Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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Westports RTM by the Numbers

The 36 members of Westports Representative Town Meeting (RTM) represent a broad range of interests and perspectives that make it difficult to generalize about them.

But looking at the members of the townҒs nonpartisan legislative body by the numbers is easy.

Thats what Alice Shelton, the RTMҒs Deputy Moderator, found as she compiled statistics about the legislators who had their first meeting of their two-year term Tuesday night.
 
Including the newly-elected members, 417 Westporters have served on the RTM since its formation in 1949, Shelton said.

By gender, this is the first time that there is a female majority on the RTM.  There are 19 women serving this term.

The mean age of the current RTM is 58 and the median age is also 58.

The youngest RTM member is 39—at least for a few more weeks. District 5 member Chris Grimm will turn 40 on Dec. 30.

The eldest is, as Shelton put it, a very, very youthful 76.Ӕ She did not identify the member, but RTM records show it is District 8 member Lois Schine.

Seven RTM members are in their 40s, 11 are in their 50s, 10 are in their 60s, and seven are in their 70s.
 
Eight current members have served the RTM for 10 or more years while an additional two have served for eight years—William Meyer and Dr. Lisa Rome.

Five members have served for 10 years—Ann Sheffer, William Scheffler, Mary Webber, Wally Meyer and John Booth. Next longest serving are Ron Malone and Moderator Gordon Joseloff with 12 years of service. The senior member this term is Jorgen Jensen—with 18 years of service.

The senior member last term was Irwin Donenfeld, who retired after 22 years on the RTM.  The longevity record is held by Joe Arcudi, who served the RTM for 24 years before moving on to the First Selectman’s office in 1993 where he served four years.
 
Three current members returned after a period of absence from the RTM. Jorgen Jensen returned in 1987 after a 16-year absence.  Wally Meyer returned in 1997 after a 12-year absence. And Judy Starr returned this term after a 16-year absence.

Counting Starr as a new member this term—even though she had served previously—the 14 new members conform exactly to the average of 14 new members per term over the RTM’s history.

Editors Note
: Joseloff is editor and publisher of WestportNow.

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