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McMurrer and Murray resign from Common Council

Common Council member Jenn McMurrer (D-District C)

Two Common Council members have resigned from the Council. Jenn McMurrer and Melissa Murray, both Democratic Councilwomen for District C, announced their resignations from the Common Council within hours of each other today.

“This is something I have been thinking about for some time,” McMurrer told NancyOnNorwalk. “There are family issues that need attention,” she said. “I have a full-time job, I’m a mom and a wife, and I haven’t been able to find the balance,” she added. “Time is going faster and faster and I want to enjoy every minute I have with my family.”

McMurrer has been on the Council since 2021 while Murray has only served seven months, having been elected in 2023.

Council President Darlene Young said that McMurrer’s resignation “comes as a surprise, but I understand family comes first. As a single mom trying to juggle family and Council, I know it is difficult,” said Young.

Hours after McMurrer’s resignation, Murray submitted hers, unaware that McMurrer had also just given notice. “It wasn’t like we strategized or anything,” she said. Murray said she is leaving due to scheduling conflicts with getting her masters in Family & Health Communications at Fairfield University. “I just wasn’t experienced with how hard it is to juggle the schedule with all the meetings,” she said. “It really just came down to scheduling.”

Murray’s resignation will be effective July 15 while McMurrer’s last day is July 22. Murray said she waited to get through the budget season to give notice, and feels that “now is a good time for a new person to come on board.”

Colin Hosten, Chair of the Democratic Town Committee, said that while he knew of both Council Members’ intentions to resign, he was “a bit blindsided” that they did so on the same day.

Melissa Murray, Common Council Member (D-District C)

Her resignation “is something that has been in the works for months,” McMurrer told NancyOnNorwalk. She added that she and Hosten have had conversations over the past few months as to who might replace her. “We’ve been working to do this for a while,” she said. “I didn’t want to leave District C high and dry; we need someone wonderful to fill the seat.”

The next step is for District C Democrats to appoint candidates for replacement, to be voted on by the Democratic Town Committee at the July meeting. “We have someone in mind,” said McMurrer, regarding her replacement. “She will send in a letter of intent soon.”

Hosten released the following statement regarding the resignations:

While it is not unprecedented for a public servant to need to step down from office because their circumstances have changed, it is admittedly rare for these instances to coincide like this. Neither Jenn McMurrer nor Melissa Murray makes this decision lightly, and they have both conferred with their families, their colleagues, and with me as the Norwalk DTC Chair so that we can navigate their succession together. The City of Norwalk, and in particular the constituents of District C, are demonstrably better off for their service, and I am personally grateful for the integrity, enthusiasm, and grace with which they have both approached their tenure on the Council.

Jenn McMurrer has served on the Common Council since 2021 and worked on various committees including as chair of the Public Safety and General Government Committee. Among her many accomplishments on the council, she helped implement the behavioral health unit within the Norwalk Police Department. She promoted a community center, more public amenities and a parks foundation, which is in the works, for public and private partnerships. She also produced and started a Common Council newsletter for better and more transparent communication.

Melissa Murray was in her first term on the council and worked with her colleagues on the following committees: Community Services, Public Works, Ordinance and Finance and Claims. She was also named the Common Council facilitator for Charter Revision Forums. Melissa joined the council while she was working on her graduate degree in Family and Health Communication and has been a passionate health advocate for the city.

We will now follow the prescribed process for identifying and appointing their replacements, which starts with the members of the District C Committee having a chance to let their voices be heard, and culminates with an official vote at the July meeting of the Norwalk DTC.

Maryor Rilling had the following to say:

While we are sad to see Council Member McMurrerr and Council Member Murray resign, I want to thank them for their dedication in serving the residents of Norwalk. It’s been an honor to work closely with them toward our shared vision of providing our residents with the services they need in an efficient manner.  Most notably, I want to thank Council Member McMurrerr for serving as the Chair of the Public Safety and General Government Committee over the past three years and working tirelessly with our Fire and Police Department to help keep our community safe.   I wish them both the best in their future endeavors. Per the City Charter, the Norwalk DTC will be following the procedures in place to help provide a smooth transition to fill their seats.

McMurrer’s letter of resignation:

Mr. McQuaid, Mr. Hosten, and Mr. Fairbairn,

I want to start by thanking you for your support and encouragement over the years as I have campaigned for and served on the Common Council.

It has been the privilege of my life to serve the City of Norwalk over the past almost three years. It is because of this, and with a heavy heart, I am writing to inform you of my resignation from the Norwalk Common Council. This has been something I have been considering and contemplating for months trying to mold my life to fit better into this position and work towards a happy medium. 

I always said I would serve and sacrifice time away from my family if it made sense for us and if I felt I was making a big enough impact as a Council member.

Over the past several months I have been dealing with some personal things that I feel need my full attention and therefore I can no longer make the sacrifice of my time and energy in this role.

My family has always been my priority and therefore I need to take a step back and focus all my time on them.

I am happy to assist with the transition for whoever will be appointed to my seat. My last day as a Council member will be on July 22, 2024.

If you have any questions or need anything further from me, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Thank you again for everything. It has been my pleasure to serve the residents of Norwalk.  

Best,
Jenn McMurrer
Council Member District C

Editor’s Note: Updated at 2:59 pm and 4:11 pm Friday with additional information.

Comments

5 responses to “McMurrer and Murray resign from Common Council”

  1. DIana Paladino

    It’s long but I don’t care…
    Jenn you’re so worth it!
    I can not even begin to express how much of a loss this is to our Norwalk Community! I have known you long before you were on the council and have been proud to call you my friend since day one. You get the job done— truly listen and advocate. A class act and a leader in everything you do. These are some very big shoes to fill and a huge loss to District C. Thank you for being one of the strongest and most passionate leaders that I’ve encountered on the council in a very long time. And I’m not just saying that because we are friends. You are really someone to be celebrated and admired. You have advocated for East Norwalk and beyond…Attending endless meetings and taking it upon yourself to research, investigate and find ways for Norwalk to always do better. Few people can do great things and balance it all like you have!
    As someone who knows you-I saw behind the scenes the work you did when no one was looking. You work full-time with a successful career, you’re always at school setting up a book fair or a field day and are one of the most engaged parents you’ll ever meet-PTA president/vice president, the kids party house in East Norwalk, the crafty mom, the soccer and lacrosse mom, scout mom, off to Paris with your hubby and so much more! Thank you, Jenn, for all you have done for Norwalk and thank you for being you! Norwalk is so lucky to have you. Focus on your family, but I look forward to when you’re back in some capacity. PLEASE! I know this decision did not come easy and it took months to decide this was best…But theres no doubt, we need you and you are part of Norwalks legacy and future!
    Here’s to the next chapter of YOU! Thank you

    Melissa-I know your time on the council was short but I wish you well in your next chapter and thank you for serving district c for the last 6 months-best of luck in your next adventure.

  2. Drew Todd

    7 Months after the Election…Interesting to say the least. And we wonder whom they will appoint to take their seats..Maybe some NEW Fresh Blood!! Maybe an R IO know that’s a pipe dream. Or maybe an I or U?!?! Wouldn’t that be nice. It would be great to finally start to end the 1 party rule in this City. And to be fair the best CC representation we had was John Kydes!! But when you don’t tow the party line or narratives, well you know…Welcome to Nor-Woke!

  3. Becca Stoll

    Am I the only one who doesn’t think any paying job should require you to “sacrifice?”

    This is not in any way to undermine the personal decisions of my two CC representatives, whom I applaud for their service and for having the bravery to make the choices that are right for them at this time. I also applaud them for using this moment, whether intentionally or not, to shed a public light on how demanding public servant work can be.

    I wish to speak to the job itself and the unreasonable expectations it puts on those called to do it. Two ways to solve this.
    1- lower the demands or spread the work among more council members.
    And/or
    2- privide compensation commensurate with the actual number of invisible labor hours that it entails.

    Only through transparency and reasonable reform will we have any hope of achieving more economic, racial, political, and gender diversity in this and every Norwalk governing body.

  4. J Petrone

    How dare they not do their due dilengence and analyze their time limitations before seeking their elected seats on the Common Council! How dare they disappoint all those adults in District C who voted for them! Now they will be replaced, that is appointed by a committee, not voted by District C constituents. How’s that democracy for you! There’s a very real possibility those newly appointed members will disregard the intentions/interests of District C residents, as the appointed P & Z Commission continually achieves.

  5. Tysen Canevari

    Wonder if there is more to the story. At least Ms McMurrer spent some time on the council and states she has personal issues to tend to which you must respect. Mrs Murray sat on the council long enough for a quick cup of coffee. I mean, didnt she realize it is a commitment when she signed up to run for council? Too bad some of the others who just vote together every time didnt resign!

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