Letter to the Editor: Treatment of Stern Village 'unethical'

To the Editor:

Trumbull politics has always been part of my life. I have witnessed the good and the bad but never the ugly — until now. Tim Herbst’s unethical treatment of Stern Village and Trumbull Housing Authority (THA) members shows why attitudes toward local politics, and Herbst himself, have soured. Stern Village is not assisted living. It is low-income, municipal housing where people live like any rent-paying tenant, though THA members routinely went above and beyond their normal duties. Herbst does not grasp this concept.

My family has worked tirelessly for Trumbull. Henry S. and Ann Stern, namesakes of Stern Village, donated time and services so Trumbull could be a model town.

Their son and my father, Bruce, entrenched himself in all-things Trumbull. He was a 7-term Town Treasurer. He spent 10 years fighting for library expansion and, as a veteran, supported our American Legion. You will not find anyone to argue that he was one of the most ethical, friendly, honest and dedicated members of Trumbull’s society.

My mother Judith accepted a non-political appointment to the THA to continue the work of my family. She spent countless hours cultivating meaningful relationships with Village residents while maintaining the high standards the community deserves. She is the model citizen that goes unnoticed until someone like Tim Herbst meddles with something with which he is not familiar.

In a Dec. 27 Trumbull Patch article, Herbst said: “…Mrs. Stern showed her true character and her clear lack of concern for the residents of Stern Village by placing politics ahead of people…” Does Tim know my mother? Has he spent time getting to know what she stands for? As for a “clear lack of concern…” — without the Stern family there would be no residents. How about the piano Judi donated to the residents? The desserts she provided for their annual picnic? Why did residents lovingly honor her in February?

In the months since his changes, Herbst has vilified good, hard-working people. His appointments to the THA include those who do not care about Stern Village or its history. The new resident member was in the process of being evicted for repeatedly smoking in the vicinity of flammable Oxygen tanks, clearly violating the no-smoking policy. The new Executive Director dismantled a security camera in the meeting hall, ordered portraits of the Stern Village founders to be discarded and drove the long-standing secretary to quit.

Herbst responds to criticism the only way he knows how — cowardly demeaning those who block his megalomaniac pursuit of total control of this small town. He does not care who he hurts. Sadly, the disparaged THA members will never get their deserved public apology.

By insulting my mother, Herbst insults me. He attacks my family by cheapening our contributions to the town. He attacks every upstanding, conscientious citizen of Trumbull. The contributions of my family will outlive and outshine anything Tim Herbst will have done as first selectman — a position he hopefully will no longer hold come November.

Gregory Stern