Letters to the Editor
Disdain on failure
to disclose award
At the May 18 Town Council meeting, I was shocked to learn that certain members of our town government had failed to disclose a major arbitration damage award of $650,000 against the town in connection with the Lakeview Avenue bridge project. This sobering financial information had been available since February and should have been shared with all members of town government. The chairman of the Town Council (Dr. Mark DeWaele) knew about it on March 28, but failed to tell the Town Council before its crucial final vote on the town budget on April 13. The Board of Finance even voted to bond the award a few weeks ago. This appears to be a violation of the Town Charter.
The discussion at the special Town Council meeting this Monday was obviously skewed to bring attention to the cost of the legal strategy recommended to and approved by the Board of Selectmen. Please note that we, the Board of Selectmen, were defending the town against a $1 million-plus charge. We followed a professionally advised legal strategy brought to us by our First Selectman's office, CFO, DPW department head and town attorney that we were told would protect the town against our adversary's claim. We lost in arbitration and are justifiably outraged by that decision. That was not our intention.
The main concern continues to be with the unresolved question regarding how could $650,000 for damages to a contractor have been paid without the approval of the town bodies? Further, one would have to question the legality of the action taken by the Board of Finance; they voted unanimously in favor of the bond. These questions still demand answers.
The outcome of the Town Council meeting was predictable -- a public official takes "full responsibility," promises he will never do it again and a special committee is formed to investigate the process break-down to make sure it never happens again. Like many of you, I am tired of this scenario.
My promise to you: As your first selectman, I will never spend money that has not been appropriated by all town bodies. We can do better, you deserve better and I will do better.
More InformationFact box
Rob Mallozzi III
I have read Paul Giusti's website and listened to public discussion of the town's financial position. In my capital markets work with banks, insurance companies and investors, I have heard and seen firsthand many of the terrible financial decisions made by municipalities -- I am thrilled to live in New Canaan where the current leadership has produced consistently conservative and thoughtful decisions in the stewardship of our financial future.
Our town has reduced debt, while many municipalities, including our own state, cannot meet the current spending levels without resorting to increased amounts of borrowed money; our 2 percent annual increase in spending is modest when compared with other governments that are increasing spending at much higher rates; and the most significant measure that preserves our future gains is the fully funded pension and the switch to a defined contribution plan for one of our public unions. This last change is limited to only a handful of the most progressive municipal leaders in this country and is a testament not only to the foresight of this leadership team, but its ability to negotiate with employees and continue the high quality of service delivery and worker morale that New Canaan residents enjoy. Paul has been a critical part of this leadership -- if he will give us more of this exemplary government, he has earned my vote.
Supporting the JDRF
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's first CATWALK was held May 19 at The Loading Dock in Stamford. Thank you to the Loading Dock for providing the setting for this event and making us all feel like we were at Fashion Week in NYC.
The Mitchell family has been a constant and generous supporter of JDRF over the years, and treated us to an exciting, fun and inspiring fashion show. Glenville Wine & Spirits in Greenwich generously donated all of the wine and beverages we enjoyed. Marybeth's Caterer's created a fun, innovative lunch that surprised all of our guests. Liza Iraci was the graphic designer who created our fashion illustration. Very lucky ladies won the handbags in our IT BAG raffle, some of which were donated by Dooney & Bourke, Mitchells|Richards and the Equinox, as well as our wonderful CATWALK committee.
Our wonderful committee deserves a huge round of applause for the members' hard work -- Janne Allam, Lisa Carpenter, Frosty Friedman, Karen Hauben, Annemarie Kretschmann, Molly Massie, Rosemary Roberto, Mimi Sternlicht, Suzanne Turner and Christine Winrow. Special thank you to all of the volunteers who made the day go so smoothly -- Joan Benz, Sue Campion, Margaux Knox, Erica Kretschmann, Catie Lynch, Marcia Maslo, Catherine O'Connell, Averill Roberto and Hayley Smith.
May is a crazy time of the year, and we also want to thank all of those who were not able to attend CATWALK, and yet sent in donations or bought raffle tickets. Words can not truly express how grateful we are to everyone who made CATWALK such a success. Thank you to all of our friends and family who attended.
Jennifer Fitzpatrick (Darien),
Jeanne Knox (Greenwich)
Susan Lynch (New Canaan)
Support for Giusti
We are very excited to support Paul Giusti for first selectman. New Canaan is a unique community, and we are all fortunate to be able to live here and to have a person of Paul's caliber willing to step up and serve this town as first selectman. Paul has a proven record of success as a businessman in his role as CEO of Brookstone Homes, one of the 200 largest home-building companies in the US. New Canaan has a budget of some $122 million, and needs a leader who has the ability to manage a business of that size and complexity. As a selectman for four years and most recently a member of the Board of Finance, Paul is very familiar with the needs of our community. All of the Republicans on the Board of Finance and seven of the eight members on the Town Council -- people who have seen his skills and contribution first hand -- are supporting his candidacy.
He is a true fiscal conservative. In the last four years, our town debt has been reduced by $19.5 million, as we pay off $8 to $11 million in debt each year. Our average increase in taxes has been only about 1.8 percent per year. We have done this while maintaining an outstanding quality of life for our residents, and excellence in our school system (ranked first in the state by Connecticut Magazine). Even as we are reducing our debt, we are investing in maintaining our infrastructure. This is the kind of financial leadership we need and that Paul will provide us in these difficult economic times.
Paul has promised to provide an outstanding education for our children, to maintain the character of our community and "to leave our town in better financial condition than we found it." Paul alone has the ability to deliver on those promises. Please get out and vote, and let's make Paul Giusti the Republican candidate for first selectman.
Dave and Sara Hunt
Re-elect Weber as clerk
I read with great pleasure Claudia Weber's announcement last week that she would be seeking re-election as Town Clerk of New Canaan. Claudia is diligent, conscientious, cooperative, personable and, above all, effective. Our town is fortunate to have a town clerk as experienced and qualified as Claudia.
I have been an attorney in New Canaan for more than 20 years. During the course of my work, I frequently have to visit the Town Clerk's Office in other towns. I have been able to compare New Canaan's Town Clerk's Office to other town clerk's offices. New Canaan's Town Clerk's Office measures up well -- both in terms of efficiency and temperament. Claudia and her staff do a tremendous job. They are well trained, courteous and always willing to provide assistance. Claudia and her staff are knowledgeable, respectful, prompt to offer service and thoroughly professional.
As an elected official, Claudia has demonstrated her respect for the oath she takes and as a consequence has displayed her allegiance to the people of New Canaan. Though a Republican, Claudia's independence in fulfilling her duties benefits all residents of New Canaan. I urge the people of New Canaan to re-elect her.
Rob for the job
To the Editor:
In the Letters to the Editor section of your May 13 paper, the leading titles highlighted one contribution, "Giusti is the man for the job," in support of Paul Giusti, and downplayed Rob Mallozzi by hiding a reasoned letter of support under an uninspiring title "Ex-commuter's wake-up call." This appears to be partisanship masquerading as journalism -- an editorial running free of an editorial section.
Both men are well qualified to serve as our first selectman. To me, and many of my fellow senior citizens, the difference appears to be between a politician interested in ever more powerful elected offices, including those beyond New Canaan, and a public servant truly dedicated to the welfare of our town with emphasis on fiscal responsibility.
Over the years, Rob's executive skill in organizing the Family Fourth celebrations, his dedication to his volunteer fireman's duties, the support he has given to our teenagers and the stands taken as our selectman emphasize in his words, "I love this town."
In every sense Rob is a "townie." He has served us well. We will be well served if we nominate and elect him to be our fist selectman for as long as he is willing to serve us.
Returning to the title mentioned above, it's "Rob for the Job."It must be true -- an effort was made to misappropriate it.
C. Craig Wright
Editor's Note: The author of the letter mentioned above included the title "Ex-commuter's wake-up call." Letters are published in the order received.
Kitchen tour huge success
To the Editor:
The sun was shining May 12 on the 19th annual New Canaan CARES Kitchen and Home tour. CARES appreciates the generosity of our homeowners who graciously opened their beautiful homes for the tour. The incredible variety made the event an adventure as each driveway led to something new and unique.
We thank our corporate sponsors who generously helped make our day such a wonderful success. A special mention goes to Juliska, Bontanica, Bon Fleur, The Linen Shop and Le Pain Quotidien for accent pieces used at some of the homes.
Heartfelt thanks and appreciation go to the event chairwomen, Doreen Conley, Elena Schlegel, Joni Schaefer, and their committee: Gitte Toft-Nielsen; Gerrie Musicco; Shawn Brennan; Pat Klapper; Susie Swindell; Marnie Miller; Donna Hill; Lisa Gaeta; Keelin Weiss; Katie Melland; Jennifer Skyrm; Barbara Dahill; Heather Rechtermann; Paula Sokolowski; Karen Newman; Lisa Popper; and Jeanna Shepard. Your countless hours of work are what led to this exceptional event. Additionally, the day ran seamlessly thanks to the many volunteers who staffed the tour, including William Raveis Real Estate and TD Bank employees and the National Charity Leagues.
And finally, a big thank you to our wonderful community. Your participation and involvement are what make our Kitchen and Home Tour the incredible success that it is. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts as 100% of the tour proceeds go directly to support New Canaan CARES' family, youth and community programs.
We hope you will keep the tradition going, see you all next year.
Maura R. Craig
Co-President, New Canaan CARES
Thanks to those involved with Gourmet Gathering
To the Editor:
On April 29, Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County held its annual Gourmet Gathering fundraiser. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all who attended and supported this event for the benefit of our home health and hospice patients.
We would especially like to thank our title sponsor, The Wilton Bank. We are most grateful to Nicki Brown and Charlie Howell and everyone at The Wilton Bank for their support, community spirit and exceptional generosity. Their philanthropic leadership serves as an inspiration to the entire community.
We would also like to acknowledge our corporate and individual sponsors: Carol and George Bauer; the law firm of Cohen and Wolf, PC.; Annie and Walter Rauscher; Mary and John Brock; Katherine and B.V. Brooks; Ray and Anne Groves; Hoyt Funeral Home and Cremation Services; Mercy Home Care; Dana and Al Nickel; Norwalk Hospital; People's United Bank; Pfizer Inc.; and Willis HRH.
Special thanks go to our honorary chair, Jane Powell, our marvelous jazz performer, Chris Coogan, and our exceptional emcee and auctioneer, Larry Comstock, along with our outstanding event chair, Carol Bauer.
Thanks too to the extraordinary team of community volunteers who served on our benefit committee. They are: Nicki Brown; Alison Comstock; Lila Griswold; Judy Higby; Anda Hutchins; Janet Lebovitz; Dana Nickel; JoEllen Oskin; Nancy Rauscher; Nancy Sayler; Anne Shaw; and Carlyn Tiefenthaler.
The collective effort and generous support of all involved made this Gourmet Gathering a most memorable and successful event and we are grateful to everyone who participated.
Sharon M. Bradley, RN, MSN, DNP
President and CEO
Karen Wackerman Myers