Dumpster fire in the RTC

Newsletter Volume 2 • Number 39

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Sparks in the Republican Town Committee ignite a dumpster fire

A two year battle brewing within the Republican Town Committee burst into flame in January and boy, what a fight.

We’ve seen accusations of bullying, Republicans calling one another “Democrats” and swamp creatures, claims of voting irregularities, elected officials escorted out of RTC meetings for their safety, and alleged fraudulent signatures on ballots. Now the RTC leadership has petitioned for primaries to challenge caucus victors, including Selectwoman Lauren Rabin, and the challengers petitioned the RTC caucus victors in return.

At a time when Donald Trump has hijacked the GOP, you might think the difference between the factions in Greenwich is MAGA vs. traditional Republicans. But you’d be mistaken. Neither has rejected Trump’s brand, both claim to be the true conservatives, and both call themselves the “big tent” party, but reject each other.

What divides them isn’t policy or principle, but who controls the reins of power. On one side is the MacGillivray faction, led by RTC chairwoman Beth MacGillivray and those who took over the RTC in 2022. On the other side is the Camillo faction, who back First Selectman Fred Camillo, including Republicans that the MacGillivray faction ousted from power.

The Camillo faction blames the RTC leadership for their loss in three state house races in November, 2022. The MacGillivray faction claims that they are energizing new conservatives. The Camillo faction wants a party that doesn’t undermine its elected leaders, while the MacGillivray faction says it’s trying to drain the swamp of “RINOs” within the local party. It’s a microcosm of the dysfunction among Republicans in the U.S. Congress.

Here, on the Democratic side, things are much less exciting. Yes, we occasionally disagree, but here’s what we agree on:

  • We don’t treat our elected officials as puppets who are expected to do the bidding of our party leadership.
  • We do not primary our elected officials for using their judgment to arrive at decisions, even if some of us may disagree with those choices.
  • We believe in bipartisanship. No one party has a monopoly on good ideas. We welcome working across the aisle, and do not call it “cozying up” or a “uniparty.”
  • We believe town leaders are elected to represent everyone in town, not just their own party. We do not view electoral victory as a means to impose our party’s will on everyone.
  • We value experience and knowledge. We do not deride people who have devoted their lives to public service ascareer politicians” or “unelected bureaucrats.
  • We do not harass or menace one another for having divergent points of view.

If you share our values, please email us, come to our monthly meetings or one of our social events, or follow us to see if there is a home for you within the Democratic Party. We will welcome and respect you for who you are.

First Selectman becomes a paid advisor for a local engineering firm

ICYMI, our First Selectman has taken a $10,000 per year position as an advisor, “to develop and enhance market share” for local civil engineering company S.E. Minor, which touts that it “works closely with the Town of Greenwich” and is “responsible for the majority of significant subdivisions” here.

Fred Camillo told the Greenwich Time it’s to help them grow “not only in other towns, but other states,” although the company’s CEO told the Time he’ll be working  “both in this community and in other geographies.”Camillo did ask the town’s Ethics Board if he could take the job, and the board unanimously decided it would not “automatically” violate the Code of Ethics. However, the 13-page opinion (see p. 119) suggests just how difficult it could be for him to avoid conflicts of interest that would trigger a violation.

Given that the First Selectman presides over everything from sewers to highways, and is an ex-officio voting member of boards including Flood Erosion Control, and a non-voting, ex-officio member of Planning and Zoning, you’d think this might trigger at least a “perceived conflict of interest,” per the town HR manual.

What about Fred’s obligation to voters?

How often will he have to recuse himself from consequential town business, especially since he is our only full time chief executive officer and town agent? It certainly doesn’t add comfort to residents wondering if the town’s got our back about all those building projects in the works. You sure this is a good idea, Fred?

For your calendar

Meetings can be watched on Greenwich Community Television Channels 24 (Verizon), 79 (Optimum), GCTV on YouTube, or in person at the Town Hall Meeting Room.

Volume 2, Number 39 • February 29, 2024
Paid for by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.
Greenwich Democratic Town Committee P.O. Box 126 Greenwich, CT 06836