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Sengle: "Volunteers Needed for Public Service"

"Bottom line - your town needs you."

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!

Phil Sengle

P.S.  Phil Sengle is Chairman of the Republican Town Committee

Andrea Reu March 08, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Bottom line - your town needs you. I admire Phil for reaching out to the community at large for those who can provide a contribution to moving this town forward. This is a tremendous opportunity and I encourage all who frequently comment to consider that their participation will add to the collective "we care" and be willing to stand up for what you believe in. Don't stop showing up, make your voices heard, wa are only as good as the collective.
Phil Sengle March 09, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Andrea: Thanks for your support. Unfortunatley the response has been underwhelming. I know its more fun and easier to complaign than fix something, but we've got to try. I will respond to anyone who responds to my plea.
Bart Brown April 12, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Why does one have to volunteer through the Republican Town Committee? Who's the Chairman of the Democratic Town Committee? I'd certainly volunteer through them, or better yet, through a non partisan committee or association. If the Democrats want to get voters to vote Democratic, they can't let the local Republican Town Committee be the sole acting force on core issues like this. More importantly -- IMHO -- this should NOT be presented as a partisan issue at all: this town needs all the help it can get, from every party and no party, from all ages, all income brackets, all walks of life, and all philosophies. I think the primary reason "the response has been underwhelming" is that not enough people know about this website. If this is going to be the designated source for such calls for volunteers, and news about the town (and I personally think it serves very well in that function, and belated thanks to Fay Abrahamsson for providing this open forum. Clinton Patch has to get more exposure. Short of spamming every resident's email, all I can think of is printing up handbills and posting them in the usual places: restaurants, stores of all kinds, town hall, telephone poles if it's legal. Continued in next message because of post character limit. I DO tend to go on a bit...
Bart Brown April 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Cont'd from previous comment: We're standing on the brink of what could turn into an economic calamity to rival the Great Depression -- I'm old; my father (and his father, and HIS father, etc., all the way back to Eleazer Brown, born Lynn, MA 1670, and settled, about 1693, in what became North Stonington, where he lived another 40 years) was a farmer like all his forebears. Farmers were lucky: they grew food, trapped, and hunted. As quaint a picture as it may conjure up in the mind, it was a miserable, brutal, literally life-and-death existence, and nobody wants to go through anything like that again. I think the "faith-based" charities that several Republican Presidents thought would take up the slack if they just chopped Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, essentially ALL social services out of the federal budget (not touching, of course, the sacrosanct election-to-grave full-pay-forever retirement, FULL health insurance, and all the other perks members of Congress enjoy, on top of their $80K and up weregild) has a difficult enough time just keeping their churches afloat in this secular age. It's time for everyone who wants the police to come when they're being robbed, the fire department to show up when their house is burning down, and the DPW to plow the roads when we're under two feet of snow to hike up their slacks (what an appropriate word), and take their share of the responsibility, OVER AND ABOVE these penurious taxes that barely keep town services afloat.
Bart Brown April 12, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Sorry, a correction to an unclosed parenthetical: "my father (blah, blah, blah) was a farmer like all his forebears. He told me many stories about what it was like living through the Great Depression. Farmers were luckier than most: they grew food, trapped, and hunted. (My father has regaled me with stories of 'possum, woodchuck, and raccoon dinners. They DON'T taste just like chicken.

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