Testani, Silber trade barbs

The Trumbull GOP is urging Planning and Zoning Commissioner Tony Silber, a Democrat, to resign.

The call for the resignation comes after Silber released a Democratic Town Committee press release earlier this week, asking the Board of Education to reconsider its decision to elect Deborah Herbst as chair.

RTC Chairman Jack Testani says in the release that Silber’s meeting attendance record is “abysmal,” going back to Silber’s 2008 term.

“Mr. Silber has missed 31 meetings in five years on the Planning and Zoning Commission,” Testani said. “This is a slap in the face to the Trumbull voters. The Planning and Zoning Commission is one of the most important boards in the Town of Trumbull.”

Testani also writes: “What is very troubling is like others before him, Mr. Silber has a Svengali-like hold on the current membership of the Trumbull Democratic Party. Instead of attending to his responsibility on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Mr. Silber seems to utilize his time issuing statement of personal attacks like his recent criticism of Board of Education Chairman Deborah Herbst.”

Silber responded in his own statement Wednesday saying he is proud of his contributions to Trumbull’s Land-use policy, but concerned about First Selectman Timothy Herbst’s “svengali-like control” over Testani.

Silber called the GOP release a “characteristically ugly attack” from Testani.

“It's been an honor to have a voice in Trumbull's land-use issues,” Silber responded. “I do my homework. I research the issues. I go out into the community and visit sites. I think about long-term planning, and I embrace my statutory role to protect the public health, safety, convenience and property values of our residents. I will continue to do that till the last hour of my term.”

Silber writes: “I've made many positive contributions on behalf of the people of our community. Please don't take my word for it, Mr. Testani:

• Ask the folks who live near Lower Main Street if I've played a constructive role on the P&Z.

• Ask the applicants who come before our board whether my suggestions have enhanced their projects, for the betterment of the town.

• Ask the advocates for sidewalks, and for traffic calming, and for better-connected parks-ask what they think of my presence.

• Ask the developers of the important projects of recent years-the mall revitalization, the new shopping center on Route 111, the mixed-use project on Long Hill Green, or the new cancer center on Park Avenue if my role has been valuable.

• Ask my colleagues on the board whether I've been a persuasive, non-partisan contributor.”

Silber also defended the statement on Deborah Herbst.

“I said Tim Herbst's position as first selectman, together with his mother as chairwoman of the school board, creates a conflict,” Silber wrote. “I still believe that. But that doesn't mean I don't honor the public service of Deborah Herbst, Tim Herbst, and Michael Herbst. I do, and I respect them all. I even honor the public service of Jack Testani.

“This is about Jack and Tim crudely trying to crush perceived opponents,” Silber said. “But I'm not involved in community service to oppose Jack Testani or Tim Herbst. I participate because I am determined to have a voice in the affairs of my town.”

Testani said Trumbull Democrats should demand Silber’s resignation.

“Land use boards shouldn't be political and Mr. Silber unfortunately has demonstrated that he is nothing more than a partisan sycophant,” Testani said.