Drama at Greenwich council meeting

Mayor and resident squabble, police and firefighters feud and seniors want to be free of fee.
Heather Chapin-Fowler
Sep 19, 2013

 

Greenwich Mayor Lowell Etzler came armed to Wednesday’s council meeting with a response to the many accusations resident Larry Risner has leveled against him in the last few months regarding unfair treatment.

Risner wasn’t happy he was ordered by the mayor to remove the driveway he had installed on his property parallel to the street, which is illegal in accordance to a village ordinance.

In other business, just when the Greenwich Fire Chief asked that the dispute over police fees at the fire department’s fundraisers be put to rest, one of his firefighters confronted the village police chief regarding protection at a fundraiser coming up in October.

Another couple visited council with a petition demanding the exclusion of all members of the village over the age of 70 from paying a $15 surcharge on their utility bills.

Council also entered into a contract with an electrical engineering firm to draft a blueprint of the village’s electric system to better service the area which has frequent blips in service.

Look for the full story in Saturday's Norwalk Reflector.

Comments

cracked

Please sign my petition to let Richland county annex Greenwich.LOL...Cops,Fireman,Mayor and one hell of a Bar.

Nettiewata

This town is run by a bunch of clowns & liars! We had a surcharge put on our bill about 15 or so years ago to help pay for something needed for our water or something. Anyway, we were told the surcharge would only be on there a couple of years. LIES! Instead of taking it off they added to it! I for one am sick of it. I think the whole town should band together and refuse to pay our utility bill to the town till the surcharge is removed!

whats up hometown

Grow up mayor Etzler!!!

MEM1950

Can't find "fued" in the dictionary.

Shannon2

A feud is a bitter, often prolonged quarrel or state of enmity, especially such a state of hostilities between two families or clans.

itsnotme

Reflector needs to proofread...second story in less than a week with a misspelled word in the headline. Ridiculous.

Shannon2

Yes, I think it's Green Witch.

alwaysatfault

"Greenwich, A NICE PLACE TO LIVE!!" Reads the sign entering this wonderful town , LMAO

lrisner59

I will share with you what I witnessed at this Greenwich council meeting this past Wednesday.
First of all I'm happy to know the mayor can at least speak? Couldn't or wouldn't say a word in response to my claims before this knowing he made all decisions revolving around my complaints. Now he comes prepared with a written statement? Only tells me he's not capable of speaking on a real issue without preparing written excuses. Neither this mayor and some council members appear interested in helping anyone but themselves? I went to this meeting simply to ask questions and seek a solution with regard to the sudden enforcement of an unnecessary parking ban and there was no way this mayor would allow me to question him or the ban. He instead was interested only in trying to dig his way out of a ditch instead of helping me with my issues and to try his best to humiliate me. In my opinion he only dug the ditch deeper.
Please understand what prompted the parking issue:
My daughter filed a complaint on the mayors son Mike Etzler because she arrived home with 2 other people to find Etzler standing in the middle of the street shooting a bow and arrow into his garage?
Realize this is in the middle of town and not on the edge of it with a corn field in the back yard.
Realize his garage is approximately 20-25 feet from my daughters front window.
Realize this guy has a previous firearms conviction that involved mishandling of a firearm and aggravated menacing.
Realize that my daughter has a 6 year old son living in that house and now a new born and only wants them safe.
And finally the reason I was at council this time:
"One day" after Mike Etzler is served with this complaint the mayor admittedly ordered police to start enforcing a parking ban on this street. He also admitted that he wanted them to "start with my daughter and in writing."They had "never" enforced it before and there are only about 4 or 5 residents on the street who utilize the tree lawn simply because their property doesn't accommodate a double driveway. The intent of the ban is simply because the street is a truck route so they decided in 2004 not to allow cars to park on the tree lawn between the sidewalk and road.
#1 You can park on the tree lawn according to ordinance anywhere but for 4 streets in Greenwich provided you have improved the area with gravel or surface in which I did.
#2 There are no signs posted indicating you can't park on the tree lawn and since everyone had always done it up and down the street with no issue including mine and the house next to me, I simply improved mine to allow for parking where my daughter wouldn't have to juggle their cars around on a daily basis because of having a single drive.
This is why I went to council but instead of allowing me to address council and look for a solution the mayor instead went berserk slamming his wooden mallet on the table like a child ordering me to sit down so he could speak and read a prepared statement where he admitted to ordering the Police Chief to start enforcing the parking ban on Center St. and begin with my daughter,admitted providing drainage for his son and the house on the opposite side of his son but not providing it for my house or any other houses on the street being burdened by the same flooding.
I sat and allowed him to read this written confession and only stopped him and objected when he stated he was "sorry" I had made such a "poor" investment? Imagine I'm willing to purchase a home ,improve it at my expense,and my daughter wants to raise her family there and he can only criticize me instead of being grateful I'm investing and paying taxes in the community that has 300 less residents than when I grew up there?

Police Chief Dorsey also addressed the council to say he and his officers are now preoccupied with enforcing parking issues taking away valuable resources from addressing real crime? He cited speeding,theft,etc. I can't make this stuff up my friends.He clearly doesn't seem pleased with the mayors sudden interest in parking issues?

This is the guy in charge in Greenwich. It is a sad and dysfunctional state of affairs. There was an elderly couple there who came prepared with a petition signed by 140 residents to object to a somewhat vague surcharge on our village utility bill. Instead of the mayor receiving it on it's face and thanking the couple for their concerns he instead stated that the residents should all come to council with their complaint instead. The lady cleverly asked where in the world would you put 140 people you hardly have enough room to accommodate a small gathering like this?
I do believe this is a nice community with many wonderful people just like any other community and that the biggest problem is you simply have a few people (not all) interested in serving themselves and not the citizens. Mayor Etzler has been in leadership in this community in one capacity or another for maybe 40 years? I can tell you as would most others the community is worse and not better as a result of his service. There are fewer residents and fewer business's. The one thing I firmly believe is that when one stays in charge for too long they develop a sense of entitlement and really provide very little in terms of service. People have posted that he is only elected because no one else wants the job? They are partly correct but I also think they more or less feel they're up against a good ole boy network and what difference does it make? I don't know and can only speak for myself and I tell you that I won't stop fighting this abuse of power and self serving operation that has been the status quo.I would encourage others to do the same thing. I've spoke to many residents who have said they've complained to the mayor and council but when I bring anything up at council they always say "no one comes to council or has said anything to me?"Or they say they have "no money" yet always have the money for their ideas? I say go and demand changes as this is your right and you pay taxes for these services. They are not entitlements that you should have to beg for!
Larry

lrisner59

I forgot to mention the obvious friction between the Greenwich Police and the Volunteer Fire Department. I know that it first surfaced during the Firemans festival and has continued to this day with one of the firefighters simply asking for a price from Chief Dorsey for police protection on an upcoming tractor pull. I can see both sides of this issue but I'm sure it leaves a sour taste in the firefighters mouth that they volunteer all of their time to protect the village and in this case to raise money for the Fire Dept. I'm sure they feel what would it hurt for the Police to volunteer a little time to benefit the community? In my opinion they are both right. Both the Police and Fire Dept have the right to choose to volunteer or not. I have no right to give my personal feelings on it because I'm not involved with either. I simply wanted to share with you what I witnessed.

Hereswhatithink

Why not meet up at the towns bar and handle things there? Seems there are usually a few "feuds" there.

tentribes

Looks like the Mayor is giving a left hand “Power to the People” salute.

lrisner59

I want to simply say I've read the full Reflector article today and will only add this.
Some of what was reported was true but the article is contextually lacking once again and only makes me look as though I'm completely at fault and the village and others who have been charged even with criminal behavior are somehow innocent of any responsibility.I can tell you emphatically that is not true. Is sad as I actually thought it would be reported fully and fairly. It is clear to me why no one goes to these meetings or dares challenge this mayor or council. I have now seen what I'm up against and will take a different direction.
I see no where in the article that the mayor admits installing the drains from Main St and ending at his sons property and that this was done to alleviate the rain waters coming from Main St that were flooding those properties as well as mine.Recognize if you will this is simply all I was asking for? Why is it fair for the village to accommodate my neighbors including the mayors son at village expense but not mine? I see no where in this article that the point I was making when forced off the floor was that the parking ban had never been enforced on my street. I wasn't speaking about anywhere else in the community and am relatively sure that when the mayor ordered police to enforce it at my house they surely began to enforce it throughout the community? But I can tell you and you could ask any resident on Center St that up and until my daughter filed a complaint against the mayors son they had never been bothered for parking on the tree lawn. Just take a drive down the street and look at all the gravel drives in the front lawns? Thank God the reporter took the video and for that I truly thank her because it captured the mayor providing all the relevant information I needed to make my case.
I actually thought I could approach council with a reasonable request and as a tax payer would be treated fairly.Is clear that will never happen. And yes regardless whether I own the property by deed or land contract,I do have the same rights of ownership,and I do indeed pay the property taxes on it.
Please give me credit for at least be willing to walk in there on my own take on the mayor,police chief,and council for what I believed was right. Everything else with regard to shooting a bow,parking, and RV's has simply been a side show to divert from the real issue and all came about after the fact.It would simply appear in this village enforcement and services are doled out at the discretion of the mayor? I get it and understand it and more importantly I will respond accordingly.
I appreciate all the words of support and encouragement and regardless what this article may portray I know any of my friends or anyone who knows me knows I would never take a thing from anyone and would surely have given my neighbor my last dollar to help him if he needed it.
I simply made the decision to invest in a house that had a few problems with the intent to improve it and provide a safe environment for daughter and her family.
Having said that I'm discouraged and saddened by what I've experienced but undeterred in my resolution to seek justice. One of my friends state eloquently that this village lacks a moral compass...I couldn't describe it any better..

Thank you for reading, Larry