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Opinion: CCM Is Here For Connecticut

Opinion: CCM Is Here For Connecticut

Hearst Media CT, April 9, 2020

By Michael Freda, First Selectman of North Haven and CCM President 

The challenges facing every town and city in Connecticut as a result of the deadly Coronavirus Pandemic are enormous and without precedent in our lifetime.

We are all in this together and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, or CCM, will remain at the side of Connecticut local governments 24/7 as the most reliable resource for the most accurate state-local-federal advocacy, information and research, best local government practices, necessary state and federal funding, critical training, and effective collaborative efforts spearheaded among all of Connecticut cities and towns.

As the virus started to emerge in Connecticut, CCM quickly organized and presented several intensive, COVID-19-related virtual workshops to assist town leaders on the governor’s executive orders that impacted local governments, municipal employment practices, addressing homeless needs, virtual meeting technologies and more. 

As Gov. Ned Lamont said so well recently: "Mayors and first selectmen are the closest on the ground to each community, and the best approach for our state is to have a unified strategy on COVID-19 with our city and town leaders." Gov. Lamont and his administration have consulted with CCM and our members extensively on the executive orders issued and others being considered. The many details in the orders were crafted with significant input from us and our municipal attorney partners. 

CCM has expressed strong support for the governor's executive orders. They will provide invaluable assistance to towns throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We will continue to advocate for additional executive orders and assistance and resources, as needed, to help towns and cities conduct their essential duties during this crisis. Our members, and CCM as an organization, believe two things: One, we’re all in this together; and two, there needs to be strong leadership from the governor’s administration — and there has been. CCM and municipal leaders hold a vital role in the action plan by the state.

Thanks to our federal, state and regional leaders and the municipal leaders from every local government, we will meet the challenges before us on this deadly public health crisis, as well as the challenges of bringing back a strong Connecticut economy with full employment across the state.

Our central mission back to top

CCM remains the state’s largest nonpartisan organization of municipal leaders, representing towns and cities of all sizes from all corners of the state, with 169 member municipalities -- that is, every town and city in the state.

CCM will continue its central mission — to improve everyday life for every resident of Connecticut, especially in these most troubled times.

Now more than ever, we must move swiftly to uncover and share best municipal practices and conduct objective research to help our local leaders govern wisely. We will continue to advocate at the state and federal levels for issues affecting Connecticut residents; and pool our buying power to negotiate more cost-effective services for our communities.

Local governments in Connecticut stand at a crossroads again, with the deadly coronavirus disrupting every aspect of the daily lives of our residents and businesses and how Connecticut local governments operate.

Here is just one example: The state of Connecticut and municipalities face a substantial new financial burden - and now threat - from pension and retiree health care funds, as the stock market has plunged in recent weeks, as a result of the health crisis, which could leave taxpayers on the hook for higher annual payments.

It is clear that because of the uncertainty and fear resulting from the virus, skyrocketing unemployment, increased need for social services, and the possible reemergence of a state budget deficit again, just to name a few more of the emerging issues, mean a new roadmap for municipalities is needed for these crisis months and the emerging new normal that will follow.

CCM is already working with towns to devise the best possible solutions in the uncharted waters of 2020.

Our urban centers and their surrounding suburban and rural communities make up the state's key regional hubs for economic development, health care, education, culture and more. We must all stick together to survive this public health crisis and emerge again as an even stronger, more dynamic Connecticut.