Thursday, January 14, 2010

In Which Your Scribe Gets a Letter from the Secretary of the State

The Honorable Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary of the State of Connecticut, has taken time out of her busy schedule to write a letter to your scribe felicitating him on his recent reelection to the Greenwich Rrepresentative Town Meeting. "Congratulations," she says, "on your recent election victory! Thank you for your willingness to serve Greenwich and your fellow citizens as an elected official."

How sweet of her to take the time to do this! And what a beautiful letter it is: individually addressed to him, and typed (well, word-processed) on heavy cream paper embossed with a colorful blue and gold seal at the top. Wow! This letter, sent via first class mail, probably cost quite a bit to produce, including Susan's time to pen her thoughtful words, a battery of secretaries' time to see it through the word-processing department and affix the lifelike autopen signature, and a bevy of mail room clerks to run it through the postage meters and get it to the post office.

Your scribe feels very flattered to be the object of all this high-level attention. But wait...if he got this letter, so, too, no doubt, did the rest of the members of the Greenwich RTM as well. Not to mention the winners of every other municipal election in the State of Connecticut. Let's see: there are 169 different municipalities in the State, and presumably these letters all had to be personalized not only with the recipients' names and addresses, but with the names of their local communities as well. Quite an ambitious project, wouldn't you say, dear reader?

So what's up with this letter? Well, the State deficit, for one thing. These costly missives probably represent an expenditure of some tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for what your scribe would tend to categorize as an unnecessary expense. Surely Ms. B. could have sent us all an email instead?

Oh, wait. The penny drops. Ms. B. seems to be running for a higher office. Is it Governor? Attorney General? Whatever, the raison d'etre of this lovely communication now becomes clear: it is, it would appear, a thinly-disguised campaign piece, designed to bring the designing Ms. B. to our attention as a person of obvious good taste and great concern for our communities, including "the young people in our state, a group that continues to participate [in voting] at very low rates." What compassion! What vision! How statesmanlike! Just the kind of person we need in State government (now that we know who she is).

Ms. B. concludes, "Once again, congratulations and thank you for your service to the citizens of [insert town here] Greenwich. I look forward to working with you." Your scribe is awed and humbled.

And somewhat annoyed as well. Does Ms. B. think he is a nincompoop? Does she think he really believes that Ms. B. "looks forward to working with him" personally? And that he is impressed by her colorful letterhead?

Well, let it be said that he is none of the above. The fact that the letter is dated December 21 of last year, and arrived on January 13 of this year, bespeaks the fact that Ms. B. and her staff are not the most efficient of State workers. Does she really expect to garner votes by this type of mechanism?

Well, whatever her expectations, she is pursuing them at our expense, and of that of our State budget. Your scribe takes umbrage at this, and would like to suggest that State Reps Livvy Floren and Fred Camillo look into this use of taxpayer funds for a fairly obvious personal agenda. Are you out there, Livvy? Are you reading this, Fred? Please consider this post your official request to have you and your fellow lawmakers scrutinize this rather suspicious mass mailing. Thank you!


Your scribe chanced to see former State Rep Janet Lockton on Greenwich Avenue this morning, and told her about Ms. B's letter. Janet was astounded. "Has she ever done this before?" she asked. "Never," replied your scribe. "Then it's clearly a campaign piece, created and sent out at taxpayer expense, and a violation of the State's ethics rules," Janet proclaimed. begins to wonder if it's more than a mere ethics violation. Is it also illegal? Just askin', is all....


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