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An open letter to the community of West Hartford,
I’ll apologize for not referring to Shari G Cantor as “Mayor” for most of the duration of this opinion piece. Mayors have certain responsibilities and CEO’s also have certain responsibilities. While there is certainly overlap, a CEO’s understanding of every financial line item of their company is vital to the success of their firm. Many mayors don’t need to babysit a budget.
For years, and through several administrations led by both parties, West Hartford and the State of Connecticut failed to properly negotiate pensions and health benefits with state and local employees and then failed to fund those obligations even though virtually every state accountant and credit agency warned of an impending crisis.
To blame this one the Democrats is simply wrong, and typically done by folks that don’t involve themselves in the day-to-day political process of the community and with little or no understanding of the history behind the problem.
Shari Cantor inherited a town recovering from a historic recession and facing huge deficits and cuts because of the many underfunded and unfunded obligations facing our town and state. She inherited a town that lacked support from the governor’s office and faced severe cutbacks in state funding. These problems were a culmination of over 25 years of kicking the can down the road both in town and state-wide. Shari determined that the end of that road was now.
She became Mayor when Scott Slifka stepped down and immediately began to treat her unpaid volunteer job as mayor like a full-time CEO. Working goodness knows how many hours per week, she dove into every last line of the town budget, began working across the state and country to get our town recognized for the great community that it is, and successfully undertook the nearly impossible task of negotiating with the governor’s budget team to restore the millions in funding the town looked to be losing.
In short, she was our CEO and ambassador. Incredibly she found the time to still be mayor looking after our schools, attending ribbon cuttings and working to keep our standing nationally as a great town to live in and raise her family.
My biggest fear is that one day, Shari will NOT run for re-election!
West Hartford is in great hands right now. This is a time when we need not just a mayor, but a real CEO. I am thankful that we have one in Shari.
I wholeheartedly endorse Shari to be re-elected as Mayor (and CEO) of West Hartford and sincerely implore everyone will turn out and vote for her and the rest of the Row A team to keep West Hartford safe and financially sound in these uncertain times.