Tag Archives: Board of Selectwomen

Westport Boards And Commissions: From A(rchitectural Review) To Z(oning Appeals)

A recent legal challenge to the makeup of TEAM Westport — the town’s multicultural commission — shined a light on local government.

Seven boards or commissions are elected by voters. Members “must be” registered Westport voters. Those boards are:

  • Board of Assessment Appeals
  • Board of Education
  • Board of Finance
  • Board of Selectwomen
  • Planning and Zoning Commission
  • Representative Town Meeting
  • Zoning Board of Appeals

In addition, voters choose the Probate Court judge, and the Democratic and Republican Registrars of Voters.

The RTM — Westport’s “city council” — includes 36 members, from 9 voting districts. Elections are non-partisan.

However, much of the government work is done by appointed boards and commissions. Members are chosen by the 1st selectperson, and “shall be” residents of and registered voters in Westport.

Those 45 groups make suggestions and decisions — usually advisory — covering a wide swath of Westport life. They include arts, aesthetics, recreation, the police, education, youth, senior citizens, people with disabilities, the environment, animals, downtown, housing, the water, mental health and conservation:

The only member of any of the elected and appointed boards who receives a salary for service is the first selectperson. (The other 2 members of that board receive a very small stipend. Board of Assessment Appeals members receive an even tinier stipend: $200 each.)

Everyone else is a volunteer.

To learn more about Westport’s elected and appointed officials, click here.

The Westport Youth Commission dates back to the late 1960s.


Westport Women Lead The Way

In a different world, this would not be news.

But this is our world, so it is.

Last night, Danielle Dobin was re-elected chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission. That means that the 3 major boards in town — P&Z, Education and Finance — are led by women (Dobin, Lee Goldstein and Sheri Gordon, respectively).

Of course, the Board of Selectmen is composed of 3 females too: Jen Tooker, Andrea Moore and Candice Savin. So it’s now — officially, and wonderfully — the Board of Selectwomen.

Westport’s female leaders are both Democrats and Republicans.

This is a first in Westport’s 186-year-old history. Is it also a first in the 233-year history of our state?

Danielle Dobin, Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair.

PS: Let’s not forget Anna Rycenga, chair of the Conservation Commission!

Candice Savin Selected, Sworn In As 3rd Selectwoman

Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore made history last week. They were sworn in as 1st and 2nd selectwomen — the first time 2 females occupied to town’s top spots.

They made history again. As a special meeting of the Board of Selectwomen, they chose Candice Savin as 3rd selectwoman. This marks the 1st time in the town’s 186 years that all 3 members are female.

Savin was quickly sworn in, in the selectwomen’s meeting room, by Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton.

The swearing-in ceremony.

Savin’s route to Town Hall began when she  ran on the Democratic ticket, with 1st selectman candidate Jonathan Steinberg. They lost to the Republican candidates by 69 votes.

Steinberg declined the 3rd selectman’s seat, citing his obligations as Westport’s state representative in Hartford.

Libertarian candidate T.J. Elgin — who received 64 votes — claimed he was then the rightful 3rd selectman, since Savin had run for the 2nd post. He filed a lawsuit in Superior Court, but withdrew it yesterday.

Savin — whose most recent position was Board of Education chair — was endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee last week.

The new 3rd selectwoman told “06880”: “I am so pleased to take on this role, and look forward to working with Jennifer Tooker and Andrea Moore on behalf of our town.”