Leading • Caring • Results

Board of Finance

OUR CANDIDATES

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Andrew Okrongly & Mike Rettger

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PLATFORM


LEADING

Provide effective and fiscally responsible management of the Town’s operating and capital budgets

  • Encourage the efficient delivery of municipal and school services through thoughtful budget development and effective oversight
  • Seek to keep Ridgefield tax increases to a minimum while delivering the level of municipal and school services desired by residents
  • Utilize budget surpluses in excess of the target reserve levels for future tax relief

CARING

Help ensure that Ridgefield remains a great place to live for current residents and an attractive destination for potential future residents

  • Secure Ridgefield’s ability to plan for and invest in the future by demonstrating prudent financial management and by preserving the Town’s low-cost reserve structure
  • Balance the views and perspectives of the taxpayers and other Town Boards to ensure budget decisions are made with the interests of all Ridgefield residents in mind

RESULTS

Protect Ridgefield’s AAA financial credit rating

  • Continue to fund the Town’s “rainy day” reserve at a target level of 8%-9% of annual spending
  • Assure that long-term borrowing is used appropriately, for suitable investments in and necessary maintenance of Town infrastructure
  • Continue to maintain the confidence of bond rating agencies through demonstrated effective budget management and efficient Town operations


Andrew Okrongly

About

Andrew Okrongly is a native Ridgefielder with over ten years of experience in the financial services industry. Andrew grew up in Ridgefield, attended Ridgefield Public Schools, and was a 2006 graduate of Ridgefield High School. He and his wife Mariah Hutchings Okrongly, who also grew up in Ridgefield, recently relocated back to Ridgefield from Brooklyn with their daughter, Joan.

Andrew is a Director at Commonfund, an independent asset management firm located in Wilton, CT serving nonprofit institutions. Andrew works with educational organizations and foundations as an Outsourced Chief Investment Officer, providing comprehensive financial advisory services and managing the strategic asset allocation of global investment portfolios. Prior to joining Commonfund in 2019, Andrew was a Vice President at BlackRock in New York and London.

Andrew currently volunteers on two Town Committees. In 2020 Andrew was appointed to the Ridgefield Arts Council, where he currently serves as Treasurer, helping to support and promote local artists and art organizations. Andrew was also recently appointed to the Ridgefield Pension Commission in 2021. In this capacity he is involved with the oversight and governance of the Town’s pension plans.

Andrew’s education includes a Bachelor of Business Administration with Distinction from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has also earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Why I'm Running

My wife Mariah and I decided in 2019 to move back to Ridgefield, where we both grew up. It was more than family ties and the familiar Main Street that brought us back – although they did play a big part. It was understanding the strength of the community that raised us. And in our coming back I took on a responsibility to ensure that I give right back to Ridgefield what it gave to me.

Serving on the Ridgefield Arts Council, Pension Commission, and Board of Finance has given me a new appreciation for all of the effort that goes into running our Town’s government. These opportunities have also introduced me to individuals, businesses, and cultural organizations that contribute to making Ridgefield such a special place.

Ridgefield’s financial position is strong, with a solid fund reserve, well-funded pension system, and a AAA credit rating. Ridgefield Public Schools are consistently ranked among the best in the state. We have a vibrant Main Street and Ridgefield is Connecticut’s first “Cultural District”. These attributes and more will attract the next generation of residents to Town.

As a member of the Board of Finance, I will bring my 10+ years of experience in the financial services industry to ensure that prudent financial decision making continues to move our Town forward. Additionally, I will listen to the views and perspectives of other Boards, committees, and taxpayers to ensure decisions are made in the best interests of all Ridgefield residents.

As a recent appointee to the Board of Finance in July 2021, I am respectfully asking for your vote so that I may continue to serve our community in this critical role.

I am honored to be running with incumbent Mike Rettger. I hope you will support us both by voting Line A on November 2nd.

Mike Rettger

About

A resident of Ridgefield since 1992, Michael Rettger brings a mix of senior business roles in the financial services industry together with experience in the financial workings of Ridgefield town government to his position on the Board of Finance.

Mike retired in 2015 as a Senior Vice-president from General Reinsurance Corporation in Stamford, after 31 years in a wide range of leadership roles, including division operating officer, business design and implementation manager for several corporate IT systems, and chief operating officer for several small business units. Prior to joining General Re, Mike worked as an insurance regulator, where he was involved in public policy initiatives including anti-redlining legislation.

Mike served as Assistant Treasurer for the Town from 2016 to 2019, serving as backup for the Town Treasurer, and working with the Town Controller.  In this volunteer role, he contributed to the update of the Town’s investment policy for non-pension assets, and to the implementation of a formal credit policy for Town bank deposits. From 2017 to 2020, Mike also served on the Town’s Pension Commission, where he was involved in the oversight of the pension plan’s asset structure and performance and the on-going development of investment policies.  He has previously served as a member of the Town’s Insurance and Risk Management advisory committee.

Mike’s education includes a BA in Economics from Michigan State University and an MS in Resource Economics and Public Policy from Cornell University.  He has also earned the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Volunteer service has always been important to Mike.  During his time in Ridgefield, he has served on the boards of the Westmoreland Homeowners’ Association, the Great Pond Club, and Ridgefield Little League.  He was co-chair of the Refugee Resettlement Committee – Ridgefield, and has served with the AARP TaxAide program in Ridgefield and Bethel. He has been a Ridgefield Open Space Ranger for over 25 years. He is currently a member of the Community Advisory Board for WSHU Public Radio in Fairfield.

Mike and his wife Terry have three children, all of whom grew up in the Ridgefield school system.  Terry works as a bookseller at Books on the Common.  Terry has served as a member of the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals since November 2017.

Why I'm Running

Ridgefield is a wonderful place to live, as I have enjoyed doing for nearly 30 years.  We have a tremendous community spirit, strong and effective schools, and a solid infrastructure of roads and recreation facilities.  Ridgefield offers a wide range of cultural and recreational opportunities for both residents and visitors from near and far, along with an extensive base of restaurants and other businesses that enhance the Ridgefield experience.

Underlying these attributes are the strong dimensions of the Town’s finances.  With the Board of Finance’s oversight, Town operations have been efficiently managed, and our schools continue to produce well-educated and well-rounded students at a per-pupil cost significantly lower than that of comparable communities.  Through prudent capital management, Ridgefield for many years has maintained the highest AAA credit rating, at a reserve cost meaningfully lower than similar towns.  Taken as a whole, this financial picture is one of the reasons, in addition to good schools and a strong community feel, that makes Ridgefield an attractive place to live – all of which contribute to a strong housing market and solid tax base.

My broad work experience combined with my prior service in several volunteer Town roles have helped me to make effective contributions to the Board’s budget deliberations and on-going oversight of Town finances.  I am an active listener and I will continue to work collaboratively with my fellow BOF members and with other town leaders to achieve budgets that balance the views of the taxpayer as both the consumer of Town services and the source of budget revenues.  I have worked hard to expand my perspective as a member of the Board of Finance, serving as the BOF representative to the Board of Education’s Covid Response Task Force last summer, and currently as a member of the Tri-Board subcommittee working to structure a process for community input on the use of Ridgefield’s federal American Recovery Plan funds.

I ask your support for my re-election on November 2nd, to enable me to continue to serve you and our community in this important role.

I am also very pleased to be running with my fellow BOF incumbent Andrew Okrongly. I hope you will support us both by voting Line A on November 2nd.


Election day is November 2nd, 2021


Leading • Caring • Results