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Letter: New mayor brings fresh approach to City Hall

By Rod Lopez-Fabrega

To the Editor:

For whatever it is worth, on Monday I attended Mayor Rilling’s first State of the City address, marking his first 100 days in office. It might be useful to point out initial reactions and first impressions — at least from the point-of-view of a supporter of the mayor’s candidacy.

The mayor outlined a number of initiatives already in effect as well as a list of “to do” items to fulfill campaign promises made. I will not attempt to list them here as N.O.N. has given a full and accurate accounting.

Everything that was said and the breezy and assured manner in which it was said left me with the strong impression that the mayor has opened all the windows in City Hall to let in a great gust of fresh air. It is clear that he has taken steps to begin to get the house in order by strongly guaranteeing civility and accessibility to citizens and visitors to Norwalk’s City Hall.

As just one example, he has introduced these qualities within the workings of City Hall through the three special meetings for Council members already held and more to come on a monthly basis. He pointed out that in the past, Council members with offices just paces away from each other never talked to each other. They now are brought together in a room where ideas and recommendations and disputes can be aired face to face in more measured, productive and less quarrelsome exchanges than have been reported happened frequently in Council chamber discords.

He has opened up another window for the public with his “Mayor’s Night Out” meetings already held in half a dozen neighborhoods. In these, the general public can ask questions, air complaints, etc. directly to him and to other directors. These have been well attended and outstandingly well received by attendees, and they will continue.

As for items on the list that really affect the citizens on a daily basis, of special interest to Norwalk’s besieged property owners was the mayor’s declaration that the re-evaluation of properties has shifted the burden from residential to commercial  — not enough, but working on it. Then — hold the presses — the mayor has promised to speed up the process of fixing this year’s killer potholes and broken sidewalks.

All in all, my reaction is that the State of the City looks positive and the prospects for the near future much better than they have been. Barring future catastrophes, we can rest assured for now that we have a good man on the job.

Rod Lopez-Fabrega

Comments

2 responses to “Letter: New mayor brings fresh approach to City Hall”

  1. Piberman

    If Norwalk is going to survive as an attractive community undergoing extra-ordinary demographic change its leaders must address its fundamental no. 1 problem – restricting outlays affordable to its citizens. Every thoughtful citizen understands the consequences of increasing per capita budget outlays by 55% over the past two decades while incomes have barely changed – up only 10%. Stagnant property values and Grand List and a city attractive only to renters not home owners or new business.

    The real question is why Mayor Rilling hasn’t moved boldly to take control of the City budget with a well qualified BET and more capable managers rather than use the same old team he inherited. The real question is why Mayor Rilling hadn’t asked for assistance from a Financial Advisory Team of knowledgeable financial experienced citizens.

    Norwalk doesn’t need just another politician mayor. We’ve had more than our share in recent decades. That’s why we’re in a real fix. Norwalk needs a major who isn’t afraid to take charge of the budget and reduce City spending to affordable levels so its citizens, especially recent arrivals, can once again enjoy a prosperous city with a governance that commands respect and admiration.

    We desperately need a financial sharp pencil at City Hall. Not “fresh air”. Watch housing values, vacant properties and new business formations. Encourage Mayor Rilling to take charge of. Norwalk’s budget. That’s the “real public servant” our City desperately needs.

  2. Oldtimer

    Is Professor Berman campaigning for an appointment to the BET ?

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