This letter is written by Phil Sengle:
Clinton’s government runs on volunteerism. I had no idea how true that was when we moved to Clinton. As I got more involved, the facts were stunning. If you don’t believe me consider this: the town has approximately 48 Boards, Commissions and Committees (source www.clintonct.org). They range from 3 to 7 members with one at 9. Some have alternates. My estimate of needed citizens is over 250 to staff all groups.
That should be surprising to many. On top of the appointed positions are several elected Boards and Commissions, e.g., Planning & Zoning, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Finance, Police Commission, Board of Education, Board of Selectmen and Board of Assessment Appeals. That pushes the 250+ number higher. Some folks do double and triple duty due to their personal interests or lack of volunteers. Some duties are ad hoc; examples of this are town hall restoration, Morgan school building and charter revision.
The appointments (for non-elected positions) are made by the Board of Selectman (BOS). But where do they get all the names? They can’t know everybody. One of the functions of the political town committees is to recommend people from their parties (and often the unaffiliated) to the BOS for appointment.
Currently several vacancies exist for which the Republican Town Committee (RTC) wishes to make recommendations to the BOS. We are reaching out beyond active party people, inviting the public.
The following are those vacancies: Board of Social Services, Tree Committee, Youth & Family Advisory Board, Conservation Commission, Design Review Board Alternate, Historic District Commission, and Public Works Commission. Terms of vacancies expire either June 30, 2013 or June 30, 2014. The Design Review Board in particular would benefit from someone who has expertise in a field that would help in the review of architectural plans.
An additional problem we have is lack of turnover on Boards and Commissions. This is an equal opportunity problem that has nothing to do with party. Just as high turnover is bad, so is lack of it. Some folks hold positions for many years. Most do a good job, but everyone gets stale and burned out. It’s healthy to have new folks with new ideas. It also breaks up the closeness and alliances that usually form. Some refer to it as the local version of the Stockholm Syndrome.
So the RTC is proposing to the Charter Review Commission that term limits be instituted. Something like eight years, current term not included seems reasonable. Tell us your thoughts.
Bottom line - your town needs you. So if you are interested please contact the RTC thorough its web site at www.clintongop.org where a list of vacancies will be maintained. With the large number of groups the town has, this list may change frequently. Unaffiliated voters are very welcome. Hit the “Participate” button and indicate your preference and how you may be contacted. This is your chance to broaden the base of participation. We want to recommend you!
P.S. Phil Sengle is Chairman of the Republican Town Committee