Who will lead tomorrow?
The latest (click here for story) is that Mayor Bingham and his administrative assistant, Stephen Nocera, have changed their minds in the face of taxpayer protest, and have revoked their $11,500 request for tuition payments. They plan to pay their own way for grad school courses at UConn.
Obviously, they get and most everyone gets why there was a backlash to this. When city and school services are being cut, taxes in this state are outrageous, and cost of living increases in other areas ($4.23 a gallon when I filled my tank last night on East Main Street) are out of control.
My question, though, is what does this say about how the region must adapt to a new generation of leadership?
Ryan Bingham is one of the youngest mayors ever elected in Connecticut, in what is the oldest county in the state.
Is he a once-in-a-few-decades anomaly, or can we cultivate other young people to step into roles of leadership in public service, business and charity in Northwest Connecticut?
As a politician, Mayor Bingham might have misread the tuition request issue, but as policy, how are we going to compete against job offers that our young people receive from Boston, Manhattan and elsewhere?
Are we behind the times in knowing what 20-somethings and 30-somethings need and demand from the workplace today in terms of technology, benefits, flexibility and ... yes, continuing education and career development in the form of things like tuition reimbursement?
The Bingham-Nocera tuition reimbursement controversy is dead, and it probably should be.
But the community does need to talk about how to engage, challenge and retain its best and brightest.
Here's the good news: The Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce is forming a new group to explore just that topic.
The first meeting of its Young Professionals Forum will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday at the Chamber office at 333 Kennedy Drive in Torrington. Call 860-482-6586 for more information or RSVP online by clicking here.