“I’m from the RTM and I’m here to help.”
Greenwich’s Representative Town Meeting has few powers. One of its main powers (particularly if you ask someone on the Budget Overview Committee) is to cut items out of the BET’s proposed budget (the RTM has no power to add to the budget). The proposed budget that comes from the BET to the RTM has already undergone multiple layers of excruciating review by a wide variety of elected town leaders as well as town professionals. Because of these multiple layers of review, all of the many Greenwich Schools Superintendents over the last decade have spent the vast majority of their time NOT on student education but–you guessed it–on the budget. That is not how other school districts function, nor should they.
This extra layer of review costs the town vastly more than it saves.
The $200,000 worth of time spent by our school superintendent on the budget is only the tip of the iceberg. From the COO to the principals to the department heads, our top educators spend their time creating and reworking the budget dozens of times, attending meetings, responding to endless demands for “data,” answering questions (many of which have already been asked and answered), being constantly second-guessed by people with no experience in education, and being asked to figure out how to do more with less.
Now extend those same demands to all the Town departments–police, fire, social services, emergency preparedness, and all the rest. The cost in terms of human resources–and in loss of time spent on actually addressing Town needs–is enormous. Then add on top of these employee salaries the fees for the Town’s outside attorneys opining on squabbles between the RTM and other Town branches over their competing powers and you have the RTM costing us vastly more than it saves–dollars that could actually be spent on meaningful services.
These demands on Town professionals come as members of the RTM–in particular the Budget Overview Committee and the Finance Committee–are seeking across-the-board staffing cuts, salary reductions, and unspecified “efficiencies.” Currently, the biggest inefficiency is the RTM.
The 230-member RTM has become big government run amok. No good business would run a company this way. Please, RTM, get out of the way of the trained professionals who are supposed to be using their professional training to improve the quality of life in our Town. Let them do their jobs and stop wasting our tax dollars.