NORWALK, Conn. – A Norwalk woman who had been trying to get a Republican Party Board of Education nomination is instead being appointed to the Zoning Commission.
Political newcomer Linda Kruk has been appointed by Mayor Richard Moccia to fill the seat previously occupied by Democrat Adam Blank, who said last week that his vote last year on a “big box amendment” has resulted in the mayor’s refusal to reappoint him.
“The mayor wanted people on the Zoning Commission that he can control,” Blank said. “I was going to remain independent.”
The Common Council will vote on the appointment Tuesday evening. If approved, her term will run from July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2016.
Kruk was one of five potential BOE candidates vying for four slots on the ballot. All the potential candidates addressed the Republican Town Committee on June 20. On July 1, the field had been narrowed to four candidates, sources said. RTC Chairman Art Scialabba refused to confirm that, but said in an email, “I can say that it appears that we will avoid a primary fight.”
In selling herself last month, Kruk said she always gives her best effort in an effort to leave things better than they were before her involvement.
“Whenever I have had the chance to serve in my community, it has always been in service to schools – throughout my entire life,” said Kruk, who has lived in Norwalk for five years.
District E Chairwoman Kelly Straniti announced at the meeting that her district’s endorsements for the BOE did not include Kruk.
Kruk said Sunday that she had stepped out of the BOE in deference to the other candidates.
“I’m not political,” she said. “So I felt, if there were four other individuals with a desire to do it, I was willing to step aside.”
On Sunday, she said the mayor asked her to serve on the commission.
“The mayor asked me to participate,” she said. “I told him that if he needed my help, I was willing to assist.”
Moccia said last year that he always tries out new volunteers on the Fair Rent Commission to see how they do before moving them on to other commissions or boards. He said he had started on the Fair Rent Commission, and felt that was a good way to check out a person’s performance, given that it involves a lot of involvement with the public.
NancyOnNorwalk sent the mayor an email Saturday asking what Kruk’s qualifications were to be on the Zoning Commission.
“Read her resume,” he replied.
He subsequently forwarded a July 17 email from Scialabba that had Kruk’s resume attached.
Asked if he had seen the resume prior to the appointment, he replied, “I had a personal meeting with Linda. I had read her resume when she first had talked about the Board of Ed but had not kept a copy. It is the mayor’s appointment. Mrs. Kruk is interested in serving the city and I am confident that she will a good job.”
Kruk’s resume is attached below.
While the resume reflects her experience in the IT field, there is nothing that indicates any tangible experience or education in the area of land use or zoning law. Kruk describes herself as an accomplished manager, agile multitasker and skilled researcher who “takes the time to read, absorb and apply critical thinking which produces solid solutions to complex problems.”
She works in Information Technology and has been the owner and principal of LSA Consulting LLC since 2003, the resume says. She has been doing IT consulting to a medical firm in that capacity.
Blank is an attorney with Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin and Kuriansky in Stamford. The company’s website describes him as a civil litigator whose practice includes commercial litigation and real estate-based litigation, including land use and tax appeal litigation. He has been selected by New England Super Lawyers Magazine and Connecticut Magazine for inclusion in Super Lawyers-Rising Stars – Edition 2012.
He said he had hoped to serve on the commission for three more years, and assist in revising some zoning regulations.
Zoning Commissioner Mike Mushak brought up Blank’s departure from the commission at the end of the July 11 Zoning Committee meeting, making assertions that prompted Chairwoman Emily Wilson to adjourn the meeting. Other commissioners said that Blank was a good member.
“I was shocked” to hear Blank was not reappointed, Commissioner Michael O’Reilly said.
That recording is below.
Blank said Moccia contacted him about a year ago before the vote on the zoning change that was widely described as a “Big Box Amendment,” as it revised the minimum height requirement of retail buildings that contain more than 80,000 square feet.
“He very much wanted us to all vote for that,” Blank said. “He expected that’s what I would do. He called me afterwards and expressed his displeasure that I would make a compromise that would be just Connecticut Avenue, not Westport Avenue and Main Avenue.”
Among the applicants currently being considered by the Zoning Commission is the proposal to build a BJ’s Wholesale Club at 272-280 Main Ave. Blank said the mayor had communicated his desire to see the application approved.
Zoning Commissioner Harry Rilling has recused himself from commission activities on the matter on the advice of Corporation Counsel Robert Maslan, because of his op-ed article criticizing the encouragement of big box stores in Norwalk.
The Zoning Commission is currently defending itself in federal court from a lawsuit brought by the Al Madany Islamic Center in the denial of its special permit application to build a mosque and community center at 127 Fillow St.