Pat Sesto named director of Greenwich Environmental Affairs Dept.

April 7, 2018 GMT

GREENWICH — Patricia Sesto, who has expanded duties and a new job title with the town of Greenwich, was officially introduced to the Conservation Commission in her new role on Thursday night.

Sesto, who formerly was the director of the Greenwich Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, is now the town’s director of environmental affairs. Sesto’s appointment to the newly created post came after Conservation Director Denise Savageau retired in February. That set in motion a long-deliberated plan to merge the posts and appoint one director to oversee both town departments.

“Patricia Sesto is an experienced environmental scientist and brings a wealth of knowledge to this newly established position,” First Selectman Peter Tesei said Friday afternoon after her position was officially announced. “Her professional career spans 30 years as she held the same role in the town of Wilton.”

Sesto served in the position in Wilton for 23 years, and she worked as a consultant for about eight years before that.

She characterized her experience as particularly relevant because Wetlands and Conservation are also separate entities in Wilton.

Sesto said she supports maintaining the organizational and budget-related set-up in Greenwich, despite fears from some that the Conservation Commission would be absorbed by IWWA.

“Wilton is set up now the same way Greenwich is set up, with a separate Wetlands and Conservation Commission — which I’m a huge advocate of seeing,” Sesto said. “In other towns, where conservation and wetlands are on the same board, the conservation is always squashed by statutory requirements because you always do what you have to do before what you want to do.”

Earlier this year, Tesei said the Conservation Commission and Wetlands Agency will continue to exist in their current forms, “where conservation has more programmatic role, versus wetlands, which is strictly prescribed.”

“Pat will be working closely with the IWWA and Conservation Commission to set priorities and advance the environmental programs in our community,” Tesei said. “I am pleased both agencies are supportive of Pat and showing enthusiasm in working with her in this new capacity.”

Greenwich residents can expect to see the Wetlands Agency and Conservation Commission function as they have in previous years, Sesto said Friday, although “it will be different, but the same. The same but different.

“Certainly Conservation will still have a good, strong, public presence,” said Sesto. “Denise was here for 20 years and she developed relationships within the community for many years, has been the face of Conservation — that is going to change. That’s inevitable when someone’s been here so long and accomplished so much. People will feel something different, that’s just the way it goes.

“But the core mission of the Commission doesn’t change,” she said. “How we will go about fulfilling that mission, public outreach, is the same.”

jturiano@greenwichtime.com; T: @jturianoGT; IG: @greenwichgreen