Norwalk political notes: Mayoral rumor, technical problems and more praise for King

Zoom meeting screen capture.
Republican Mayoral candidate Vinny Scicchitano, upper right, speaks to Planning and Zoning Director Steven Kleppin, upper left, during a May 2 City Hall community room meeting about the proposed zoning regulation changes. Most of Scicchitano’s comments are inaudible on the City’s YouTube video.

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk political info for you:

  • Knopp denies rumor, says he supports Rilling
  • What became of City Hall community room audio investment?
  • More kudos for exiting Chief of Staff


A rumor that former Mayor Alex Knopp is going to challenge Mayor Harry Rilling’s reelection isn’t true, Knopp said Tuesday.

Knopp has been outspoken lately, taking it upon himself to negotiate a deal with Wall Street area real estate mogul Jason Milligan for the lot next to the Norwalk Public Library. Milligan and Knopp spoke to the Council last week about the issue, drawing no replies.  

NancyOnNorwalk heard the rumor Tuesday.

“No, I’m not a candidate for mayor or any other office,” Knopp said in an email. “I have deliberately limited my comments on public issues in Norwalk for the last 5 years to advocating for the Norwalk Public Library system and will continue to support library modernization and parking. I will also be speaking in the future against any Charter Revision that diminishes our local democracy, such as changing to a 4-year mayoral term. But I take these positions as a concerned Norwalk resident, not as a candidate for any elective office. I have contributed to Mayor Rilling and support him for re-election.”

Knopp, 75, was Norwalk Mayor from 2001 to 2005.

Poor audio?

District C residents looking to learn about the proposed zoning regulation update by viewing a recent City Hall hybrid meeting will struggle hearing the audio in parts of the YouTube video. About an hour into the session, crackling noises obscure the proceedings; then a man speaks into the microphone but isn’t heard online. East Norwalk Neighborhood Association (ENNA) Board President Diane Cece asks a question but the answer from Planning and Zoning Director Steven Kleppin is impossible to decipher. Republican Mayoral candidate Vinny Scicchitano is among the speakers whose thoughts are largely lost.

Community room acoustics are “not great to begin with,” Cece later told NancyOnNorwalk. “People were texting those of us in the room that they know and telling us was horrible, and telling Steve. He apologized but not much he could do and it seems (E-Government Coordinator) Larry Manzi was busy elsewhere or not there.”

In 2015, the Council authorized $280,000 in capital borrowing to upgrade the City Hall community room. Three years later, a $49,300 contract was awarded to Valley Communications Inc. for the installation of video equipment.

Norwalk Director of Communications Michelle Woods Matthews said, “Since this meeting, the IT team has conducted further testing to make sure this does not occur again.”

The City held a business roundtable last week in the community room. The YouTube video’s audio cuts out here and there.

Praising Laoise King

Then-Assistant to the Mayor Laoise King during a 2016 public meeting.

Five Common Council members were quiet May 9 when Norwalk Chief of Staff Laoise King was lauded by seven colleagues after it was announced that she was leaving to become a Connecticut Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner.

So what do they think?

“Just didn’t want to drag out the meeting repeating all that had been said,” Nora Niedzielski-Eichner (D-At Large) said in an email. “Laoise’s gift for organization has been incredibly valuable for Norwalk and it is hard to imagine filling her shoes. Connecticut is very lucky to have her working at the state level now, and I expect noticeable improvements to DOT in the coming months.”

Diana Révolus (D-District B) said she agreed.

“I was surprised at the announcement and a bit taken off guard, but there was no other reason for my silence. I think Laoise has done an amazing job and she will be missed,” Jenn McMurrer (D-District C) wrote.

 John Kydes (D-District C) did not reply. Newly-appointed Councilman Ed Camacho (D-At Large) wasn’t sent an inquiry from NancyOnNorwalk.

Today, Thursday June 1, is King’s last day as Norwalk Chief of Staff, according to her resignation letter.


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