Conroy ‘aims for victory’ against ‘rudderless Rilling’

Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Andy Conroy. (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Republican mayoral candidate Andy Conroy is dropping other responsibilities to focus on his campaign to unseat “rudderless” Mayor Harry Rilling, he said.

Conroy said Sunday that he had resigned from the Zoning Board of Appeals to avoid the inappropriate behavior of criticizing a mayor he is serving under. On Monday, the Republican Town Committee, in a press release that offered Conroy’s first sharp criticisms of Rilling, announced that Conroy was temporarily stepping down as RTC Chairman.

“To replace what he calls the ‘rudderless Rilling administration’ and give Norwalk the leadership it needs ‘to protect and enhance our quality of life here,’ Republican mayoral candidate Andy Conroy announced he is temporarily stepping aside as chairman of the Norwalk Republican Town Committee (NRTC) to devote full attention to victory in November,” the RTC press release said.

“Conroy, who has held numerous leadership positions in Norwalk government over the years, said, ‘The people of Norwalk can no longer afford the aimless drift at City Hall, which has become all too obvious. We are facing big challenges that need genuine leadership.  We need a better direction for Norwalk if we are to convert those challenges to opportunities,’” the release said.

Conroy on Sunday said he resigned from the Zoning Board of Appeals on July 28, the day after ZBA concluded its public hearing process on requests made by Firetree LTD.

“I thought it was inappropriate for the chairman of a major committee in the city to be negative and criticize the mayor,” he said. “I just don’t think you should serve on a major Board, particularly as the chairman, and criticize the mayor.”

This was an “ethical thing” not a “legal thing,” he said, explaining, “It was just me deciding that I want to campaign.”

Monday’s press release offered a campaign slogan, “Conroy for Mayor: A Better Direction for Norwalk,” and was titled, “Conroy aims for victory.”

Rilling, the Democratic-endorsed candidate, and Conroy, the Republican-endorsed candidate, have competition from independent Lisa Brinton Thomson and Democratic State Rep. Bruce Morris, who will both be on the ballot as petitioning candidates.

The RTC press release said, “Among the challenges Conroy mentioned was the Walk Bridge replacement project, which threatens huge disruptions for many residents and business owners.  Another was ‘the imminent introduction of marijuana dispensaries in Norwalk.’”

The Zoning Commission last week approved allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the Business 1 zone, ending a moratorium in recognition of state law.

“Such dispensaries are nominally intended for medicinal purposes, which Conroy acknowledged as probably a good thing.  ‘But apart from that,’ he said, ‘there’s no compelling reason why Norwalk has to be a location for these shops. Even when sanctioned by local authorities,’ he said, ‘this kind of business can have serious, unintended consequences for our school children, our property values, and our quality of life in Norwalk.’”

RTC Vice Chairman Victor Cavallo will take over the leadership of the Town Committee, the release said.

“Our very able vice chairman, Victor Cavallo, will serve as acting chairman until after we achieve victory for our slate of candidates on Nov. 7,” Conroy was quoted as saying.

“Cavallo, an attorney who has served on the Norwalk Planning Commission and other boards, has been active in Norwalk politics and a member of the NRTC for many years,” the release said. “As acting chairman, Cavallo said his focus will be on mobilizing Norwalk Republicans for the fall campaign.”


Rick August 22, 2017 at 4:48 am

We told Andy we asked for a police officer at the meetings, Rilling and King and Tom ignored our requests, Firetree in doucuments accused the crowd of things in court documents, if an an officer we requested was there the city would of been covered but we were ignored and felt let down by the city.

The counsel provided by the city at the firetree meetings sucked.

Quintard ave saw first hand the spineless Democrats that ignored our pleas for help some of us think they had a lot to do with inviting Firetree in.

It was a great idea could of been a campaign tool but it blew up in their face.Let Duff Himes and Murhpy come stump in Norwalk our new signs show what they didn’t do for us.

To this day we know more about Firetree than the city, city never came to us for help guess our research was too much for a rudderless city hall.

Rick August 22, 2017 at 5:10 am

Mr Conroy saw the families their kids falling asleep from exhaustion in his meetings he showed compassion he stopped the meetings he cared about the residents he showed leadership.

He sat and watched another terrible injustice rein upon a street

He saw past problems never get fixed ,he saw companies get hired by the city with poor past history and not deserving a contract by simply listening to the public.

The push is on to destroy the city ,can he or she slow it down?


cc-rider August 22, 2017 at 9:28 am

Of all the pressing issues facing Norwalk, he bring up Marijuana dispensaries right out of the date????? Are you kidding me?

Donna August 22, 2017 at 10:39 am

Presumably there would be fees payable to the City associated with dispensaries. Full legalization of marijuana for retail sale has done wonders for the economy of Colorado. At this point, I think the people of Norwalk would welcome most any means of increasing revenue. Our property taxes are too high. There are serious infrastructure problems. Zoning regs need a complete overhaul. I don’t have a problem with dispensaries. The drug problems in Norwalk, especially the overdose fatalities, preceeded the dispensary approval. People are dying from fentanyl and carfentanyl overdoses. And while there is a long history of educating children to believe that weed is THE gateway drug, the true gateway drugs in the current opioid crisis–the one that’s taking lives nationwide–are prescription opioids like Percocet. In other words, legal prescription drugs are the greater threat to the community. The idea of marijuana dispensaries may make some queasy, but if this is the case, we need to rethink all of our bars, pharmacies and liquor stores too, and while we’re at it, look into beer sales at grocery stores. Demonizing marijuana is a losing strategy.

But first fix the zoning regulations to promote smart growth. Westport and other neighboring towns require site plan approvals that include landscape buffers and signage requirements. Mandating a tree for every 10 parking spaces, for example, can be a great deterrent to big box stores. There are ways to bring in revenue and not sell out to developers. And Conroy is correct to look at the Walk bridge project as a potential source of South Norwalk heartburn.

Donna August 22, 2017 at 1:37 pm

In early June, the Westport Planning & Zoning Commission approved up to two dispensaries. We could do worse for our property values than to look to Westport for ideas. Westport does not have a methadone clinic. Westport does not have two Wallmarts. Westport does not have freestanding bars. Westport does not charge shoppers to park.

Seaworthy August 22, 2017 at 3:10 pm

I’m no Democrat, but I can definitely admit that Norwalk is faring head and shoulders above the other cities in this state. I’m glad that we don’t get lumped in with Hartford and Bridgeport. Neither has mall ground breakings or businesses looking to move there, not to mention so much new housing being built. Let’s not destroy the progress we’re making.

Patrick Cooper August 22, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Well I applaud Mr. Conroy for doing the right thing, ethically. This is an appropriate step, and one hopes our ZBA doesn’t miss him too much.

Now for the campaign – and the slogan. “Rudderless” is an interesting critique, as it implies that as Mayor – Mr. Harry Rilling should be the disciplined force that keeps Norwalk on a straight path, and apparently – he’s not. I would ask – what direction are we heading, Mr. Conroy? Are you suggesting our city leadership simply reacts to the winds of fate (developers / any special interests), and that they use some items as marketing stunts (photo op), and the other items – it’s a matter of containment and deflection of the damage (attorneys)? You suggest they have no real control over these events – they shape little, initiate less. Fair point.

What I’m interested in, and frankly – what I need as a voter, is a far clearer vision of what direction YOU will take us. Seriously, come on republicans – there are many many smart ones – you need to give Andy some help here. Your issues – at least in this article – are 1.) the Walk Bridge, and 2.) Dispensaries? One you intend to monitor, and the other fret about?

These issues are “red herrings” – distractions from what the real, core issues are. This is weak, Mr. Conroy. This is exactly the problem with the local GOP, and to be fair it’s what’s wrong with the democrats too. Answer me these three questions – before November:

1. You have a two-year term. Define your agenda:

> What are the top 3-4 priority issues (local only) you will lead city government to focus our resources. By definition these are issues that can be fully addressed within the two-year term.Why are they priorities?

2. It is assumed you disagree with how the current administration is conducting business.
> Specifically define what you will do differently, and why that will make a positive difference.

3. Why and how will you work differently with the state, and again, what positives will accrue to Norwalk?

I realize this is an opening salvo from Mr. Conroy, the silly season typically starts after labor-day with the barrage coming in late October. So, I wait patiently for his answer, but to be completely transparent – I am all but certain it won’t matter. The parties today are not built on offering pin-down specifics, just put down slogans. The “Partisanship Pendulum” has swung too far towards toxic, it’s Crips & Bloods – just in the boardroom.

I’m sure many will support Andy here, by either loyalty to that grand ole party, or because they are just plain sick of Flip-Flop Harry and the NHS class of 73 running a city. But remember there is another option – one who has already answered every question I posed above: Lisa Brinton Thomson. Read what Lisa has said, and compare.

I’m registered but otherwise unaffiliated, I care about smarts, clarity, orientation towards execution & results, and financial discipline. We taxpayers are collectively the true investors in this city, we take the real risks – and so we should hire an operating board based on ROI – not red vs. blue. Demand fully developed answers to real core issue questions from every person who wants your vote – and listen for substance among the adverbs and adjectives. Know who and what you are voting for, not just what row. I hope Mr. Conroy add’s substance to the debate, we shall see.

Voice Of A Second Chance August 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

Will it take a real bad fire, when people get hurt for someone to look into all of the illegal rooming house that are dangerous. We need a Mayor that can stop what everybody is so use to.

Rick August 22, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Progress without planning is not a solution to problems we ignore before these projects are done.Those projects done has clearly taken city resources to another level.

has anyone suggested the sewage plant needs tweaking soon?

Tweaking costs money by the way.

Concerned Norwalker September 14, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Truth be told, Norwalk is not in good shape and it truly needs someone to step up and take some steps to Make Norwalk Great Again. First, the residents in Norwalk pay a tremendous amount of taxes yet receiving minimal in return. I grew up in this City and I cannot believe how much it has changed. If it was for the better, I would not be commenting like this but definitely for the worse. Our streets are filthy, sideways and roads – not to mention congestion. I am praying that we don’t become a city of handouts. Great concern of mine.
Little things such as litter and the disrespect for our City by residents is reprehensible. It is just a shame. Not sure if the crime rate has risen but it appears that is all I hear on the news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>