Letter: Embarassing or just insulting?

To the Editor:

Were the following two recent events in Trumbull just embarrassing, or truly insulting?

First, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman regularly visits public facilities to learn first-hand about their programs, capabilities and needs. She had scheduled and confirmed a visit to Stern Village, a residential community for Trumbull seniors, on Sept. 23 to meet with residents and with Executive Director Harriet Polansky.

Embarrassingly, the meeting with residents never took place. An authorized robocall was made by a Stern Village official to every resident the night before the meeting, falsely stating that the Lieutenant Governor’s visit had been cancelled. Why? Who authorized that erroneous robocall? No explanation has yet been offered.

And no one had the minimal courtesy to call Ms. Wyman. She showed up, only to be greeted by an empty Community Center. Embarrassed? Wouldn’t you be? Insulted? Absolutely! She did meet with Executive Director Polansky. It should be noted that Wyman travelled without a media contingent because this was not a political event.

The Trumbull Housing Authority, which manages the village, is overseen by Republican First Selectman Tim Herbst. He appoints its five member board — all of whom are now his appointees — and he appointed Polansky as Executive Director. Might this help us understand who could have been behind the insult to our Democratic Lieutenant Governor?

If there were an argument that Ms. Wyman’s visit was somehow inappropriate, the counterpoint is a meeting Herbst himself held at Stern Village on July 14, eight days before the Special Election for the Board of Finance. He toted along Bill Haberlin, his Republican nominee for the vacant seat. Haberlin played the mute in front of a packed room — after all, he had nothing at stake. Haberlin knew his election loss consolation prize would be his appointment as an alternate finance board member. Meanwhile, Herbst took charge and recited his list of personal talking points.

Democratic candidate Lainie McHugh was not invited. So would calling the meeting a Republican political rally be inappropriate?

Haberlin lost, and joined the two other alternates, another Republican and an Unaffiliated voter. Is this representative government?

Were these meetings just embarrassing, or truly insulting? Is this the Trumbull we want projected in the newspapers? Is this the sensitivity and behavior of a State Treasurer?

Roy Fuchs

Editor’s Note: The Times asked Stern Village’s Director, Harriet Polansky, about the visit and she responded, saying the village is governed by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and the CT. Department of Housing and that Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman can visit at her discretion.

“As you know, the THA is apolitical and we will not allow campaigning in the Community Room and Congregate Building. We will not have any program or activity that can be construed as a political event at Stern Village. Candidates can go door-to-door, as they have done in the past.

They cannot be in the Community Room or Congregate Building campaigning. Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman stopped by Stern Village last Tuesday morning and met with my associate Neil Gerhardt and myself (only), in my office to discuss the needs of Stern Village. The Lt. Governor knows that we are apolitical. There were no residents or candidates in the Community Room. This was not a political event. The candidates that accompanied the Lt. Governor were waiting in the parking lot of Stern Village.”

The Times also reached out to Wyman’s office, which said the visit was not part of the official calendar and may have been organized through the campaign office.