New Canaan residents will vote in a municipal election Nov. 5. The Town Council race is the only contested election except for town treasurer.
There are six seats up for grabs and eight candidates. Two of the four seats must be held by Democrats, in accordance with the Town Charter, which states that the majority party can have a maximum of two-thirds of the seats. Three Democrats are running, however, hoping to take more than just their minimum representation. Roy Abramowitz is running as a petitioning candidate.
The New Canaan News asked each candidate the same two questions:
1) What in your background qualifies you to serve on the Town Council?
2) What is your main issue next term and how do you plan to tackle it?
Roy Abramowitz (R)
Profession: Accountant, Roy A. Abramowitz and Co.
Civic involvement: Board of directors of Greenwich Council of the Boy Scouts of America, chairman of its audit committee, member of its executive, finance and investment and nominating committee; member of the New Canaan Office of Emergency Management; New Canaan Fire Company volunteer firefighter; member of the New Canaan and Fairfield County Red Cross disaster team; chairman emeritus of the New Canaan Tree Board; treasurer of the Starlight Children's Foundation of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, and chairman emeritus of its audit committee; treasurer of the New Canaan Peter Wojteki Veterans Foundation.
1) I have shown and proven that my 43 years of financial experience and expertise, leadership and managerial experience is needed to fill a void on the Town Council. I care about our town, your family and you. I stand by my record of achievement and commitment to the community.
2) As a CPA, forensic auditor and manager I will mandate efficient utilization of town resources, rigorous financial management, proper budgeting and forecasting to stabilize the town property tax rate. I will openly listen to the voices of all constituents, in a bi-partisan manner, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability.
Kathleen Corbet (D)
Profession: Founder, Cross Ridge Capital
Civic involvement: New Canaan Best Practices in Municipal Budgeting, committee chairman 2008; candidate for town treasurer, 2011 municipal election; Collective Bargaining Negotiation Team, 2010; justice of the peace, 2009 to present; New Canaan League of Women Voters board member, 2007 to 2009; New Canaan Community Foundation, board of directors, 2012 to present, finance and investment committees; New Canaan, Board of Finance, member and board secretary, 2006 to 2010; New Canaan Senior Health Technology and Tele-Health Committee, 2011 to present; New Canaan Senior Health Care and Housing Policy Development Committee, 2010 to 2011; New Canaan Town Hall Building Committee, 2012 to present; New Canaan interim chief financial officer, 2012.
1) My qualifications include over 30 years of professional and civic experience in investments, technology, financial management and board governance -- including having served our community on the Board of Finance, the New Canaan Community Foundation, the Senior HealthCare and TeleHealth committees, Town Hall Building Committee and as New Canaan's interim CFO.
2) Financial responsibility and transparency are the main concerns shared by New Canaan citizens. I will help lead efforts to establish 1) an audit committee, and 2) a comprehensive budget analysis of how tax dollars are allocated for ongoing operations and capital expenditure priorities -- today and over a five-year horizon.
John Engel (R)
Profession: Realtor, Brotherhood & Higley.
Civic involvement: Town Council; New Canaan Land Trust; Rotary Club.
1) The most important quality is the ability to be empathetic, to listen to community needs and respond with some sensitivity. The position requires one to work well with others, negotiate and form consensus in order to get things done. My experience shows I bring those qualities and an open mind.
2) Maintain property values with great schools and low taxes. We need natural gas lines and better cell service in this town. Both of these will affect every resident every day of our lives. I will work with experts on the Utilities Commission to make these happen sooner than later.
Sven Englund (D)
Profession: Technical director, DRS Consolidated Controls Inc.
Civic involvement: New Canaan Fire Co. No. 1, 1978 to present, positions served include assistant chief and president; Old Faithful Antique Fire Engine Association, 1978 to present, serves as chief mechanic; serves on the Fire Commission since his appointment in 2006.
1) After 55 years in town I think I can bring a long-term view to the deliberations of the Town Council. Over the years I have worked with many of the other council members on a variety of public issues and events.
2) My aim is to represent you on the Town Council during a budget season that will be especially difficult due to new re-assessments we will receive. I will seek your input so that together we can make wise decisions on expenditure priorities in order to maintain a vibrant New Canaan.
Kevin Moynihan (R)
Profession: Lawyer, Merrill Lynch, retired.
Civic involvement: Vice chairman of the Republican Town Council; member of the board of directors of the New Canaan Community Foundation and for Getabout Inc.; New Canaan Senior Health Care and Housing Policy Development Committee member; former member of the National Finance Committee for Romney for President.
1) My 35-year career as a corporate attorney gives me the skills, knowledge and experience to be an effective Council member in overseeing town government. My experience includes ethics and governance, finance, contracts, employment law, pensions and employee benefits, government regulation and technology -- all subjects with which town government must deal.
2) My priority is to maintain excellence in schools, public facilities and local government services while maintaining fiscal responsibility and accountability. I will be prudent and respectful of taxpayers' willingness and ability to pay for local services. I will be diligent on behalf of taxpayers to assure dollars are spent wisely.
Jeanne Rozel (D)
Profession: Realtor, Halstead Property
Civic involvement: President of the New Canaan Board of Realtors; director of the Connecticut Board of Realtors; New Canaan Assessment Board of Appeals; Zoning Board of Appeals, alternate; chaired the committee that raised the Center School bell at the corner of Maple Street and South Avenue; volunteer in the New Canaan public schools and at St. Luke's; Girl Scout volunteer for more than 35 years, honored with the Girl Scouts' prestigious "Thanks Award."
1) Since coming to New Canaan 38 years ago I have been a constant volunteer. For 22 of those years, I have been a Realtor helping people settle into our town. Activities from town boards to schools and scouting have given me an interest in helping build toward our future.
2) I think I need the experience of a year as a contributing Town Council member to understand the process. However, some of my interests include the schools, open access of sports facilities, town center enhancements and improved parks and field maintenance.
William Walbert (R)
Profession: Financial services, Walbert Capital Management
Civic involvement: Former president of both the New Canaan Community Foundation and Rotary Club of New Canaan; board member of the Gridiron Club.
1) I am a numbers guy ... engineer, MBA, Wall Street finance. Looking at issues empirically is something that every business partner or owner understands. I have held various leadership roles, and while I am a new face in town government, I have working relationships with many town employees and volunteers.
2) Management best practices: Getting the best services for every dollar spent. In some ways, it means treating government like a business. In other ways, it means embracing the constraints of government -- rather than fighting them -- in searching for the best possible solutions.
Penelope Young (R)
Civic involvement: Elected member of Town Council; serves on Audit, Ordinance, General Government, Public Safety, Public Works committees; chairman of Tax Relief, Seniors & Disabled and Charter Review; spearheaded development of Lapham Community Center; executive committee/strategic planning at Waveny LifeCare Network; League of Women Voters, secretary; New Canaan Beautification League, past president; Connecticut Area Agencies on Aging, president; gubernatorial appointee to the Connecticut Commission on Aging; Norwalk Community College Human Services Advisory Committee; board member, Stamford Symphony and Yankee Institute for Public Policy
1) I represent all ages and interests of the community through my involvement in the schools and leadership in a broad range of community organizations (local and statewide) and various initiatives I have initiated or supported (Lapham Community Center). Extensive service on Town Council committees and projects provides valuable institutional knowledge.
2) Contain the cost of government without sacrificing services or the high quality school system expected by our citizens ... Supported by Best Practices recommended by the Council of Small Towns, I am working closely with the municipal and school administrations to establish cost and operational efficiencies within and between them.
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