Council 4 AFSCME endorses Rilling for Mayor

NORWALK, Conn. – Harry Rilling’s union endorsements have now reached a status unseen in decades, a Norwalk Department of Public Works employee said Thursday after being part of a crowd hollering and applauding on the steps of the old City Hall.

DPW employees were joined by Norwalk firefighters, Norwalk police officers and one member of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers to seal the deal of overwhelming city union support for Rilling’s Democratic candidacy to be Norwalk’s next mayor.

“I have been here 36½ years and I have never seen the fire, the police and DPW pulling together as one,” said DPW employee Rommel LaChapelle. “Never. Never. This is the first time in history they have all gotten together as one brotherhood. I have never seen it.”

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Harry Rilling is surrounded by Norwalk union members Thursday at the old Norwalk City Hall.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2405 President Milt Giddeons referred to it as “brothers in blue, brothers in red and brothers in green.”

“Norwalk needs a mayor that understands the department heads report to him not the other way around,” he said. “That person is Harry Rilling.”

John Altieri, NFT executive secretary and past president, said teachers are behind Rilling through the American Federation of Teachers.

“We can’t endorse ourselves, but what we did was, AFT Connecticut can endorse,” he said. “So they have made an endorsement for Harry Rilling through us.”

That’s been done for state legislators and U.S. Congressmen in the past, he said, but this is one of the first times it’s been done for mayor.

“The teachers are really in a bad way,” he said. “We are not respected by the present mayor or the Common Council or definitely not by the Board of Ed. There is no one for us to talk to. We are not involved in anything. They cut us out of everything. We know Harry will be the type that will encompass everybody. He’ll treat us with civility, which we don’t have right now.”

Director of Policy and Planning at Council 4 AFSCME Peter Thor said Rilling has the statewide endorsement of Council 4, representing 32,000 members. That includes Norwalk’s custodians and maintenance employees Local 1042 and Norwalk’s cafeteria workers Local 1748.

“Unions are very effective at getting the vote out,” Thor said. “Because we have an effective communication system for members.”

Rilling thanked them with a rallying speech.

“I wasn’t surprised when I met with the individuals in your unions – not once did you ever ask for better pay and benefits,” he said. “Not once did you ever ask me to promise you anything. You asked me to be a mayor of the people and of the working class of the city of Norwalk. That was something that was so easy for me to agree to because I have always been a person who respects the individuals.”

One man in the crowd is casting his first vote as an American for Rilling.

Collin Pratt, formerly of Jamaica, said he has lived here for 11 years but just became a citizen recently. He is a Democrat, he said.

“We need a change in the city,” he said. “Everybody I talk to feel like that.”


14 responses to “Council 4 AFSCME endorses Rilling for Mayor”

  1. Tim T

    When a municipal union endorses ANY candidate the reason is simple.. Its to get something in return.. That something always costs the taxpayers. My advice is whoever the unions are endorsing…VOTE FOR THE OTHER CANDIDATE.

  2. Norwalk Lifer


  3. Don’t Panic

    Stick a fork in Mr. Moccia. He’s done!

  4. RU4REAL

    They are trying to get something; RESPECT!!

  5. Daisy

    So right about unions – they WANT something. It says more that unions, which traditionally go Dem, supported supported Dick until now, when they have “one of their own” and have gotten all they ever asked for. , so

  6. Better Norwalk

    Ah, really? Mr Moccia done? Better check the readers poll here:


    45% Support Mayor Moccia
    26% Change to support Mayor Moccia

    Only 16% support Harry

    Only 10% change to support Harry

    Our Mayor has kept costs down, dealt with the down turn in the economy and a super storm too besides holding union costs down. He has 8 years of political contacts to reach out to when the time is needed. Things are improving for Norwalk with Dick Moccia in office.

    Harry will start that political clock backwards and may not win over some bi-partisan support.

    A vote for Harry will bring back the Alex Knopp days of increased property taxes/mill rates and a possible revaluation since he may dismiss the current one in favor of something more “revenue producing” to fund all the campaign “favors” he will have to deal with.

    Mark my word, we are in for a hell of a mess if this is the best candidate on the Democratic ticket. And to think he did not sit down with the city Democratic caucus and demand that Brown resign first before accepting any nomination to run.

    Only when your house is clean should you support running for an office and right now, this is foolish to back a candidate for Mayor or any office when the fracas was not dealt with in the most strongest condemnation which should have resulted in Brown and others resigning to better serve the party and the city as well.

    You go ahead, back Rilling. A candidate who allowed that brawl to just be swept under the rug and everyone just have a hug to forget it all happened. One who is backed by unions only to seek favors once in office.

    Mayor Moccia may not be as visible yet, but he’s 1000% better candidate for the office than Harry will ever be!!!

    VOTE MOCCIA ROW A November 5th to keep moving Norwalk in the right direction—FORWARD

  7. McKeen Shanogg

    David Watts is right, it’s these AFSCME workers that make the city run. Outsourcing is not the answer. Glad to see AFSCME endorsing Rilling.

  8. Suzanne

    Alex Knopp had to increase property taxes because of the artificial suppression of increases by Mayor Esposito, long-standing mayor keeping on good terms with taxpayers for re-election. Not a fair comparison or assumption that all Democrats are spenders and Republicans? While Moccia may have secured and maintained the coveted AAA rating, I see holes in the ground, little provision for public housing, development squabbles and deals, lack of transparency or courtesy by countless commissions and the City Council unable to review materials they must vote on because the materials don’t get to them in time for review before meetings. That’s just silly and incompetent. That is the legacy of Mayor Moccia. I say, along with the unions, vote Rilling and let’s get this town on the right track.

  9. Better Norwalk


    You’re partly right.

    The packet materials before meetings are hardly the mayors problem. This is an administrative problem between those responsible for producing these. That is a problem between management and a subordinate. That can be quickly rectified.

    My guess is you think the mayor toils away getting packets for a meeting? Really?

    As for “deals” and development, the city needs to enforce that qualified people with valid credentials serve, not some general individuals who have limited scope and knowledge of development for a city. More P&Z people need to hold these credentials before they can vote.

    You think Harry is capable of dealing with the intricacies of city government? Hell, he could not handle the police force all that well, how is he to govern a city? So much for the AAA Bond rating now….

    The very same Harry who did not take action or demand action when the “brawl at Town Hall” occurred. Brown gets a pass for what is a felony in the State of Connecticut? How is this possible? There is no way I would pander to a party who allows someone to put their hands on anyone let alone a senior citizen!

    You can go ahead and think Harry will bring some level of “normalcy” to city hall and everything will be peachy keen. Look at Detroit lately? That’s our future if Harry is elected.

    Knowledgeable home owners in the city of Norwalk know who’s better and who will keep taxes low, continue to move Norwalk into a new and better city for the future.

    November 5th Vote Row A and re-elect Dick Moccia!

    1. Mark Chapman

      @ Better Norwalk

      “…There is no way I would pander to a party who allows someone to put their hands on anyone let alone a senior citizen!”

      Your passion should include both parties when it comes to “hands on”…

  10. Better Norwalk


    Physically assaulting a senior citizen with intent to do grave bodily harm is more than “hands on” as you would put it. Using what was reported as keys extended in a fist can inflict grave bodily harm to any individual, let alone a senior citizen.

    How can a candidate for mayor condone or turn a blind eye to this physical altercation especially if the candidate was the former Chief of Police for the very city he is running for mayor? Simple, Harry has no backbone for demanding action on what transpired that evening.

    You can attempt charm and smile all you want, but Harry remains unfit for the position of mayor since the very leader of his party in Norwalk which is responsible for his candidacy remains in this leadership position.

    People tend to forget this terrible action and if Harry is any kind of “leader” (which he’s not) would have stood up and demand the resignation of Brown in her leadership roll and work to vote with the party who would be best served to replace her and move forward. That would be a leader.

    Seeing this did not happen, Harry is not fit for the office of Mayor.

    As for the AFSCME, they just want like all unions want, more money coming their way from the City (office of the mayor) via taxpayers. They claim they want “respect”. This equates to what they really mean. ” We supported your effort, where’s our reward?”

    Poles show different no matter what Harry has in union endorsements. Norwalk residents know what will happen if Harry wins the election.

    Vote Row A: Moccia for Mayor: Let’s keep moving Norwalk’s future moving FORWARD!

  11. Better Norwalk

    Oh and that “unscientific” poll:

    Of those that voted in the poll, 72 percent said they supported Moccia, including 26 percent of the total who said they had changed their vote to Moccia since September.

    About 26 percent said they supported Rilling, including 10 percent of the whole who had changed their vote to Rilling since the nomination. The remaining 2 percent were still undecided.

    Vote Row A: Moccia for Mayor! Keep moving Norwalk FORWARD!

  12. Piberman

    All readers ought to take a look at the November issue of Connecticut Magazine’s lead article – Rating Our Cities. Surprise. Norwalk is ranked first in education and closely behind Stamford overall. By any reasonable standard promising “respect” to our highly paid teachers who vilify both BOE members and Supts in their monthly Vanguard merits the phrase “pandering”.

    No CT City to the best of my knowledge has ever elevated its former police chief to the office of Mayor.. And for good reason. It’s a job requiring well established political skills and experience in the affairs of governance. Then again Democrats have enlisted a town clerk, city clerk and even a musician to govern our City of nearly 100,000. And they wonder why Norwalk Democrats are considered an embarrassment to CT’s mighty Democratic Party ruling Hartford with a super-majority.

    Nothing better illustrates the desperation of Norwalk Democrats than coveting the endorsement of all the City’s unions when all taxpayers know the price paid for such loyalty and devotion after the election. Failing to gain the support of property owners Democrats reach out to City employees to vote for higher salaries and taxes. Let’s hope Norwalk property owners vote their self interest – not higher salaries and taxes for City workers, the highest paid of any City in CT.

    Norwalk’s future if its politicians pander to its unions is Bridgeport. For Democrats it’s unions first, taxpayers second. More “respect” ? Baloney.
    Long past time for the NFT to respect the BOE and Supts. Red the Vanguard ! Send a copy to the Chief.

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