BREAKING NEWS — Jim Marpe To Run For 1st Selectman; Will Resign Board Of Ed Post

Jim Marpe, a Board of Education member for nearly 8 years and currently its chairman, announced today he is running for first selectman. He seeks the Republican nomination for the election, to be held exactly 1 year from today.

Marpe – who retired as a senior partner of Accenture in 2002 after 32 years with the  international management consulting and computer technology services firm — will resign his Board of Ed seat.

“I’m proud that this board is as non-partisan as possible,” he told “06880” today. “I don’t want anything the Board of Education does to be seen through a political lens.”

Jim Marpe

Although the selectman’s race is a full year off, Marpe believes “it is important to begin now to build the organization and broad support that will be required to win the most important government management and leadership position in Westport.

“Many Westporters are concerned about the real and potential deterioration of town services, and their impact on the quality of life that we have come to expect,” he adds.

“Westporters know that by maintaining that quality of life in all its dimensions – including schools, beaches, athletic facilities, Longshore, open space, well maintained roads and facilities, responsive and helpful town employees, entertainment options, the arts, shopping, dining, etc. — we can maintain our home values, which for many is still their largest investment.”

His plan for maintaining and improving Westport’s quality of life includes:

  • A focus on economic development and overall land use planning that would improve the commercial tax base to lessen the burden on individual households, and assure the town remains physically attractive and “user friendly”
  • Addressing long-term debt, pension and retirement-related benefit obligations through appropriate restructuring and labor contract negotiations.  “The financial overhang of these obligations has a direct impact on the town’s ability to address day-to-day operating issues, as well as initiate long-term improvements,” Marpe says.
  • Initiating a long-term infrastructure improvement plan that would help creatively address challenges such as extended power outages, flood and wind related storm damage, railroad station parking and senior housing.  “Implicit in this process is the need to find environmentally friendly and progressive ways to deliver solutions and also take advantage of the dramatic changes in information technology delivery and support,” the candidate says.

Marpe adds: “I also recognize the importance of public/private partnerships in achieving solutions to many of our local challenges.

Jim Marpe (left) with Staples principal John Dodig, in 2009. They were outside Town Hall, where students were speaking about the proposed Board of Education budget.

“I believe my educational and professional experience, and my track record of effective leadership in local government and not-for-profit organizations has prepared me to lead Westport in addressing these and the dozens of other challenges that we face in order to keep Westport a ‘great’ town.

“Moreover, I believe my experience allows me to bring a high quality of management and leadership to Town Hall and our various town services.”

Marpe is currently chairman of the Westport Weston Family Y, and serves on the board of Westport Rotary. He is a former moderator of Green’s Farms Congregational Church, and board member of Homes With Hope.

Marpe’s resignation from the Board of Education is effective on Tuesday (November 13). That way, he says, the board has time to find a candidate who can participate fully in 2013-14 budget deliberations. That process begins in January.

Marpe says, “as current chairman of the Board of Education, it will be my privilege to nominate Elaine Whitney for election as permanent chairperson for the coming year at our November 12 meeting.  I will leave the Board knowing that its leadership will be in good hands, and that all its members will continue to operate in the best long term interests of Westport students and taxpayers.”

Whitney, a Democrat, is expected to be elected. Democrats form a 4-3 majority on the board.

Don O’Day — immediate past chairman of the Board of Ed — says, “I have known Jim Marpe since 2005 when we both ran on opposing tickets.  He is my friend and, in my opinion, among the most dedicated, talented and hardest working public servants in Westport.

“During the last 7 years, Jim and I worked closely together to ensure that our schools delivered exceptional results with an open and transparent budget.  Jim would often remind me that the answer to the many challenges facing our schools was not necessarily to throw money at the problem. Rather, he insisted that we drive an open discussion with subject matter experts and find a solution that worked best for everyone.”

27 responses to “BREAKING NEWS — Jim Marpe To Run For 1st Selectman; Will Resign Board Of Ed Post

  1. I vote based on the amount of signs I see, not issues.

    Why is this “breaking news?” Big deal. I certainly hope he and his opposing candidate(s) spend way to many dollars on yard signs and robotic phone calls. I find that such and endearing and effective method of “getting the message” out. Yes, I am being sarcastic. Carry on.

  2. I’ll support Jim.

    We need someone who will address the REAL town issues that were neglected while King Gordo held the town hostage over the Baron’s South debacle.

    Perhaps Jim’s appointment to office will lead to a much needed change in those plans which, in my opinion, will plummet our precious home values.

  3. SelectABetterSelectman

    JETTISON JOSELOFF! The maestro of mismanagement must go!

  4. Where do i send my check? These past weeks’ events have only magnified Joseloff’s shortcomings and ineptness.

  5. “A focus on economic development and overall land use planning that would improve the commercial tax base”
    – Translation: More density and congestion downtown.

    “Addressing long-term debt, pension and retirement-related benefit obligations through appropriate restructuring and labor contract negotiations.”
    – Translation: Scapegoat and stiff municipal workers, and continue to encourage older union employees to consume their young.

    “Implicit in this process is the need to find environmentally friendly and progressive ways to deliver solutions”
    – Translation: Forget my record as chair of the Westport/Weston Y responsible for the move to the environmentally sensitive Camp Mahackeno.

    Game on!

    • “A focus on economic development and overall land use planning that would improve the commercial tax base” – to replace the loss of Bridgewater Associates, Westport’s largest employer. They also support all of our local restaurants.

      “Addressing long-term debt, pension and retirement-related benefit obligations through appropriate restructuring and labor contract negotiations” – he obviously means shifting defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans. Smart idea.

      “Implicit in this process is the need to find environmentally friendly and progressive ways to deliver solutions” – the opponents of the Y have objected to environmentally prudent solutions at Mahackeno – not Jim.

      • I will keep an open mind, especially since the other (my) team’s bench is seemingly so thin.

  6. Thank you Jim for your leadership of the Board of Education. Maintaining the quality of our schools during these past difficult financial years is a testament to the quality and diligence of your board. Best of luck to Elaine and the rest of the board. Looking forward to hearing more from Jim!

  7. WOW! Great news! From what I have heard from others Jim Marpe is a solid citizen who knows how to reach out across partisan divides.

  8. Michael McGovern

    This is great news for the Town of Westport!

    Jim’s will be sorely missed on the Board of Education, but his leadership, collaborative management style, financial skills and passion for public service will be Westport’s gain. It has been my great honor to serve with Jim on the Board of Education and I know he will work tirelessly to “Keep a Great Town Great!”

  9. It might be because we got power back in three days, but given the enormity of the storm, I will start off saying I think the response to the devastation last week has been very impressive by all. And, the Town’s communication through Wrecker Radio and Code Red Alerts has been really helpful. But to the point here, if Jim Marpe’s entering the race already speaks to the upcoming Selectman contest, we can count on a thoughtful campaign in the months ahead. Jim has been a great help to Homes with Hope over the years as a Board member and leader of our Strategic Plan development. I am looking forward to a great dialogue with what is starting off with an impressive candidate entering the field.

  10. Steven Halstead

    Jim Marpe has great intellect, energy and passion. He has vast experience and he has consistently acted with integrity. I know this from personal involvement with Jim while working together at the Westport Board of Education, the Westport Weston Family Y and Westport Rotary.
    Steve Halstead.

  11. Westporter4ever

    This is fantastic news…now if only i could extend my ability to vote in westport until next year!!!! He still has my complete support!

  12. great news! After what we have been through this past eight days we need a change and some one who will stand up for we Westport Taxpayers. Just remember Jim if you loose power touring your term make sure you are the last to have it returned. I asked Mr Joseoff about power and he told me his neighbor was without, he didn’t say he was. I think if I can have power out three times in eighteen months for five days or more he should, or the existing selectmen at the time, should also know the joys of living in the cold.

    Time for a change and I am more than willing to give you a chance. Show us what you will do for the fair citizens of Westport. A year gives you a good length of time to prove to us that “that your the man.”

  13. Westport Delight

    Just a reminder that King Gordo’s service is up. He cannot run against Jim, so it’s more of a pro Jim than “anything but Gordon.”

    That said, I’ll bet Steinberg (or someone similar) runs against Marpe. I do not like Steinberg but appreciate his community involvement. Finally the town of Westport will have GREAT candidates running.

    Which is in great contrast to the last 16 years. Gordo is a complete hack and Farrell, with all due respect, was too obsessed with moving up on the political ladder to actually stop and be able to focus on the town.

  14. Starting tonight and every chance I get, I will encourage everyone I know to support Jim Marpe next year. I have just gone through a seven year interview with Jim and I would strongly encourage all of my fellow Westporters to hire him as First Selectman.
    With Jim you get leadership, financial expertise, a passion for best practices, a passion for Westport, and accessibility.
    I have never known him to have a person agenda – Jim is simply committed to service.

  15. It’s a poor timing on his part.

    • Westport Delight

      You couldn’t be more wrong. I think it is aptly justified to announce this on Election Night.

  16. Anonymous, Donor to Dan's Site (Do you donate?)

    Jim is the real deal. No hidden agendas. I wish him all the best in the challenges he faces in this race. Westport will benefit, no matter what the outcome, from his participation in the process.

  17. Steinberg doesn’t stand a chance!!!

  18. Give Us a Break

    Having made his announcement, I hope Mr. Marpe stays off the front pages until sometime next year, Year-long camaigns, especially the kind that we saw the Republican run over the last 12 months ,have no place in local campaigns,

    • I hope you stay off the front page (of Dan’s blog). It is a free country — Jim can do as he pleases. Although he doesn’t need to, since he will win easily.


  19. Does Jim have a website yet?