Four-year term would allow Mayor to move Norwalk ahead

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To the Editor:

Some sincere Norwalkers are reluctant to grant the mayor a 4-year term for fear of losing the ability to throw out a rascal soon after he or she is elected. Rascals, however, are not Norwalk’s problem. I can only recall one and that was very long ago. No, Norwalk’s problem is sloths, not rascals…mayors who sit there and either don’t know what to do or don’t much care. We tend to keep them around for too long because they may seem nice and because for the average busy citizen it can be very hard to tell whether they are doing anything or not. By foolishly retaining mayors who basically just took up space, Norwalk has fallen behind the curve in a number of important areas.

The cure for this damaging inactivity is obviously to elect and retain a mayor who knows what to do and who has the energy to do it. Not so easy with a 2-year term. The significance of fundamental change does not always become obvious in the first two years. It takes time to flower. The old mayor’s appointees last longer than that. So within the two-year election cycle, even when good things are indeed underway, there is always the momentary turmoil of controversial change when it comes time to vote. This allows opponents to play upon the natural fear of change and to derail it. No wonder even good mayors are reluctant to rock the boat.

So let’s remove those fetters. Give the new guy a little slack. If she can’t show something after four years, then dump her. But two years is not enough for a fair trial and the burden of those frequent elections has up to now helped make Norwalk a bit of a backwater in a number of ways. With development booming and in serious need of government direction, let’s give the mayor long enough to make some meaningful adjustments without having to stop the train every two years in order for her to go out and campaign.


Bill Collins

Former Mayor


Piberman November 3, 2016 at 9:30 am

Why should we imagine or believe that “mor time on the job” for Norwalk mayors would improve their abilities to oversee a $300 million plus budget when they bring no appropriate/any business management skills to the task ? None of our mayors before or after would be qualified candidates for managing a local WalMart, Chain Drug Store or large convenience store. We collectively pay punitive property taxes for lax management of our City. And are denied property appreciation. Cities like Greenwich – the best managed City in CT with its wealthiest residents who could easily afford much higher property taxes have long had a City Manager to provide low cost efficient services. The proof is in the pudding. Their taxes as a percent of assessed property valuation are roughly half Norwalk’s. If the wealthy folks with high powered careers in Greenwich see the value of a City Manager shouldn’t Norwalk at least consider same ? And crate a City where once again many of us can retire comfortably with affordable taxes ? Or is that not possible because it would distrurb the “political order” of our one Party ruled City ?

Peter Franz November 4, 2016 at 12:15 am

Greenwich, is unlike any other city/town on the planet. This is like suggesting that Toyota operate like Aston Martin. I’ll admit, there is a case for hiring a city planner, but presently we can’t seem to get past paying our board members a few hundred dollars. . .

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