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FINN: Let’s keep politics out of the city manager’s job

Vaseline 2 months ago

Submitted by Jim Finn, Cos Cob

By all accounts, Ben Branyan has done an excellent job as the city’s COO and administrator.

Experienced. Well informed. Person with integrity. Non-political – all words that describe Mr. Branyan’s approach to his work.

Since Mr. Branyan was selected for this important position in 2015 by former First Selectman Peter Tesei (which had been a professional position since the early 2000s), he has served the last two Republican First Selectmen with distinction and not with any distinction. touch of politics. Greenwich is fortunate to be transitioning from City Hall to the Board of Education, where he previously served with distinction and will continue to focus on serving the city’s taxpayers.

According to the job description posted for Branyan’s current job as city manager, “the individual is responsible for the administration and coordination of the general government functions of the city, including the day-to-day operation of the departments under the direction of the First Selectman.

Qualifications for candidates include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in public administration or a closely related field with 10 years of professional management experience, preferably in a municipal setting with program direction and budget management authority. You preferably have a master’s degree in public administration or business administration. Experience working with multiple boards, elected bodies and ICMA-CM is also preferred, but not required.”

Ultimately, this will be the decision made solely by the first selector – and rightly so, as the executive has the right to determine who can best advise him on the budget and management of city services.

However, I would respectfully suggest that this is not a time for a “Friend of Fred”.

After accusations of favoritism regarding the award of the concession to the Griff and a consultancy contract with SE Minor & Co, this is no time to inject more politics into the town hall.

Why? We just went through a budget cycle that was a so-called “bipartisan deal.”

How did that happen?

Because Democrats voted with Republican BET Chairman Harry Fisher to avoid a disastrous default on last year’s flat budget at RTM when the budget is approved in May. It is still clear that there is still a lot of dysfunction in the Republican BET that the chairman wants the Democrats to get the job done… aren’t they in the majority? Should we inject another political figure into city government, as opposed to the time-tested Greenwich tradition of an administrative professional in this role?

There are many smart, talented people in this city who volunteer their services to serve on the BET, RTM, committees and other aspects of local government that could do this work.

As a former senior executive at Fortune 100 companies, I could do this job.

But I shouldn’t do that.

Because I am involved in local politics.

Simply put, that should disqualify me from applying.

As we have seen during Mr. Branyan’s tenure, there is a clear picture of what success looks like in this job. And it does not mean that the balance is tipped in favor of one political party or the other.

Please maintain the “honest broker” nature of this role. It is crucial for creating an atmosphere of trust in this iconic city.

Jim Finn is a member of the RTM from District 8. His opinions are his own.