To the Editor:
My wife and I moved to Greenwich in 1985 because we thought it would be a great place to raise a family. We were right!
Each of our three children attended public schools and their experiences were outstanding. We enjoy living here because of the excellent educational opportunities that now extend to our two grandchildren who both attend Old Greenwich School.
Our family also loves the physical beauty of the town. Sometimes I imagine I’m just visiting someone here – I can’t believe how fortunate I am to live in such a gorgeous place. As I no longer make a daily commute to Manhattan, I’m able to spend more time in the community. I love getting to know so many talented people who live here; it has enriched our lives enormously.
With privilege comes responsibility.
That’s why after 40 years as a leader in finance, culminating as JP Morgan’s Vice Chairman for Risk Management, I have dedicated my time to serving our town, including three terms on the Board of Estimation and Taxation, the governing body that approves the town budget, as well as serving as the chair and a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
During the 2008 financial crisis, JP Morgan was the clearing bank for both Bear Stearns and Lehman. This role made us vulnerable to hundreds of millions of dollars of credit exposure every day. Managing this risk was complex and involved precise and timely communication with all stakeholders, top-notch analytical assessments and minute-by-minute coordination with our product and operations teams as well as financial regulators. Through that crisis, I learned that teamwork, strategic planning, and clarity of thought are paramount.
These lessons are why I am calling out the persistent problems we are facing as a town. I am troubled by the way the Republican majority has managed our Town’s finances. It has become unnecessarily polarized. Ad hoc, penny-wise responses have taken the place of responsible planning. The BET must assess and prioritize town needs over a multiyear time frame, and communicate with residents so they understand how the process works and that our body of work is reflective of their voiced needs. Instead, an extreme short-term mentality and an absence of leadership prevails.
For example, everyone agrees we must fix the schools. But the bickering and lack of leadership have forestalled the execution of plans that all residents – not just parents – recognize must be accomplished. That is only one piece of unfinished business to address. And that is why I am running for re-election.
Everyone knows that it is simply not acceptable to have raw sewage back up in any school, that ADA compliance must be achieved and that we must build a new Central Middle School. There really is no debate on these requirements. But the Republican-led BET has stalled and short-changed these critical projects for years. It has exercised its tie-breaking vote dozens of times rather than trying to work in collaboration with all members of the BET. This has led to our current state of affairs where instead of town leaders coming together to back these initiatives and move these projects forward, nothing gets done and critical needs fester.
We need to change how things are being done. It is in our power, each and every one of us, to usher in new leadership that will break the logjam and get stuff done. Democratic candidates have impressive professional credentials as responsible leaders of well-known companies and businesses. The town will be in very safe hands with these leaders at the helm and we will address town requirements with vision, transparency and accountability to all the people of Greenwich.
We are all fortunate to live in a town with so many talented citizens and with so many natural advantages and resources. We can’t take that for granted. Vote Democratic on November 7 so we can preserve all that we love about Greenwich for generations to come. Vote for all six Democratic BET candidates.
Weisbrod has served three terms on the Board of Estimation and Taxation and as the chair and a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals