I have read Paul Giusti's website, seen debates, and listened to public discussion of the Town's financial position. In my capital markets work with banks, insurance companies, and investors, I have heard and seen firsthand many of the terrible financial decisions made by municipalities — I am thrilled to live in New Canaan where the current leadership has produced consistently conservative and thoughtful decisions in the stewardship of our financial future.
Our town has reduced debt while many municipalities, including our own state, cannot meet the current spending levels without resorting to increased amounts of borrowed money; our 2 percent annual increase in spending is modest when compared with other governments that are increasing spending at much higher rates; and the most significant measure that preserves our future gains is the fully funded pension and the switch to a defined contribution plan for one of our public unions. This last change is limited to only a handful of the most progressive municipal leaders in this country and is a testament not only to the foresight of this leadership team, but their ability to negotiate with employees and continue the high quality of service delivery and worker morale that New Canaan residents enjoy. Paul has been a critical part of this leadership — if he will give us more of this exemplary government, he has earned my vote.
Electing a friend and former employee of public safety may give us happier firefighters and police officers, but it will not likely have these positive long-term financial results. Rob asked us to trust him in the last debate — the only thing I trust is that he will make decisions the way he says he runs his business — by keeping the person he is dealing with happy. That is not the kind of principled, robust, forward thinking leadership that produces real gains for both sides by facing up to the realities of our new-normal economy, even here at the Next Station to Heaven. By the way, the present value of the change in pension program dwarfs many of the other decisions the town makes, particularly the hotly debated $400,000 for sidewalks defeated in referendum. Our seated selectmen should understand the financial impacts of the populist stands he professes before he asks us to trust his ability to make long-term decisions based on nothing but gut instinct, as he also refuses to gather the information required to plan for the future in the name of trivial savings of $13,500 of consultants' fees. Leadership is about fairness, mastering information, distilling the message, and, sometimes, not instantly making people happy.