Democratic Town Committee Chairman John Hartwell's criticism of the recent hiring of Dewey Loselle as Westport's new operations director was not unexpected. (Letter: "Town doesn't need Marpe pal's new job," June 13.)
As a Democrat, and someone who has lived in and served this town for years, I believe I can offer a respectful response to John's critique.
The hiring of a town operations director was publicly vetted by the Board of Finance in two public meetings. It was also presented to the Representative Town Meeting's Finance Committee and the full RTM. Recall that the town budget, which included the funding for the operations-director position, was approved by wide margins.
The ops-directors job was publicly posted and a search committee was formed to review all of the applications. I was part of that search committee. Excellent candidates applied. The committee unanimously recommended Mr. Loselle to the first selectman.
Please consider this scenario: You are new to a job, and you start asking questions about process and procedures. The folks who respond "well, that's the way we have always done it" are probably not the people who are going to find more effective and efficient ways to address challenges. John's letter mentioned the 16 years when Diane Farrell and Gordon Joselof ran the town. Everything, according to John, ran well. Are we really locked into Diane's and Gordon's choices forever because "that's the way it was done"? My business experience tells me no -- that is not how it works.
Mr. Hartwell's letter also asks whether the ops-director position is really needed. He answers his own question by stating,"Sadly, the answer is almost certainly no." Respectfully, how can John be so certain? Where is that analysis coming from?
The appointment of Bob Zappi was not Mr. Marpe's best decision. However, equating the thoughtful hiring of Dewey Loselle with the all-too-quick appointment of Mr. Zappi is just politics.
Let's work together, improve our town, spend money where needed and save everywhere we can. I believe that is exactly what Jim Marpe will do, and I am happy to help. I hope John and the Democratic Town Committee will too.