I’m certain that many among us will eulogize George Tuffin. I’m one of them but am interested in emphasizing one not so evident thing that he did for Granby.
Shortly after moving to Granby in 1960, George was elected by his neighbors to be Granby’s first unpaid first selectman under the town’s new charter. His selection may have been due in part to George seemingly knowing everyone in town and considering each of us his good friends.
Being new to town and the New England “way” of things, it was sufficient for me to know that someone was in charge of “Granby, a well-managed town” as it was described in some promotional materials. Early participation in Granby’s budget town meetings quickly revealed that George had his challenges back then! There seemed to be no consensus. Many of us were at each other’s throats and all seemed to suspect that the boards of selectmen, education, and finance were out to bankrupt us all or not support necessary programs! George managed well as first selectman. We continued to progress as a town after George handed off Granby’s leadership.
I learned my lesson from George a couple of decades later as a member of an elected board. I’m sure that many remember the George and Otis (Adams) show at every annual budget town meeting. It was not time to cut off debate and put the budget to a vote until after George had his opportunity to remark thoughtfully and forcefully as to his opinion on the proposal. But George also took the time to recognize the amount of work put into the budget and to thank those involved for their efforts. It’s hard to be nasty and accusatory as a follow up to George! He put decorum into our political process just by being himself!
Today, Granby is recognized as one of the best managed towns in Connecticut. While we citizens may disagree, our disagreements are generally civil and argued with mutual respect. As far as I am concerned, George had a lot to do with this maturation of Granby as that “well managed Connecticut Town.” His example taught us the right way to treat each other.
I missed his input when he was no longer able to make it to the Town Meeting and I miss him more now that he’s gone.