Letter: Fast rejection for association board ‘unprecedented’

By William Krummel

To the Editor,

I applied for membership on the West Norwalk Association Board of Directors on Dec. 10, hoping to succeed my wife, Regina, whose term had just ended. I included my resume, which noted I was a past president and board member of the WNA, Common Council member for eight years, past president of Norwalk State Technical College and Bridgeport Engineering Institute and other public service activities.

I received a letter of rejection from Linda Forcellina, co-president of WNA, within two weeks, Dec. 22.

This almost immediate rejection by an influential neighborhood association of a qualified, known and respected citizen is cause for concern. Such a rejection is unprecedented in our memory. The present board membership is less than half of its authorized 18. Normally a candidate would have an opportunity to present himself at a board meeting. Further concerns are raised when it is noted that the present board officers are serving illegally, in violation of the WNA bylaws, which specify that board officers serve one year terms and are to be elected at the second meeting following the annual meeting, in this case, November.

So why be concerned? Well, I make no secret of my active work in the local Democratic Party and my support for environmental causes such as concerns over a driving range at OHPA. The West Norwalk Association presents itself as active in reflecting homeowner member interests and in preserving neighborhood quality of life and has a long history of community involvement, of which I have had a part.

What is happening here?

William “Bill” Krummel




16 responses to “Letter: Fast rejection for association board ‘unprecedented’”

  1. Bill Wrenn

    It is sad that the current board members of the West Norwalk Association, which has a proud and active history of openness and community involvement, choose to behave like closed minded insiders. It is no wonder that paid memberships in the organization have dwindled and half its board positions remain unfilled.

  2. Piberman

    Maybe Norwalk Democrats need add “respect for taxpayers” to their “respect for City employees” platform.

  3. cc-rider

    Piberman- please get some new material for 2014. No one enjoys hearing the same song over and over and over again…

  4. Suzanne

    That’s it. My payment to this Association is OVER. Clearly, politics and personal preference are playing a role in how this non-organization manages its board and elected members. My dollars, then, are going to a group that is basically useless, does not stick up for our neighborhood, especially in regard to development issues and loves all those “feel good” activities like adopt a spots and small, insignificant regional scholarships. They do not even try to stick with their own mission statement on their WEB site. I am a citizen of West Norwalk who not only does not feel represented but feels WNA is just another organization to climb over when any real issue hits the fan in our neighborhood. Shame on you, Linda Forcellina. Did it never occur to you to open up the request to membership? Or is that not how it works? Better to maintain the clique you are comfortable with? Ok, but not with my support.

  5. Al Bore

    This is shameful Mr. Krummel has dedicated most of his life to west Norwalk and the city of Norwalk. Why would he be rejected to serve on the board which he is more qualified probably than most who currently serve today? I will be sure to not pay my 2014 dues which I have a form in hand from the 2013 holiday party. Shame on the WNA board stop being so personal and do right by the community.

  6. Diane C2

    Mr. Krummel, did the rejection letter include a specific reason?
    In keeping with my “benefit of the doubt” mentality, perhaps there is something in WNA bylaws that prohibits family members from serving immediately following a relative’s term?
    Hopefully a reasonable explanation will be forthcoming, especially if the Board is currently understaffed. In these times when many of our local associations are struggling to attract and keep new at-large and board members, I would think the WNA whould welcome everyone who steps up to devote their time to help.

  7. LWitherspoon

    Might the rejection have something to do with Mr. Krummel’s altercation earlier this year with Amanda Brown at City Hall? I believe Mr. Krummel admitted to slapping Ms. Brown before Ms. Brown balled her fist around car keys and punched him in the eye. Ms. Brown also alleged that Mr. Krummel called her vile racist names. While some facts surrounding that incident are murky, it’s clear there was inappropriate behavior by both parties.
    In light of those events, the WNA is probably best served to look for other board members, and Mr. Krummel should resign from the DTC.

  8. Mercedes Benedict

    Seems to me the West Norwalk Association thinks it’s an elite country club open only to a certain group of members…
    As someone who has lived in the West Norwalk area my entire life, I am really saddened to see that the board is clearly “playing politics” and instead of embracing their neighbors and those that want to do good and be a part of something, they are simply holding popularity contests and holding their own personal agendas. A vote like that, happens no other way! This very bold statement, seems to me really unfair and unprecedented to single out one person-who is more than qualified. I never became active with the group, but always thought about it. Nice holiday party but it should be a heck of a lot more than just that! Now I am certain that I have no desire to associate myself with a group like this! Isn’t a neighborhood group supposed to be about the betterment of the community and the neighbors? Why would they decline Mr. Krummel from the opportunity of serving his neighborhood…How about an explanation as to why? Sounds like this group has it’s own personal agenda! I would call upon all West Norwalk residents to reconsider this so called “BOARD” that is representing them. I would’t want a group so closed minded representing me! In fact, maybe I will start my own group…covering the same areas within West Norwalk! My neighborhood group, will tackle neighborhood issues, not PEOPLE- You see that;s what a neighborhood group is all about and should be about. I work very hard to live in this area and raise my family here… I take great pride in my beautiful charming home and my gorgeous neighborhood. I have great respect for my city and my neighbors… I must say I am just so disgusted by the lack of representation and the clear disregard for qualifications and the true spirit of what a group like this should be about. I will say it once again, This is a community group, not a political circle. I think it is time for West Norwalk residents like myself to take a closer look. Not sure who is in charge of this “neighborhood” group but I would call for their resignation immediately. Any takers on forming a viable West Norwalk Neighborhood group?…I will be at City Hall next week, finding out the logistics on how to go about doing just this, even with the current one in place. My group will really be open to people who want to make a positive difference. Sorry but this has really got me going and really got me thinking! It’s time for a change, I am not going to lose my passion for this neighborhood, but rather get it on track with something this West Norwalk community deserves…everyone should be welcome because we all have the same agenda-doing good for our neighbors, neighborhood and community! Not singling them out and rejecting them. We leave the politics to the politicians!!! Here’s to a BETTER West Norwalk…Change is on the way!

  9. Suzanne

    L Witherspoon, Your apologist agenda on behalf of the WNA is sad as is your take on that regrettable and, please, forgettable altercation. The only photo I saw as a result of that ridiculous argument showed Mr. Krummel severely injured. Yet, he still desires to serve the community. I would call that “turning the other cheek” and is quite commendable. A grateful acceptance should have been the response not a political rejection.

  10. LWitherspoon

    I have no opinion on the existing WNA leadership, but it’s hard to believe it would be improved by adding a man who escalated a verbal argument into a physical altercation by slapping Amanda Brown. The fact that Ms. Brown gave Mr. Krummel a nasty shiner doesn’t excuse his lack of self-control and makes me question whether or not he is fit to serve on a public body. How would he handle disagreements when serving on that body?

  11. Suzanne

    L Witherspoon, you can just have no informed opinion on this matter as can no one except the participants. You have no right to say whether this man would be capable or not of being a board member on a neighborhood association, maligning him for one incident after years and years of service. Sit in judgement, please, don’t hesitate. But, I question your self-righteousness and lack of perspective when, I am sure, your resume is nothing like this gentleman’s own when it comes to service to Norwalk. You have jumped on the judgement band wagon without a horn to play. Let it be.

  12. LWitherspoon

    I respectfully disagree – I have every right to ask questions and express an opinion regarding Mr. Krummel’s fitness to serve on the WNA board. Incidentally, my comments on this matter contain more questions than judgements.
    If I remember correctly, you were among the people who spent a lot of time in the months before the election trumpeting the need for a return to civility.
    Now that the election is over, it’s disappointing to learn that your apparent interest in civility may have just been a campaign tactic.
    After the incident involving the Krummels and Amanda Brown, I stated that both Mr. Krummel and Ms. Brown should resign from the DTC. I believe a NoN editorial by Mark Chapman expressed the same view. Those were the positions of people who believe that civility and good behavior are more than just campaign slogans.
    Mr. Krummel might well be in a position to contribute to the WNA – I don’t know. I do know that it’s entirely reasonable to question if he’s the best person to serve after what he admitted to doing to Amanda Brown, and his vile racial language alleged by Ms. Brown. I’m also sure that you do not advance the cause of civility by accusing those who may disagree with you of being “self-righteous”.

  13. Suzanne

    L Witherspoon, You don’t have the correct person. I was with Mr. Chapman’s views on this matter and, like you, believed all parties involved should have stepped down.

    What I believe to be self-righteous, is the judgment upon another person without full knowledge of that person’s circumstances or intent. You have the right to an opinion but no right to substantially affect an outcome in regard to the service of a person offering it to a neighborhood organization, especially if you do not live here.

    Even if you did live here, you would not have been given the opportunity to judge for yourself whether Mr. Krummel was a viable candidate to serve on the board, something his wife had been doing for many years, because that decision was made swiftly and, apparently, without consultation. In addition, the WNA has proven itself to be quite ineffective at taking any kind of substantive position on behalf of the neighborhood it is supposed to be representing, especially when it comes to development or anything sniffing of any kind of controversy. There is not advocacy from this group, just a clique feeling good about itself. (Not conjecture. I get their infrequent newsletters.) This from a neighborhood group that used to protect the neighborhood and advocate for its citizens even if it was uncomfortable to do so (there is a lot that will remain a lot at the corner of Weed and Old Rock Lane that should be designated a historic memory/monument to the activism that used to be the WNA.)

    I know you do not like incivility and neither do I. But, I do bristle at throwing stones based upon dubious history that doesn’t show the entire picture of service generously proffered by this person for many, many years to the City of Norwalk as expressed in his resume.

  14. Tony M

    I got together with a small group of neighbors for New Years and this discussion of Bill Krummell’s rejection came up in conversation after discussion regarding Oak Hills and the Mosque situation. Before I knew it, we were on this site reading the comments and I must say many good points are raised. I would never consider paying dues to this group again, I have off and on in the past. I think the idea of supporting a new neighborhood group within this area is brilliant and given recent events of how the current board voted on someone who was more than qualified, willing and able to represent, I would say…it must be done for the sake of the neighborhood! I clearly do not want these people representing me.
    I am all for this idea of bringing in a new group. Why has the discussion on that not gone any further? The West Norwalk Neighborhood Association meets the first Monday of the month. I presume it is too soon to gather names & addresses in support of a new group? I know someone mentioned they would be contacting or doing some leg work within city hall to go about forming a new group…I will be doing the same and look forward to teaming up and getting the word out…
    signed, concerned west norwalk resident of 18 years

  15. Mercedes Benedict

    Tony, sounds like we are on the same page. I have been doing some research and it looks like there is another group in West Norwalk known as Ferndale. Not sure exactly what boundaries they currently cover residentially but I plan to be in touch with the head of that group to see if potentially they may have an interested in expanding and merging with a new group. I have already quite a few neighbors helping me to get the ball rolling and any additional efforts on anyone else’s part are much appreciated as well. This probably is not the proper forum to continue this…so what I will do, is once I get the information, we will list something in The Hour and on this site as well if permitted. It’s time to form a group that will welcome neighbors to get involved and take a stand on the issues in an un bias and non political format.

  16. Paul Cantor

    I agree wholeheartedly with Mercedes Benedict statement. As she put it: “instead of embracing their neighbors and those that want to do good and be a part of something,” the current board is ” simply holding popularity contests and holding their own personal agendas.” They may call themselves a neighborhood organization but they are not neighborly. Paul

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