Nowacki, Williams make fall ballot
Published 12:00 am, Thursday, August 13, 2015
Retired media advertising executive Michael Nowacki and Town Councilman E. Roger Williams, a media executive, have successfully submitted signatures to get on the November ballot to run for first selectman and town council, respectively.
With New Canaan Democrats declining to nominate a candidate to challenge First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, Nowacki, running as an unaffiliated candidate, will be the lone candidate taking on the Republican incumbent.
Nowacki, who dropped out of the first selectman race against Mallozzi in 2013, identified himself recently as the responsible person for pressing concerns about the financial management of the Board of Education to be aired by the Town Audit Committee. Last month, Nowacki incorporated a lobbying group named the New Canaan Taxpayers Association LLC to lobby for greater financial transparency in town government.
Issues Nowacki brought to the audit committee that prompted a review by the group included questions about the compensation in the contract for the district’s new finance director, and the financial impact of offering free tuition to the children of New Canaan educators who live out of town.
Nowacki said he is running to be a voice for what he sees as a lack of overall diligence and stewardship of town taxpayer dollars. He pledged to reduce property taxes in town by 5 percent in the 2016-17 fiscal year by better managing health care costs, better enforcing fines and sanctions under the Town Charter, and restructuring the teachers contract.
“My campaign for first selectman will be designed to respect the intelligence of the voters and to enlighten them about what they don’t know is hurting them as taxpayers,” Nowacki said in a prepared statement released about his candidacy.
Outlining his platform, Nowacki said he would work to change the current teachers contract to remove stipends paid for administering after-school activities. Students would pay a student activity fee to cover extracurriculars, shifting the cost of the programs that are now covered by tax dollars.
Nowacki is a 1974 graduate from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the university in 1975, with an emphasis on public relations.
Williams, who will run for a second term on the Town Council, said town residents urged him to stay in the race after he was not endorsed by the Republican Town Committee. Williams said he believes he offers a voice of fiscal restraint on the Town Council who has offered thoughtful criticisms and concerns about the town’s pattern of increased spending.
With a $90 million five-year capital projects plan, rising employee health care costs, and the near exhaustion of town reserve funds, Williams said town taxpayers could face property taxes that are 50 percent higher in half a decade.
“I don’t know anybody whose income is rising by 50 percent in the next six years,” Williams said. “I don’t know anyone who believes 50 percent higher taxes will help real estate values or make it easier for people to sell their homes in town. We just need to take a step back and look at the needs of the town that are affordable.”