We're b-a-a-ack! Entire Board of Selectmen to seek re-election
Published 4:59 pm, Wednesday, May 13, 2015
It looks like there will be some familiar names on the ballot come Election Day. All three members of the Board of Selectmen -- Rob Mallozzi, Nick Williams and Beth Jones -- announced on Monday that they will run for the body once again this November.
Mallozzi, who is seeking a third term as the first selectman, and Williams, who is seeking a third term as selectman, made their bids official at a New Canaan Republican Town Committee meeting Monday might.
Jones acknowledged her intentions to run during a phone interview after the RTC meeting.
All three members of the bipartisan board said they'd be happy to continue working as a unit if re-elected.
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"A lot of people have good ideas," Mallozzi said. "The difference, I feel, is Nick and I and Beth and the people on the town council and Board of Finance are really good at execution. Sometimes people lose sight of that, but that's really, really important."
Other posts up for grabs this fall include six seats on the town council and four seats on the Board of Education.
Mallozzi told members of New Canaan's Republican Town Committee that he was very happy in the job and felt he, Williams, and Jones were a good working team.
"We're going to run again," Mallozzi said. "We have an unbelievably great working relationship and made a lot of inroads in the community."
Mallozzi said that during his two terms as chief elected official, the town government has seen more than 70 new volunteers join town boards and commissions, reflecting a wider group of people involved in the process of governing the town.
"I just think it is a real credit to you folks and a real credit to us and one of the measures of which I am most proud," Mallozzi said of the new volunteers.
Williams said it was an "honor and privilege" to represent New Canaan, calling it a unique community.
Williams and Mallozzi said they want to continue applying more stringent control of town spending, in particular because the town faces major outlays for projects to expand downtown parking and revamp and expand Saxe Middle School.
"There are two big reasons people love New Canaan, which are the beauty of the town and its character and also, secondly, the schools," Williams said of the Saxe project.
Mallozzi, who served multiple terms as a selectman before being elected first selectman in 2010, said the town's more comprehensive budgeting process has improved its financial condition.
"What we've done, I think, is just spend a great deal of time hands-on really working with the finance department, bringing it up to a level you'd see in a major corporation in terms of processes," Mallozzi said. "Mostly stuff people in this town would find normal that wasn't happening."
The town also has made progress in labor agreements by negotiating more moderate wage increases, reforming pension plans for employees and raising the cap on retiree health care costs, he said.
Mallozzi said while the need to maintain or improve town- owned buildings is substantial, he would prefer private, rather than town funding, help save and revamp the downtown's playhouse, which needs $2.1 million in renovations and upgrades.
Mallozzi said he is looking to advance plans to add a tier to the Locust Avenue municipal lot this summer, citing it as an example of a self-sustaining project which can pay for itself by permit fees.
"When you see a $90 million capital plan, I'm thinking about ways you mitigate that number," Mallozzi said. "But what I mean by that is we have a Triple A credit rating, meaning the credit folks would probably let us borrow $180 million. The ability of this town to borrow is, quite frankly, infinite, and could lead to trouble down the road so I'm very cognizant of that."
Jones, a Democrat whose family has been in town for four generations, said she feels she is in part a voice for keeping taxes manageable and the interests of the town's less-wealthy residents.
The three incumbents all possess valuable perspectives, she said.
"Nick is a commuter and has a commuter sensibility and part of the financial community, and Rob has been a downtown merchant for years and brings that perspective," Jones said. "I bring the perspective of someone whose family has lived here for generations and that not everyone who lives here has loads of money."
Jones said if re-elected, she hopes to push forward work to establish a master plan for 250-acre Waveny Park to avoid ill-considered encroachments by development to one of the town's most distinctive assets.
"If we had a plan in place that was agreed upon, it would save a lot of difficulty whenever someone in town thinks they want an ice rink or a senior living facility and they think of using Waveny," Jones said. "We should have a plan, but we don't even really have good maps of what parcels are actually designated park land."
It was not clear Monday whether anyone intends to run against the incumbents in either party.
Prospective Republican candidates for the Board of Selectmen, Town Council, and the Board of Education must submit petitions signed by at least 25 New Canaan Republican voters by 4:30 p.m. June 16. The petitions must be hand-delivered to Town Clerk Claudia Weber, at the New Canaan Town Hall, 77 Main St.