September 22, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Reemsnyder Runs on Her Record, Says Look at Facts of Her Administration’s Accomplishments

To the Editor:

As Election Day draws near and we prepare to cast our votes, there are still some who are undecided. Each side makes its best case, but that sometimes includes misleading claims and information. Though part of the political process, this is often the reason many turn away from voting.

With that in mind, please consider these facts regarding some of my administration’s accomplishments. Over the last eight years, mill rate increases have been minimal while our surplus increased substantially, resulting in our being ranked 5th in CT for fiscal stability. We have focused on taking care of our basic infrastructure–our roads, buildings and equipment– and OSHA rated us in the top two municipalities after a recent inspection. We have ensured that Town Hall maintains a friendly, helpful environment for citizens and visitors. Our Senior Center has increased attendance several-fold, with vibrant programs and fabulous presentations. The fields at Town Woods Park are now in excellent shape, Rogers Lake has been treated for weeds safely and effectively, and Sound View has seen one major upgrade completed, with a second phase under way. We have begun a broad-based community conversation about improving the Halls Road neighborhood. Both Mary Jo and I attend many board and commission meetings to stay on top of the current issues, and we respond quickly to citizen concerns.

Of course, my opponent criticizes my role on the Connecticut Port Authority. I worked very hard there to have a positive economic impact on the region, which it will. I always behaved with integrity and in full compliance with all ethical guidelines, as has now been reported. However, I was insensitive to how the transaction might appear to the public, and for that I am deeply sorry.

I urge everyone to look at my 16-year record of service to Old Lyme, which demonstrates that I have always focused solely on the best interests of the Town. As you cast your vote next Tuesday, please do what is best for the Town and vote Row A.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Reemsnyder,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme First Selectwoman Offers Overview of Police Grievance Situation

To the Editor:

In a recent letter to LymeLine, the author asked whether grievances filed by our Police Union members reflected mismanagement.  The answer is no.  Management of our police department has been consistently professional, respectful and objective.  Although details regarding personnel matters may not be publicly discussed, it is appropriate for me to give an overview of the facts.

Serious internal discord arose in our police department which, by last spring required intervention.  An independent consultant was retained to identify the causes of the problem and recommend solutions.  All personnel were interviewed in confidence.

The consultant recommended, in short, that all members of the department should work collaboratively to resolve the issues, and to establish a clear chain of command consistent with our Resident Trooper program. This program is conducted under a contract between the Town and the State of CT for supervision of our police force, with the Resident Trooper in charge.  Other officers may provide assistance with tasks, but they must report to the Resident Trooper.

Our efforts to implement the consultant’s recommendations (i.e., to have the officers work together cooperatively to resolve their issues, under the overall supervision of the Resident Trooper) were met with resistance and refusal by some.  It was therefore necessary to make decisions regarding management of the department, including clarification of the chain of command leading up to the Resident Trooper.  The Resident Trooper then worked closely with this office to prepare for the busy summer, met with concerned citizens, and established criteria for assignments to assure proper performance of duties, compliance with the union contract, and fairness to employees.

Certain officers were unhappy with the changes made, and filed grievances.  In consultation with our labor attorney, these were reviewed by me, and dismissed.  Some were then appealed to the full Board of Selectmen which, at two public meetings, unanimously found them to lack merit.  Several of the grievances have now been appealed to the State Department of Labor, where our attorney expects them to be dismissed again.

In short, problems developed within the police department that could not be allowed to continue.  I and the full Board of Selectmen took the necessary corrective action. Fees incurred were money well spent to assure that order was restored to the department in a careful, fair, open-minded manner.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Reemsnyder,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is currently First Selectwoman of Old Lyme and also a candidate for the same position in the upcoming election.

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