Letter: An open letter to Darien’s Representative Town Meeting urges it not to cede budgetary authority
The following open letter to Darien’s Representative Town Meeting was reprinted at the writer’s request.
To the Editor:
I read with growing trepidation Darien Times piece on how the Board of Selectmen wants to use the Connecticut State of Emergency orders to take over legislative budgetary approval from the RTM. I strongly urge all RTM members not to hand over one of their most important roles.
While we are indeed in a state of emergency, our RTM can continue to function as the representatives of the people via virtual meetings. There is no need for the Selectmen to take over any role of the RTM.
I can only imagine the budgetary shenanigans that could be played by the Selectmen without the conscience of the people in the form of the RTM. We have already witnessed numerous examples of their over-reach in spending taxpayer monies in ways that may accord to the form of due process, but certainly not the spirit. Look at how they have jammed through commercial development of our town parks, for example.
It is disturbing that of the seven towns in Connecticut with an RTM, only in Darien have the selectmen proposed a takeover of the legislature. What is their motivation? Efficiency? Or are they trying to get around being held accountable to the citizens of the town?
Please do not pack it up and go home figuratively as well as literally. No matter whether you approve of how the Selectmen run this town or not, the RTM plays a crucial role in good governance that should only be ceded if it is impossible to function. The founders of the US put separation of powers in place for a reason. There has to be some check on the executive branch. There is no need in the current emergency to empower the executive with the legislative function.
This is how democracy dies.
Editor’s note: The Darien Times article did not reference the Board of Selectmen addressing the governor’s order or the RTM voting on ceding its authority to the Board of Finance, nor has the Board of Selectmen discussed or voted on this item on their agenda.