Letter: Former RTC chairmen seek change in the registrar of voters office.

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To the editor:

We as former RTC Town Chairmen, Jeffrey Konspore and Art Scialabba, fully support the Republican nominated and endorsed candidate for the Registrar of Voters Office, John Federici, and encourage all Republicans to vote for him in the Aug. 12th primary.

Republican Town Committee members took a bold and necessary step in nominating John Federici over the incumbent Republican registrar for many valid reasons. Unfortunately our current registrar has decided that the will of the Republican Town Committee, the elected body that nominates our candidates, should not be taken seriously, and has decided to primary. This is, in fact, her right, but an unfortunate choice.

The leadership of the party, including all five district chairs and vice chairs, the RTC chairman and vice chairman and the vast majority of the Executive Committee, acted for what is deemed to be a necessary move brought about by years of issues that each of us, as past chairs, and the current chair have experienced with our Republican registrar.

Some people have heard, incorrectly, that this is just a “personal” issue, or that some in leadership “just don’t like” our current RoV. The move away from the incumbent is strictly based on common sense and a need to have someone more dedicated to working in the registrar’s office, cleaning up what we have experienced as poor voter information and records, and having someone responsive to the voters, especially to those who put her in office, we Republicans.

All we had wanted, over the almost 14 years that the current registrar has been in office is a friendly work environment, a responsive registrar, and a dedication to the job that is not interrupted by what seems to be many unnecessary outside activities that have gone on in her office, such as babysitting, real estate activities, tag sales, and an inordinate amount of time working on other issues, all of which caused her to be counseled by both of us, and by the past Republican mayors, both Moccia and Esposito.

Having been fined $1,500 that the taxpayers absorbed for failing to follow state law, and arbitrarily removing approximately 3,000 voters from the rolls, and then being forced by the state to return those voters, are just two of the many issues we as chairs had to deal with in the past. In addition, the very famous personal dispute between our registrar and the past Democratic registrar was daily fodder for the press for some time, and caused us to bring in, at a cost to the taxpayers, a mediator to resolve the issues.

Every possible chance for job and interpersonal improvement has been given to our registrar, but the chances have been wasted. Hours and hour of meetings, phone calls and pleas for civility have fallen on deaf ears. We have both lost count of the number of phone calls we fielded from Mayor Moccia about issues that our current registrar was raising that had nothing to do with her job description, and were clearly not in her purview. She had been asked many times to please just stick to her job, and leave the non-registrar issues to others, but to no avail.

All the RTC is asking for, and has been asking for, is a person who will be in the office, do what is necessary to gather the correct voter information, work closely and civilly with co-workers, and provide accurate data that is so necessary to running a campaign.

We, the majority of the Republican Executive Committee and the Republican Town Committee believe we have that person in John Federici. We encourage every registered Republican voter to come out on Aug. 12 and vote in John Federici to the Registrar of Voters Office. He will serve the public of all parties well.

Arthur Scialabba & Jeffrey Konspore

Former Norwalk Republican Town Chairs


15 responses to “Letter: Former RTC chairmen seek change in the registrar of voters office.”

  1. Tim D

    A letter penned by the previous leadership begs the question: Why has it taken 14 years to make a change?

  2. Silent majority

    I am so disgusted with my party, the Republican party. The RTC is powered drunk and completely out of touch with the majority of republican in town. So our current Registra spends some of her time working for and with veterans and the elderly, great. Good for her. Most of them are Republicans. Stop wasting our time with this rhetoric and propaganda, it’s embarrassing. We will vote and see who the people want

  3. Oyster

    From the Republican State Party By-Laws: Section 15. Party Assistance Not To Be Provided in Primaries No town committee or officer thereof shall expend any party funds, or provide party services of value on behalf of any candidate in a pre-endorsement contest or primary.
    It would seem that the Executive Committee, made up of officers of the Town Committee, are providing material support to Mr. Federici prior to the selection of a nominee through the primary process, in violation of party rules.

  4. Anna Duleep, City Sheriff

    How could anybody manage the logistics of holding TAG SALES in a small City Hall office?? Was this a typo? I just can’t picture it. While I cannot dispute RTC leadership’s experiences, I wonder how effective such improbable accusations will be. Seriously, tag sales?[“dedication to the job that is not interrupted by what seems to be many unnecessary outside activities that have gone on in her office, such as babysitting, real estate activities, tag sales,”]
    At the risk of hurting Karen with -gasp- a compliment from a Democrat, I’ll note that I’ve never thought of Karen Doyle Lyons as anything other than very very dedicated to her job as Republican Registrar. I doubt the Secretary of the State’s office would choose someone less than dedicated to train election moderators around the state!
    I attended a training by Karen and Deputy Democratic Registrar Bob Sodaro last year while renewing my moderator certification; there were Registrars from surrounding communities present to learn from Karen & Bob how to train their own poll workers.
    Finally, both Registrars are elected to serve the public. Yes, the major party committees choose the nominees for Registrar. But ALL Norwalk taxpayers, including the Unaffiliated, contribute to the salaries we pay our Registrars. Karen seems to collaborate very well with our Democratic Registrar, Stuart Wells. That helps their shared office work in an efficient and cordial manner. By putting professionalism ahead of partisanship, these Registrars help all Norwalkers, not just those few in the RTC.

  5. anon

    Unprofessional and small-minded, certainly not likely to impress people into registering as Republicans.

  6. West Norwalk Observer

    Go Karen!!! Thank you for all you do for our community!!! It is so great that you put Norwalk first above petty political partisanship!

  7. When former party bosses complain that they can’t control the Registrar of Voters (despite efforts to “counsel” her as they describe), voters should have all the reasons they need to continue to support Karen Doyle Lyons.

    [Whether Mrs. Lyons should be given additional kudos for avoiding taking interpersonal and workplace advice from Art Scialaba is a conundrum facing those in the community who would give her two votes for that prescience.]

    As for the claim of Mrs. Lyons’ violating state law regarding voter registration records, the former GOP grand poobahs should have honestly told the entire story- and probably should have disclosed that THE MATTER OCCURRED IN 2004. Now, for those of you doing the math at home, that would mean that the outraged former GOP capo di capi renominated Mrs. Lyons at least four times since then.

    Now, for the rest of the story. In 2004, the state, in its infinite wisdom, directed that local Registrars of Voters transfer all of their voter files to an untested centralized state system. There were technical glitches (because the voting data had to be converted to the state system), concerns that the conversion was causing voters to be dropped from the rolls that then needed to be manually checked, and significant manpower costs (another unfunded state mandate)that delayed the conversion. And the fact that the state system would crash could be seen as a vindication of the caution both of Norwalk’s Registrars showed. Of course, state bureaucrats being who they are still felt compelled to fine Norwalk for the delay in the data conversion (however justifiable).

    The fact that Mr. Scialaba and his predecessor would offer such a misleading statement about the “fine” with none of the context on a complex issue suggests to me that (i) they really don’t believe that any of us know how to use Google to spot check their half-truths, (ii) they are undeterred by facts in their quest to unseat an incumbent Registrar of Voters they’ve admitted they couldn’t control or (iii) they simply don’t respect voters enough to be completely honest about their personal and petty pother with Mrs. Lyons.

    Regardless of their reasons, they have made this primary about whether political bosses should control the Registrar of Voters office like a wing of their party. For those of who believe that the office needs to continue to operate in a non-partisan way, the choice is clear.

  8. I’m a democrat, but…

    I absolutely LOVE Karen.

    I met her in the office while I was registering as a democrat and I found her to be a lovely lady.

    I believe you don’t fix what’s not broken!

    I am not into politics at all, however, Scialaba seems to be a reckless snake in my eyes. My honest opinion.

  9. Hobbes the Calvinist

    Been scouring Amazon to find the Art Scialabba update to “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. For someone who tried in vein for years to provide “interpersonal improvement” to Karen Doyle Lyons, you’d think he’d have a multi-volume published by now.

  10. rburnett

    Go Steve!!! Seems as if the Republicans want to get rid of Karen because they can’t control her like they want to control everything else. Imagine, wanting to control the Registrar – you HAVE to be kidding.

  11. Grand Old Pete

    So if you take away the 10 chairs and vice chairs, the vote would have been Karen 25, John 18. Maybe that’s why Pete chose to not be transparent on the vote count. Talk about leading a party off of a cliff.

  12. RU4REAL

    Sounds like the choice is crystal clear, Ms. Lyons is doing a good job BECAUSE she wont let them control her.
    If we’re paying attention as informed voters the incumbent is the right choice for the Registrar.
    Their office works well together and they’re a great group of down to earth folk whenever you stop by. Karen, Stu and staff (kudos to Bob) must be doing something right.
    Besides, voting against a group of political control junkies would be like bucking the establishment or better yet “sticking it to the man”
    Can you imagine what would become of the Registrars Office if those 10 votes ran it through Mr. Federici?
    Good luck Karen!

  13. BegsTheQuestion

    “Unfortunately our current registrar has decided that the will of the Republican Town Committee, the elected body that nominates our candidates, should not be taken seriously, and has decided to primary. This is, in fact, her right, but an unfortunate choice.”
    That quote is quite disturbing.
    A primary election is just about the purest form of Democracy that I can think of. Get enough public signatures? Congrats, you can run for office. But apparently democracy doesn’t fit into their wishes. Ughh. What self absorbed <> these guys are.
    I know both candidates on a personal level and my disgust, in no way, lies with either. They are both great people.

  14. Gypsy

    Let’s just discuss the ethics involved for a moment.

    Exactly how “ethical” is it for a City employee to do babysitting, run a real estate business, and do other personal things on City time in her City office, while being paid with Taxpayer Money?

    How “ethical” is it to alienate City workers with aggressive, argumentative, and intimidating behavior on a day to day basis?

    How “ethical” is it when other party members up in Hartford wouldn’t even accept a phone call unless they had it on speakerphone with witnesses in the room to hear what was said, because if they don’t, the Republican Registrar will whine and cry and claim abuse and that none of the comments during that phone call that came directly from her weren’t from her at all?

    Your turn.

  15. Jesse

    Let me tell you who Karen Doyle Lyons really is. Comments by Gypsy are right on target. She is a bully. She never admits that she is wrong. It’s always the “other” person. The extra-curricular activities … once again all true and what is most disturbing she doesn’t see the errors of her ways. As far as the office working well together … another disputed fact and I’m talking about the Betty Biondi fiiasco. Beside being a bully, she is also a major control freak. It’s her way or the highway. That is part of the reason she is still Registrar. The powers that be continually warned her to shape up & they’d reendorse her. She agreed. But, she didn’t stick to her word. No surprise there. Typical. I am glad John Federici is the RTC endorsed candidate. He is more qualified for the position than Lyons could ever be. He is a strong leader & manager. Soft-spoken and kind.charitable and character-defining integrity! Ms. Lyons does NOT possess these qualities.
    Finally, I have never cast a vote for Registrar. I mean there’s 1 Republican & 1 Democrat on the ballot, they’re automatically elected so why bother.
    In tomorrow’s primary for Registrar, I will be voting. For John Federici! It’s time for a change people! Put an end to the condescending, entitled Registrar and bring in an honorable man to succeed her. The voters of Norwalk will be better off.

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