Monthly Archives: January 2008

Goodbye, Superintendent Sklarz

 The town’s $188,000-a-year school superintendent, David Sklarz, is retiring in June 2009.

Sklarz, 61, has done a commendable job dealing with the town’s conflicting demand of maintaining a great school system without hitting people up for more money to pay for it. That’s tough work.

But he’s also been too secretive and too polarizing, failing to pull everyone together to support what is, after all, our town’s pride and joy. He’s also headed a system that hasn’t done enough to break down racial divides.

I am glad, though, that he’s giving the town lots of lead time to find a successor. Superintendents mostly suck, but since we have a pretty attractive job for someone, perhaps the months ahead will bring the right person to town, someone who can keep the schools humming for all of our students while remaining supportive of our teachers — and, somehow, make taxpayers content with the hefty tab for everything.

In any case, Sklarz goes out with his reputation intact. That’s never easy these days.

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22 Comments

Filed under education, Schools

Abandon town manager form of government?

The town government’s entire structure could be overturned.

At least some politicians are seriously talking about the possibility of throwing out the town manager form of government that has guided West Hartford for years in favor of a system that relies on a strong mayor.

The motives behind the discussion are murky but at least part of the reason for the proposed shift is the growing difficulty of hiring people with the expertise and experience to run a municipality.

Another reason, I’m told, is that West Hartford’s finances may not be as solid as they were for a long time. The town’s AAA credit rating may not withstand the next recession.

I don’t think the talk is spurred by someone’s political ambitions, but that’s always a possibility. It would mean a lot more to be mayor if the position wielded real power at town hall.

I’m curious what others are hearing. This would be a gigantic change and if it’s something that officials are talking about, the rest of us ought to be included in the conversation.

20 Comments

Filed under News, town manager, West Hartford

10-year plan needs public input

Just want to help make sure people are aware of this one, because dull as it sounds, it’s actually a crucial planning document that will make a real difference in our town’s future: 

Community Forum
PLAN OF CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Wednesday, January 16, 7:00 PM
West Hartford Town Hall, Room 400

The West Hartford Town Plan & Zoning Commission has begun an eight-month process to update the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development, a document that spans 2008-2018 guiding town leaders on decisions regarding land use.

You are invited to a Community Forum on Wednesday, January 16 at 7 PM at Town Hall, Room 400 to voice your thoughts, ideas, recommendations and questions. 

Comments from this forum will guide the commission as it begins to draft a long-range plan on how land will be used in West Hartford for the next ten years.

A draft report will be shared at the following meetings held at March 26 and May 14 at 7 PM at Town Hall, Room 400. Mark your calendar!

If you cannot attend these meetings, but would like to express your opinions, please send a letter to:

Town Plan & Zoning Commission
West Hartford Town Hall
50 South Main Street
West Hartford, CT 06107

or email to:

Town Planner Mila Limson at mila@westhartford.org <mailto:mila@westhartford.org>

For more information, call (860) 561-7555

I trust that when the draft report is ready for the March meeting, a copy will be online so those of us who shun government meetings can see what’s going on. I’d hate to trust the lackluster or altogether absent reporters the Courant has in our town.

7 Comments

Filed under planning

Connecticut Democratic primary

Wow, our votes may matter.

I’m in the awkward position of liking most everyone in the race, though I worry that John Edwards is too flimsy for the job. Obama and Clinton are terrific speakers and embody something drastically different and better even if they say nothing at all.

Bill Richardson is great. I trust that whoever wins the nomination will snatch him up as the vice presidential candidate.

I can’t decide who to vote for, though, because they’re all good. Or maybe it’s just that after seven years of Bush, anyone looks terrific.

123 Comments

Filed under Democrats, presidential primary

The Connecticut primary, Republican edition

I keep imaging a group of Republican business leaders sitting around in Washington trying to figure out which of these candidates angling for the GOP nomination could possibly be worth investing in.  They’re all seemingly decent — except for Rudy, of course — but they seem so lightweight and doomed. The bigshots must be beside themselves that nobody has emerged who could possibly win.

Personally, I like John McCain, even though I disagree with him about the war, social issues and more. He has heft and experience. But the Republican base hates him.

The rest of the GOP presidential contenders just seem like so much confetti, sometimes pretty but useless.

So what to do on primary day? Who you going to vote for? How come?

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Filed under presidential primary, Republicans

Let’s get rolling again

Without my colorful, useful calendar from the town — discontinued to save money, without any warning at all — I only just realized that it’s 2008 and that this blog needs some attention.

It looks like we’re going to have a ton to talk about, from a looming redistricting to how much to tip a peddle cab in West Hartford Center. I probably should just get a job cycling since that would, in short order, allow me to keep my resolution to exercise more. On the other hand, it might kill me.

I’ve had my ear to the ground lately, listening to neighbors, friends and even politicians (yes, I’m out and about sometimes, secretly) and I know we have an awful lot to talk about here. And I promise to do a much better job of posting the topics of the moment to spur some discussion so we can all learn more about what’s going on and why.

1 Comment

Filed under blog, West Hartford