Westport officials new and old take oath of office
WESTPORT — Following two recanvasses of votes, Westport’s elected officials gathered before family and friends to complete their oath of office at town hall on Monday.
“This is a significant moment for all of you who worked hard to be elected to public office in Westport, and you and your families should be proud,” First Selectman Jim Marpe said. “You are embarking on, or resuming, a journey of public service.”
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Town Clerk Patty Strauss spoke highly of voter turnout for this year’s election, noting it was the first time she had to participate in two recounts because of close races. Westport reported a 39.5% voter turnout, higher than the statewide average of 33.75%.
“Once again Westport prevailed and their interest is always in the election cycle,” Strauss said, adding this was also slightly up from the 38.7% voter turnout for Westport’s muncipal elections in 2015.
Marpe delivered the oath of office to newly-elected members of the Board of Education, Board of Finance, Board of Assessment Appeals, Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Representative Town Meeting.
A total of 51 officials were sworn in, with 10 of these officials being sworn in for the first time, and 41 returning to their previous positions.
“As elected officials, it’s our responsibility to continue to make Westport the very best place it can be,” Marpe said. “Our governing bodies need to be committed to the well-being of our community as a whole, and committed to maintaining the quality of the life our residents have come to expect but at a cost that taxpayers can afford.”
To this end, Marpe said it was important elected officials practice the four “C’s” of public service and governance — commitment, collaboration, communication and civility.
“One of the hallmarks of my experience as a public servant in Westport is the degree of respect with which meetings and dialogue is conducted,” he said.
While everyone will not always agree, Marpe said it was important civility and a constant desire to benefit Westport’s residents lead all conversations.
“I look forward to working together in a spirit of commitment, collaboration, communication and civility to accomplish our goals of continuing to make Westport a great community,” he said. “Our constituents expect and deserve nothing less from their elected officials.”