For the Record
A View of Our Candidates
The impression projected by Peter Tesei, Republican candidate for first selectman and the current BET chairman, is one of quiet modesty — certainly not the chest-thumping kind that might lead a revolution or a Baptist revival. That demeanor reflects an intensely thoughtful person who, while studying all aspects of an issue, seeks consensus and is not prone to making rash decisions. Trustworthiness, he claims, is a trait that has guided him in his role in the BET. A fifth-generation resident of Greenwich, Peter Tesei has come up through the ranks of local elected office. With ten years in the RTM, two as chairman of District 9 and nine in the BET, including five as chairman, he has a depth of experience and intimate knowledge of our government. He has also found time to be a board member of the Greenwich Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America, Greenwich Point Conservancy, the Red Cross and the United Way.
Dedication to Greenwich is what Tesei says has led him to run for the town’s highest office. Confirmation of this is his willingness, if he wins, to make a major sacrifice in resigning as a vice president of the Bank of New York, ending an eighteen-year career that began with its predecessor, Putnam Trust.
Among the issues he cites is the need to obtain legal clarification from the State Attorney General of the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on the racial balancing program being promoted by the state commissioner of education and Greenwich School Superintendent Betty Sternberg. Tesei believes that neighborhood integrity should be preserved and that busing is not in the best interest of our residents. Because of the increasing number of lawsuits and costly settlements experienced by Greenwich, he would initiate a study of the town’s legal posture and introduce risk management programs for town employees. His work on the BET has prepared him well for the first selectman’s job, he says, and demonstrated his ability to build relationships and create consensus.
Opposing Tesei is Democratic contender Frank Farricker, a relative newcomer to the political scene who has a lot of ideas on how he would improve town government, primarily in the area of land use. A native Greenwichite, for the past three years Farricker has been a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission. His experience in commercial real estate in New York City has provided him with a professional perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing Greenwich in managing growth. His contribution to P & Z is especially critical now as the commission prepares the all-important ten-year Plan of Conservation and Development.
Foreseeing a decline in the growth of the grand list that will affect planned capital improvement projects, Farriker offers the development of public/private partnerships as a solution. He cites his proposal to construct an office building on the parking lot at the foot of Arch Street and Sound View Drive as a new home for the Board of Ed that would have parking under it. Farricker supports tree conservation, as well as the preservation of historic buildings through economic incentives.
In typical campaign style, Farricker assails the present administration of Jim Lash as simply preserving the status quo, when arguably more has been accomplished during the four years of this administration than any other. Such unfounded rhetoric is unfortunate, since Farriker has some very sound and progressive ideas in the area of land use and zoning regulations where his expertise lies. If he were to be elected to the Board of Selectmen, these special talents would be greatly missed at the P & Z as it works to develop our ten-year plan.
In the run for selectman positions, we have Republican incumbent Peter Crumbine and Democratic candidate Lin Lavery. Interestingly, these two worked closely together when Lin was chairman of the Selectman’s Nominations Advisory Committee. She has valuable experience in locating and qualifying the proper people for town boards and commissions. Lin has served on the boards of numerous volunteer organizations, including Greenwich Library, the United Way and the Greenwich High School PTA. She was vice chairman of the Commission on Aging, president of the Junior League and a founder of Kids in Crisis. She has many enthusiastic supporters, and we predict she will do well at the polls.
Peter Crumbine has served four terms as selectman, after serving four years on the BET and four in the RTM, for a total of sixteen years of volunteer work for Greenwich. He enjoyed a long and successful career with Mobil Oil followed by executive positions with Citibank and Sempra Energy. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth College with an MBA and MS in engineering from Stanford.
The town is very fortunate to have the services of such a well-rounded and talented professional as Peter Crumbine. Articulate and level-headed, he has been a little-heralded but key member of the Board of Selectmen under both Lash and Bergstresser.
At the town level of politics, party labels can be less important than the qualifications of the candidates. Each of these candidates has special talents and experience, and we hope voters will be guided by what each can do best.