Rilling unseats Moccia in Norwalk mayoral race

Norwalk Mayor-elect Harry Rilling talks as the party winds down at the Hilton Garden Inn Tuesday night following his election as the city's top official.
Norwalk Mayor-elect Harry Rilling talks as the party winds down at the Hilton Garden Inn Tuesday night following his election as the city’s top official.

(Updated 4:54 a.m. with final vote count; results remain unofficial)

NORWALK, Conn. —  “I have some good news — we have a new mayor!”

With those words, state Sen. Bob Duff let everyone in the function room at the Hilton Garden Inn know that Harry Rilling had won the election for mayor of Norwalk shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday.

Rilling, who spent 41 years with the Norwalk Police Department — 17 years as chief — polled 9,006 votes. Republican incumbent Richard Moccia posted 7,514 votes, a difference of 1,492 votes.

U.S. Rep Jim Himes introduced Rilling and thanked everyone in the room who “worked so hard to elect such a great man.”

Himes said he was introducing something unique to Norwalk, a mayor-elect who, for decades, put on a uniform every day “knowing that it could be the day he would have to sacrifice his life for the city.”

“Wow, wow, wow! What a night,” a jubilant Rilling said to the packed room. Rilling said he always liked to thank a lot of people, but he first wanted to thank his two daughters and son for their support.

“We stayed focused, stayed positive” Rilling said. “Our message resonated with the public, and the public responded. We have a mandate.”

Rilling said that, with the mandate comes responsibility.

“We said we wanted a new Norwalk, we said we wanted change. And I’ll tell you something folks – we’d better deliver,” he said. … “I guarantee you this – we will not disappoint you.”

He thanked Vinny Mangiacopra, Andy Garfunkel and Matt Miklave for running a good primary. He also thanked Moccia for “his many years of service to Norwalk.”

Whoops and cheers rippled through the crowd at the Hilton Garden Inn around 9 p.m., as somebody yelled “We got a winner!” Democrat John Kydes, a newcomer to the District C council race, led all four candidates with 2,022 votes.

His cousin, Nick Kydes, a Republican, chose not to run for re-election, and recently incurred the wrath of his fellow GOP members by endorsing Rilling.

Republican Michelle Maggio won the other District C seat with 1,779 votes.

In the other Common Council races, incumbent David Watts (1,531) and newcomer 19-year-old Eloisa Melendez (1,416), both Democrats, easily won the District A seats.  In District B, Democrats Faye Bowman (1,023) and Travis Simms (1,141) each got more than twice as many votes as the Republican competition, including sitting councilman Michael Geake, who is a registered Democrat who ran on the Republican ticket. He wound up with 404 votes.

In District D, Republicans Jerry Petrini (2,312) and Shannon O’Toole Giandurco (2,026) outdistanced their Democratic rivals.

In District E, Republican David McCarthy (1,941) and Democrat  John Igneri (1,869), both incumbents, retained their seats.

In the at-large races, Republicans Doug Hempstead (7,806), Richard Bonenfant (7,586) and Glen Iannacone (7,497) were joined by Democrat Sharon Stewart (7,378) in the winners circle. Democratic defector Bruce Kimmel, a District D incumbent who ran on the Republican slate despite his voter registration, won an at-large seat with 7,465 votes. That left incumbent Warren Pena as the odd man out with 7,285.

Voters sent a clear message to the Board of Education: Behave or get expelled. Incumbent Republican Sue Haynie and incumbent Steve Colarossi, a Republican who eschewed his GOP tag for the Community Values Party, were both turned out of office. Colarossi, who ran on a line with newcomer Andres Roman, got just 2,073 votes, while Haynie placed fifth with 6,500. Both were controversial figures who were often at odds during meetings.

Voters instead chose three Democrats and one Republican. Incumbent Dem Heidi Keyes led all vote-getters with 7,517, followed by Democrat Shirley Mosby with 7,344. Republican incumbent Artie Kassimis was third at 6,917 and Democrat Sherelle Harris fourth at 6,574.

Republican Town Clerk Rick McQuaid, running unopposed, got 9,972 votes.

Democrat Anna Duleep, who gave up her Common Council seat and ran for sheriff, polled 8,198 votes, while Republican Nikitas Handrinos picked up 6,702..

Republican Ralph DePanfilis led the race to retain the city treasurer post with 8,182 votes  to 7,002 for Democrat David Jaeger.

Democrat Mark Pinzon and Republican Kathryn Angela Martino won the selectmen’s race with 7,246 and 6,844 respectively.

For constable, Democrats Barbara Penn-Williams (7,119) and Raymond Dunlap (7,070) were winners along with Republican Fred Bondi 7,231 and fellow GOPer John Romano at 6,812.

In the taxing districts:

1st Taxing District

Commissioner (vote for 1):

Democrat: Robert Corbo 841, Republican: Robert Mercurio 521

Treasurer (vote for 1):

Democrat: Marija Bryant 783, Republican: Brian Smith 531

2nd Taxing District

Commissioner (vote for 2):

Democrat: Martha Wooten-Dumas 875, Republicans: Cesar Ramirez 408; Edward McQuillan 319

Treasurer (vote for 1):

Democrat: Sonia Merrill 902, Republican: Harold Bonnet 245

3rd Taxing District

Commissioner (vote for 1):

Democrat: Deb Goldstein 775, Republican: Jim Anderson 713

Treasurer (vote for 1):

(subject to recount)

Republican: Michael F. Intrieri 715

Democrat: Taber Hamilton 699

6th Taxing District

Commissioner (vote for 1):

Republican: Tammy Langalis 770

Treasurer (vote for 1):

Republican/Democrat: John Verel 888




92 responses to “Rilling unseats Moccia in Norwalk mayoral race”

  1. Suzanne

    Yay! Just as it should be. We can look forward to a more cooperative, comprehensive, transparent, inclusive, courteous and civil future. Thanks to all of the Rilling supporters out there (and I am sure the NON endorsement did not hurt either!)

  2. David

    As a relatively new Norwalk resident, I am INCREDIBLY pleased to welcome a new mayor. I also just own dinner at Pasta Nostra from Alan and Chris. Bring on the new leadership!!

  3. John Frank

    Today’s results are no surprise. As long as I have known Harry Rilling, he plays to win. We now have a mayor who knows he is there to serve, and won’t forget that the first time somebody disagrees with him.

  4. Tim T

    This is a very sad day for Norwalk. We will see bad get worse and taxes get out of control just like crime has due to Rilling failure as police consultant. However I will say what’s true Rilling ran a smart campaign making promise to the unions and the people of leisure of South Norwalk.

    This will also be the make or break for NON as this will be the proving ground to see if they are as unbiased as they claim to be or if Rilling will get a free ride.

  5. EveT

    Thank goodness! And thanks to everyone who volunteered to help elect this admirable public servant!

  6. Relieved NCSD Supporter

    So relieved! Shook hands with Harry this morning and thanked him for understanding the concerns of the Norwalk Coalition for Sensible Development regarding the opposition to BJ’s proposed Main Avenue development. Here’s hoping he doesn’t get caught in the same “spell” as Moccia and has more vision for Norwalk’s future development than stuffing big box stores in every remaining crevice of this proud town. Moccia was cautioned about the close call in the last election. Our predictions proved correct.

  7. JustAParent

    Great Start to a better Norwalk! Waiting on the BOE results – I’ve heard, mosey, Harris, Kissimie and Keyes won a seat! If so, we should have a more educated and team-working BOE!

  8. Asa H.M.

    We are doomed…

  9. EastNorwalkChick

    Glad to see that John Kydes won his seat, he was so nervous this morning at Marvin…can’t wait to see the rest of the results.

  10. Ryan

    Promises are easy to make. Delivering is what counts. Best of luck Chief.

  11. Bill

    Help us get more state funding for education, grow the grand list, and keep the unions in check, and he will be a good mayor.

  12. Break the Unions

    Just when you think Norwalk can’t get any worse in comes Rilling.

  13. Suzanne

    Ryan, Break the Unions: if you think you have great ideas to do better, by all means be good constituents and citizens and participate in the governance of the City of Norwalk. There are plenty of opportunities. Otherwise, your complaints are worth as my Mom used to put it, “a grain of salt.”

  14. Old Salt

    Wonder if Harry will remember how P and Z director Green treated him when he was a commissioner? beware Mr Green your days are numbered.

    Time to Clean house Harry. Start with Green and Moccaie. Audit the parks and rec expenditures. Have the comptroller explain why part time seasonal employees make 35k per year.

    Good luck Mayor elect Rilling

    Give em hell Harry

  15. michael foley

    Congratulations To Harry Rilling it is now your turn to lead the city of norwalk, and thank you to mayor moccia for your service to the taxpayers and citizens of norwalk

  16. Break the Unions

    SUZI. I could say the same thing about the Rilling supporters a grain of salt but I would not be rude.

    We will all see that Rilling is full of hot air just like when he was police chief.

  17. M Allen

    Congrats to the Mayor-elect. For the rest on this site, win or lose, Norwalk moves on. Regardless of the person at the top, the focus of all need to be moving the city forward.

  18. @Suzanne,
    What a tired, trite and snarky response. All the promises made by Rilling and all the democratic’s pledging to be honest, open and transparent remind me of what my mon used to say “fine words butter no parsnips”.

  19. Grandma

    Congratulations Mayor Rilling. Thank you for your service Mr. Moccia. Yes, yes, yes, by all means, GIVE EM HELL HARRY!! lol.

  20. R. Morgan

    Good luck Mayor Rilling. Don’t forget the middle class citizens

  21. lael

    Hold on to your wallets folks, Mayor Rilling’s in the house!!!! Rilling ran the classic, slick Democrat campaign: Feign interest in everything and everyone. Promise them that you “feel their pain” and the promise ANYTHING it takes to secure their vote. Job well done, Mayor Rilling! Since there’s no money in the budget, how else will he make good on those promises except to raise our taxes—dramatically. Let’s recap, he’s promised to “fully fund” the BOE, “respect” for the Fire Dept and make police promotions that an outside study said were a waste of taxpayer dollars. He’s promised to bring back captains and he’s promised to create another high-ranking command position strickly to make good on his promise to promote a minority that helped him get out the vote.) So, NON, when you see these things happen, I’ll be interested to see how you you report this devestation us taxpayers. Will you report it as what it is–payback? Something tells me you won’t. Norwalk’s going to become Bridgeport in Rilling’s first term.

  22. lael


    Grow the Grand List???? Mayor Rilling’s on record as being anti-development so how will he grow the Grand List? Oh, that’s right, he never said how—ever. No specifics on how he’ll DO or PAY for anything.

  23. Joanne

    I will repeat what I posted on my Facebook:

    There are no losers in todays race in Norwalk…Thank you to all who have served and have given of their time away from their families for the betterment of Norwalk, and the accomplishments are many! Thank you to all who chose to throw their hats in the ring because they believe in making a difference and while not all results are in for the under tickets, congratulations to those who win…My only hope is that everyone learns to work in a bi-partisan matter for those who put their trust in your hands! Norwalk is a great city to live in, we are a diverse community of wonderful people and we deserve nothing but the best!

  24. Joe Espo

    @Joanne: there IS a loser in today’s race. It’s Nancy on Norwalk. She has no raison d’être after this. She’s accomplished her goal. Au revoir, NON.

  25. Norwalk Lifer

    Congratulations Mayor Rillling, thank you Mayor Moccia, Joe Espo, move on

    Norwalk Lifer

  26. Independent Voter

    Et tu, Joe? Seems like NON provides plenty of opportunity for haters like yourself to spew. In the unlikely event that Nancy loses her “raison d’etre,” where will you take your vile bloviating?

  27. Don’t Panic

    That is the kind of thinking and spirit needed right now. Some seem bent ontearing out the tree before the roots have taken.

  28. Suzanne

    Snarky? Rude? How about disagreeing with a perspective and asking for the participation that would make Norwalk a better place? Too bad. I guess it is easier to be “sour grapes” than to actually do something about it and work for what you believe in. Passivity and negativity do not a good government make. When people present their views or become active in a community, everyone wins. Complaining about a result is just that, a complaint. It has no effect (unless you believe in karma.) If you think we are now “doomed”, there is no hope for our taxes, the grand list, the improvements promised, get involved and make better things happen along with all of your cohorts who believe the same.

  29. Oldtimer

    Shame on you. Non tried to be impartial, but, like a lot of us, reacts to the way she is treated. Moccia went out of his way to create enemies. Before anyone knew who was running against him, decisions were made. Then Harry Rilling became the candidate and went out of his way to make friends. You will find reporters generally will like Harry. He has a much better attitude.

  30. John Levin

    Great news! Now let’s get to work.

  31. Joanne Romano

    @ Don’t Panic: thank you…I’ve been at both the winning side and losing side of elections and I know the feeling of elation as well as defeat but all in all there are no clear winners unless those elected do what they were elected to do! (Sorry, didn’t realize my last name was left off the about comment).

  32. sofaman

    John, couldn’t have put it better. Let the era of SMART development begin. Let the era of “if you aren’t an automobile, you don’t exist” era of civic planning end.

  33. lael

    @Sofaman–“if you aren’t an automobile, you don’t exist” era of civic planning end.”

    LOL! I forgot the bike lanes on my earlier post with all the Rilling promises! How could I ever forget the bike lanes? It’s been fun to read all the hysterical posts from Mr. Mushak about bike lanes. I swear he thinks that if you have enough bike lanes everywhere that wars will end, cancer will be cured and poverty will end. LOL.

    I find myself actually agreeing we’re really going to need them. In fact, I think they’ll be an absolute necessity since more of us will be riding bikes because are taxes are going to go skyhigh paying for all those other promises. Cars will become be a luxury.

    It’s going to be funny watching all those who are giddy about the new mayor see the reality of what they’ve done to their tax bills. I’m seriously considering getting out of Norwalk and getting to a more friendly community for taxpayers while someone might still buy my house. Norwalk went from marginal to great under the prior mayor and now we’re heading for a serious decline if this mayor keeps even half of his promises. Fiscal prudence kept us from becoming Bridgeport but that is about to change. I say that because having read the city’s budget cover-to-cover, there’s no money (without raising taxes–a LOT) for any of the outrageously expensive promises our new mayor is on record making.

    We’re about to have a huge reality check. Hang on to your wallets!

  34. Tim T

    WOW did you ever hit the nail on the head. Rilling will be a nightmare as mayor. We all seen what a disaster he was as police consultant and how during his time we seen being cop become a six figure position and that’s without the benefits package . We wlll now see this with all his union biddies. Also let us not forget about the people of leisure of South Norwalk aka NEON.
    The unfortunate thing is the sheep that follow him are not capable of seeing the truth even when its in their face.

  35. Daisy

    Enjoy your Kool-Aid folks. Afte 2 years of THIS mayor, it’ll be all you can afford and you won’t be able to unload your houses. Glad I sold and bailed out while Dick was Mayor.

  36. surfchicken

    Congratulations to new Mayor-elect Rilling! We supported but were disappointed with Mayor Moccia. We are prepared to support you and work towards preserving the better aspects of Norwalk and improving what lacks. Let’s hope that we can have a better and more civil government in Norwalk and work together – I think Washington has shown us all what the spirit of non-cooperation does for the country. It costs the country big time. Let’s be grown-ups and work together for our town!

  37. LWitherspoon

    Congratulations to Mayor-elect Rilling. Let’s hope Mr. Rilling will put the same energy and effectiveness into governing that he put into campaigning. Thank you to Mayor Moccia for his work over the past eight years. I did not agree with everything the Mayor did – the prosecution of Nancy Chapman was perhaps the most disturbing. Setting that and a few other issues aside, I think everyone can agree that being Mayor is a demanding job that requires balancing many competing interests. My view is that Mayor Moccia deserves our appreciation for always trying hard to find that balance, an often thankless and sometimes impossible task, particularly when partisans are shouting at you for partisan reasons.
    Like many, I am concerned about the strong Union support Rilling received. I was similarly concerned several years back when learning of Moccia’s Union support. NoN aggressively compared anything the Mayor said during this most recent campaign against his prior actions and statements, which was great. I hope NoN will be similarly aggressive during Rilling’s administration. Mr. Rilling stated in his answers to the DTC’s questionnaire that “Norwalk taxes are excessive for the services received in exchange.” He’s right. Let’s see if he honors that statement when dealing with the Unions who supported him in this election. Here’s to Mr. Rilling governing Norwalk as a centrist Democrat who is more frugal with our tax money than Mayor Moccia was. If Mr. Rilling can accomplish that, he can look forward to being Mayor of Norwalk for a long time.
    It appears that the Common Council Republican Caucus is still the majority. I hope this will act as a brake on any inclination to give away the store to the Unions. I also hope that the Republicans resist the temptation to run a permanent campaign of “gotcha” politics, the way that the Democratic Council Caucus has over the past several years. Said temptation will be strong, particularly if Republicans think that the Democrats’ grandstanding and gamesmanship influenced Rilling’s win.
    With respect, I disagree that Norwalk will become Bridgeport in Rilling’s first term. Give him a chance – maybe he’ll surprise you. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see if your prediction comes true on the issue of Police Captains. I was surprised nobody asked that question of Rilling during the campaign, particularly since it had come before the Common Council and Rilling was Chief during the phasing out of that high-paid union position. Will he now bring it back?

  38. Break the Unions

    Makes some very good points..

  39. Mr Norwalk Ct

    Rilling will have his first test within days of becoming Mayor, which will be the NEON mess. He will have his second test with the police union contract. We will see if he makes the needed cuts to the contract and how he stops the abusive overtime practices. If he fails with these issues he will take a major credibility hit and will be a 1 term Mayor.
    The taxpayers will be watching.

  40. M. Murray’s

    Congratulations to our new mayor and thank you Mayor Moccia for the service you provided to the City for the last 8 years. Dick is a good guy and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.

  41. Karen

    Interesting to note the concerns but really, much of the rhetoric is unjustfied and honestly comes off as, as, well, tea crazie. If you dont like it here than maybe you would feel better living in Westport or Wilton or Weston or New Cannan or Darien maybe Ridgefield. How about Greenwich they have low taxes, if your a millionaire. As for those that have stated they have already moved, hmm? Why than the interest to post negatively in a local community site that focuses only on Norwalk? Perhaps you can start your own sites in your own communities and let us work on making our community better for all Norwalkers. Drop us a link when you do, always interested to see how other communities are fairing maybe even share ideas with eachother.

  42. Joanne Romano

    All the best to both gentleman on their new endeavors…Both have served the city for many years and both should be proud of their accomplishments. As Dick hands the baton over to Harry I wish him all the best for a happy, healthy and rewarding time with his family ands friends…he’s earned it!

  43. Tim T

    FYI No one should have to move because they don’t like the mayor or any politician for that matter. See this is American and that’s not how it works. Also you mention “tea crazie”. I have news for you I am a life long democrat and yesterday was the first time I ever voted for any Republican. Its not a matter of democrats or Republicans, its a matter of knowing failure when I see as was the case with Rilling’s time as police consultant.

  44. Farewell Moccia!

    Moccia has only one person to blame for this loss. His campaign manager.

    His campaign manager failed horribly, by focusing on Moccia’s accomplishments and never suggested to Moccia to speak of the future.

    Moccia also played dirty by having his henchmen stealing Rilling signs at night from 12:00AM – 3:00AM at various locations and were caught in the act – but was never publicized.

    If Moccia actually wasn’t so smug and arrogant, I would have voted for him, like I have the past four terms. His administration is stale and needed to be replaced.

    If the GOP were smart, they would have backed fresh blood and would have given the Dems a run for their money.

    MAJOR FAILURE by the GOP of Norwalk and the Campaign Management of Moccia.

    Congratulations, Chief. For the first time in my life, I voted Democrat because of you.

  45. lael


    “Tea crazie???” What’s utterly insane is to not ask how a candidate running for the highest office in our city is going to PAY for all the promises he’s making. Especially when the sitting mayor had such a stellar track record managing Norwalk’s finances. It just doesn’t get any better than AAA.

    Stunning to me that Rilling got such a total pass from the journalists who claim to be so impartial. Skepticism of Rilling’s lavish promises was warranted given that the entire city ex-BOE runs on only 38 % of the tax revenues collected. There’s no pot of gold sitting at city hall to finance his umpteen promises. So where the money coming from and how he’s going to accomplish all he’s promised to get elected are very relevant questions that should’ve been asked. I’ll tell you, hearing all Rilling’s promises sent me online to read the city’s budget. Having done so, I KNOW he has to raise taxes or cut services to do what he’s said he’ll do.

    People are complaining Moccia was “smug and arrogant.” What if he was? so what? Some of the best doctors I’ve had didn’t have the best bedside manner but were outstanding and just what I needed from a medical perspective. I couldn’t care less if the mayor had the personality of a turnip if he was good at running the city. We saw our city under Moccia receive recognition from the rating agencies and CT Magazine for being well-managed. It doesn’t get any better than that. You’d think with what’s going on in D.C. and Hartford that people would’ve gotten smarter and done more to protect the good work that’s been done to rehabilitate Norwalk’s reputation in the area. You’d think there’d be more appreciation for a job supremely well done. I’m old enough to remember what an eyesore Norwalk was and I’m grateful for the competent leadership this city had that kept us from becoming Bridgeport. This mayor however WILL raise our taxes and take in the direction of Bridgeport. You who voted for this slickster will rue the day you voted for him.

  46. You may want to check your facts

    Firstly, you need to look at what caused the city to dissolve the rank of Captain within the police department and what they installed in place of it. As anyone who works in any type of cooperation setting knows, there is what is called “Span of Control”, which is essentially how many subordinates per manager, starting at the bottom, all the way to the top. The city, in order to create a promotion to the rank of Deputy Chief that wasn’t initially there paid a company to come in and tell it exactly what it wanted to hear in order to accomplish this fact. The city then dissolved the rank of Captain, a position which falls with in the union and replaced them with several ranks of deputy chief, which is not a union position but is instead a city contracted position, one that the tax payers foot the bill for.

    Second, if you look at just about every single Police Department in the tri-state area with over 50 officers, you will find the rank of Captain, because it facilitates the span of control between administration (Chief/Deputy Chief) and line Officers (LT/SGT’s)because it is very bad practice to have to many people reporting to just one person with all the issues that arise in a department the size of Norwalk’s. From what I understand, this is a large issue currently in the Norwalk police department.

    Third, Rilling never promised any of the unions ANYTHING, not even at their meetings in which both canidates were invited to speak. I’ve spoken to both FD members and PD members which were present at those meetings and at no point did he make promises of huge raises or anything of that nature. Only that he would be fair and actually follow the letter of the contract instead of what Moccia and his personal director have done. He was asked point blank about the rank of Captain for the police department and never said that he would bring it back. He did say that he would like to find a way to bring the police department up to it’s appropriate strength of 200 officers though, which would make for a safer Norwalk.

    Lastly, never once have I ever heard overtime being any kind of a budget issue with the police department. As far as I have been able to tell, the police department has always came in at or under budget. Every single year. So where are you getting your claim of “rampant” overtime abuse from? Do you have any substantiated proof of this and that it burdens the tax payers?

  47. lael

    you might want to check YOUR facts. The rank of DC WAS THERE. And UNDER RILLING that rank was being phased out thru attrition to increase the span of control and save money. And no, Rilling didn’t promise the unions anything IN THEIR PUBLIC MEETINGS but he most certainly did promise them Captains and the promotion of one VERY supportive minority officer to a MUCH higher Command rank for all that get out the vote help. And to fire the Personnel Director. Hate to burst your bubble, but police OT is a huge issue and they come in over budget because of OT spending. In the private sector, if you don’t have at least 4-6 direct reports, you won’t have a job as a manager–you’ll be laid off. That’s less what the current deputy chiefs have now reporting to them each, isn’t it? Bringing back the rank of captain is completely unecessary and nothing more than pure POLITICAL PAYBACK that we taxpayers are going to have to pay for. I’m guessing you’re one of the “happy cops” that are expecting to see all your dreams come true with Mayor Rilling—and to see more promotions WE pay for.

  48. RU4REAL

    Will you be okay paying for a full strength police department?
    That will cut overtime.

  49. lael

    @ru4real I guess if Mayor Rilling thinks we should have a “full strength” police department, my question for him would didn’t we have one in his 17 years as chief? He certainly NEVER advocated for that. And they certainly had deputy chiefs and under him (in fact, if memory serves, Mr. Rilling was himself way back when a deputy chief.) Under Rilling, they stopped promoted captains years ago to let that rank die out and save $. This idea of “full strength” suddenly emerged as a campaign promise for the police to make them happy along with the promise of captains and a certain other “command” promotion. Meanwhile, DPW is expecting garbage to come back in-house, Bruce Mellion is looking for a “fully funded” BOE (which would’ve cost us $26 Million more last year) and the FD is expecting their chief to be fired. And all the unions were promised the personnel director will also go. Ah…the cost of “respect!” But given that there’s no money to do any of that AND fund NEON (until he can jack up our taxes,) the tap dancing our new Mayor Rillling will be doing to keep his vocal and fickle constituency happy will be amusing to watch.

    1. Mark Chapman


      I’m sorry, but do you read the stories, or just the comments you like? There are misstatements in this, especially the roundly debunked $26 million thing. Rilling never made a promise to get the NPD back to full strength. He said he would like to do that if they could find it in the budget. I specifically asked that question after he had spoken earlier on the topic. He also said he requested funding for the authorized complement of officers but the money was not put in the budget by the mayor and BET, so he worked with what his boss gave him to work with.

      The chief of police does not make decisions on the captains vs. deputy chiefs — that would be the police commission, and the mayor — for the past 8 years — is one of three members (and appoints the other two). The fire commissioners appoint the chief (three members, with the mayor as one). In both those cases, the commissioners’ terms all expire Nov. 22, so Rilling will get to pick his own people. For the record we have heard nothing about the fire chief or the captains issue from the mayor-elect, but we will be asking.

      We will also be discussing NEON shortly. Rilling is on the record as saying NEON is needed, but he has not pledged financial support under the current management. Check the stories tonight — the situation is changing several times a day.

      Also, the mayor is not the king. The mayor does not set and approve the budget. The BET and director of finance will likely come up with the final figure, with strong input from the mayor, but the council must approve it, and the Republicans hold an 8-7 majority on that panel. If taxes go up, it will be with their OK.

      As for the rest of your speculation, some of it may be correct, some not, but I would not try to speculate on motivations. Rilling’s message of civility hit home with the majority of voters, and I suspect he will craft his team accordingly. Mr. Haselkamp has worn out his welcome in other cities and has had complaints in Norwalk. So, yes, there will likely be some changes. That’s what new mayors do. That’s what the voters said they wanted.

      That said, no one gets a free ride, and if public officials overstep their mandates or put special interests above the good of the people — or treat Norwalk as their personal fiefdom — they will be called out.

  50. You may want to check your facts

    Link to show police OT burdened the tax player please? Proof that secret promises were made? Not a cop, just related to one.

  51. lael


    The best proof will be when all I’ve written here comes to pass–WHICH IT WILL.

    As to OT, here’s an excerpt and two links for you:

    However, the current system, established when public money flowed more freely, costs Norwalk taxpayers millions every year, and is clearly unsustainable. It is also a hot topic in City Hall, because not only do outside contractors have to pay these costs, but also other city departments, which come out of their already strained budgets and has a direct negative impact on urgent capital projects that the city needs to maintain its infrastructure. So I think we are often misled when we are told this overtime doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything, because it is paid for by both city departments and outside contractors, who naturally pass the overtime costs directly onto taxpayers based on what they charge the city for their work.

    The other big cost factor is the fuel use, and severe wear and tear on the engines that are left idling for hours. I wonder how these costs (which must add up to hundreds of thousands a year based on the total number of jobsites) are handled, and who they are charged to. Any mechanic will tell you long idling will wear out oil pumps, A/C compressors, catalytic convertors, and engine blocks faster than anything else, since engines run inefficiently while idling, especially with A/C on.


    NON has also raised the OT issue which NON characterized as “High”:


  52. Tim T

    You may want to check your facts
    I have provided you links time and again and you have ignored ithem . I understand the game you are playing when someone provides facts and proof you don’t like you simply ignore it and ask for more proof.
    Plenty of information in this comments section for you to ignore officer.
    Better yet Link to show police OT did not burdened the taxpayer .
    I will be waiting!!!!!!

  53. Tim T

    excellent post

  54. You may want to check your facts

    So no actual data showing that it strains the budget, you just don’t like the number? Gotcha.

  55. lael


    It’s late and I don’t feel like digging into the City Budget or police commission meeting minutes. I’ve seen it before and if memory serves, they were at least one million over budget last year in OT. Feel free to check it out yourself. I felt that Mr. Mushak’s letter (which if you look at the link) does provide some specifics, would at least give you a sense that there’s well-founded concerns many of us have about the police OT. By all means, take some time and you’ll see it is always too high and a recurring issue.

    Here’s a link with then Chief Rilling discussing the OT situation for 2007:


  56. lael

    @ Mark Chapman

    Mark, c’mon you know better–or as a reporter, you should. The Mayor hand picks his commissioners and the current ones are going to be removed by him when he gets sworn in. He will pick the people that will say YES to him or they will be removed. And he will have his captains and his new fire chief. That is his perogative and that’s the way it is. He as mayor has that power. Mayor Rilling can tell you he requested full funding, but did YOU check up on that? He never requested funding for a “full complement of officers” even under Knopp.

    Lastly, as for Rilling’s message of “civility hitting home with the voters” –really??? He was totally silent on the assault of the Krummels. I was shocked when I saw the pictures on NON (nice work you guys did on that!) of how injured they were and at no point did Rilling call for the arrest and removal of Ms. Brown. How utterly hypocritical to scold Moccia for being “uncivil” when you condone assault and battery on elderly people. And say nothing about the very public antics of your party’s councilmen? Rather one way, no?

    I am glad to know that you will be watching …

  57. You may want to check your facts

    Nice, the EDITORIAL you cited shows Moccia praising Rilling for how fiscally sound he was in unforeseen circumstances. Hopefully we’ll see the same going forward. Whatever you do, don’t have a positive outlook. Stay as negative as possible with unfounded fears.

  58. lael

    @ymwtcyf Point is OT is a continual and recurring issue that costs us taxpayers. I am not being “negative” just factual. They were and always are overbudget on OT. My fears are not “unfounded.” Promises (tons of them) have been made and you will see Mayor Rilling make good on a lot of them–he has to. Remember you heard it here first!

  59. lael


    To clarify–the fire and police commissioners are different in that they are directly appointed by the mayor and serve at the pleasure of the mayor. Other commissioners on other boards will continue in their terms until the end of their terms–the new mayor can’t remove them but the fire and police boards are different. Mayor has total control and I promise you, this mayor’s going to appoint people that will let him do what he wants unchecked. The union chiefs are singing “happy days are here again!”

    1. Mark Chapman


      Except for the last part, you phrased that better than I did. And this mayor will have the same latitude the last mayor had, except the last mayor had eight years to stack ALL the boards with his appointees, which is why everything was pretty much done the way he wanted it done, by people whose behavior in some instances was not the behavior I want my dollars to pay for. It would take at least three terms for Rilling to approach that level of control. Personally, any time one party has too much control I get an uneasy feeling. Moccia had that control. Rilling will not only not “own” all the board, he will have a Republican council.

  60. lael


    I do think the fact that Moccia appointed people like Mushak and even Rilling himself (who immediately used his appointment to attract media attention to himself from his first meeting and launch his campaign as Mayor–THAT ought to tell you something about the true character of our new mayor,) shows that Moccia wasn’t looking for fawning “yes” people to anywhere near degree I can assure you this new mayor will. Read this am’s Hour? Verifies what I said about Rilling 100% controlling who’s on Fire and Police Commissions. He clearly states that he’s replacing every existing democrat and republican that are currently serving on fire and police. Remember what I told you will happen. The rest will follow shortly.

  61. LWitherspoon

    @Mark Chapman
    I appreciate your commentary about how appointments work, as well as you adding your knowledgeable voice to this discussion. From what I have read it seems that the BET and P&Z have the most influence. When will Rilling get to make appointments there?
    Is there any evidence to support your conclusion that Rilling’s message of civility hit home with the majority of voters? Certainly it influenced your vote and Nancy’s vote, on account of your personal experience. But is there any hard information, such as exit polling, that ‘civility’ is the issue that actually moved votes with any significant number of voters? It could just as easily have been some combination of angry NEON clients, unhappy Unions, last year’s school cuts, the last two years of tax hikes, BJs, changes to the Strawberry Hill Ave traffic pattern, better fundraising by Rilling, etc. I believe Mayor Moccia tried hard to please every constituency, but when you try to please everybody it’s easy to end up pleasing nobody. I also think that four Democrats running in the primary may have been a sign that they knew the Mayor was vulnerable against any candidate seeking to make the election a referendum on the incumbent.
    I also believe that under Mayor Moccia there was a sincere effort to control costs. I hope we will see the same from Mayor-elect Rilling, and that NoN will be watching closely.
    As for Mr. Haselkamp, it’s entirely normal that Unions don’t like personnel directors who try to drive a harder bargain on behalf of the City. He raised his voice and shoved a table 12 inches in response to being called a liar? Police were called by the Union but they couldn’t find any reason to press charges? Not his finest hour but not grounds for dismissal either. I would be more interested to know the specific details of complaints against him. What has he done on wages, benefits, and work rules that might be driving the Unions call for his dismissal? I know that local 2405 hated Mr. Haselkamp for winning the right in arbitration to outsource garbage collection.
    It will be interesting to see if your predictions come to pass. While I agree that everyone should be watching closely, I do think Mayor-elect Rilling deserves a chance to figure out where the bathrooms in City Hall are before we declare him a failure. I shared your disappointment with the lack of specifics from his campaign. It’s easy to call out problems, it’s harder to implement solutions and pay for them. Mr. Rilling will figure this out soon enough, if he hasn’t already.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @l Witherspoon

      Rilling’s main theme was civility. Also, the two most bicker some BOE members, both very knowledgable, got voted off the island. And Muchael Geake, with his attack robocalls, was roundly shunned. Anecdotal, perhaps, but good enough for me.

      As for BET and Zoning, Rilling will have enough appointments to BET go make a difference, but Zoning will remain a Moccia-majority board throughout his term.

      Here’s a thought — maybe the elected officials can govern by doing what’s right for the people, not the party. That would be a nice change.

  62. You may want to check your facts

    You mean he’s doing exactly what Moccia did? But now, because he’s doing it, it’s “bad”? This is what all politicians do, they change things when they get elected. Your side lost, deal with it. Instead of CONSTANT negativity, why not try to be positive?

  63. lael

    @ ymwtcyf

    No, it’s not that he’s making appointments. As I said, that’s his perogative. It for me is that he’s about to pay off the unions for their support by recreating the rank of captain and making a completely unnecessary promotion of a minority officer to a high-level command position–all at our expense. And he’ll be dumping the fire chief who was appointed by Knopp and has done great things for the city because he promised the figherfighters he would. THAT’S my issue. I’m not being negative, I’m being factual. And you’ll see I’m right. One other issue for me is that our new mayor took an all-expense paid vacation to Italy with his then wife 100% paid for by a big Norwalk developer THAT should’ve made him say no to the zoning appointment but he didn’t. Truly sorry if you feel I’m negative but I hate corruption. There are a lot of rocks that should’ve been turned over before everyone got behind this guy. If we had a mayor Kimmel or Miklave I would’ve been far happier and I would be behind them 100%. Both are ETHICAL men motivated to do what they really feel is best for the city and have made substantial contributions with their leadership. Sadly our new mayor had made promises and sidestepped any serious discussion of HOW he’ll do anything. There are HUGE redflags here we all need to be watching.

  64. M Allen

    @LWitherspoon – I too share your question over what this election actually mandated. It’s clear Rilling’s election was a mandate for change in the Mayor’s office. But looking at the votes in other “at large” offices, I’m wondering what it means. Rilling wins by 1500 votes, yet the top 4 Common Council At Large seats were Republicans. Not knowing what exit polls (if any) said, it would seem Rilling had no coat tails. Even someone as visible as Warren Pena was with Rilling during the election, loses on a citywide vote that went so heavily for Rilling. That says something. A vote for Rilling was a vote for Rilling, not a vote for the Democratic party at large. So it will be interesting to see how this rolls out.

  65. LWitherspoon

    If you knew about this trip to Italy with a developer, why didn’t you bring it up before the election? I think if this were real the RTC would have brought it forward.
    There appeared to be a lot of people who voted for Mayor and nothing else. The Hour’s vote totals show the number of people who left the ballot blank for each office:
    For at-large council seats, there were a total of 11,868 blanks on all ballots. Divide by five, since that’s how many each voter can choose, and it means that a minimum of 2,373 voters ignored all or part of the at-large council races. There were also 700-900 blanks in each of the district council races. With five districts and two council people in each, that also works out to something like 2,000 voters who ignored the Common Council race.

  66. M Allen

    @LWitherspoon – yeah I saw the number of blanks and did find that number high. But again, it goes to the theory of no real coat tails and a vote for Harry was juts a vote for Harry. But then you look at Sheriff. Still a relatively high number of blanks, but Duleep pulls in 8,200 votes. That’s more votes for her as Sheriff than Moccia got for Mayor. The more I look at the numbers, the more this was clearly a referendum on one position: Mayor. Eight years in office will do that. It will be interesting to see how much of a mandate anyone thinks they have beyond the Mayor’s office. Because the voters clearly didn’t want a pendulum swing from one side to the other. A pretty balanced outcome here.

  67. You may want to check your facts

    But if captains are needed in order to improve the efficacy of the department, why is that a bad thing? Also, what is this promise you keep talking about to a minority officer? I have seen nothing that indicates that? Which officer are you speaking of?

  68. M Allen

    Harry was Chief at the time the original report was issued calling for the elimination of Captains, was he not? I think that was 2007. I’m pretty sure that he suported the change to eliminate the rank of captain through attrition and that the current chief also supported it. The last Captain retired in 2012. Although captains, of which there were 5 at one time, were eliminated, an extra Deputy Chief was added and span of control was pushed down to the Lieutenant level. If I am correct, the Lieutenant level was also expanded. But I guess what matters now is what did the Mayor-elect think then and what does he think now?

  69. M Allen

    “Deputy Chief Thomas Kulhawik has been the lone inhabiter of the department’s second-highest rank since Arway’s retirement in 2008.

    Rilling said the decision to stick with one captain was based on a 1995 study by the International Association of Chiefs of Police that suggests that a department comperable to Norwalk in size and structure functions more effectively with fewer captains.

    “If there are too many layers, communication doesn’t flow as smoothly,”he said.
    Well, I guess we know where he was in 2011.

  70. Tim T

    You may want to check your facts
    Will you be providing the link to show that police overtime aka city employees is not being paid with city dollars aka taxpayer dollars .

  71. LWitherspoon

    @Mark Chapman
    Amen to that. I’m curious to see if the Republican caucus seeks to play “gotcha” with Mayor Rilling to the extent that the Democratic caucus did with Mayor Moccia. It’s one thing to respectfully differ on policy, it’s another thing entirely to introduce a string of resolutions with no purpose or effect other than to score political points.
    Regarding the voters and civility, I wouldn’t read too much into those examples you cited. Rilling did mention civility, but he mentioned a lot of things: sidewalks, bike lanes, development, big-box stores, NEON, school funding, and “respect” for City employees.
    As for the BoE election, I think it’s far more likely that Haynie lost because she was public enemy number one to the Unions after serving as a driving force behind the decision to bring them to arbitration, which ultimately won a one-year wage freeze. Colarossi’s loss was more likely due to running as a third party candidate, and third party candidates have a hard time winning in Norwalk. Geake ran in a heavily Democratic district. Robocalls or no robocalls, he had close to no chance of winning on a Republican ticket.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @L Witherspoon

      I certainly don’t discount any of what you say, and I agree it all contributed. But, despite my immersion here moderating the vocal minority, and my age, and my experience, I would like to believe that the silent majority is simply fed up with the smarm, the snark and the rudeness. I sincerely doubt the majority of the council Republicans will behave the way some Democrats did early in Moccia’s last term. My impression is most of them are above that. And I believe the Dems who were the offenders have learned and grown from the experience.

  72. lael

    @m allen

    Nice to be reminded for the record of what then-Chief Rilling had to say about captains. All that’s about to change.

    @ l witherspoon

    I’m not on the rtc and it didn’t occur to me to post anything here sooner. There’s a lot of things that could’ve and should’ve been looked into. That trip is probably the least of it. As I said, a lot of rocks should’ve been turned over. Mr. Rilling did not run a “nice” campaign. Oh, he smiled plenty and was most pleasant and oh so interested in you, but his motivation in running for mayor was not because of genuine concern for Norwalk and issues with how the city was run. No, it was his own intense personal ambition that drove him run for mayor and to make whatever expensive and unrealistic promises he needed to to get your vote. His campaign rhetoric needed to be “Snopes” fact/reality checked by the press but sadly he instead got a pass by all of them. Absolutely no hard questions were asked of him and it is worrisome to me that a city so well run financially is being turned over to someone driven to say anything to anyone to get elected. The only good news is that hopefully the Council will act as a check. Mr. Rilling is literally wiping out ALL the Moccia employees in City Hall. Most new mayors keep at least some people from the previous administration for continuity’s sake (want things to run smoothly) but not our new mayor—all those jobs have been promised to his people so out the people doing the work go. It’s all about him. It’s going to take people some time to see past all that fake “I feel your pain” stuff (he is a great communicator) but eventually they will—and certainly when they get their tax bills they’ll see the light for sure.

  73. “But I guess what matters now is what did the Mayor-elect think then and what does he think now?”
    If you are saying hindsight is 20-20, then that is not saying much – the people have voted for a mayor that can think AHEAD utilizing critical thinking.
    If he can’t do that, then…..

  74. lael

    The point being made is that Rilling then was doing what was right for the CITY in reducing overhead costs and bringing the department in line with what the national study said was the way to go. Rilling now will doing what’s right for HIM by paying back the police union for all that support. They’ve been promised and they are expecting. Rilling NOW will find some lame excuse to “justify” bringing back the captains he wanted out in 2011. And you know what? He’ll get away with it. This has nothing to do with “hindsight” and everything to do with sleazy campaign tactics that are going to cost US a fortune. Good for the city is less expense. Good for Rilling is more pay, wages and benefits for the union employees who worked so hard to get him elected.

  75. TG

    @lael – YOu seem so certain that all these things shall come to pass. Are you simply speculating on these matters, or do you have some inside knowledge about these things?

    While I understand union endorsements could present a conflict, I think it is a bit too early to guarantee that there will be a “fortune” spent when Rilling hasn’t even had an inauguration yet, again unless you have some very inside knowledge that most of us do not. I also believe there has been a disrespectful tone coming from the Mayor’s office- the same mayor who welcomed those endorsements himself in the past.

  76. lael


    I am not speculating but will not say more on that.

    The “fortune” Mr. Rilling will need to spend to make good on his promises is obvious to anyone who cares to read the budget and grasp just how thin the coffers are. After funding the BOE, there’s only 1/3 of the dollars the city has left to fund everything else. So there’s no existing pot of gold in the budget to pay for all these nice-sounding ideas. Simple math. You only have so much in your personal budget so you have to leave within your means or you need to get more income to pay for the extra things you want. Well, that’s how it works with the city. The FACT is that if he’s going to hire and promote cops, pay them more now that their contract’s being negotiated, put more of their health costs on US, start a pre-K program, support NEON, fix every pothole and cracked sidewalk and put bike lanes on every street, THERE’S NO MONEY THERE NOW without raising income–OUR TAXES. Crazy how people as he campaigned nodded their heads and loved what they heard and never once asked how he intends to do all this. The NON glowing endorsement of Rilling chided Moccia for daring to raise the question. That was THE question I kept hoping someone in the press would actually ask him and no one did. Now we will be paying a fortune more in taxes–double digit increases will be necessary if he’s going to live up to his promises.

    Rilling’s gotten over-the-top support from ALL the unions because he’s made promises we’ll have to pay to keep. don’t recall seeing Moccia similarly pander for votes ever.

  77. TG

    I understand the budgeting process. I get how it works.and I am not denying that there is no surplus anywhere. BUT there are still some questions to all your assumptions. Number one, if I am budgeting my household, and need to find money, it’s not always just a matter of obtaining more income. It is also a matter of looking at the budget and finding ways to make wise choices that allow funds to be freed from other areas. And I believe we need to give The Mayor elect an opportunity to dig into the budget and figure things out, and/or to find creative ways to increase revenue to our city. Yes, he will have to do those things which he promised and they wil cost money, but There are only a very few people on this blog have such a rigid certainty of doom without giving even a shred of hope. Which just leads me back to wondering what your particular role is in all of this. You, of course, can choose not to disclose anything, however, most of us are not just going to say, “hey, lael says there were secret promises made and lael just knows that HR was 100 percent insincere and so it must be so.” I don’t post often but only started to back during the whole Dems brawling incident. I stated very openly that Amanda Brown is a friend of mine, and gave a glowing characterization of her as an individual despite not condoning her actions. I feel my take on the situation was fair, but if others believed otherwise, they at least had the opportunity to see what my inside knowledge was (which, of the incident itself, was Zero- I went by news reports like everyone else) and why I might say what I was saying. The certainty with which you make these claims presents them as facts, yet there is no information available to us to substantiate them.

    As I said, I am not such a proponent of special interests getting too close to politicians during elections, but nonetheless I choose to give Mayor elect Rillimg a chance to prove himself.

  78. lael

    @TG with all due respect, regarding the claims I’ve made about HR’s campaign promises –you’ll obviously have to wait to see if I know what I’m talking about. Time will certainly tell.
    With regard to the finances, you would be correct if there was”extra” to cut from elsewhere in the budget. There isn’t. The thing I thought was great about the outgoing mayor is that his people could run the city so well on so little. Do yourself a favor and read the budget for yourself or you’ll keep getting into debates with people like me and not having a factual foundation from which to argue your position. Here’s a link: http://www.norwalkct.org/DocumentCenter/View/4841

    Financing Just pre-K alone would add a minimum of $10,000,000. How’d I figure that? Let’s say we had 1000 kids at a cost of $10,000 per child (we need space for the kids, teachers we have to pay, insurance, equipment, materials, administrators to supervise the teachers….)why that’s $10,000,000 right there. Since there’s no $ there to pay for it now and now $10m in services that could be cut, that one promise alone could see your taxes jump at least 30%. How’d I get 30%? Our total budget is $300m. 90% of the city’s cash to pay for things comes from the taxes it raises from us. Doing the math leaves us with a 30% increase just for pre-K. We still haven’t paid for any of those other new things our new mayor’s promised. See how this works?

    That’s not “rigid certainty. That’s economic reality.

  79. LWitherspoon

    I share your concern about how Rilling will pay for his promises, and all through the campaign I was asking the question. The few times anybody in the press asked, the answer was extremely vague and he was never pressed further for details. I guess we’ll see some details soon enough.
    It’s worth pointing out that Mayor Moccia had endorsements from just the Police and Fire Unions, and they all got raises plus new Headquarters buildings. Moccia did appear to support negotiating hard with all the other unions, with excellent results for taxpayers. Rilling got the endorsement of every single Union – now let’s see what happens. If what you predicted above comes to pass, I’ll be very disappointed.
    I am hoping that Mayor-elect Rilling realizes that if he wants to be Mayor for more than one term, paying off the Unions is a poor way to start.
    I’m also interested to see what influence Mayor Rilling exerts over the DTC. Didn’t he make some comments at one point about how he was in favor of reform there? Does that mean new leaders who do not get into fistfights over school board nominations?
    Whatever the case, your comments are interesting but I feel it’s a bit early to be so pessimistic. Let’s give Mayor-elect Rilling a chance to make good on his promises while simultaneously honoring his prior statement that “Norwalk taxes are excessive for the services received in exchange.”

  80. lael


    My pessimism is based on the track record Mayor Rilling has. The best predictor of future behavior is past performance, hence my pessimism. He’s not exactly an unknown in Norwalk after 40+ years on the police dept.

    I wouldn’t get my hopes up about reforming the DTC since he never said one word about the behavior of Ms. Brown or the behavior of certain members of his party on the Council. Not a word. I still can’t believe she balled up her car keys in her fist and punched an 84 year old man in the eye. The damage to his face she caused was hard to look at and Rilling said NOTHING and knocked his 82 year old wife to the ground. No comment on that but he had plenty of finger-wagging at Moccia for not being “respectful.”

    I wish I could share your optimism, I really do but notice the troubling contradictions? To the taxpayers Rilling says “taxes are excessive for the services received…” To NEON he says they should be funded by the city….to the teachers….BOE should be “fully funded” (which would’ve meant $26+ million more last year)….to the police he’s promised captains, the personnel director fired and a particular promotion…I could go on. My point is that you will hear from him what you need to hear to support him But it can’t be BOTH reducing taxes and all this new stuff. That’s not possible at all. He’s going to fulfill the ones he has to–and those WILL be the ones that cost US. Our taxes will be going up—waaay up. We’ve been had. Washington D.C -style politics has come to Washington Street.

    1. Mark Chapman


      Quick fact check: No one, including the NFT or it leaders, has called for the $26.5 million cut from budget requests over the eight years of the Moccia administration to be restored. The suggestion that somehow the union was demanding or expecting that money to be added back was pure campaign rhetoric pushed repeatedly by a partisan commenter here and elsewhere. As for the Brawl at City Hall, people seem to forget that Mr. Krummel reportedly slapped Amanda Brown before she struck back (Mr. Krummel admitted this.). Ms. Brown claims he also called her a racial epithet before he slapped her. This was after the shoving incident in which either Mrs. Krummel tried to push past an aggressive Ms. Brown and was shoved back, or Mrs. Krummel stumbled and fell. In any case, between Ms. Brown and Mr. Krummel, it was he who struck first, according to all reports. We reported the incident first, had the photos and, shortly thereafter, called on all three to step down from party participation.

  81. TG

    I don’t want prolong a debate, but I think we just differ on how any leader works the budget. I worked in Norwalk Public Schools for years. Any employee there could tell you where spending was wasteful and where it was essential. For example if you are looking at the budget and it allows X dollars for staff development, X dollars for building maintenance, X dollars, X dollars for technology upgrades, etc, etc, do you just accept that it all adds up to 2/3 of the city budget, and any additions immediately result in tax increase because you need more revenue? In reality, a savvy leader might find a grant for technology, might tap teachers for idea sharing instead of bringing in overpriced consultants, etc, you know what I mean? Like in my own home, if my budget for groceries is $1,000 a month and I decide I’m gonna start juicing and that extra produce is gonna cost $200, I don’t need to go get $200 from some other place. The first thing I would do is find out how I can get my groceries cheaper- clip coupons, shop at different/multiple stores. It is possible to keep that same budget and make that money go farther. And I imagine that Harry Rilling has quite a network to tap as he begins to find ways to fill all these needs within the budget. He is most definitely a good communicator and was quite adept at fundraising during the campaign. Lets give him a chance to see see how he manages creative revenue increase along with getting the most out of the budget we have. You credited Mayor Moccia for doing that. So why not assume its possible for Rilling?
    Back to the unions, it is naive to think that when any union or any group, for that matter, endorses a candidate, that they’d not expect something back. In the case of Rilling, maybe you’re right. Maybe every union thinks they are guaranteed a bigger piece of the pie now. andaybe they’re gonna get it, or maybe they won’t . or on the other hand, it honestly may be something as simple as respect-the work of the city will be better accomplished better when people feel they are heard and understood. Did the police and fire departments get new headquarters after endorsing Moccia? Yes, but does that mean promises were made in exchange for helping him win the election. I guess it’s possible, or you could simply say that during a time of quite civil relationships between Moccia and these unions, he was really hearing them and recognizing their buildings were ancient and no longer able to sustain the work they needed to. If captains promotions are made, does it have to be some sinister plan, or could it be that Rilling is listening to these officers instead of a study from the mid-nineties. By the way, regardless of his position on the matter while he was chief, it doesn’t mean he’s married to that position now. He wasn’t in the position to make the call back then- only to give input. Now he may have to be more thoughtful about it, now that there are two DCs and no captains, is it working? If its not, dont the officers have a right to ask that that be re-examined? As it is, I have no reason to believe that promise were made, and unless NON or another outlet uncovers something, I have no reason to believe there was some clearly defined “i’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” even IF captains are made or whatever. You just keep making allusions to this without disclosing how you seem to have this inside scoop.

    Anyway, I hope that clarifies how others might be looking at this a bit better. Many of us are just hopeful that Rillimg can take us successfully into the future of Norwalk, and it’s going to be hard for him to make a misstep, as all of us have our eyes on him to be who he said he would be during the campaign.

  82. TG

    Sorry, forgot to tag @lael in my last comment.

    @mark chapman, thanks for the reminder of the facts of the Brown/Krummel altercation. So many strong opinions on that, but at the end of the day, the DTC exercised their right to retain Amanda as leader, as all parties admitted fault, and to move forward. That people are using Harry Rilling’s resistance to calling for a step down as a reason to criticize him as a leader is not fair. He is a cop- trained to be somewhat impartial in such matters, and there it seemed wise to let the situation work itself out when no one chose to press charges and all parties seem to be willing to learn from it and move forward. He was not the voice of the DTC.

  83. lael


    If it hadn’t been for NON I wouldn’t have known just how violent the incident was. No one else had the pictures you did or reported the details. You are to be applauded for your coverage of this event. I actually started reading NON after that. You seem to deeper to get the story than your competition. But as for that incident, as I understood it, Mr. Krummel went at Ms. Brown after his wife (who had two hip replacements) was knocked by her to the ground. He was attempting to protect his wife from more abuse by Ms. Brown as I’m sure any man would. If you knew the Krummels and the wonderful contributions they’ve made to the world around them, you’d find it hard to believe Ms. Brown. Sounded to me like Ms. Brown fabricated an excuse to justify her nasty behavior. Obviously I wasn’t there and I can’t know, but Brown showed nothing but arrogance in her subsequent remarks.

    On the subject of the BOE, their spending actually increased in every year of the last 10 and has risen a total of 35%. Nice bar chart in the city’s budget that shows the spending inceases under Moccia. I was referring to the extra requested spending they want to be “fully funded” in their opinion. Will be interesting to see what they end up getting. They ALWAYS want more and we have no control how they actually end up spending the money we give them. Shocking how poorly our kids are doing academically for all we’re spending.
    They’ve reduced administrative staff but if they were a private sector company, there would be far more cuts to their bloated, top-heavy staff.

  84. lael


    new police dept was Esposito, not Moccia.

    In the case of the BOE, the City by state law has no choice but to hand them our money and hope they spend it where they say they will. City has no legal control after the funds are given to them–and no authority to make them cut the waste you know is there.

  85. TG


    I actually thought so regarding the PD. seemed too long ago to be Moccia, but I was sort if addressing LWitherspoons comment regarding it.

  86. lael

    @TG As for the promises I’ve discussed, this sounds a little sharp and I don’t mean it to but I have no need to convince you I know what I’m talking about. And I don’t care to prolong the debate on these promises our new mayor’s made to win votes any longer. Think it’s all been said–at least on my end. I wanted these things out there because what he’s done to win this election is wrong. And a little sunlight on the things he wanted to stay in the dark–and get away with– is a good thing.

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