Conroy: ‘I want a moratorium’ on Norwalk development

Republican mayoral candidate Andy Conroy speaks to the public at a recent League of Women Voters debate.

The election is Nov. 7.

NORWALK, Conn. – Republican mayoral candidate Andy Conroy answered a range of questions Sunday from NancyOnNorwalk, revealing biographical details as well as elaborating on his stance on Norwalk issues.

Here is a partial transcript of the interview conducted by Chapman Hyperlocal Media Inc. Board member Bob Welsh:


Welsh: Our readers may not know about your prior civic involvement.  Briefly, can you fill them in?

Conroy: Yeah, I just don’t think it’s brief. I don’t remember the year, precisely. It was either 1990 or ’91. I was involved in a Roton school. If you were around the area at that time, or have seen some historical replays … There was a PBS special about schools in the Bronx, and they kind of video guide you through the schools. The schools were a mess. The doors were falling off the hinges. The places were a wreck.

We had not long been in the community, and my daughter was very young and just beginning Roton School. I went to the school and I found parts of the school like the schools in the Bronx. So, I started asking questions. “How do we get this fixed?” And, “Why is there a chain on an exit door?” And, “Why are there windows that are supposed to be emergency exits that don’t function?” And, “What the hell is going on in this school?”

(The principal) was there only a few months while my daughter was first coming to school there, and then he left. Then, Leslie Pattengill, a new principal came in. She was pretty much, a very much, a matronly school principal who wanted to get things done. So, I kind of teamed up with her and we started talking about what we could do.

She said, “You know, the school’s being improved with about $1 million to spend to just deal with some of the real deficiencies, including the door problem that you saw, and the window problems, and all the rest of that stuff.”

I said, “That’s good.” And so, that began and went on for several months. Then, work seemed to have slowed down and I noticed she was real frustrated and I asked her, “What the hell is going on?” She said, “There’s something funny about the contractor. The contractor seems to have lost all intention working here. And the school building committee, who I go to, to try to get things done, is inattentive as well and difficult to work with. Maybe some of the parents could start coming to some of the meetings with me.” That’s how it began.

I started going to the meetings with the principal. We, for months and months, talked about the difficulties we were having with the school. We eventually formed an Ad Hoc Parents Building Committee. We decided the building committee that the city had was for the birds, and we invited in some guys that were architects here. One was a specialist who did school windows. Another was a specialist on larger buildings rather than homes. So, all these folks got on the committee and we created our own punch list. Here are the problems we found and we want to get these fixed. We became such a pain that the Mayor and the Common Council removed the School Building Committee and put us in as the new School Building Committee.

Right about the time of Fourth of July, and the Fourth of July weekend the sprinkler system that they were installing, which was a requirement, failed and there was a … If you’ve seen some of these systems up in the roof, there’s some mains that are anywhere between four and six inches large. Somebody had not really put the joint together at one section, so we had tremendous amounts of water flood the entire attic and … many of the classrooms in the front of the school. But it was a July Fourth weekend and it was really hot and nobody dealt with it and so we ended up with mold growing all over the school.

The school was old. Even though it had been just recently fixed up there was still an awful lot of asbestos in the school, and lead paint around the windows, and so we had to deal with all that. So, we took a real mess of a school, straightened the mess out, got everything done except the windows. We needed window replacement. From the new windows that were put in by the building committee, turned out the new windows would not stay up. And if you’ve ever been to Roton school, you’ll notice the windows are extremely large. So, if the window were to fall and you had your arm in the window or your head it would be taken off, which was demonstrated by the school, or, the city building official, who put a two-by-four and let the window fall on it, cut the two-by-four in half.

So, with that problem in mind, and the city saying we’re out of money and we can’t do anything, I went on the Common Council and I made it one of my objectives to fix our school and any other school that I thought out there needed a lot of intervention and it kind of built from there.

Welsh: How long were you on the Common Council?

Conroy: I’m trying to remember, I think it was six years. And it was when Esposito got voted off that I decided not to run again. I got kidded a lot, although I think they actually meant it that I had sort of a crystal ball and knew he wouldn’t get reelected. That was not the case. I was just tired because six years of trying to fix all these schools and get stuff done it actually kind of worn me out, because I’m doing a lot of other things as well as Common Council. Then I can’t remember exactly when, but then later I did another four-year stretch (on the Common Council), I think with Moccia in as the mayor.

Welsh: You’ve served on other city bodies as well, right? The ZBA?

Conroy: Well, I was on, I think my last count was more than 12 school building committees, because I became known as the fix-up guy. So, when things went south at Silvermine they had the project about 90 percent along, but it looked like it was coming to a complete halt, kind of like ours did at Rowayton I was slapped on the Silvermine Committee. That same thing happened at Naramake.  I got at the last minute put on and luckily they weren’t all as difficult as Rowayton, but I kept getting these assignments of go straighten out the mess.

Welsh: What else?

Conroy: Well, I was on zoning for a year or two. … A little over a year, but the thought was that I would be on zoning for quite a while, but turned out I ran for council and that’s why I got off zoning.

And then, more recently, the six years going backwards from about this election, because I actually got off ZBA right at the beginning of the run for this office … I was on for six years. A little over six years. Some of that of which I was chairman of the ZBA.

Welsh: What is your proudest accomplishment from your time serving on public bodies?

Conroy: There’s two. I don’t know that one is more superior to the other. I think the accomplishments of myself and my colleagues, because we all did it together, accomplished on the Ad Hoc Building Committee for Rowayton School, it was really quite something. We didn’t just complain. We got it done. And that, I’d consider an accomplishment. And with respect to being on the Council, when I was president, we did a charter change. Not all charter changes are as difficult as some of the more recent ones seem to have been, and we took on the task of changing the way the Board of Ed is elected. The way that it used to be done, because the minority party rule kicked in, there really was only every other Board of Ed. election one or two people that could really be elected. By the time you got done figuring out the minority party rule, pretty much everybody that was on got to stay on if they wanted to be on it. So, it was almost an appointed effort rather than an elective.

We changed it to be geographically elected. It’s set up just like the (Common) Council. We have some at-large and then we have in-district people. That allowed us to make it a real election. All the positions. Every two years we do the district, and then flipping the next two years to do an at-large poll, anybody having four year terms. And they’re all elected. Anybody could come off, anybody could go on.

Welsh: You said at your Walk Bridge Press Conference that you needed to do a better job of getting the word out about your candidacy. Since then, what have you done in that respect?

Conroy: Well, at the time, we hadn’t raised enough money, and we have subsequently raised sufficient (funds) get the job done. … Mailers are no longer as expensive as they used to be. In Esposito’s day we’re talking $12-14,0000. In Moccia’s time we were talking maybe six to eight thousand. And for the audience that I have, I would think I’m in the four to five thousand dollar range. So, didn’t have to raise 50,000 dollars to do a mailer, but had to have a few thousand and I hadn’t done it.

 So, we did that. We accomplished that, we created a mailer, we did the mailer. We also made sure that we had inexpensive means for getting the word out. We used Facebook. Initially, intensively, including any Facebook advertising. And we also made sure that we used our connections to the press. So you’ve noticed my campaign does a fair number of press releases, and I think we fell short on one press get-together, but other than that we’ve pretty much matched exactly what we put in the schedule.

Welsh: You said the mailer is about four to five thousand to reach your audience. What audience is that?

Conroy: …. I wanted to reach Republicans and quite a few of the unaffiliates.

Welsh: If you’re elected, what would you say would be the area of city government where you would have the biggest learning curve?

Conroy: I would think I’d probably have the biggest learning curve where we have a number of complex contracts and I would want to make sure I understand how the law department is handling them in detail.

I don’t want a law department that decides that they know all the secrets and they keep them to themselves.

Welsh: How would you address that?

Conroy: I’d sit down with the law department and tell them what my objective is. It is to understand what’s currently on board in terms of contracts that are being written, ones that were recently written, and those that they anticipate having to write soon. And I want them to go over in great detail with me what they’re doing, and what the objectives are, and why they’re doing it.

Welsh: What can you tell us about your professional background?

Conroy: I became a management person in the companies that I’ve worked in. Here, you know I’ve been a politician. We’ve kind of covered that base. And so currently, I was doing some work in the web area early on in the days of the web and we established a company’s presence on the web. And what I started to find out repeatedly was, when we got to talking about marketing, they didn’t have a clue. Even if they did have marketing in the company, they didn’t seem to understand how to market on the web, and they certainly didn’t understand how the web interacted with everything else that they did.

So, they would ask me to help. I ended up doing some advertising for several companies, and I really expanded their sales, and they were kind of amazed that that happened. Because it isn’t just web presence, but then how you reach out to your customers and that’s done through advertising and they didn’t understand web advertising. Just, that they thought more the way you think of it as print advertising. I put an ad in a magazine, people respond to the ad. I might have a coupon, people respond to the coupon. I might have Sunday mailer inserts, people respond to the inserts. No, that’s not how it works on the web.

You can kind of fool around with that stuff, but it’s really there’s something … There are other means out there that are very … Well, it’s relatively inexpensive so that you could bring a customer on for, let’s say, a few dollars. If you’re selling a product that sells for two dollars, that may be not the way to do it, but if you’re selling a product that’s $50 to several hundred dollars then it probably wouldn’t take.

Welsh: Turning to challenges that Norwalk faces, what are the top three in your opinion?

Conroy: Well, I think Norwalk is going to see in the next two years to four years, and I don’t quite know how it’s going to lay out, the continued failure at the state level. We have managed to get ourselves in such a hole, financially, and have not made any real progress getting out of that hole. That is just going to worsen as time goes on. Now, the current budget addresses it slightly but it doesn’t do a lot to undo the damage that was done and we’ve got to see the state grapple with that. If the state doesn’t do a good job grappling with it then they’re going to start pushing down toward the towns and cities as many expenses as they can unload from the state onto the towns and the cities. And that’s kind of where Malloy was headed until he got an awful lot of pushback, even from his Dem supporters.

So I see it worsening over time and I think that’s the main thing we’re going to have to deal with. So we have to be fiscally very sound in the city. We’ve been sound for a long time and we have a Rainy Day Fund, which is basically a large reserve and we’re going to have to make sure that that reserve is kept pretty much intact as we see the state go forward and see what they’re throwing our way. That’s number one.

Number two, is the city needs to have his arms firmly around the development. We have folks even running on the Republican team that see development as a such a strong positive that they’re willing to kind of just charge ahead. I think it’s time for slowing down, getting our arms around it, and finding out what all the impacts are of the current developments and those that are on the drawing board so that we don’t cause the neighborhoods and the city as a whole to kind of eat more than we can digest.

Welsh: You said you’d consider a slowdown. How would you accomplish that?

Conroy: Well, I think if we go to our friends in Redevelopment and we have a sit down and I would say, “Basically, I want a moratorium until we get our arms around this. I happen to know some of what I want done has been done. And the Mayor didn’t talk about it so I guess he didn’t ask his folks, but they in fact have started the impact studies in the redevelopment area. They haven’t done it across all projects and there are some projects on the drawing board that they haven’t done them for yet. So I want those impact studies done. Now, do you need me to go into detail about the impact study? Because I’ll do that.

Welsh: Sure, briefly.

Conroy: Yeah. So we’re talking about roads, and traffic, and intersections, and lights, and we’re also talking about storm runoffs. You can imagine if you do more roads, and more parking lots, and more buildings then you have more runoff because you don’t have the ground to absorb it anymore. In addition to that, you want to handle any sewage this generated in any of the developments that we have. All our rentals obviously generate a fair amount of sewage impact. We have … waste water treatment, the plant has capacity but it also needs a surge capacity. I remember the Mayor talking about, “We’re not anywhere near capacity.” Well, that’s true. But if we have a huge storm we tend to have a surge because how our systems aren’t perfect and we do have some crossover between our sewage processing and our stormwater processing.

In addition to that, you want to know what are the impacts are. We don’t seem to have had any … for years now. Fire, I’m not convinced I know that we’re laid out properly to deal with all the fire issues that could arise. Although, we’ve been very lucky in the city in terms of not having any major fires. Health, every time we bring a lot of people into the city to live and or work you’re going to have impact on the health department. Are we delivering now as well as we can? And if we keep impacting with a greater population, what do we have to do in the health delivery area? If you go to education, do we have enough schools in the right places to deal with right populations? Apparently, we don’t. So there’s a (school) facilities plan … how the new developments affect the assumptions of the current facilities plan.

Welsh: So… The first one was the state budget issue. The second issue was a moratorium on development. And then the third major challenge, in your opinion, facing Norwalk?

Conroy: Norwalk’s reputation has never caught up to what Norwalk impact is. Norwalk is a wonderful place to live. And I’ll give you a real quick example. I’m on the phone, I’m talking to a guy at Google because I obviously do online advertising. I have more major clients so I get handheld, get a specialist assigned to me for a particular account. We’re chatting and he says, “I just got out her to the West Coast, I’m working at the Google Plex and I just found some housing in the area that’s pretty expensive. And while I like … California I really miss where I came from.” And I said, “Oh, hell, where did you come from? Love to hear about it.” He said, “Oh, I came from a town called Norwalk in Connecticut.”

Conroy: So I said, “Go ahead and tell me about it.” But he went on and explained what a lovely city this was. So that taught me something. Don’t buy the BS. There’s a lot of people probably just like him that lived here and love it and wouldn’t want to leave. He didn’t want to leave. It’s just that his job more or less forced him to. If we’re that good then we need to get the story out.

Welsh: So the third challenge you see is a reputational issue. What would you do to address that?

Conroy: As I was saying at the Chamber of Commerce Forum, the Mayor is pretty good about cutting ribbons and talking up Norwalk, but he has to be a major cheerleader for the city. I think he went into New York recently where he did just that, but I don’t think we’ve done that much of it. Not particularly over the last four years and we have to make sure everybody understands we’re an enormous success story, Norwalk is. And how good the education is becoming in Norwalk because it is improved greatly.

Welsh: If you’re elected, what would you do on day one of your administration?

Conroy: I’d get all the department heads together. There is, I think, they need to have a Chief of Staff and I’d figure out a way with the law department’s help to make sure we had somebody that at least functioning, and if not temporarily, permanently as the Chief of Staff so that we can make sure the communication between the departments is constant. Not hit or miss.

Conroy: That’s day one, first thing.

Welsh: So first thing would be a department head meeting?

Conroy: It would, and the objective, I know that Harry’s had meetings with (them). I want to make sure that we’re doing this, essentially, daily and with minor meetings just to keep everybody abreast and then let’s just have a single meeting each week that tells us what your major challenges are and where you need help.

I also have some objectives for some of the departments. I think you all know that already. Zoning has some fixing to do.

Welsh: You and your fellow challengers have highlighted the incumbent’s campaign contributions from developers. Do you believe that the current administration’s actions have been influenced by donations by developers?

Conroy: Apparently, the developers do. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been giving them the money.

I don’t know what Harry’s view is, you’d have to ask Harry, but it seemed to me that it raises questions when you get a thousand dollars … Look at AMEC, for example. You have everybody and their brother in AMEC give him a $1,000 donation. That’s peculiar.

Welsh: Nancy has a follow-up question.

Nancy Chapman: Some have said this has been the way of doing business in Norwalk for a long time.

Conroy: I think it’s been going on a long time. I objected to it with Esposito because we were talking about hitting up some of the developers. I worked with him on a couple of his campaigns pretty closely with him. And I said, “You don’t want to overdo this.” And I think he didn’t go as far as he could’ve. He could’ve raised probably another $50-100,000 dollars if he wanted to. And I told Dick I thought the same thing. If we get heavy in the developer contributions you’re going to look as though you’re beholden to them.

Welsh: Have you or your campaign team solicited any developer contributions?

Conroy: No, and we would not.

Welsh: If you were elected, would you commit to not accepting any for the duration of your time as Mayor?

Conroy: Yes.

Welsh: You mentioned AMEC Carting.  Are there some voluntary restrictions you would envision on fundraising from entities like AMEC who do business with the city?

Conroy: I think so. To start with, I don’t know that $1,000 donations are really necessary in any mayoral campaign. I think we could reduce it down, too. I haven’t thought about it that much, but 250 sounds about right. 500, maybe. It really depends on whether we’re talking businesses or individuals and whether we had a business has a bunch of individuals in it. I would think probably as a campaign then I would turn to them and say, “Thank you for the donation. I’ll take one, I don’t want 20.”

Welsh: Were you a supporter of the plan to build the mall at 95-7?

Conroy: Well, the mall became an afterthought. I think you know that. We originally were trying to build plans to get an office space. And then I was approached, I was not in office, actually, and asked if I would support the plans to change it to rental housing. And I said I definitely would not and I was very adamant in saying no. The mall came along as another alternative. And when you get down to it, what can you raise money for? Can you put the mall in? If you had to convert to something else, if you wanted to try then later build some Class A, could you do it? It would be better if the mall was there than it would if there was rental housing there. So, yeah, I support the mall as the second alternative.

Welsh: You held a press conference at the Walk Bridge and there you called for a fixed bridge alternative as well as eliminating the navigability of the river north of the bridge. The incumbent criticized this as unrealistic and we’d like you to have the opportunity to respond to each aspect of this criticism. The first is, the bridge cannot be simply welded shut. Extensive repairs are needed. What’s your response to that?

Conroy: No kidding. Nobody ever talked about welding the damn thing shut. Not me, anyway. So, what?

Welsh: The second is, the time required for repairing the existing bridge exceeds the time it would take to build a new one, which would lengthen the disruption in Norwalk.

Conroy: Yeah, no kidding. So what? I think what we’re talking about a new bridge. So we’re either talking a fixed bridge, new bridge, or we’re talking an opening bridge/new bridge. We’re not talking trying to repair the old 1895 bridge.

Welsh: So you’re not interested in the repair solution. You’re more interested in a new bridge that opens, or doesn’t?

Conroy: I am. And part of the reason would be, let’s say we went with a fixed bridge solution. Engineering and materials have changed since 1895. I’m sure we could find a way to build the bridge … so that there would be more height between the surface of the water and the (higher) bottom of the bridge would help with some of the difficulty of having businesses up river. And if we had to barge things in with a mobile tug, some tugs apparently come in the design that … they’re much less in height then typical tugs. So if we had to use that type of tug to push a barge upstream or bring a barge downstream, I think that would be advantageous to what we’re heading off to do now.

Whether we have to have the bridge raise for sailboat masts, I just think we just have to move the maker of the sailboat out of that area. And there would be a disruption to them, but I think if it were to cause such a … $300 million versus almost $1 billion then you could take another million or $100 million and take care of the property interests that are upstream.

Now, I notice if you go to the Connecticut Department of Transportation website and look at the Walk Bridge Project they’re talking about economic development above the bridge and how they can develop it by having an opening bridge. That seems to be not in their plans. It’s not really their decision to be making so I thought maybe the Mayor had a big hand in that, but I’m sure he did. If you listen to him carefully in the last few weeks he talks about economic development above the bridge. So I think that’s part of the reason he’s kind of stuck in this position because he wants to see that. And in addition to that, CT DOT has said they want to use this bridge as a sort of a learning project to do the remaining … I think there’s eight in total they want to do. So there’s seven more. And if this weren’t an opening bridge they wouldn’t be able to learn this much. So I think everybody’s made up their mind regardless of how sensible it might be to do it otherwise.

Welsh: Okay. As I understand it, the Council approved a Master Municipal Agreement, which affectively gives CONN DOT incredible leverage over the city with respect to the plans. If you’re elected, how would you navigate that? How do you overcome what you’ve described as resistance from them to do it differently?

Conroy: Well, I think it’s their interests in and our interest to have some of the arm’s length study of the engineering plan that they’ve put forward. Remember, they’re saying that the cheapest, quickest way to do this is with an opening bridge. That seems to fly in the face of common sense. So maybe they’re right, I don’t know. So you get an engineering outfit that’s expert at bridges and they do an arm’s length review and once that’s completed they give their results to CT DOT as well as to the city. I think if it came out and strongly supported or even halfway supported their plan they’d have a great leg to stand on. But I don’t think the way it’s going that it makes a lot of sense at the moment. I mean, if you’re talking about prototyping, and therefore they want this to be an opening bridge. And then, if they’re talking about river development, therefore they want it to be an opening bridge. I don’t think those are good reasons.

Welsh: Okay. I believe you and the incumbent have expressed diverging views regarding collaboration between the city and the Board of ED. The incumbent cited it as his proudest accomplishment.

I believe you said there’s room for a lot of improvement, is that accurate?

Conroy: Yeah, he made some comments that I thought were inappropriate at times. If you go back to when they were talking about the facilities plan for the schools. If you recall, Fix-It-First kind of popped up and Duff did a little thing and I think Bruce Morris was kind of right in there. The Mayor came to the thing and maybe some other state reps were there. But the thrust of it was that they don’t need to run out to the schools right away, but (what) they need to do is fix the schools that have deficiencies. And that was a Fix-It-First. There are schools that have deficiencies. We seem to have taken almost a four year break on doing any work on the schools and I don’t think it’s an either or.

And so I hit the Mayor with that criticism and said, “You want to combine the Fix-It-First with the new schools and you got to look at your total needs for money. And we got to make sure that we find a way to fund it as it’s going to be well over 500 million bucks. I don’t know how far over, but definitely over.” And seemingly that’s the direction he chose now and that’s a different direction than he was choosing. So he changed direction. So he wasn’t always on board with the larger facility plan. Though he said he was, he was not.

Welsh: Do you see other areas for improvement?

Conroy: Yeah, and that and we’ve talked about attendance being pretty minimal even though it’s in the charter they’re supposed to be attending at those Board of ED meetings. It doesn’t. And he said, “Well, I attended them. I attended more than those three people.” Any kind of pointed to us, the other three candidates. I didn’t see anywhere in the charter where the other candidates for mayoral office were supposed to go to all of the Board of ED meetings, but I do see something about where the mayor is supposed to go. So that was a nonsensical comment.

And I do think he could be consistent in his support of the Board of ED now that he’s chosen to get onboard. And he’s very supportive. I would hope that he would remain consistent if he were to get reelected.

Welsh: What’s your view on a City manager?

Conroy: I don’t agree with Lisa necessarily on the city manager. I said I’m open to a discussion of it, but also said what are the alternatives? And Chief of Staff is one of the alternatives. If you look at what she says the deficiency is, that deficiency’s curable with a Chief of Staff. Her rejoinder was, “Well, the Chief of Staff’s not in the charter.” And that makes about as much sense as some of Rilling’s criticisms of the bridge thing. Yeah, I know it’s not. Neither is a city manager in that charter. So they’re both solutions that aren’t founded in the charter, but I think one would probably work better than the other. And I don’t see having a mayor and a city manager at the same time. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

Now, some of the people that are running for the council, only a couple actually, have talked about having a city manager reporting, selected by, hired by, and reporting to the council. And that’s probably the form of government a lot of city managers would be used to. With respect to planning and zoning, she makes the case that we should re-combine planning and zoning. I don’t think she’s made a case for recombining planning and zoning. I was a zoner. I did an awful lot of work, I would hate to pick up more workload if I were a zoner. And so with that in mind, I don’t think she’s really examined the issue in great depth and I don’t think she’s given us good reasons why we should do it.

Welsh: Your campaign has been criticized by the party’s former vice chair, Dave McCarthy, as lacking energy and vision and he endorsed Lisa. What message do you have for McCarthy and any other Republican voters who might be considering a different choice?

Conroy: The feedback I got, from all the forums and debates that we’ve done, is that I certainly do have energy and I have a very strong approach toward achieving the goal of being elected mayor. That was stated quite a long time ago, I think pretty much when the campaign got off the ground is when McCarthy started making that assessment. So I think it was at … What was the name of that place? Something or other Public.

Welsh: In the last municipal election, Andy, something like 12,700 people voted in our town of roughly 88,000. What’s something you’re currently doing or hope to do in the future to increase civic participation?

Conroy: Well, we talked about it in the RTC because we want greater participation in the RTC and we want the RTC to look a lot more like the City of Norwalk. So we have younger people, we have more Hispanics, we have more African-Americans within our organization. And we have some now, but it doesn’t matter that we do have some. We need a lot more. So to do that, you got outreach. And I think the idea civic participation … You know how we have activists in town and they’re very active and they show up to every meeting, every issue?

Chapman: Yes.

Conroy: Maybe that’s not helpful. Maybe what we need is forums where people can find out what’s going on without just two or three people dominating the conversation. So I would think we’d want broader outreach, we want to talk issues, we want to public involved more broadly.

Welsh: What do you imagine will be your greatest strength as mayor?

Conroy: Compared to other candidates, I think that I’ve had the greatest amount of experience government, including that of Harry. Now, if Harry wanted to stack swords with me as who would be the best police chief, I think I have to give him he’d be the best police chief. But if you go across … If you wanted to know how the wastewater treatment plant operates, the police chief is not going to be able to tell you unless he’s had a special tour in knowledge and briefing on it. And that’s true across many of the services of the city. Unless you get in, and mainly he’s had four years to learn now, unless you get in and really get your feet dirty and get close to the subject at hand you’re not going to learn enough of the details about what is going on. And I think I’ve done that and I have a hell of a lot of knowledge about how the city operates.

Welsh: What do you see as the greatest strengths of each of your opponents?

Conroy: Well, I think Harry’s 17 years as the police chief gives him the strength in that departmental area. And that’s important. The policing function is pretty large and expensive piece of the total city. So I think that’s his greatest strength. I don’t know what Lisa’s greatest strength is.

Welsh: How about Bruce Morris?

Conroy: I think he’s a good speaker. And I think he’s a good motivational speaker. That’s his greatest strength.

Welsh: Before we finish, is there anything you’d like to add that you’d like voters to hear before election day?

Conroy: Well, I think with respect to the Republican candidates, we made a dual effort to make sure we had quality candidates. And as I have said several times now, they’re all exceptional in their own right. And we would make Norwalk proud if our candidates got elected. I think they would be very pleased with the results of having the Row B candidates in office.

One comment

Rick November 7, 2017 at 12:34 am

Thank you Mr Conroy the voters on Quintard ave wont forget you and Rich standing up for us. Like its over when you hear city halls rendition of how it sits.

The democratic party in Norwalk sucks. There are a few who broke rank but the property value on all the homes have dropped $100,000 and for that not much i can say to change the anger of these hard working taxpayers.

You ran the meetings and you were a good ref no one could of done a better job without a net.(city Hall)

cowards sat at city hall and gave us no support even when we asked.

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