To the Editor,
I am writing to express my opinion on the upcoming town executive election. I am an unaffiliated voter
who is a proud independent thinker. These thoughts are solely my own and have neither been reviewed
nor endorsed by any campaign or party.
I appreciate Jerry’s enthusiasm and passion for the community, but I do not believe he is suited to be
town executive. Jerry stated in the debate that he wants to reduce the town surplus by 23 percent and that
“you only need a month-and-a-half.”
This is reckless and shortsighted, especially considering the growing cyber threats that target small towns and education sectors. Go read “Battlefield Cyber” by McLaughlin/Holstien and then tell me we “only need a month and a half.” If my financial advisor flightily told me I could drain my savings to less than two times monthly expenses, especially when the probability for crisis is high, they would be fired on the spot.
It is not only Jerry’s financial plans that are concerning but also those of his proposed Treasurer, Nick Kapoor. In a September 15th letter to the editor, Nick stated his desire to reduce the education surplus by 25 percent, declaring without any actuarial analysis or concern for national circumstances, that this is “plenty of breathing room for the Board of Education.”
Anyone in education who has read the DOEd “K-12 Digital Infrastructure Brief: Defensible and Resilient” from August of this year would understand that now is not the time to drain the district’s reserve. Nationally, the 2022-2023 school year had eight major academic cyber-attacks, four of which resulted in schools canceling classes. Our schools are not immune to this threat; they must have a plan and the financial means to recover if impacted.
Jerry and his team’s plan to drain the town’s two rainy day funds is alarming. It is like using your family emergency fund for a frivolous vacation when you know your home needs urgent repairs. It fails the
common sense and kitchen table tests and should raise alarm that his team will rapidly undo years of
fiscally responsible hard work by the many committees in Monroe.
We need a town executive who can take bold steps to protect our town from cyber threats. We need a leader who can balance the needs and aspirations of our town with prudence and realism. Terry Rooney has been the only candidate to show an awareness, concern, and fiscally proactive response for our town’s cybersecurity and this is why he will have my vote for First Selectman.
Editor’s note: During the Monroe Chamber of Commerce Debate at Edith Wheeler Memorial Library on Sept. 13 Stevens said, “fiscally responsible? Yes. But you need a month-and-a-half. We are 23 percent over. Just think about the reserve. Think about what happens to your money.”
Rooney said the $20 million reserve fund is something he would consider looking at, but added the high reserve fund is important for unforeseen emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Any Board of Education budget surplus at the end of the fiscal year is turned over to the town, not used as a Board of Education rainy day fund — though the funds could go into the town’s reserve, where it could be used for that purpose.
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