Tymniak: Tipping Point on GE

Chris Tymniak, candidate for Fairfield First Selectman

Chris Tymniak, candidate for Fairfield First Selectman

“This is a Tipping Point” — Can we save GE in Fairfield, and what has our Town Administration really done about it?

Statement by Chris Tymniak, nominated candidate for Fairfield First Selectman:

Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau sat idle, and was in fact, complicit for years while the State and Town have crafted anti-business legislation, regulations and historic tax increases. I’m puzzled why the First Selectman has yet to meet with the GE relocation team or GE. Mr. Tetreau failed to call on Governor Malloy to veto the budget last spring. That budget that was the tipping point that prompted GE to make an unprecedented statement about relocating out of our Town and State.

Mr. Tetreau has relied on the Malloy administration to negotiate a deal with GE and the outcome has been a failure. The Hartford Courant reported that State Representative John Frey stated, “From what I’m told, of the 12 presentations they [GE] received, Connecticut’s was the least persuasive, the least interesting, the least prepared,’’ Frey said in an interview. “I find that really disheartening.’’ The reality is the First Selectman decided not to be involved in this entire process. The First Selectman chose not to be there and failed to call on the Governor to make sound decisions to help GE remain in our Town and State.

When Electric Boat was threatened by closure, the Mayors of New London and Groton organized and moved heaven and earth to save their sub-base and succeeded. 11 Governors from across the country come to Fairfield to entice the world’s largest corporation to move from here, and Fairfield’s first selectman says: “I’m not getting in the middle of Jeff (Immelt, GE’s CEO) and the governor talking” and distances himself from the potential calamity by observing,”This issue was really caused by the state. I think it’s really in GE’s hands and the governor’s hands.” Twenty Four States are trying lure Fairfield’s largest taxpayer and we as a town have done nothing.

RTM member and nominated First Selectman candidate Chris Tymniak believes standing on the sidelines is inexcusable for the town’s chief executive. “Right now I don’t feel any sense of urgency. Fairfield must be in the game to win. Fairfield’s First Selectman must commit all of the town’s will and energy to organize, to engage, to compromise and to commit to those changes here and in Hartford necessary to retain GE’s presence in our town.” Tymniak further stated that “non-committal statements and lack of passion is upsetting and baffling to all Fairfield taxpayers. Fairfield’s current administration has been essentially standing in the bleachers.”

“Unlike Mr. Tetreau, I would not be sitting back hoping that Mr. Malloy, with his historic tax increases and anti-business legislation clearly provoked GE to consider relocating, will somehow save the day alone. Fairfield’s first priority must be retaining these good neighbors.

Forty years ago, First selectman John Sullivan took the initiative to persuade GE to make our community its home. He moved mountains here and in Hartford to make it and its employees our neighbors. Today we need from town hall that type of energy; that same commitment; and more; to keep GE here.

I have included action items that we could be doing right now:

First and foremost, I would be lobbying aggressively with Governor Malloy for a repeal of anti-growth taxes, reducing excessive regulatory burdens, addressing the huge unfunded retirement obligations, and deteriorating infrastructure that are driving both companies and people out of our state. Fairfield residents need to know that they have a strong ally in pushing for needed changes in these and other key areas.

Second, I would be meeting with the G.E. relocation team asking them what exactly they are looking for and how Fairfield can become a better partner.

Third, I would hire a business developer in the First Selectman’s office. Clearly we need to do more to attract new companies to Fairfield as well as keep the ones we currently have. I understand that several state policies hurt us but we also need to take steps to grow our tax base faster than the Town budget.

Finally, I would set up a Business Advisory Panel made up of members of our business community. Business should be telling us what challenges they see and we should be supporting them in any way we can.

Fairfield deserves better.

Chris Tymniak, nominated candidate for Fairfield First Selectman

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