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Norwalk BoE fires back at CFO Dachowitz

Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lunda Asmani summarizes the budget recommendation made by Norwalk Chief Financial Officer Henry Dachowitz and Mayor Harry Rilling, Wednesday at the Board of Education Finance Committee meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Board of Education struck back Wednesday with a detailed rebuttal to the insinuations made by Norwalk’s Chief Financial Officer early this week as he presented a budget recommendation with school district funding well below what the BoE asked for.

If the recommendation is approved, Board of Education members will face “tough decisions,” said Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella and Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lunda Asmani. BoE members advocated drawing down “Rainy Day Funds” for this year’s budget.

CFO Henry Dachowitz’ plan to give the school district a 3.75% increase doesn’t even cover contractual obligations to employees, which are a 4.5% increase, they said. The plan to “incubate” a South Norwalk school will be scrapped under the CFO’s plan and efforts to avoid the impact of federal dollars drying up will be out the door.

Estrella said that part of the reason the Board of Education asked for a 9.1% increase “to mitigate what happened last year” because “we don’t wind up in a situation where we would have to engage in massive layoffs at all levels of the organization.”

Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lunda Asmani summarizes the Board of Education’s budget request, Wednesday at the BoE Finance Committee meeting.

The Common Council “flat-funded” the school district last year, keeping the allocation the same as it was for 2021-22. This forced NPS to use the federal dollars to “supplant” the local budget, Asmani and Estrella said, at the Board of Education Finance Committee meeting.

The federal dollars were meant to be used in a certain way and that happened on the City side; the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money was intended to stimulate the economy and the one-time projects the City has lined up will do that, Asmani said. But the federal ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) Money was intended to enhance school systems and offer students supports as they struggle with the effects of remote learning, and that didn’t happen, Asmani said.

Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lunda Asmani explains what the district could not do when the Common Council flat funded it last year.

“There’s things that we could not do, because we were using those dollars to fund the local budget,” Asmani said. “I reviewed the Board of Estimate meeting last year, when this decision was made, there were these discussions that you know, ‘this is a one time fix, we’re going to have to address it.’ Obviously, if it’s not addressed this year, this is going to be something that’s going to come up next year, because the funding does go away. But those programs are there because they serve our students.”

He said, “This is unique to Norwalk, because most of the communities that we’ve been in touch with have not had to deal with this type of challenge.”

Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lunda Asmani reviews 2021-21 City and NPS budget surpluses, Wednesday at the Board of Education Finance Committee meeting.

‘It’s not gamesmanship’

Dachowitz attacked NPS for a $4 million rollover of a surplus in 2020-21; Asmani said Wednesday that the surplus was due to equipment being ordered but not delivered during the fiscal year. That accounted for most of the rollover and the City had a similar situation, both due to supply chain issues. It was all discussed during public meetings.

“There wasn’t any shady math or pre-planned underspending so that we would have money left over,” Asmani said. “These were indeed bought during the year but just couldn’t be delivered. And the same story happened not just unique to us other communities.”

The City’s rollover was $1.8 million, he said.

“It’s not gamesmanship, whether the City does it or the ‘Board of Ed’ does it, it’s actually good stewardship,” Asmani said. “Because these funds are appropriated for use, you have them available, you’ve identified a purpose for them. And rather than going back the following year, and requesting a new appropriation … (We say) ‘let’s just use this appropriated money. We’ve already taxed for it, it’s there.’”

“It is not unheard of that you have this surplus at the end of the year, what we don’t want to have is a deficit, right? Because then that will be considered mismanagement,” Estrella said.

Connecticut State Statute allows for a rollover of up to 2% of its budget, but it’s not automatic, Asmani said. The school district makes its case to the Board of Estimate and Taxation and, “It is a decision that’s made by the City as a funding body.”

Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lunda Asmani presents a different version of a PowerPoint slide used by Norwalk Chief Financial Officer Henry Dachowitz earlier this week,
Wednesday at the Board of Education Finance Committee meeting.

‘Apples to oranges’

“Mr. Dachowitz spent a lot of time slicing and dissecting the Board of Ed budget, which was nice, and it was nice that we’re getting that attention,” Asmani said. “But I think it’s also important to look back at how do these budgets really compare on an equity level. And that is looking at this on an apples-to-apples comparison, in my previous role with another community.”
Dachowitz presented a list of City-side increases in alphabetical order; Asmani listed them in order of their proposed increase. He separated City departments from non-departmental expenses and said Dachowitz recommended a 4.9% increase for the City’s increase while suggesting that 3.7% was acceptable for BoE operations.

“The City computation is blended, it combines operational expenses and non-operational expenses,” Asmani said. “I believe that is inaccurate…in other communities, these non-departmental items would not even be part of the general fund. Many communities have a separate debt service fund, communities have separate employee benefits fund, separate pension fund and the contingency fund. So they’re not even part of the operational budget.”

BoE member Kara Nelson Baekey asked about the eye-catching 15.9% increase for the City Finance Department, at the top of Asmani’s list.

They’re legitimate expenses, Asmani said.

“I’m not saying that the needs within the city side are unnecessary. But you know, there are also needs on the Board of Ed side as well, that are equally valuable and important,” Asmani said.

Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lunda Asmani shows a pie chart from the NPS budget book, depicting the district’s funding sources.

‘It’s not largess’

On Monday and Tuesday, Dachowitz painstakingly explained the grant funding NPS receives. All told, in FY21 NPS spent nearly $95 million in excess of the local budget, he said.

“We don’t present pieces of the budget and somewhat hide the other pieces,” Asmani said Wednesday. “… When we present our budget in our detailed budget book, we actually provide individual breakdown of each one of these (grants). And it is important to point out to you that this is what it costs to educate our children.”

Board of Education budget discussions have involved a review of grant funding for at least 11 years.

“The fact that we receive these grants is a good thing. And not not any way supplanting or excess or largess, on our budget by using funds over and above what we get from the local dollars,” Asmani said. “…. It’s really not extra. These are direct programs that directly impact our children.”

“People don’t realize that we have mandated services that those grants are set for us to fulfill,” Estrella said. “In many cases, although we’re getting those grant dollars, we still have to use local dollars to fulfill those needs. … We are constantly looking for external resources and other grants to support the budget.”

 

Warnings

“We made great strides last year to enhance our athletic programs. And now our athletic programs are at risk of being lost as a result of how we have to rethink our budgeting structure,” Estrella said.

If Dachowitz’ recommendation is approved, NPS will have to reconsider the partnerships it was seeking for social and emotion learning (SEL) supports, she said. “We won’t be able to do them the way we were hoping for in the upcoming academic school year.”

Interventions are only scraping the surface of what’s needed, she said. schools like Jefferson and Kendall need more specialists and “we cannot afford to provide that.”

Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lunda Asmani reviews Norwalk’s recent Rainy Day Fund history, Wednesday at the Board of Education Finance Committee meeting.

Rainy day

Asmani reviewed the way rating agencies issue bond ratings and gave a history of the City’s “Rainy Day Fund,” or general fund balance.

“When the city had $47.3 million fund balance, it was still a Triple A community,” Asmani said. “It did not lose its Triple A status because it had $47 million and … to say that a one-time drawdown in fund balance would severely impact your credit, I think that that’s inaccurate.

Dachowitz’s recommendation, made in collaboration with Mayor Harry Rilling, includes a $4 million drawdown.

A review of Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) available online shows this Rainy Day Fund history:

  • 2021: $72 million, 17.3% of total revenues
  • 2020: $58.4 million, 14.8% of total revenues
  • 2019: $69.7 million, 18.3% of total revenues
  • 2018: $57.7 million, 14.7% of total revenues
  • 2017: $51.1 nillion, 13.6% of total revenues
  • 2016: $47.4 million, 13.3% of total revenues

 

Board of Education Chairman Colin Hosten said that the current balance of $72 million “in a very simplistic way, represents a $72 million in excess tax receipts.”

“I think some of this money should, you know, I think be reinvested into our taxpayers, through our public institutions like our public schools,” he said.

Nelson Baekey agreed.

“Reinvesting in our community, and in particular, our schools, I think is critical when it comes to affecting other aspects of the value of our city, such as real estate,” she said. “My mom was a real estate agent in Greenwich for over 20 years. She always said that, you know, most of her clients were coming to that city or that town for the schools and for the value of those schools. I think that that’s something that, you know, we can’t lose sight of.”

23 comments

John O'Neill February 10, 2022 at 6:25 am

Henry Dachowitz might be single handedly keeping Norwalk taxpayers from getting overwhelmed by this Board of Education…
I think I speak for the vast number of taxpayers in the city by saying THANKS HANK!!

Sue Haynie February 10, 2022 at 6:29 am

For the record, I’m on Team Dachowitz. Norwalk Public Schools needs to learn to prioritize, just like the residents and taxpayers of Norwalk. Norwalk funds it schools very well. Go talk to Hartford.

Stuart Garrelick February 10, 2022 at 9:54 am

Both my sons went through the NPS school system and were accepted into demanding and prestige colleges. I had no problem with financing their education via my taxes. I also remember an annual list of graduates with the colleges they would be attending in The Hour. I would read that list with pride in the achievements of our NPS grads. Such a list is probably “politically incorrect” now but how about a list of colleges and just a number showing how many would be attending.

This article said “that’s what it takes to educate your children”. Fine. Show what we’re getting for our money. People don’t mind spending when they feel they are getting a bang for their buck and judging by NON responses that is now in question. I agree people move to towns for the schools but does anyone think that is now happening in Norwalk?

Fully aware of the massive difference in our school age population I would still like to know what I’m getting for my buck instead of the same old City vs NPS tug of war for money that we hear every year. Perhaps the efficiency study will shed some light if the public is ever privy to the unredacted report.

Highland Avenue Neighbor February 10, 2022 at 9:54 am

If it comes down to Dachowitz’s point of view on the city’s spending vs. NPS/BOE’s point of view, every taxpayer that cares about Norwalk’s long term financial viability should side with Dachowitz. The NPS is already incredibly well funded.

Piberman February 10, 2022 at 10:33 am

Its hard to know where to begin here. Our BOE will be very hard pressed to get the better of City Finance Director Dashowitz. He’s a finance professional the likes of which I’ve not seen in my long residence here. What’s so curious about the BOE’s response is not a SINGLE WORD about programs/procedures designed to improve the disappointing student achievement of City schools where most grads fail to meet CT Edu Dept standards. Not a word.

Just the usual focus about “numbers of personnel”, “programs”, “facilities” – all the subsidiary parts of managing public programs. Never a word about plans to improve student outcomes. That’s the great tragedy here. Talking about the “parts of the system”. Never about outcomes.

Our current BOE is focused on “running the public school system”. Allocating the monies. Not focused on securing much better student outcomes. Lets all encourage the Common Council and City Hall to keep the BOE’s collective feet to the fire on setting the budget. The BOE was elected to secure our children meet CT Edu Dept standards. Not to ask for ever larger budgets. Our BOE is failing its responsibilities.
Just look at the CT Dept of Edu website for the details on Norwalk’s low achievements.

Our BOE has the freedom to hire personnel able to provide the public school outcomes desired by our community. What are they waiting for. There’s more than a few residents in our City who have managed large public enterprises and have served as financial expert witnesses. Our BOE needs get its ducks in order. Before confronting Financial Director Dashowitz, a seasoned financial professional, do explain to a doubting public how a larger school budget will improve our unsatisfactory levels of student achievement. Explain to us how a larger budget will get more students meeting CT Edu Dept standards. We’re waiting.

Seriously? February 10, 2022 at 12:23 pm

Credibility is not assumed; it is earned, and I don’t see that the superintendent and the board have earned any credibility.

The “rainy day” fund is for an unpredictable need, but the board’s budget problem has been entirely predictable. This isn’t money that ought to be given to a board that has failed in its responsibility for stewardship of the district. Remember that this board didn’t even evaluate the superintendent until someone lit a fire under it, and when the board finally produced an evaluation, it sounded more like a Hallmark card of praises, lacking critical thought and suggestions for ways in which the superintendent needs to improve.

This is the same board that never questioned Dr. Estrella’s spending, despite her creation of so many administrative positions and instructional coaching positions when there was a glut of available money because of the TEMPORARY Covid funding. I still remember her claim that she was reducing the size of her cabinet when the last HR director left and that she had hired a replacement at a lower salary. The board rubber stamped that appointment without question because that is how a feckless board behaves. It should have asked some tough questions about her then, and certainly now, but it hasn’t. That person is a friend of Dr. Estrella, and she now makes a high salary, having systematically destroyed what once was a helpful and productive HR department, while browbeating people elsewhere within the district.

Someone should investigate the major scandal that was mentioned on Facebook, on this site, and possibly elsewhere, when a person with a scandalous past was hired without a legally mandated background check. Hours after the secret scandal became known to more people in the district, the person suddenly claimed to have another job opportunity and left within a day. The consequences to the HR director? We’re still waiting for that, but I’m not holding my breath. Someone else would have been fired.

Back to the budget, this is a board that never asked the important question: We are doing “X” because we have generous grant funding now, but what happens after the grant funding runs out? It just assumed that the additional funding had become a city-funded entitlement.

This is the same board that has done nothing to address a growing despair among Norwalk school system employees who have been beaten down by the arrogance and unwarranted nastiness of some of the superintendent’s administrators, who lack respect for people who have been dedicated, hardworking and effective employees for a long time, but who lack what I consider to be the most important qualification: being hired by this superintendent. There has been tremendous turnover, and that comes at a cost, that of the valued knowledge and experience of some very good employees who have left so far. Others will follow.

So, Norwalk board, you have no credibility. You need to learn to do with far less than you are demanding. You also need to begin doing your job as a board of education, and then you may be able to begin earning credibility.

Oh, and for your thinly veiled threats about making cuts that will have direct impact on students, rather than on the bloated administrative and instructional coaching ranks, shame on you. You will do what you will do, but shame on you if you hold the needs of kids hostage.

Norwalk Lost February 10, 2022 at 12:37 pm

Kudos to the city’s CFO. The should serve as a wake up call to the BOE which urgently needs to adjust to the new fiscal realities. Isn’t that what the high paid administrative staff is compensated for? More with less.

Mitch Adis February 10, 2022 at 1:31 pm

Does Norwalk get reimbursed for educating undocumented students? If not, this is what takes away from the other students.

Kay Anderson February 10, 2022 at 1:38 pm

I have wondered what the benefit the Mayor and his team see in Mr. Dachowitz’ repeated mis-statement of financial facts coupled with mean, personal attacks on BOE staff and elected members. He once again insinuates unethical possibly illegal actions and motives to others. His proclamation of ‘his money’ when referencing the Rainy Day Fund captures his narcissistic approach to government.

I applaud new member Kara Nelson Baekey for calling out dire predictions on any effort to spend down those Funds, and voicing the question I had when I saw just how much of an increase Mr. Dachowitz sought for HIS department.

And thank you, Board Chair Colin Hosten, reminding us that Rainy Day Fund monies are our tax dollars. Hoarding that money is what is unethical and if not illegal, reveals very questionable judgment.

None of which answers my initial concern – what value does the finance director bring to Mayor Rilling and his administration much less robust public discussion of the City’s budget.

John C. Miller, Jr. February 10, 2022 at 3:05 pm

@John O’Neill: I agree 100% with your “THANKS HANK” comment. Let’s hope that the Common Council as well as the Mayor have the courage to exercise some fiscal restraint. I’m curious. I don’t recall seeing the results of the so called “efficiency study” that was supposed to be conducted. Have you?

Piberman February 10, 2022 at 5:09 pm

Missing from the current discussion is why despite matching per pupil spending and teachers salaries with the 5 surrounding towns Norwalk’s public schools fail to meet CT Edu graduating standards while virtually all surrounding towns students do and then go on to secure 4 yr college degrees.

To be sure family income is a factor. Our 5 surrounding towns (plus Greenwich) are CT’s wealthiest communities with average incomes twice Norwalk’s. But even more important are community expectations and qualifications/backgrounds of the various BOE’s. Our surrounding towns demand and secure high student achievement and elect BOE members with business/professional backgrounds required to secure those outcomes from their school administrators. Norwalk elects BOE members to quite different standards and our children pay the price. Nothing better advertises Norwalks’ priorities than paying CT’s highest Supt salary for overseeing a public school system that fails to meet CT Edu Dept standards.

Holding the budget of our failing public school system is a first step if we’re serious about greatly improving our public schools. Demanding much higher outcomes from our administrators is a 2nd step. And 3rd and most important is electing BOE reflecting the best of Norwalk’s citizens. Members with backgrounds and dedication to not fail our students. Asking more funds for a failing public school system is a major embarrassment to all of us. Our City’s elected leaders need stand up and make their voices known. And do it soon.

Tysen Canevari February 10, 2022 at 5:17 pm

Blame our great mayor. Can you say “Sanctuary City”. Come to Norwalk. You can come to our schools undocumented and get three meals a day. We will send you home with groceries for the weekend too! If i bring my kid to a Norwalk school to sign up then i must present: birth certificate, social security, physical from doctor and so forth. Laws only apply to certain people in town. Some kids will make it and go to good school. Most will get slowed down because NO Habla Ingles! Thanks Harry. Good for Mr Dachowitz. At least someone in town is responsible. What does Colin know? He gives out raises with no merit to the superindentent that cant pick up the phone and call a delay in an ice storm!!

Nora King February 10, 2022 at 7:05 pm

I honestly believe the BOE has not earned a penny more. They haven’t even taught 4th graders the multiplication tables, They are telling teachers to not read novels or do book reports. They are building welcome centers and not educating our kids. You want to teach SEL start with taking the masks off and stop making kids from having lunch in their classrooms. How about the school schedule next year with all the early dismissals. Colin Hosten is an absolute failure as chair and central office now is filled with high paid professionals. You have Duff running around trying to keep,our kids masked and spending money on an over priced high school. How can this be?

Piberman February 10, 2022 at 8:48 pm

So far no BOE member or any City official has explained why Norwalk, ranking 48th in CT per capita income, matches school salaries with our 5 surrounding towns whose per capita incomes are double Norwalk’s and highest in CT. Especially when most Norwalk school grads fail to meet CT Education Dept graduation standards. While virtually every student in the surrounding towns do meet those standards. And secure 4 yr college degrees.

So far no BOE member or any City official has explained why Norwalk, whose per capita income ranks 48th in CT, pays its School Supt the highest salary in CT – over $300k. What kind of message does that send to our community ?. Is the BOE’s mission primarily to secure high salaries for school employees hoping something will happen or secure school achievement that meets CT Edu Dept standards ?

What’s puzzling is that Norwalk’s senior elected officials and our One Party Democratic leaders don’t see any problem with paying high salaries for a public school system that doesn’t meet CT Edu Dept standards. Is that silence because they’re embarrassed.? Or just don’t care ? Or is it because they’re unable to secure BOE members with the skills/experience to secure a well performing public school system.

Will our Common Council send a signal to our failing BOE and hold the bloated BOE budget fixed ? Or will they follow orders of City Leaders to fund a failing public school system ?

Why aren’t City officials and leaders not seriously upset about our failing public school system ? Isn’t their responsibility to encourage “good governance”. Not just high salaries for public school employees.

Why aren’t more parents and City residents deeply upset about our high priced public school system that fails to meet CT Edu Dept standards ? Is it because City officials have other intersts ? Or is it because our school problems decades old ?

Oversight February 11, 2022 at 8:50 am

From a fiscal standpoint and outcomes vs. expenses, the previous superintendent working with the bipartisan BOE was far more organized, knowledgable and strategic than the current train wreck combination.

BOE – if you want to draw down on the Rainy Day Fund tell us exactly what it’s earmarked for? As soon as I saw the headlines from BOE/NPS that the Sono Incubator school, Intervention aides and Athletics are slated to be cut, this harkened me back to the days of Sal Corda and the years that followed. Bloated Central Office staffing. No student outcomes data to justify increases. No cuts to Central Office execs. But parents will suit up in their school t shirts and signs to demand meeting the budget needs. Guys – you’re being used as pawns….

When will it end? When will we finally have a superintendent who understands how to document student outcomes vs. financial investment in student futures? AND when we have a BOE that provides oversight to the financial health and student outcomes of NPS. Right now, we have neither and parents have to be really careful where you put your support.

And yes, what happened to all those programs started by the previous administration that were paid for by investment in our BOE over the past 5-7 years? How many of those, and the staff that were hired to run them are still operating in NPS? How many principals that turned around failing schools are still with NPS?

Jim Tru February 11, 2022 at 10:18 am

There needs to be accountability of all these funds down to each penny. Let’s remember that this is a $240M+ company with the “Tax Payers” as the real stockholders.

We should know how the money is spent and what the return on this investment is. Let’s stop using the pandemic as an excuse for mediocrity.

Lot’s of high paying jobs created by this superintendent and waste. For example… How many teachers or administrators were put on paid leave for months while a decision was made? This is money wasted. The process should be clean, clear and expedited.

Parents also need to give the council members a break that challenge this spend and not throw them under the bus and accuse them of being “against education”. They are trying to be mindful of the taxpayers and hold accountability to the largest city spend.

Also, lets not forget our favorite Senator who can find funds for things we don’t need (i.e.; “New NHS”) yet can’t get us our fair piece of state education funds.

Sunrise Hill February 11, 2022 at 10:47 am

Kudo’s to Hank! It’s about time that somene takes a look into the BOE’s spending habits. The salaries of BOE’s Administrative Staff are ridiculous!! Most of them do not live in Norwalk, so they don’t care how much our taxes go up. I hope CFO Hank Dachowitz does not give in to the BOE’s budget request!

Admiral February 11, 2022 at 3:24 pm

Realtors say all the time that families (with any sort of money) don’t want to move to Norwalk because of the schools. The exceptions are Rowayton, Cranbury, and Naramake.
Realtors are flat-out telling potential buyers to no buy in Norwalk because of the failing school system.
Colen H will have you believe otherwise. Too many “chiefs” downtown with huge salaries, and not enough “Indians” in the classrooms.

Piberman February 11, 2022 at 7:56 pm

The sad reality is that no amount of public school budget increase will give Norwalk a public school system where most grads will meet CT Edu Dept standards as long as we have our current BOE unequal to the task and City leaders with “other interests”..One has to only compare the backgrounds of our BOE members with surrounding town BOE members to understand why the towns have superb public schools.

What’s really puzzling in our One Party City is why our elected officials from the top down aren’t deeply concerned about our failing public school system. Don’t they want to get our kids first rate public school educations, go on to college and get 4 yr college degrees ? That’s the big puzzle. City’s leaders just aren’t motivated to secure citizens to serve on the BOE who have the skills and backgrounds for successfully overseeing our public school system.

City officials have known for decades our public school system fails to meet CT standards for most grads. Yet don’t seem motivated to do much to secure improvement. Maybe the real truth is our City leaders just don’t care about our kids not getting public school educations that meet CT Edu Dept standards. That’s the ultimate embarrassment about Norwalk.

Its not just that most Norwalk kids don’t meet CT Edu standards. It’s also that kids who do are challenged to secure acceptances in first rate colleges. Norwalk has a reputation. Its why our BOE doesn’t advertise the list of college acceptances. The reality is that all City students are negatively impacted by our failing public school system.

Why is the Norwalk Democratic Party reluctant to secure BOE candidates with the abilities and backgrounds that can give us a public school system that properly educates our kids ? Not their problem ? Their kids all grown up ?

Piberman February 12, 2022 at 11:25 am

“We’ve made great strides in athletics …” says our BOE Chair. And need fund bigger salaries. But nothing said about any improvements in our underperforming student achievement. Or public plans for same. Improving student achievement so they meet CT Edu Dept guidelines isn’t the BOE’s mission for our deficient public school systems. Our BOE and City leaders focus on spending the monies to fund CT’s highest paid Supt. But ignoring our under achieving public school system.

Would potential new homeowners with kids choose Norwalk with its problematic public school system over surrounding towns that celebrate their public school achievements ? Where their BOE members are admired.

Reportedly even most of our City school teachers avoid living here with our under performing public schools. Nothing changes until we elect BOE members with the requisite skills/backgrounds to manage our under performing public schools. Going to be a long wait in Norwalk. Our City leaders have other interests.

Piberman February 15, 2022 at 9:46 pm

Does any Norwalk BOE member have a background as a senior level Finance Professional ? Account ? Sr. Financial Manager ? CFO in a major public or private firm?

If not then on what basis ought they be taken seriously criticizing the City’s Finance Director who does have these credentials lacking by the entire BOE ?

How can we respect a BOE chastising our City’s well respected Finance Director when the City’s BOE have no senior level financial backgrounds ? Our City’s BOE just doing City politics ? Looks that way.

Where are the City residents with senior level financial backgrounds supporting the claims of Norwalk’s BOE that our City;s Financial Director is “misguided” ? Where are they ? In the clouds ?

Not only does our City’s BOE fail to execute the mission they were elected for namely to educate our kids to meet CT Edu Dept guidelines but they disparage a well admired Finance Director of our City. That other City officials join the “chorus” is discouraging to be polite.

What future do we have if our elected leaders publicly support our failing BOE that embarrasses our City ? Would any of our BOE members get elected in our surrounding towns ? Sadly we know the answer. Our surrounding towns have different standards than Norwalk for securing BOE positions. Helps explain their demonstrated success.

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