Norwalk political notes: Action expected for Roselle; TTD and a SoNo bridge strike

A sad situation Tuesday in SoNo.

The election is Nov. 5.

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s some Norwalk political notes for you:

  • Roselle optimistic that Rilling will ‘do the right thing’
  • Parkington rescinds resignation from Third Taxing District
  • SoNo over-height vehicle warning system expected next year


‘Confident’ the Common Council will move forward

Senate Bill 556, “An Act Concerning Additional Compensation for Certain Retired Public Safety Employees,” is likely to inspire Common Council action this fall, Mayor Harry Rilling said recently to Debbie Roselle, wife of former Norwalk Police Officer Phil Roselle.

Phil Roselle, center, is eligible for increased compensation under legislation introduced by State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) and passed by the legislature.

The bill permits a municipality, by a two-thirds vote of its legislative body, to annually pay a retired public safety employee who suffered serious and permanent bodily injury in the line of duty and had to retire as a result, the difference between the employee’s disability pay and the employee’s regular rate of pay prior to retirement, a press release from State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) explained in June.

Roselle was {accidentally} shot by a co-worker during a prescheduled fire arms training in September 2017, the release said. “Officer Roselle suffered career-ending injuries and has been battling other permanent medical issues related to the incident. He has twice been denied workers’ compensation, as the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission reasoned that Type 1 diabetes was preventing him from working. The Roselle family argues that Officer Roselle was healthy until the shooting, which initiated a decline in his health.”

Roselle has been receiving a $61,166.39 pension since April 1, when he retired, Director of Personnel and Labor Relations Ray Burney said Tuesday. Under the police union’s collective bargaining agreement, Roselle had enough years of service to qualify for the pension payment that equaled 75% or his base pay as a Police Officer, the maximum pension payment. He also received a severance payment of $32,549.05

Roselle’s base annual pay as calculated under the pension plan was $81,555.12. Burney said.

Debbie Roselle reached out to Rilling on July 27. He replied, “{This} legislation takes effect on October 1st 2019 and requires the governing body of the city to establish a process for providing these benefits. I am confident the Common Council will move forward with this. We will keep you updated with all details.”

“The mayor’s response appears to be positive and that he will do the right thing for Phil and my family,” Debbie Roselle wrote Wednesday. “The mayor also agreed to speak with Mario Oliveira, former detective who receives special legislation from Massachusetts and was the one who gave me the knowledge. {Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola} will be guiding the Mayor with the process.”




Parkington changes mind

Third Taxing District Commissioner Pam Parkington recently rescinded her resignation. A side effect: the move prevented Third Taxing District Commissioner Deborah Goldstein from getting a Democratic endorsement in her drive for reelection.

Goldstein is being challenged by Republican former Commissioner Charles Yost. She’ll be on the ballot below Yost.

Goldstein in June told District C Democrats that Parkington was resigning and that she wanted the Democratic endorsement. Rules prohibit an all-Democrat panel in the three-member Commission, and she’d become unaffiliated so Parkington could run two years ago, she said.

Parkington said Wednesday that she’d made her resignation effective June 30, so she was able to rescind it.

“{M}any people, including my husband and the employees of the TTD wanted me to stay on,” she wrote, explaining that she put in her resignation on June 1, when she’d received very bad news that later turned out to be not as bad as thought.



Honking cars, damaged truck

NancyOnNorwalk happened upon a SoNo accident Tuesday evening: a truck had hit the Washington Street railroad bridge. Cars were honking and it looked like the truck driver had tried to avoid the collision.

The bridge is 11-feet, 2-inches tall, while trucks are legally allowed to be 13-feet 6-inches tall, Norwalk Senior Civil Engineer Mike Yeosock said at a City Hall informational meeting a year ago, where an overheight vehicle warning system was discussed. The Common Council approved that idea in September, but it hasn’t been installed.

“The design is still in process and should be finished by the end of this year. The project is expected to begin in the spring,” Norwalk Communications Manager Josh Morgan wrote Wednesday.

Morgan provided a PowerPoint presentation from last year’s meeting, showing that the project is on schedule.

Yeosock said last year that Norwalk will be responsible for 10 percent of the $450,000 cost of the system, which was planned to include a detection system on poles to sense over-height trucks which will activate a message board on the traffic light poles. The system would be connected to the City’s fiber optics and police will be notified. There are also cameras in the vicinity that would allow City personnel to monitor the situation.

Tuesday’s driver was headed east on Washington Street and would have been warned in time to take a left on Madison Street, if the system were in place.

There are bridge strike incidents about once every three months but numerous back up delays when drivers realize their mistake and try to escape the situation, Yeosock said at last year’s informational meeting.


Harold Cobin August 15, 2019 at 6:47 am

Of course the Washington Street railroad bridge already has warning devices in the form of bright yellow signs indicating height clearance. But they require drivers to be aware of their surroundings and are a distraction from looking at their phones.

Diane Lauricella August 15, 2019 at 7:25 am

Any chance of cancelling this contract? It’s our money no matter what level of government it comes from.

It’s all about signage, not fancy “bells and whistles “.

Again, why can’t the City use a series of strategically-placed signs on all roads leading in toward this bridge? Several citizens asked this question last year and were dismissed. Many felt it was a signage issue that needed enhancements. Some suggested FIRST ramping up the signage near the beginning of the approach roads further away from the bridges (North Water Street too!) making sure the signs were not hideous, succinct, and in english and spanish.

IF that approach did not work, then we could look at alternatives.

A recent tractor trailer caused a major traffic jam at junction of North Water and Washington when it had to back up from the rail bridge near the Maritime Aquarium. As I sat in traffic I wondered why the warning signage was nowhere to be seen until that truck was at the bridge overhang?

A City Carting truck was stuck under there a little while ago (will forward photo to Nancy) which was surprising given they are a local company who does business with the City.

Couldn’t the City also periodically reach out to a number of popular trucking and service companies and give them a map with data? They in turn could train their drivers?

Just because a half-million-dollar grant is available doesn’t mean we need to apply…the $45K matching money could be better used elsewhere locally…

The current

Signage would cost far less than an electronic device

Kevin Kane August 15, 2019 at 9:07 am

Good input DL.
Further, why can’t there be an obstacle/hanging warning sign well in advance that is hung at the same height as the bridge whereby if the vehicle is too tall, the vehicle smashes into the hanging sign. The noise would wake the driver up and cause pause as to what he/she/it just hit. Still asleep? Maybe plan to hang 2 that are 50 yards apart.
Parking garages have the same type of device/obstacle.
Here is one for a lowly $109: https://www.postguard.com/height-guard#buy-products
Issue a ticket to the offending driver and have them pay the damages to reinstall the sign.

Reasons I am glad I moved out of Nowalk, #51: Asinine Sign Logic..coupled with an absolute waste of taxpayer dollars

Curious Voter August 15, 2019 at 7:26 pm

Good news for the Roselle’s. The man was willing to put his life on the line for any of us, for much of his life. It’s an easy choice to help him in his time of need. Thank you Phil, I wish you and your family the best!

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