Koneff: Jerry Stevens will show up for Monroe residents

To the Editor:

Recently Terry Rooney and Jerry Stevens participated in a podcast sponsored by the Monroe Residents Facebook page. The contrast between the two candidates couldn’t be starker. I am voting for Jerry Stevens for First Selectman on November 7 because he has actual answers to the questions posed to him.

On taxes, Terry said he “didn’t know if Monroe has higher [taxes] than surrounding communities.” According to Patch, Monroe has the 20th-highest mill rate of all 169 towns in Connecticut. Every town that borders us has a lower mill rate than Monroe.

It is vitally important for the incoming First Selectman to know how we compare to surrounding towns when we compete for local business, grant dollars, and families moving into our towns.

On negotiating union contracts, Terry said, “I don’t have any experience in negotiating union contracts.”

Jerry Stevens has sat at both ends of the table. His experiences with being a union member and negotiating with them as a member of the Board of Education will be invaluable when he becomes Monroe’s First Selectman.

On being elected to the Town Council, Terry said, I am a “very active, hard-working Councilman.” As much as Terry may have good intentions in working for the town, he doesn’t show up. Terry chairs a committee of the Town Council that hasn’t had a meeting in two years except one to elect him Chair. Having titles on paper is nice, but
the work actually has to get done.

On the Board of Education, Jerry shows up. He attends meetings, committee meetings, and other ad hoc committees he volunteers for. If half the job is showing up, Jerry is halfway there.

Terry said it was “hard to give the answer” of the top three objectives he’d like to accomplish if elected. The Office of the First Selectman cannot have someone learning on the job.

The voters of Monroe deserve a platform and goals that the next First Selectman would like to accomplish before they cast their vote. Jerry’s platform has been out there for all to see for months. Jerry will focus on responsive local government, keeping taxes low without sacrificing services, and creating a truly business-friendly Town Hall. There are plenty of specific policy ideas on his website.

Terry said it was “hard to give a complete answer” to a question regarding how to balance the education budget, which is about 2/3 of the whole municipal budget, compared to the town budget, which is the other 1/3. We need a First Selectman who will think about this the day they are inaugurated.

Jerry has worked diligently on the Board of Education budget for eight years. As First Selectman, I know Jerry will work with department heads to create the best municipal budget possible.

It is unfortunate that Terry hasn’t attended any town budget workshops for two years. In the podcast, Terry said he had several “creative ideas” about addressing this issue, but hasn’t offered them to the voters yet.

When asked what expenses he would do a “deep dive” on when crafting his budget, Terry said, “That’s an answer for when I’m elected.” Again, there is no time for on-the-job training when it comes to being the elected leader of our town.

Not only has Jerry run a small business and had to cut expenses, when necessary, Jerry has also made land use and economic development priority areas that he will look at when crafting his budget on day one.

The choice is abundantly clear. I encourage Monroe voters to elect the candidate who has an actual plan for when he is elected – Jerry Stevens.

Sue Koneff

Monroe resident

All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.

1 Comment

  1. To the Editor:
    Thank you Sue Koneff for your recent letter to the editor, discussing the recent debate and clearly comparing and contrasting the two candidates running for First Selectman. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment that Jerry Stevens is the man for the job and I look forward to casting my vote for Mr. Stevens on November 7th. Mr. Stevens has been an incredible asset to Monroe. He has shown up and worked nonstop for years for the betterment of the town and its residents. And he will continue to do so. He has ideas, plans, and goals for our town to be the best it can be, and has shared these with the voters. As Sue points out, the same cannot be said for his opponent. I urge all of Monroe residents who care about the town’s future to join me in voting for Jerry Stevens in November.

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