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Car debate is more politics than policy

Bill Sternberg Stonington Editor's Note: Bill Sternberg is a member of the Stonington Democratic Town Committee.

Publication: The Day

Published 10/17/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 10/16/2013 04:59 PM

Lost in the blather over Ed Haberek's use of a town car is why those cars are there at all.

For years Stonington re-used worn out police cruisers. Ed took one of these junkers to Hartford, ended up stranded on Route 2, realized it was a bad idea to have town employees driving wrecks, and fixed the problem by leasing real cars.

By charter and statute, policy making belongs to Town Meeting, the Board of Selectmen, and the first selectman.

Policy on the cars has historically been set by the first selectman's office. So the first selectman can authorize variations, even for himself. Being the elected executive comes with power, authority and 24-hour, seven-days-a-week responsibility.

If the Board of Selectmen wants to make policy, I suggest granting the first selectman use of a town vehicle equivalent to the most liberal use granted to any other town employee, currently the chief of police.

Periodically, Glenn Frishman, chairman of the Board of Finance, likes to overreach and interfere with the executive.

Ed pushes back. This is a good argument for Ed's re-election. So is the fact that Ed will show up in a town emergency, and yes, quite possibly, driving a town truck.

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