First Selectman Jeb Walker will not seek re-election
Updated 10:51 am, Thursday, April 14, 2011
UPDATE - 10:48 a.m.
First Selectman Jeb Walker has announced that he will not seek re-election as the First Selectman of New Canaan this November.
"For all sorts of different reasons that have nothing to do with how I feel about this job, I have decided to move on," Walker told the New Canaan News. "[My wife] and I have been talking about this from all sorts of perspectives for some time now."
After Rob Mallozzi announced his candidacy in early March, Walker said that he would not announce any decision relating to his plans until after that budget process was complete. As expected with the budget process ending with Town Council's meeting Wednesday, Walker made the decision to not seek a third term as the town's highest official and instead will support Paul Giusti for the role.
"I have been blessed with a lot of great things my whole life," Walker said. "I loved everything I did here but it is just time to do something else. Whatever that may be."
While Walker looked ahead to his uncertain future after November, he took a moment to discuss his accomplishments with New Canaan.
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"I am very proud of some of our many accomplishments over the last four years, most especially, the joint Board of Selectmen, Town Council, Board of Education and Board of Finance task forces Dr. (Mark) DeWaele [Town Council chairman] and I convened in the summer of 2008, which lead to a revitalized budget process," he said in a statement. "This has helped the town reduce spending and manage taxes in the most difficult economic environment during my lifetime."
With all of that behind him, Walker still has seven months remaining this term and he does not intend on losing steam he said. One of the foremost priorities for Walker will be to continue the efforts of the Long Range Planning initiative, the Market Demand Study and the Senior Health Care and the Housing Policy Development Team's examination of implementation alternatives effort.
In a statement issued Thursday morning, Mallozzi thanked Walker for his service, both as chairman of the Park and Recreation Commission and as first selectman, and said he looks forward to working with Walker throughout the end of the term.
"As chairman of the South West Regional Planning Agency, he served our region and Fairfield County with distinction. I am sure the community is grateful for his dedication and commitment to public service," Mallozzi said.
Additionally, Walker stressed "an intensified effort to increase public awareness of the need for greater civility in our town."
"It wasn't always easy," Walker said about being First Selectman and the associated criticisms that can sometimes accompany the position. "But one thing I knew was that if you were being honest then you have nothing to worry about."
Walker also hopes to complete mutually beneficial contracts with the police and fire unions as well as improve the sue of information technology to increase the effectiveness of and efficiency of town services.
"I shall greatly miss the sense of accomplishment and purpose this position has given me and camaraderie that working with all town bodies provides," he concluded in the statement. "However, I shall most miss the day-to-day pleasure of working with an outstanding group of town employees who do their best every day to serve the people of New Canaan."