By Art Scialabba
Chairman, Norwalk Republican Town Committee
NORWALK, Conn. – Wow! Looks as though I ruffled some feathers on the other side of the aisle by bringing out facts concerning Harry Rilling’s mishandling of his duties as a zoning commissioner and the salary and retirement benefits he was paid during his last 11 years in office. What I did not see from some, like Peter Berman, is anything that actually dealt with the facts and not an attack on me in my capacity as chairman of the Norwalk Republican Party.
I guess in Mr. Berman’s world it is OK to print scathing letters against people like Bruce Kimmel and Mayor Moccia, but not okay to raise issues about Mr. Berman’s buddies.
By Mr. Rilling publishing his bias against big box stores, he has, in fact, made it impossible for him to participate in any meeting without jeopardizing the city with possible law suits against us and our citizens. Really, if Mr. Rilling were not running for office and trying to cover every base he can (he’s on to saving South Norwalk in his most recent “I have ideas” published letter) would he have written that letter?
Does anyone believe that?
Seventeen years in a most powerful position and now he thinks he has the answers? A day late and a dollar short.
And, as for his constant reminder to the voters that he sits on zoning, it was Mayor Moccia who gave him that position over the advice of those of us who know Mr. Rilling and his intentions. Mr. Rilling only wanted the zoning seat so he could use it as a platform in his campaign.
As for his salary and the assertion by him that he was hired back as a “consultant” (his words, not mine), well that is just not true. His contract is public information, and nowhere does it say he was a “consultant.” He was hired back as the chief.
As to another assertion by one of his supporters that he was hired to save money and because there was nobody around who could take his place, also not true. We had a very capable and worthy deputy chief at the time who finally gave up waiting for Mr. Rilling to retire, and he left to head up another department. And even if we did not have a deputy chief available to become chief, we could have gone to the outside to find one.
That approach is one that the Democrats have championed, but apparently forgotten when it comes to Mr. Rilling. And, who wouldn’t like to be in a sweetheart position of being paid more than $1 million while receiving a retirement of $800,000 from the same agency that you are working for.
This was no ordinary “drop plan” in that the chief was a contract hire and it was he who continued to ask for extensions, as opposed to a real drop plan with a time limit of 3-5 years.