NORWALK, Conn. – Traffic is a concern for one new Norwalk commissioner, while another said it is exciting to be overseeing the Norwalk Fire Department. Meanwhile, Mayor Harry Rilling said he is looking to change the regular meeting time of an important commission to make it more accessible to the public.
Fran Collier-Clemmons and the Rev. Oscar Destruge were among the people appointed last week by Rilling in his drive to make Norwalk’s boards more diverse. Destruge will serve on the Fire Commission while Collier-Clemmons, a police and traffic commissioner under former Mayor Alex Knopp, is returning to her former duties.
“Times have changed, and things have changed,” Collier-Clemmons said. “I’m just glad I did a good enough job that they would want me back again and I am excited to serve.”
The Traffic Authority was on her mind minutes after being sworn in by Assistant City Clerk Erin Herring.
“I see a lot of challenges with the new buildings that are going in, with the traffic patterns, the increase in traffic,” she said. “We have quite a few things to look at.”
Destruge, who works to help Latino day laborers, said he had been reviewing past Fire Commission agendas and minutes to understand the issues.
“I am very excited about having this opportunity to work closely with the mayor and Chief (Denis) McCarthy,” he said. “My parishioners feel blessed by the fire department. One of them had a fire in her house seven weeks ago. They were treated with the best courtesy, very helpful, they were given vouchers put in a hotel. They are very grateful that the city has the quality of fire assistance that they experienced.”
While some black firefighters have alleged racism in the department, Destruge had no complaints.
“I have not heard any such comments from the people in my community,” he said.
Rilling said he was looking to move Traffic Authority/Police Commission meetings from 4 p.m. to around 6 or 6:30, to accommodate the public.
“It’s just something that I thought,” he said. “The Police Commission is an important commission. People want to come to the Police Commission.”