According to early records, the first Town Meeting in Greenwich was held on February 5, 1664. Its purpose was to request the General Assembly to make Greenwich a town separate from Stamford. On May 11, 1665 Greenwich was made a town.
Creation of Representative Town Meeting
As time passed, increasing population made it impossible for all the townspeople to assemble for the Town Meeting. In 1933, Greenwich adopted the representative town meeting as its legislative unit. Every two years Greenwich residents elect fellow citizens to serve in the Representative Town Meeting.
Today's RTM consists of 230 members elected by the voters in the town's 12 districts. RTM delegates run on a non-partisan basis, serve without compensation, and are elected for a two year term.
Among the historical highlights of actions taken by the RTM were the April 1940 acceptance of what is now called Binney Park, the 1944 purchase of Tod's Point, the February 1946 opposition to the United Nation's location in Greenwich, the October 1953 acceptance of the gift of the Montgomery Pinetum, and the March 1966 approval of funds for the new Greenwich High School.
Only elected representatives may vote, but in the tradition of early town meetings, any citizen may attend, is urged to attend, and may request an opportunity to speak. It is customary to alert the moderator ahead of time, but it is not necessary.
Almost all RTM delegates serve on a committee or a subcommittee. All votes on substantive matters are recorded, by delegate name, and are available to the public for inspection at the Town Clerk's office and in the online archives for each meeting.
In the over fifty years since the Representative Town Meeting first met, Greenwich has grown to a population of about 60,000 people and has expenditures which have swelled to over $200 million dollars. The RTM's history closely reflects the growth and changes in the character of Greenwich.