If there ever was a time that Donnie Romeo regretted being a constable in Greenwich, he’s not saying. Not even when a woman sicced her wild pig on him after he served her papers. “It chased me all the way back to my car,” Romeo chuckled.
The lifelong Democrat was first elected to his post in 1984. Constables are process servers, delivering civil legal papers, from eviction orders to lawsuit notices, like those folks in police dramas who hand someone a document and say, “You’ve been served.” “There is some danger,” Romeo observed. “Sometimes you have to be clever. Like presenting as a florist or something.”
It’s a job that takes a certain empathy for your neighbors. “It often means delivering bad news to people,” said Dawn Fortunato, who is also running, for a third term, as a Democratic constable “I once had to serve a woman with divorce papers. She’d fled with her children from another state to protect them from the petitioner, who was under a restraining order. So she was terrified by the legal notification. I told her about resources available to her in case of danger, which she appreciated.”
Both constables were born and raised in Greenwich, and have deep connections to the community. Fortunato has long advocated for her neighbors in Chickahominy, seeking to clean up soil and water pollution caused by the former incinerator, where her father worked. She was the first to test the soil at Western Middle School when the Board of Education wouldn’t
Dawn Fortunato, Greenwich town constable
Romeo ran the food concessions at Tod’s Point, Byram Beach, Dorothy Hamill Rink, Belle Haven Club and other popular locations for 30 years, staying open through winter weekends, serving hot cider to customers. The window through which he served gave him a unique view on the town. “I’ve had many political conversations with diners,” he said, “and that encouraged me to get more involved as an elected official.”
But in recent years, Romeo observed, those conversations have become more difficult. His brother Sam has been a leader on the Republican Town Committee (and also serves as Chairman of Greenwich Communities, the town’s public housing authority.) “After the Trump years, people are completely fed up with politics,” Romeo laments. “That’s why we have to focus on solutions. Let’s move forward.”
Fortunato agrees. Too often, she says, people “rush to judgment” about others’ situations. Perhaps informed by the wisdom that comes with seeing people at their worst times, Fortunato suggests we need more compassion and understanding. “Unless you’ve walked a mile in another person’s shoes, you have no right to judge them.” It’s one of the reasons she says she is a Democrat.
Donnie Romeo, Greenwich town constable
Compassion, experience, calm in the face of a neighbor’s distress. Plus the willingness to do a job that others may find distasteful or dangerous. (The town doesn’t pay constables; they receive fees from the lawyers who hire them.) Greenwich’s two Democratic constables are up for re-election November 7. Please vote for them.
in Hartford bring back $6.5 million for Boys and Girls Club Renovation
The state bond commission approved a $6.5 million grant for the Greenwich Boys and Girls club, thanks in part to Greenwich’s three members in the state House of Representatives. The sum is about a quarter of the capital needed for the club’s first major overhaul in 50 years.
The club is expanding to meet the growing demand for its programs and services, including ensuring that all kids are performing at grade level. Reps Hector Arzeno, Steve Meskers, and Rachel Khanna worked diligently behind the scenes to get the funding approved, inviting House Speaker Matt Ritter to visit the center, and reaching out to Governor Lamont for his support.
Thinking about running for the RTM?
You can have a positive impact on Greenwich by running for the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). This November 7, every seat on this 230 member body will be up for election. All it takes to get on the ballot are a few dozen signatures. Learn more about serving here. When you’re ready to go, download the petition here and start gathering signatures.
For your calendar
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|Volume 1, Number 52 • July 7, 2023|
|Paid for by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.|
|Greenwich Democratic Town Committee P.O. Box 126 Greenwich, CT 06836|