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Campbell's Goal: Finish 'Shuffle'

First Selectman David Campbell jokes that his job is so hectic he sometimes wants to throw his Blackberry into the ocean. But before jettisoning his PDA and leaving office, there's one piece of unfinished business he wants to complete.

"We would really like to get the shuffle project done," said Campbell, referring to Darien's plan to move the Board of Education offices and the Senior Center. The Senior Center will go to Town Hall, and the old Senior Center on Edgerton Street will be razed to make way for affordable seniors housing. And the Board of Education goes to the site of the old library at 35 Leroy Ave.

"The current Senior Center has been neglected for far too long," said Campbell. The Board of Selectman voted 3-2 in favor of going ahead with this plan. The next step, he says, is getting architectural fees approved by the Board of Finance, which he hopes to accomplish next week. "This is by far the most cost-effective approach."

Campbell grew up in Darien and is president and CEO of Ring's End Lumber, one of the biggest employers in town. His wife also grew up in Darien, and the couple has four children. Campbell said he wanted to run for first selectman because he was tired of the partisan bickering going on in town.

"Everything you read just had so much negative energy," he said. "The general tone of the town was divided. Not enough was getting accomplished."

He believes the dynamics have changed since he took over, and that his office is working to get along with other commissions. He likes working with people in the town.

"There are a lot of very good town employees," he said, "and it's been a lot of fun getting to work with them."

Campbell wants to get the shuffle project done before his term ends in a year. He is not sure at this time whether or not he will run for reelection.

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