Norwalk Council ‘report card’ wrapped up

Council Ordinance Committee 004-2014-07-15
From left, Norwalk Council members Shannon O’Toole Giandurco, Richard Bonenfant and Glenn Iannacone attend an Ordinance Committee meeting earlier this year.


NORWALK, Conn. – A NancyOnNorwalk effort to shine a light on city government fell a little bit short last week.

The goal was to show the attendance records of Common Council members at committee meetings, where most of the work is done, away from the television camera and most members of the public. The list did not include the Ordinance Committee. While that’s bad, the omission gives us a chance to give you a different look by arranging the information in a different way.

The Ordinance Committee information is presented below. It has also been added to the original story.

Ordinance Committee

Chairwoman Shannon O’Toole Giandurco: Present at eight of nine meetings, through Oct. 21

Richard Bonenfant: Present at eight of nine meetings.

Doug Hempstead: Present at all nine meetings.

Glenn Iannacone: Present at all nine meetings.

Travis Simms: Present at all nine meetings. Late at four. On Feb. 18 he arrived at 7:42 p.m. for a meeting that began at 7:05 p.m. and ended at 9:15 p.m.; was present from 7:10 p.m. to 8:10 p.m. for the May 20 meeting, which began at 7 and ended at 10; arrived at 7:20 p.m. for the Sept. 16 meeting, which began at 7:05 p.m. and ended at 9:10 p.m.; arrived at 7:34 p.m. for the Oct. 21 meeting, which began at 7 and ended at 10.

Sharon Stewart: Present at four of nine meetings.

David Watts: Present at six of nine meetings. Late at four.  On April 28 he arrived at 7:35 p.m. for a meeting that began at 7 p.m. and ended at 8:35 p.m. On June 17 he arrived at 7:15 for the 7 p.m. meeting, which went to 8:55 p.m. On Sept. 16 Watts arrived at 7:40 p.m. for a meeting that began at 7:05 p.m. and went to 9:10 p.m. On Oct. 21, he was six minutes late to the meeting, which went from 7 to 10 p.m.

In addition, we have provided a list summarizing committee attendance of Council members:

Rich Bonenfant (R-At Large): Could have attended 37 meetings; made it to 32, an 86.4 percent attendance rate.

Phaedrel “Faye” Bowman (D-District B): Could have attended 28 meetings; made it to 24, an 85 percent attendance rate.

Shannon O’Toole Giandurco (R-District D): Could have attended 37 meetings; made it to 34, a 91 percent attendance rate.

Doug Hempstead (R-At Large): Could have attended 38 meetings; made it to 36, a 94 percent attendance rate.

Glenn Iannaccone (R-At Large): Could have attended 28 meetings; made it to 25, an 89 percent attendance rate.

John Igneri (D-District E): Could have attended 26 meetings; made it to 20, an 80 percent attendance rate. Was five minutes late to one meeting.

Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large): Could have attended 44 meetings; made it to 41, a 93 percent attendance rate. Was late to three meetings, a total of 105 minutes.

John Kydes (D-District C): Could have attended 37 meetings; made it to 31, an 83 percent attendance rate.

Michelle Maggio (R-District C): Could have attended 30 meetings; made it to 23, a 76 percent attendance rate. Was late to six meetings, a total of 90 minutes missed due to tardiness. (Did not count the meeting she was one minute late.)

David McCarthy (R-District E): Could have attended 35 meetings; made it to 28, an 80 percent attendance rate. Was late to two meetings, a total of 55 minutes.

Eloisa Melendez (D-District A): Could have attended 25 meetings; made it to 17, a 68 percent attendance rate. Was late to three meetings, a total of 14 minutes.

Jerry Petrini (R-District D): Made it to all 39 meetings that he could have gone to, a 100 percent attendance rate.

Travis Simms (D-District B): Could have attended 33 meetings; made it to 28, an 84.8 percent attendance rate. Was late to six meetings, a total of 73 minutes missed due to tardiness.

Sharon Stewart (D-At Large): Could have attended 37 meetings; made it to 22, a 59.4 percent attendance rate. Was late to two meetings, a total of 71 minutes missed due to tardiness.

David Watts (D-District A): Could have attended 30 meetings; made it to 21, a 70 percent attendance rate. Late at seven meetings, a total of 174 minutes missed due to tardiness.

Director of Management and Budgets Bob Barron on Monday provided a chart, which is shown below.

“I’ve always been impressed with the time commitment that the elected officials give in service to Norwalk,” Barron wrote in an email. “Impressive numbers from the lowest to the highest total of committee meetings in addition to the twice monthly Council meetings away from family and friends in service of their community.”

attendance chart

Correction, 8:21 p.m. Petrini has perfect attendance; update, 4:30 p.m., comment from Bob Barron, chart made by Barron added.


11 responses to “Norwalk Council ‘report card’ wrapped up”

  1. Ms Ruby McPherson

    You have to also know that these council persons are on more that one committee and some time runs between other meeting, including with the community. So being late isn’t alway about just being slow(work,school and there own personal jobs)

  2. Suzanne

    This format is more telling and helpful. In the 90 percentile, I am not so concerned, maybe even in the high 80’s. But 76 represents quite a bit of absenteeism.

    It’s an education: if you want to be a Council person and on a committee, be sure you like meetings and be sure you get to them.

    As you noted at the beginning of the article, the committee meetings are where a lot of the work gets done to run the City and they are away from the cameras and most of the public.

    This would definitely be handy at the polls.

  3. EveT

    “Showing up is eighty percent of life” (New York Times, August 21, 1977, attributed to Woody Allen, according to Answers.com). Let’s apply that 80% rule to our elected officials. If you can’t make it to at least 80% of Council and committee meetings, how can you claim you are serving your constituents?
    Of course there are other factors, like how well prepared you are when you do show up and how often you attend other meetings and events beyond Council and your own committees. Still, basic attendance is a pretty important factor.

  4. Lisa Thomson

    This is much appreciated NON but what I’d really prefer is to have a report card on what the Common Council accomplished. Before the next election, I’d like to see what each council member believed they did or legislated in order to make Norwalk a better place. Now THAT would be a report card!

  5. Suzanne

    LisaT, What a great idea! The issue, who voted for and who voted against. Carried or not carried. This would definitely reveal in a clear way where each Council person stands before the election. Now that’s one to take to the polls! (With all due respect to NON who has plenty on their plate already.)

  6. concerned so dostudent

    So are the council allowed to have sick days, or be allowed to miss time if they have to work late?
    Get real the Council people also have jobs or other obligations which may make them late or miss meetings.

  7. LWitherspoon

    Sometimes I wonder who certain elected officials are representing on council, because it certainly doesn’t seem to be my interests. Now thanks to NoN we learn that certain elected officials aren’t representing anybody at all, and miss 30% or more of their meetings. Watts, Melendez, and Stewart have some explaining to do.
    Watts is a no-show 30% of the time and is late 33% of the time that he bothers to show up. A rather poor attendance record for someone who professes to care about properly representing the interests of his district.

  8. Suzanne

    Concerned, Council people CHOOSE to run for the office on behalf of their respective constituents.

    “Other jobs or obligations” does not excuse these elected representatives from performing the office they have CHOSEN on behalf of us. No, they are not excused and no, there is no excuse.

    If they didn’t do their research in advance, which I find highly unlikely, as to what was expected of them, then they shouldn’t run for the office.

    I don’t know why anyone would. Perhaps that is why Norwalk gets so little representation and so few issues resolved.

  9. Paul Lanning

    This is very revealing. It is pathetic. More testimony to the arrogance & indifference of our elected officials.

    Private sector corporations typically allow 10 sick/personal days per year, which translates into an expected 90% attendance rate for an employee who gets 3 weeks vacation per year.

    Then there’s of course the question of what–if anything–gets done at all these meetings.

  10. concerned so dostudent

    @ Suzanne, so if the council members don’t maintain a job how do you propose they live?
    Maybe Norwalk could propose a salary for council members then they could spend all day researching, and all evening in meetings.
    Let’s face it the council is not compiled of retiree and little old ladies.

  11. Suzanne

    I never said Council members should not maintain a job. For goodness sake, every last one of them have a life.

    What I am saying is that the expectations of the office are clear and rigorous. Because of this, I would understand why more citizens would not seek such an elective office because of the sacrifice that must be made to do the job well.

    Clearly there are not just “retirees and old ladies” who serve BUT those that do can and choose this elected office have no excuses for fulfilling the duties they have chosen.

    “Other jobs and obligations”, one would assume, were factored into the Council position equation before the person ran for office. If not and this keeps them from fulfilling their role on behalf of the constituency, they should resign.

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