The Publisher's Desk

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>Who will lead tomorrow?

with 4 comments

>Have you been following the controversy over Torrington Mayor Ryan Bingham’s plan to utilize the city’s college tuition reimbursement program?
The latest (click here for story) is that Mayor Bingham and his administrative assistant, Stephen Nocera, have changed their minds in the face of taxpayer protest, and have revoked their $11,500 request for tuition payments. They plan to pay their own way for grad school courses at UConn.
Obviously, they get and most everyone gets why there was a backlash to this. When city and school services are being cut, taxes in this state are outrageous, and cost of living increases in other areas ($4.23 a gallon when I filled my tank last night on East Main Street) are out of control.
My question, though, is what does this say about how the region must adapt to a new generation of leadership?
Ryan Bingham is one of the youngest mayors ever elected in Connecticut, in what is the oldest county in the state.
Is he a once-in-a-few-decades anomaly, or can we cultivate other young people to step into roles of leadership in public service, business and charity in Northwest Connecticut?
As a politician, Mayor Bingham might have misread the tuition request issue, but as policy, how are we going to compete against job offers that our young people receive from Boston, Manhattan and elsewhere?
Are we behind the times in knowing what 20-somethings and 30-somethings need and demand from the workplace today in terms of technology, benefits, flexibility and … yes, continuing education and career development in the form of things like tuition reimbursement?
The Bingham-Nocera tuition reimbursement controversy is dead, and it probably should be.
But the community does need to talk about how to engage, challenge and retain its best and brightest.
Here’s the good news: The Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce is forming a new group to explore just that topic.
The first meeting of its Young Professionals Forum will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday at the Chamber office at 333 Kennedy Drive in Torrington. Call 860-482-6586 for more information or RSVP online by clicking here.

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Written by mattderienzo

May 28, 2008 at 2:04 pm

4 Responses

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  1. >Others have stated directly to Bingham that he should refuse the reimbursement – apparently he forgets first hand criticism – how convenient!

    Anonymous

    May 28, 2008 at 10:24 pm

  2. >Well said Matt , on the flip side, we have people stating that there are over 100 apartments DOWNTOWN that could help change the downtown area. read this in the RC.Am I wrong to say that IF, lets say, we rented those out to families at like 1.5 children per apartment, that then, at about 17 thousand per kid we would need another close to one million more for the school budget to teach these kids in which no families would pay taxes to the town? maybe I am wrong? Maybe!

    Michael E. Driscoll

    May 28, 2008 at 11:55 pm

  3. >Mike, your math is correct if, indeed, apartments like that were to average that many kids going into the school system. But let me take it a step further. Why don’t we limit residents to having only one child per couple like they do in China? That would keep the tax rate down. Or better yet, let’s ban all families with children from moving into Torrington. That would keep taxes down. It doesn’t work that way, of course. In my opinion, even if you could get away with it under the Constitution and the laws of this state and country, you can’t and shouldn’t let whether someone has or is going to have children be a factor in matters of zoning and development. Why not try to be a community that welcomes young people who would want to invest in Torrington? Look at the local business owners today and how much they’ve invested and how much they’ve offset the residential tax burden with the business base they’ve built. What if you told them at age 25 or 30 that they were not welcome here because their kids might be a burden on the school system?

    Matt DeRienzo

    May 29, 2008 at 1:18 am

  4. >Matt,, I do not think I implied that I did not want children to come to town?Nor did I imply that we keep people out. Was just stating a math fact.I do feel though many many of the seniors, and many of taxpayers who have paid taxes to the town for many many years feel we are paying LOTS for services not even being able for us due to people that do not pay a dime in taxes.And Matthew, us local businesses are in bad shape right now, ALL of us due to the already tax burden, the utilities we pay etc.. But Matt,, I am sorry IF you feel I implied to ” ban kids from moving into Torrington” do not think that was my intention at all, and do not underestimate nor belittle the “RESIDENTIAL TAX BURDEN” as I am one of the many that pay that?You are a great guy but do not pay a dime in taxes nor personal property tax, BUT Matt, I do think you are a great person at the paper who does care for the town! I am sure though you were trying to incur a few more comments?Hope you do and have a great day!, be well Matt,,mike

    Michael E. Driscoll

    May 29, 2008 at 9:55 am


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