Nancy Kail is a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM).
She wants to celebrate the town’s non-partisan legislative branch, and spotlight the work the body’s 36 diverse members do. She writes:
Westport’s RTM is a key part of our town government. Tomorrow, the entire RTM membership is up for election.
Pay attention to races in your RTM district. Don’t forget to flip your ballot over. RTM races are on the back side.
The RTM is our non partisan legislative body. We represent all 28,000+ Westport residents.
The RTM enacts local ordinances. It votes on town and school budgets, capital investments, appropriations, employee contracts, and whether or not to uphold decisions made by other Westport boards.
It approves building committee members, library trustees, town appointed commission members and others.
There are 36 RTM representatives in total — 4 members in each of 9 districts. Each RTM district has approximately 2,300 registered voters. An RTM district map is here, and below.
Why is the RTM Important?
We represent you in decisions and votes that touch on everything in town that you care about: our schools, parks/beaches/other natural resources, roads and sewers, traffic and safety, construction and development, budgets and taxes, human resources services and our many cherished town organizations such as the Library, Levitt Pavilion and Senior Center.
Party politics don’t have a place on the RTM. We are a nonpartisan, diverse and collaborative body. Because we are a large group of representatives that operates by majority vote, we have to work together and compromise in order to get work done. What matters is effectively representing our constituents by solving problems and addressing important issues together. We are democracy in action.
Last month, RTM members celebrated Restaurant Week with a lunch at Zucca.
We are productive
Since January the RTM has passed leaf blower and Affordable Housing Fund ordinances, and introduced traffic and safety, and public safety, ordinances that will be voted on soon.
We passed this year’s operating budget, restored funding for Wheels2U, approved the 3-year contract for Parks & Recreation and other town employees, appointed a Transit District co-director, approved the First Selectwoman’s recommended Long Lots School Building Committee members, and upheld P&Z decisions on the Hamlet at Saugatuck.
We have all attended and spoken at numerous other town board and commission meetings, such as those involving affordable housing, town development projects, the redesign of Parker Harding Plaza, the Long Lots School Building Project/gardens/fields, traffic and safety, and flood and erosion control.
We communicate with constituents, and do our best to assist them with questions and concerns. In upcoming meetings we will discuss how to expand and improve ways the public can comment and participate in RTM meetings.
Effective RTM Members
- Follow RTM processes and the rules governing publicly elected boards, yet when necessary, can affect process or rules changes and improvements
- Work collaboratively with colleagues, even those with whom they disagree
- Effectively advocate for and substantiate positions and votes
- Consider all points of view, can distinguish fact from opinion and sound information from misinformation
- Listen to, and communicate with constituents and keep them them top of mind when making decisions
- Hold themselves to a high standard of behavior and engage in civil discourse.
Tomorrow, You Will Choose Your RTM Reps
Get to know your district’s RTM candidates. Click here for the League of Women Voters’ guide. Follow the prompts for your district.
Vote and tell your friends to vote.
Stay in touch with your RTM members going forward, they would love to hear from you!
A map of the RTM districts. Click on or hover over to see polling locations.