Election Day is next Tuesday, November 2nd, and Greenwich has several important positions being contested, including that of First Selectman. We’re featuring a two-part series showcasing interviews with the incumbent First Selectman, Republican Fred Camillo, and Democrat Bill Kelly.
Below, see Camillo’s responses to our questions below—and to read Kelly’s, click here. And don’t forget to vote on Nov. 2!
What do you consider to be the most important issues facing the town of Greenwich?
I believe Greenwich needs to continue to focus on public-private partnerships to get long awaited and innovative projects completed so that taxpayers do not have to foot the entire bill. The pedestrian friendly measures begun these past two years are critical as we continue to encourage walking and biking around town. Town assets like the BOE building need to be looked at in terms of best possible usage. I firmly believe that we should look for a suitable location for the BOE and reclaim the building on Greenwich Avenue as it is a wonderful asset that needs to be looked at in terms of its fullest and best usage. We are doing that with the RFPs at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park and other locations around town. Lastly, the flood issues we have experienced the past several decades will get worse as more building is done, so we are working on a plan to address that as well as work on getting the state to ease up on deleterious legislation and mandates that exacerbate this condition.
In your first 100 days of office what do you hope to accomplish?
I would like to get long awaited projects like the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center and GEMS Station Four finally started after years and decades of attempts. I would also focus on moving some pedestrian friendly proposals forward, things like new sidewalks, crosswalks, and planned intersection bump outs. We also hope to have movement on the above referenced RFPs we put out in regard to enhancing our waterfront and surface parking lots as well as added parking spaces downtown ( we have opened up 200 spots off the Ave for employees who work there). Lastly, we will again address operational and capital budgets in a fiscally responsible way that keeps our town’s tax rate the lowest in the state.
What do you think needs to be done in terms of our public schools to make them/keep them competitive with others in Fairfield County?
While education is not within the purview of the Office of First Selectman ( OFS ), I believe our schools, like our parks and public safety, should always be a priority. It is one of the reasons people move here. That said, I have and will continue to support well thought out and forward thinking requests to improve our facilities while lending support for innovation strategies for our teachers. As a former high school History teacher, I know how important community support is for our staff, buildings, and programs. This includes athletic facilities, where I do see a need for improvement. Cardinal Stadium is a great start in that endeavor.
How do you think Greenwich is doing in the fight against COVID and what do you see happening/do you hope to see happening through the spring?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, our town has led the way in supporting local businesses to stay afloat, and then to thrive. Even Gov. Lamont has repeatedly praised Greenwich’s response to business support, outdoor dining, vaccination rates (among the highest in the state), and outdoor dining, where we were one of the first towns to do so. Lauren Rabin and I had talked about this back in 2019 and we are committed to keeping this going. It really has been transformational for our central business district.
What do you love most about Greenwich?
As a native and lifelong resident who loves everything about our town—the beaches, parks, backcountry, shoreline, various and distinct neighborhoods, many amenities offered our residents, and proximity to New York City—I place civic pride as the number one thing I love most about my hometown. As a former state representative, I had the chance to visit most of the 169 municipalities in our state and not one town or city can match the volunteerism that we see here in Greenwich on a daily basis. People here live by the adage “give and forget, receive and remember”.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I would just like to thank the Greenwich Moms for this opportunity to answer your questions as well as doing the occasional visits with you all via Facebook Live. It has been the honor of my life to serve my hometown as its First Selectman these past two years and I respectfully and humbly ask for your support to continue to serve the public in the greatest town in the nation.
Where can people find more info on you as a candidate?