Roundup: RTM, Wet Weather, CraftWestport …

John McCarthy wrote to Representative Town Meeting moderator Jeff Weiser, deputy moderator Lauren Karpf and Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton:

“I was surprised to see that the below resolution was not placed on the RTM Agenda for its October 3 meeting:

‘RESOLVED,  that the full Westport RTM at its October 3, 2023 meeting affirms that the  meaning of the term ‘Shall’ in ‘Sec. A162-6. – Agenda’ of the ‘Representative Town Meeting Rules of Procedures’ as found in Exhibit A of the ‘Code of Ordinances of Westport Connecticut’ is  to be ‘construed as being mandatory’, per the definition of the word ‘Shall’  in ‘Sec. 1-2. – Definitions and rules of construction’ and that ‘Sec. A162-6. – Agenda’ compels and requires  the Moderator, or  in the event of the Moderator’s inability to act, the Deputy Moderator or, in the event of the inability of both, the Town Clerk to place on the RTM meeting agenda such matters as petitioned by at least 20 Westport Electors not less than 14 days prior to a Representative Town Meeting.”

A petition with over 20 electors was certified by the town clerk on September 5, McCarthy says.

He adds, “I trust that this was merely an oversight and that a corrected version of the agenda with the requested resolution will be issued shortly.”


Early yesterday morning, Philip Keane headed to Compo Beach. A storm was brewing, and he wanted to see it.

He got the waves he expected.

But he also found 2 swimmers. Rick Gaenzle and Chris Kraus told Philip they swim every morning, at 5:30.

A little rain and wind was not about to keep them away.

Rick Gaenzle and Chris Kraus. (Photos/Philip Keane)


CraftWestport returns to the Staples High School fieldhouse November 4-5. Over 175 vendors kick off the holiday shopping season, with thousands of products in mediums like ceramics, textiles, woodworking, jewelry, glass art and more.

Plus food items like bourbon-barrel aged maple syrup, hand-painted chocolates, teas, honey, cheese spreads, curds, baked goods, and skincare products, soaps, candles, etc.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All-weekend admission is $11; seniors $10, children 12-18 $5, children under 12 are free. Click here for more details. CraftWestport is presented by the Westport Young Woman’s League.


“Chapter Two: Spanning From Retail to E-Tail” — a benefit supporting expansion of Westport Book Sale’s employment and job training program for adults with disabilities, to its eBay online sales business — is set for October 25 (6:30 p.m., Westport Library).

The event will include live music, light bites, a paddle raise, and a live and silent auction of a sample of what the Book Sale sells on eBay.

Click here to see auction items. They include a first edition of Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince; 2 copies of The New Yorker in Westport donated by authors Eve Potts and Andrew Bentley; books signed by Laura Linney; a poster autographed by Sylvester Stallone; art donated by Nina Bentley, Miggs Burroughs, Kirsten Rao, Norm Siegel, and Rowene Weems, and more.

Participants in the online sales business will learn computer, data entry and office skills, broadening their work experience and marketability.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Eager beavers will be excited about this year’s Aspetuck Land Trust Haskins Lecture.

Leila Philip — author of the bestseller “Beaverland” — speaks at the Westport Library on October 26 (7 p.m.).

She’ll discuss the animal’s large role in American history, and even larger role in our ecological future. Books will be available for purchase, and signing.

Aspetuck Land Trust will also host 2 beaver hikes (October 12 and 22) at Trout Brook Valley Preserve in Weston. Click here for details of that, and other events.


What kid doesn’t love “The Lightning Thief”?

On December 2, the Westport Country Playhouse presents a production of the young adult novel. The musical follows Percy jackson as he discovers he’s a demigod.

It’s recommended for grades 3-6. Click here for tickets ($25) and more information.


Rowene Weems saw this as she got off I-95 at Exit 17 on Friday:

(Photo/Rowene Weems)

“Is it the Golden Arches over Westport?” she wondered.

“M for ‘Magnificent work and inconvenience’? M for ‘Maybe they’ll be done before 2025?’ You could go on, right? 🤣”


This guy clung yesterday to Johanna Keyser Rossi’s screen door.

It looks like he’s posing for our “Westport … Naturally” feature. More likely, Johanna says, he was seeking shelter under the overhang, from the rain.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … in honor of the kerfuffle over the word “shall” (story above):

(Kerfuffles, controversies — they’re all part of the local journalism you find on “06880.” Please click here to support your hyperlocal blog. Thank you!)

12 responses to “Roundup: RTM, Wet Weather, CraftWestport …

  1. To be clear, the RTM agenda for Oct 3, 2023 does have agenda item that’s similar to the petitioned resolution, but it does not have the resolution that was requested. This should have been a very simple matter of placing the requested language on the agenda, with a clear ability to have a Yes/No vote on the resolution.

  2. A fully certified citizens’ petition addressing government accountability has apparently been tampered with before it’s even heard? Duly noted.

  3. 🤞🏼

  4. While I may be uninformed I was wondering if anyone knows What exactly is the construction on 95 at exit 17 supposed to accomplish?

    • It’s a staging area. The bridges are built on the side of the actual highway, they shutdown the highway for 24–48 hours redirecting traffic while installing the bridge all in one shot.

      Stay tuned, a time lapse video will be made

  5. Mr Mc Carthy you are surprised? I’m not. This seems to be the MO for town meetings. I attended a Parks and Rec meeting recently and concerns were asked numerous times from different residents to be put on the upcoming agenda that weren’t. This is why residents ask for transparency and get ignored.

    • This is why the RTM 20 elector petitioning language is so important. I believe it is the only mechanism in the town charter (aside from referendums) which allows for non elected citizens to get items on a town meeting agenda. If I am wrong about this, please correct me.

  6. I am deeply troubled and concerned by this news. What the petitioners asked for was to have the word “shall” affirmed as mandatory, that the rtm moderator, would be compelled according to the charter, and their oath, to unequivocally bring such petitions to the full rtm for a vote.

    What troubles me more is that “something”, was in fact, put on the agenda which is not what was petitioned. I might add, this was a second petition, and a second failed opportunity by the moderator of the rtm, to observe the charter as it is written.

    The meaning of shall

    a. used to express a command or exhortation. you shall go. b. used in laws, regulations, or directives to express what is mandatory.

    I suspect a “clerical” error is going to be the excuse per se for this deliberate effort to intentionally place “something” on the agenda, but not what was asked to be placed on the agenda, by 20 petitioners, all registered Westport voters.


  7. Perhaps as John stated this was an oversight or someone’s attempt at brevity.

    However, although the RTM agenda is released over the RTM moderator’s signature, it would prove interesting (and pertinent) to find out who actually writes the agenda items verbiage, and in this specific instance whether a consultation with the.Town Attorney’s office and/or other influencing controlling interest, took place.

  8. So first the Moderator of the RTM denies to place on the Sept RTM agenda a certified petition by more than 20 electors. In response, a new, 2nd certified petition is submitted for the Oct RTM agenda. This one comes with just one intent – asking that the full RTM vote to affirm that their own rules and the towns Charter require their moderator to place certified petitions by 20 electors on their agenda.

    And then, this 2nd certified petition’s motion “somehow” gets modified so as to eviscerate its very meaning and purpose. This is deeply troubling. Roberts Rules is quite clear that written motions may not be changed or altered without the motions makers approval at this point of the process. And yet, it is exactly what appears to have happened here. It strains credulity to suggest that this was a simple “clerical error.” What is going on?

    John F. Suggs

  9. The RTM Moderator in an email to the entire RTM and Dan asked that Dan add the below response. Allow me….

    “As a former RTM member, John knows that posted agenda items do not carry exact wording of items to be discussed.  Resolutions are more specific and they are posted closer to the meeting.

    However, our October 3 agenda very clearly states that Mr. McCarthy’s petition is on the agenda as Item number 6, and he has been told many times that the RTM Rules Committee will meet regarding the petition at its October 2 meeting, in the auditorium at Town Hall.

    There is no reason for this inflammatory letter.“

  10. The state did a similar bridge replacement to I-84 in Southington nine years ago. Time lapse is interesting to watch:

    In Stamford in 2019 the exit 9 bridge was replaced via the same method as what will happen at exit 17:

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