There wasn't one person in the room last night, including Mr. Gronbach, who doesn't agree with our Mayor's hopes and dreams for the Town. But Mr. Gronbach thinks that he can get so much more done just by using his advocacy skills. Read, one-man-show. The truth is that the only chance to achieve any of these lofty goals is through the cooperation of all levels of a very complex system. The ability and willingness to work with others is of paramount importance.
Mr. Gronbach needs to learn that it's great to have advocacy skills but the Mayor's job isn't like lawyering. The facts and the law in our cases are narrowly defined. One judge runs the trial using a defined set of rules and a small group of jurors decides the fate of our clients.
In our municipal Government, there are almost 30,000 jurors and layers of rules and influence including nine Town Council Members, Boards and Commissions, thousands of pages of State Statutes, State government, Federal Government, mandated programs, mandatory employee positions and more. It's easy to see why every issue is what I call, "tentacular," meaning, all have repercussions and impacts beyond the resolution of the immediate problem and are hardly ever simple to resolve. Just maintaining the status quo requires an exhausting degree of skill, vigilance, dedication and intestinal fortitude.
Mr. Gronbach admitted that he appeared only at the first night of the Budget proceedings because -- I think these are the words he used -- it was boring and exasperating. Well, I agree with him but the process is mandated by State Statutes and, to some extent, by Charter. Mayors can't abandon these processes and Mr. Gronbach aired his impatience with and ignorance of them by not making a contribution, especially as a candidate. Remember Bill Wildin?
There are very few people who know what goes on in the Mayor's office every day. Meetings, calls, resident issues, personnel issues, management issues, union issues. You name it. It happens and they're all tentacular.
Mr. Gronbach said that he owns two businesses in Town, a book store and a law practice. He didn't say last night that he would give up both of them if he wins the election and he certainly didn't commit to abandoning his representation of drug dealers and sex offenders who we are working so hard to keep off our streets. The Mayor's job isn't part-time.
To lower taxes, Mr. Gronbach said that some employees need to be cut and that he'd review every position in Town. Specifically, in what is sure to endear him to those who are responsible for nearly 70% of our Budget, he said that the School system is top-heavy and some administrators should be cut. Good luck with that one. He obviously doesn't understand that the Mayor doesn't have control over the Board of Education.
As an attorney, Mr. Gronbach has a unique perspective on the drug problem but his comments evidence that he hasn't researched what the Town has been doing about it. For example, the New Milford Police Department has been doing a great job. Just last week, it arrested another major supplier and has done so in a majority of the overdose death cases. Not a lot of PDs are able to do that.
Mayor Murphy is not one to toot her own horn and her style doesn't include an attack mode. She let Mr. Gronbach off the hook last night many times. To each of his claims, she could have said "Dave, we do that now" and "Dave, you don't understand how things work." She showed class and restraint by not doing so.
Here's a perfect example. Mr. Gronbach complained about the Loaves and Fishes process. The Mayor responded that the Zoning Commission did what it was required to do, applying the Regulations to the facts and holding Public Hearings. She also explained that John Roger, one of its founders, asked her to help find a new location because it wanted to expand its facilities. This, of course, puts the lie to the allegation that the Mayor told Loaves and Fishes to leave. What she could have added was that Mr. Gronbach's wife was one of many who spoke against the Loaves and Fishes Application, claiming that it would be bad for her business. Comments made at the Public Hearings are a vital part of the process and Zoning Members are bound to consider them. This takes time.
I think that Mr. Gronbach would make a satisfactory Council Member. The irony is that if he does his own homework instead of relying on others and gets a first-hand understanding of our Government by serving at least one term without getting bored or exasperated, I wouldn't be surprised if he were to thereafter abandon his Mayoral aspirations. What I saw last night was that he has neither the patience nor aptitude for the job.