Moccia comes out swinging at four Dems

Updated, 4:54 p.m. Tuesday, video of Emily Wilson nominating Mayor Richard Moccia for re-election

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia ended his silence Monday night in his quest for re-election to a fifth term, taking aim at his four Democratic challengers with his acceptance speech at the Republican convention in the Norwalk Inn.

“We all know the other side has had free reign in the media as they jousted for the nomination,” he said. “Their words have reminded me of the saying, ‘When you have the facts, you pound the facts. When you have no facts, you pound the table.’ There has been a lot of table pounding on the other side last couple of months. I have tried to refrain from interjecting into their conflict, but guess what, that ends tonight.”

Moccia went on to jab at former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling, former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel, Common Councilman Matt Miklave and District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra, without ever mentioning their names.

The city’s triple A bond rating had been affirmed by Standard and Poor’s, he said, as he fired back at Miklave’s many calls for Performance Based Budgeting. If Garfunkel thinks the city needs to be better managed, “perhaps he should have applied those principals to the town clerk’s office.”

Mangiacopra’s newness to Norwalk earned him a slap.

Norwalk Republican convention 072213 076
Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia addresses fellow Republicans at the Norwalk Inn.

“There have been some comments that I have become aloof, maybe I have forgotten where I came from,” Moccia said. “Well, I did not forget where I came from because I never left. I didn’t just get here a few years ago.”

Finally, Rilling’s attempt to get a job as the Newport, R.I., police chief before he retired was used as a target by the mayor.

“I’ve always considered my re-election as a contract with the people,” he said. “When I have been re-elected I have said I have no other ambition politically than to be mayor. I believe in honoring contracts. I never went to another state to apply for a job after I had a contract. That’s not called commitment.”

That drew tepid applause.

Two of his targets returned fire not long after the convention. Rilling pointed out that the mayor’s opinion of him seemed to change when he decided to run for mayor.

“Moccia extended my contract as police chief three times and appointed me to one of the most important commissions in the city. To now question my professionalism, competency and commitment to Norwalk is disingenuous and self-serving,” Rilling said in an email. “I have dedicated my life to service of my country and my community.”

Rilling said he has support from Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters, and that his record of service “speaks for itself.”

“I stand ready to engage in a dialogue on what is not happening in Norwalk and how other communities are moving in a positive direction while in Norwalk ‘for sale’ signs are becoming more prevalent every day,” he said; “while businesses are closing; how we are not aggressively pursuing investors to bring smart growth and development to a city with amazing natural resources and cultural diversity. I am a proud son of Norwalk and I am committed to serving all people. I look forward to making Norwalk the best it can be.”

Mangiacopra issued a statement saying Moccia has failed in his stewardship of the city.

“If Mayor Moccia’s promises included higher taxes, a $4 million education budget shortfall, and stagnant growth, then I can understand his new slogan (Protecting Norwalk’s Future, but formerly Promises Made, Promises Delivered). The longer Moccia has been in office, the further out of touch he has fallen. He certainly knows how to take care of his own, but we need a mayor who can take care of all Norwalk’s 85,000 residents.”

Moccia also referred to the Democrats’ recent travails.

“They have commented about the lack civility in this administration. Their party is going to lecture me and the Republicans on civility? Really?” he said.

Last week’s Democratic convention, which ended without an endorsed mayoral candidate, also provided fodder for his jabs.

“When you are in a position of leadership and you are facing a crisis, like Sandy, Irene, the largest snowstorm in history, you cannot call the secretary of state and ask for a timeout,” he said. “You have to face the job and do the job. There are no time outs as mayor.”


20 responses to “Moccia comes out swinging at four Dems”

  1. Mr Norwalk Ct

    I just got done watching the video of Mayor Moccia. All I can say is he said absolutely nothing of any importance..

  2. Joe Espo

    Yes Harry was reappointed and endorsed by Moccia on several occasions. But do you think that if Moccia had known that Harry was such a good liar about his true intentions that Harry would have been appointed so many times? Moccia is pretty astute but Harry seems to be a better hoodwinker.
    If Harry can take the Mayor for a ride, imagine what he can do for you!

  3. norwalk lifer

    There is a saying “do not chop down trees to make yourself look taller”, I find it interesting that all this mayor could offer was the usual politics of red meat flinging to a hungry crowd. This mayor has failed in my view; he ran (past tense) Norwalk like a corporation, what he failed to realize is, the townspeople are not “employees” they are “investors” and the investment has not met it’s proposed return

  4. Molly Star

    Wait…Harry wasn’t in the building congratulating the Mayor and thanking him for being a great boss? That couldn’t happen, could it?


  5. M Allen

    The Mayor has remained virtually silent throughout the months of Democratic campaigning. I think he’s probably due a night to throw some red meat to the party faithful. This election won’t be decided by what Mayor Moccia or the eventual Democratic nominee says upon accepting their respective nominations. In fact, this election is unlikely to be decided by what any of these individuals has to say at all. Talk is cheap, on both sides.

  6. Suzanne

    If only what Mayor Moccia SAID were actually TRUE. Incivility began with him as did lack of transparency. That the DTC was so willing to take up that gauntlet is a price all of Norwalk must pay (unnecessarily, if the DTC would only show some leadership.) In spite of the AAA Bond rating, Norwalk is not prospering and the condition of the City, especially downtown, is depressing. Nothing can get done without secret meetings, behind the door appointments, partisan bickering and, in the end, no good deed done. That there are activities every night in Norwalk does not a great city make. That Mayor Moccia is dedicated to his own assessment of what makes a City great is clear but the deficits, the “For Sale” signs, empty storefronts, incomplete process for education, development, an overall vision, these are things that are not addressed. Maybe Mayor Moccia should take a trip to some cities of Norwalk’s size and complexity that really work instead of being from and staying in this town – he might be surprised at what that kind of City looks like. It is time for him to increase his depth of perspective – what he has not done, what is not being accomplished and how issues that are being resolved are accomplished, i.e., especially contractual issues, are undermining the potential for this town to be really great, not just the fragment of Mayor Moccia’s imaginary home town.

  7. NorwalkVoter

    I don’t think Moccia has remained silent. He is speaking behind closed doors. He is trying to influence every commission and agency to do his bidding. The message is “my way or the highway”. He works every day for the status quo. Nothing is being done, no changes equal a stagnant community. It is not thriving, not appealing to the eye and there is very little hope for change in this administration. Don’t be fooled by this empty suit. He is not smart but clever in the worst possible way. Just wants to hold onto his title and his paycheck… no more, no less.

  8. M Allen

    By silent I meant political barbs being tossed. Obviously he has been active behind the scenes, but from a political, campaigning perspective, he has been generally quiet. Of course, he’s had that luxury. Let the opposition beat themselves down as they jockey to become the nominee. One more thing that puts the DTC at a distinct disadvantage come November. They will still be fighting amongst themselves until September 10.

  9. Dennis Di Manis

    The Chief says he has plans for Norwalk’s future that he’s willing to discuss. That’s good to know!

  10. YourDaddy

    “Thank you for being a great boss. Well, until I register as a Democrat at the 11th hour. Here’s looking forward to November, 2015 when I can run as a Republican.”

  11. Mr. Ludlow

    The city that gave us “Yankee Doodle” and the start of Nathan Hale’s spy voyage is now giving us Dick Moccia. If Robert Ludlow could see us now.

  12. Tim T

    Moccia is the typical politician that knows he is at the end of his career.

  13. EastNorwalkChick

    I don’t think this City can withstand another Moccia term….we’ve been in a downward spiral since he was elected the first term.

  14. Don’t Panic

    Good one Molly Star!

  15. D(ysfunctional)TC

    The city will most certainly survive 2 years whoever the next mayor is.

    The question is, do you think someone with 8 years of experience who has made the most of what we are limited to largely due to fed and state laws and regs and a shrinking state economy?

    Or would you rather be lead by a group who thinks it is ok to assault senior citizens on public property?

  16. RU4REAL

    Did I miss something? Moccia extended Rillings contract three times, of course he will say he is a good boss, anyone would, THREE TIMES.
    Did I miss something else? How many folks out there, before retirement while still employed, send out resumes to see if they can land a new gig somewhere?
    Newport would be sweet with good jazz festivals, however, I would have applied in a more tropical climate.
    Did I miss something? Zoning Commission member Blank out, will not tow the line.
    Rilling has the same thoughts on the Big Box stores as Blank, he makes his thoughts public.
    Now due to potential litigation from any store that Rilling votes against, the city/personal attorney of the mayor tells him he must recuse himself from voting.
    Add one strategic appointment, voila!
    Although I agree there could be possible litigation, I recognize that we will now end up with, guess what? Big Box stores.

  17. Don’t Panic


    Mr. Rilling wasn’t just shopping for another chief’s job, he also entertained (very publically ) the president of NCC. Apparentally being a lifelong member on Norwalk’s police force qualifies you to run just about any government paid entity.

  18. RBurnett

    Don’t Panic: Thanks for the link to the article. It proves how people like you can interpret anything their biases allow them to. Rilling clearly stated he was leaving before Dec. 31, the exiration of his contract. He made that announcement pubically – not behind closed doors under secrecy. He was searching for a new position…So!!! His contract was about to expire. Should he wait until then before looking for a new job? Get real man!!!

  19. The Deal

    Remember Moccia was a Sheriff before elected as Mayor. He had to attend seminars to be taught how to be a Mayor. Moccia said “…when you have no facts you pound the table.” Doesn’t he have a reputation that he raises his voice at people to intimidate them while pounding on the table? Harry was looking for another job while he was still Police Chief. Many people do that. Fire Chief Denis McCarthy was Fire Chief in Westport when he was sitting in on council meetings in Norwalk 6 months before Knopp hired him. The phrase is “toe the line” not “tow the line”. It’s from the military where soldiers have to stand in formation with their toes on a line.

  20. Tim T

    Don’t Panic
    Thank You for the informative post. Rilling will not win the primary as the people of Norwalk will not forget the nightmare he was a chief. They will also not forget the one excuse after the next for his departments failure after failure to prevent of solve crime. Also let us not forget the many many officers themselves arrested under Rilling’s time as chief and all of them caught by agencies other than the NPD. He couldn’t run one department and now he want to run the whole city. Only someone who has worked in a government job all his life would have that nerve as they have no understanding of the real world as the private sector where you have accountabilities for performance .

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