridgefielder who has been attending meetings and voicing his views of late, would nicely round out the finance team.
For school board, incumbent Jonathan Steckler and fellow Democrat Kenneth Sjoberg would work well with Republicans Elizabeth Floegel, Rachel Ruggeri and Robert Ceccarini to strengthen Ridgefield’s already fine schools.
On the Planning and Zoning Commission, Republican John Katz has, for decades, been a voice for minimizing the impact of development, slowing change, protecting Ridgefield’s aesthetics. With three other new commissioners coming on, he’ll provide the long view.
The new Inland Wetlands Board has eight people running for seven seats, with the only contest for three two-year positions. Republican Tim Bishop, an environmental consultant, and Democrats Kory Salomone, a land use attorney, and David Tatge, active in the Woodcock Nature Center, answered The Press’s questions well in last week’s paper.
For Police Commission, Democrats George Kain and Nick Perna and Republican Tom Reynolds have shown they can work together, across party lines.
For treasurer, Democrat Molly McGeehin has substantially boosted returns on the investment of town funds without increasing risk by keeping a close eye on accounts, doing her homework, and moving money around when benefits can safely be found. Keep Molly working for the town.