Norwalk mayoral hopeful makes it official

Harry Rilling Feb. 22 2013
Zoning Commissioner Harry Rilling studiously listens Thursday as a conversation about a Norwalk beekeeper unfolds in the Norwalk Common Council Chambers.

NORWALK, Conn. – Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling has made official what many people have known for some time: he is running for mayor.

Rilling for Mayor sent out a press release Friday morning inviting the public to the Hilton Garden Inn at 3 p.m. Sunday, where he will make his announcement and outline his plans for the future of Norwalk.

Rilling, the grandfather of children currently enrolled in Norwalk Public Schools, will announce plans to restore confidence in the school system, spur economic development and restore civility, transparency and accountability in government, the press release said.

He joins three other Democrats vying to become their party’s nominee to take on Republican incumbent Mayor Richard Moccia. Former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel and District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra have both filed papers to run for mayor. Councilman Matt Miklave has formed an exploratory committee; Miklave said Thursday that he should have a decision within days about whether he is going to enter the race completely.

Rilling, 65, was born and raised in Norwalk. He has been an active participant in civic life in Norwalk – both professionally and personally – since returning from four years in the U.S. Navy, according to the press release. He served 41 years on the Norwalk Police Department, including 17 years as the police chief, until his retirement last summer. He is currently employed as a compliance manager in the private sector.

Rilling is on the Zoning Commission, ruffling Republican feathers when he voted to keep affordable housing on site at 20 North Water St. That was shortly before he registered as a Democrat, after having been listed as unaffiliated during his tenure as police chief. The former chief says he was a Democrat before that.

Rilling is a graduate of Norwalk High School, a summa cum laude graduate of Iona College, and has a master’s in public administration from the University of New Haven, the press release said.

Rilling was elected president of both the Fairfield County and Connecticut Chiefs of Police associations, and served as Connecticut delegate to the International Chiefs Association. He is said to be an expert in the organization and performance of local police departments, and has led quality and organizational assessments of the departments of 25 other municipalities.

Rilling has served on the boards of the Vitam Youth Treatment Center, the Norwalk Cities in Schools Program, and the Human Services Council, the press release said. He was assistant district commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America, a member of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Race Relations, and has been active in the Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition. In addition, he was an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Norwalk Community College, the release said.

The Hilton Garden Inn is located at 560 Main Ave.


8 responses to “Norwalk mayoral hopeful makes it official”

  1. Tim T

    How about as part of his agenda he does something about the out of control crime in Norwalk that occurred on his watch as chief.

  2. Original BARIN

    Let the games begin!
    Say what you want, but Harry has the best chance win.

  3. Original BARIN

    Can all city department heads be born, raised and resident Norwalkers, pretty please!
    Any candidate that is willing to pinky swear to make that GINORMOUS change to the city landscape would put a smile on my face.
    Sorry, these darn rose colored glasses again, forgot most politicians say anything to win.

  4. Tootles

    The issue with Department heads being born/raised in Norwalk is that of favoritism. A department head cannot effectively do his/her job and make the tough decisions when they intimately know all of the players their decisions will effect. Those hired from outside Norwalk are able to make the tough decisions without any personality conflicts or worrying about who is related to whom, or whose feelings their decision will hurt. This is an idea that sounds good on paper but will be disasterous if implemented.

  5. Mr Norwall Ct

    You sound to me like to Norwalk employees that lives out of town is getting a bit nervous about the situation.
    I would go a step further and say all city employees should live live in Norwalk.
    If Norwalk is good enough for you to take your 6 figure paycheck it’s good enough for you to live in.

  6. oldtimer

    If all the City payroll, including BoE payroll went to local residents, the amounts spent in Norwalk would be a real shot in the arm for our economy. Residency used to be a requirement for ciy jobs, but hasn’t been for many years. Re-instating the requirement for all new hires would be a good thing, in my opinion, but is not likely, regardless of who gets elected.

  7. Tim T

    Old Timer
    Re-instating the requirement for all new hires would be a good thing, in my opinion, but is not likely, regardless of who gets elected.
    WHY NOT??
    It can be done with almost no problem at all as it can be part of every new contract and every offer of employment..Problem fixed. If you want to work here you work by our rules..See thats the way its done in the real world as in the privates sector.

  8. Original BARIN

    @ Tootles,
    When they make tough decisions and dont feel the impact of that decision, not as much thought may go into their decision.
    I also mentioned resident, not just born and raised, you make it sound as if you’re born and raised here, you will have no integrity and lead by using favoritism.
    That may be already happening due to lack of transparency by some, not a good argument to Toot the horn for.
    Norwalk has quite a few people that are the trifecta city employee I’m talking about, they do the right thing even when no one is watching.
    Transparency and accountability are the key ingredients we need citywide.
    I agree with Oldtimer, it would most certainly be an economy boost, if you want the job you live in Norwalk, simple right?
    Begin this new requirement immediately, it will be good for Norwalk, why would anyone feel differently.
    Tootleloo!!(hard to resist)

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