Sarah Seelye, moderator of the Representative Town Meeting for almost the past three years, is resigning from the RTM and moving to Fairfield to be closer to her new job.
“I really thought I was going to be staying in Darien,” Seelye said in an interview Monday morning, “but my job [in commercial real estate] takes me farther from town.” Seelye said some meetings in Town Hall take place during the day, when she’ll now be at work.
“I made the decision I couldn’t do both the way I wanted to, and I couldn’t be half in and half out,” she said.
The RTM Rules Committee, which Seelye chairs as moderator, will meet Monday night. Seelye’s resignation is on the agenda. The panel is empowered to choose a moderator for the next few meetings, until a new term starts after the November election, and the RTM as a whole chooses the moderator.
Seelye has been moderator since November 2012, when Karen Armour left the post. “Karen took me under her wing for a year, and she was such a great tutor and she was such a great role model, too,” Seelye said.
Seelye and her family have lived in Darien for the past 28 years, both on Edgehill Road for a few years, then on Siwanoy Road for more than two decades. She and her husband, Ted, raised two boys and a girl, now all in their twenties.
She started on the RTM 10 years ago, a petition candidate from District 2, and immediately was assigned to the Town Government Structure and Administration Committee, where she worked on various proposals to amend the Town Charter and Code of Ordinances. When Armour decided to step down, Seelye said she was approached to replace her.
Seelye declined to discuss any particular changes the RTM made while she was a member or moderator, either ones she was particularly happy about or even the most important.
“For every issue that came before us, it was not a matter of whether I approved it or I didn’t — it was a matter of making sure the information was there so people could make informed decisions.”
One thing she won’t miss, she said, was “when I had to stand at the podium to announce that a former or present RTM member had passed away.” The recent passing of Gene Coyle, a longtime RTM member, broke her heart, she said.
“Being moderator, you get to see the big picture, and you just get to see how hard so many people work in various posts,” she said. “It takes a coordinated effort” to get things done in town government, she said.
Seelye said she was particularly impressed with Town Clerk Donna Rajczewski, the chief administrative aide to the Representative Town Meeting. “Donna is one of those unsung heroes,” she said. “The amount of work that she does behind the scenes is tremendous.”