Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Town's future endangered by cronyism

Connecticut Comment
Journal Inquirer
September 6, 2008

By Ellen Marmer

I am both disturbed and concerned for the future of our community under the present leadership of Mayor Jason McCoy and the majority Republican Town Council members.

There are a number of allegations, which need to be addressed. I will outline a few in detail:

• Patronage beyond any acceptable levels regarding altered job descriptions, favoritism, pay scale abuses, and ignoring qualifications for positions.

• The ethical consideration of having the head of the Republican Party as a town attorney.

• The use of taxpayer dollars spent for legal services by the mayor's lawyer friends.

There is a prime example of $30,000 in this year's budget for advocating on behalf of the town at the state Capitol.

We have elected representatives, as well as 1) Capitol Region Council of Governments and 2) Connecticut Conference of Municipalities for that purpose and whose voices are more powerful for our interests.

• The use of taxpayer dollars for the water hydrants and soon-to-be streetlights for condo owners, despite many residents who pay taxes and have neither. Allowing a town subsidy for a private lifestyle choice is inappropriate.

The mayor has manipulated and revised Town Council minutes prior to submission of an agenda for council approval

• Balancing the budget on the backs of all of us for many future years by paying the interest only on our outstanding bonds but not the principal until budget year 2010-11.

• The mayor has manipulated and revised Town Council minutes prior to submission of an agenda for council approval.

It is illegal for anyone to alter, delete, or change any of the transcribed minutes, unless the Town Council approves those changes.

• Appointing out-of-town residents to local commissions, while displacing those who have traditionally moved into open seats.

• Giving away of a $6.3 million federal grant integral to revitalization of downtown Rockville .

The Rockville Downtown Association, Economic Development Commission, town planner, and town economic development coordinator all supported the plan. The mayor and Republican Town Council members opted out of it.

• Paying a town Republican Party member to run the town Web site, which competes with his own Vernon for-profit Web site.

• Ignoring open-space needs while other surrounding communities are protecting their futures.

I am urging the people of our community to educate themselves to these and numerous other issues before it is too late. We need transparency and accountability in our government. We will all lose, as a respected community, if our present leadership goes unchecked.

The writer is a former mayor of Vernon.