Norwalk political notes: A $2.7 million cut to education funding; Conroy election comments

Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Andy Conroy. (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s what we have for you in political notes this Thursday:

  • Lyons: Malloy has slashed $2.8 million – this year
  • Conroy: Republicans have candidates, might get last minute surprises
  • Morris’ lawsuit not becoming of a mayoral candidate, according to Conroy
  • Whither Vinny Mangiacopra?
  • Conroy agrees with Camacho, rebutting Thomson comment as ‘BS’

No state budget would mean Norwalk deficit in November, Lyons says

An executive order signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy on June 30 cuts this year’s funding Norwalk Public Schools’ funding dramatically, according to Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons.

Malloy’s Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan was issued after the legislature failed to come up with a two-year budget, funding state government operations while budget negotiations continue. The order would become moot if the legislature passes a budget.

The order cuts Norwalk’s education funding by $4.4 million in 2018. It also notes a $1.7 million Education Cost Sharing (ECS) payment to Norwalk in November.

“The $1.7 million is a problem for the City, because the City had anticipated a total of $10,095,000 in ECS funding for the year, and normally 25% comes in by November 1st,” Lyons said in a Wednesday email. “So, $1.7 million represents a cut to the City.  In addition, it is a problem for the BOE, because the Governor’s Executive order completely eliminates the Alliance District Grant, which we had anticipated would be $1.1 million this year.”

“I remain hopeful that the legislature will pass a budget quickly so our funding can be restored,” Mayor Harry Rilling said last week.

“I am committed to continuing to work toward a long term solution to move Connecticut forward and ensure that ECS payments are made to school districts,” State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) said in a Friday email.


Conroy: Some Republicans wait to express interest in running

While Norwalk Democrats openly seek elected offices this fall, Norwalk Republicans continue to hold their cards close to their vests.

“I know as soon as you start popping names out there the opposition responds,” Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Andy Conroy said Monday, expressing a desire to keep Democrats in the dark as long as possible, and adding, “We are not in the dark, we know what we are doing.”

It’s going “relatively well,” Conroy said, asserting that he has Common Council candidates and three Board of Education candidates lined up.

There are a couple of Republicans who habitually walk into the RTC nominating convention and ask to run for an office, Conroy said, specifying that they wouldn’t ask to run for mayor under those conditions.

“I am going through who is likely to do that and how we are likely to respond,” Conroy said. “…I don’t think anybody can walk in and be a golden boy and expect people to bow down. I don’t think any of this can do that in the RTC and we have to tell the RTC what it is we want to accomplish and let’s see what the RTC does.”


Suing Norwalk while running for mayor makes no sense, Conroy says

State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140), who has filed papers to run for mayor, is also suing the city with a claim of discrimination and invasion of privacy.

“I think the lawsuit makes no sense to me. If you’re going to run for mayor, and you sue the city and run for mayor, I just Somehow that’s dispositive, that doesn’t work,” Conroy said. “I mean, some might think, ‘OK, go get them.’ Other people are going to think. ‘Why would why vote for you? I’m going to pay on a lawsuit out?’ I mean, get real.”

Conroy is also running for mayor. The RTC will endorse a candidate on July 24.


Sources: Mangiacopra is out

Former Democratic District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra, who changed his party affiliation to unaffiliated this spring in what was said to be part of a move to run for mayor, is no longer interested, sources say.

Mangiacopra did not respond to a Monday email.

“Early on, I heard his name thrown around,” Conroy said Monday. “As of maybe the last six weeks I haven’t heard a thing.”


Experienced Republican and Democrat agree: Thomson is mistaken

Norwalk has a difficult time finding volunteers for its Boards and Commissions because it’s a partisan city, Rowayton activist Lisa Thomson, who is running for mayor as an independent, said at a recent Coalition of Norwalk Neighborhood Associations (CNNA) meeting.

“Most of the town is unaffiliated and most of the people don’t get chosen because we are politicizing the entire way we run the city right now and it’s tearing us apart,” Thomson said. “…People who want to get involved aren’t allowed to get involved because they will not tow the party line and we are destroying Norwalk.”

Democratic Town Committee Chairman Ed Camacho disagreed, pointing out that, “Registered unaffiliated voters currently serve on boards and commissions, and in many instances are required to by city charter.”

Conroy said Monday that he’s with Camacho.

“Lisa is not on target on this,” Conroy said. “…I think that is a straw man that she is setting up.”

By “straw man,” he meant, “BS arguments,” he said.

Unaffiliated voters have always served on Boards, he said.

“It’s a matter how do you know who to ask to be on a Board or Commission,” Conroy said, explaining that when he was on the Common Council he was very proactive on his side of town, asking people directly if they’d serve.

“What she said is just not true, period. It’s hard to get people to serve,” Conroy said. “It’s not hard when they have already served. They know that they can make a contribution and they are not shy about it at that point.”


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