NORWALK, Conn. – The reelection campaign of State Rep. Chris Perone (D-Norwalk 137) appears to be in violation of state statutes.
The campaign, Friends of Chris Perone, has been without a treasurer since Dec. 10, when David Jaegar resigned, according to a document filed Dec. 26 with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC). State statutes require that a new treasurer be appointed within 10 days.
If the committee has raised money or spent money without a treasurer, it could be fined $2,000 per violation, according to a SEEC guide for political committees.
Perone did not return a request for comment, but said Sunday he had not started actively working on his campaign.
Jaegar said the resignation had to do with his future plans..
“Nothing happened in particular,” he said. “I’m thinking of pursing the chairmanship of the DTC, thinking that person should remain neutral. In my opinion, the chairman of the DTC should not be involved in any particular campaign.”
A new DTC chairperson will be elected in March.
Other political items of interest:
Haselkamp catches on in Trumbull
It didn’t take long for erstwhile Norwalk Personnel Director James Haselkamp to land on his feet.
Haselkamp, whose contract with Norwalk was not renewed by Mayor Harry Rilling, has landed a job as head of labor relations with the town of Trumbull. First Selectman Timothy M. Herbst announced the hiring Tuesday.
The position was recently created, according to the town’s website.
“Jim’s breadth of experience as a human resources professional and his proven track record of negotiating agreements that are fair to employees and taxpayers make him uniquely qualified to assume this new assignment,” Herbst said in a statement on the town’s website. “Jim has a consistent track record of negotiating employee labor agreements that respect municipal workers while at the same time implementing innovative cost saving measures that have saved taxpayers millions of dollars in each of the municipalities he has served.”
It was his track record of respect – or lack thereof – that led Rilling to jettison the well-traveled personnel chief in December. What may have been the final straws were an affirmative action complaint filed by DPW acting Superintendent of Operations Chris Torre and an outburst of temper in which he reportedly shoved a table into a union employee during a tense negotiation at City Hall, prompting the employee to file a police report.
This will be Haselkamp’s fifth stop on the Nutmeg State tour of municipal offices, having worked in similar positions in Bridgeport, Waterbury and Stamford before coming to Norwalk not long after another outburst in which he reportedly took a golf club to a union sign at a public event.
Herbst, 33, a Republican, was on hand for ex-Mayor Richard Moccia’s announcement that he would run for re-election in 2013, and donated $200 to his campaign. Moccia hired Haselkamp in Norwalk despite his troubles in Stamford and remained a supporter through his problems here.
Haselkamp is scheduled to begin his new job Feb. 1, according to the Trumbull website.
Who will be next DTC chairperson?
Jaeger said he has heard that three or four people are interested in becoming DTC chairperson, including himself. He did not say who they were.
Current Vice Chairwoman Brenda Penn-Williams said she is very interested. Their approaches couldn’t be more different.
“I feel the organization is headed in the right direction, I want to continue to lead in a positive direction,” Jaegar said.
“I think the DTC needs to move in a different direction,” Penn-Williams said. “I’m interested in trying to bring the Norwalk Democratic Party back together so we can get a little more seats on the Common Council. That takes unity to be able to do what we need to do.”
Jaeger said he’s been involved with the DTC for 15 years in various capacities, including serving on the Common Council, as a volunteer on campaigns and a 2011 candidate for town clerk.
“I want to continue to lead in a positive direction, he said. “I have some ideas for working with the community. I think it’s time that we work in coordination.
“Having a Democratic mayor, we need to work with him with some things he needs from the community.”
Penn-Williams said she really likes being on the DTC, in addition to her other volunteer activities, serving as second vice president of the Norwalk National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and on the Fair Rent Commission. It’s about making a difference, she said. She just wants people to be treated fairly, she said.
“I did not like the way the former mayor handled the NEON (Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now) situation. We have to appreciate the way folks are living here in Norwalk. We are human beings here. … I really liked him a lot, I did. I just didn’t like how he handled the situation. If he had stepped in, NEON wouldn’t be in the state that’s it’s in now,” she said. “Will they help the poor?”
It’s clear she can turn a phrase.
“We need a cohesive organization,” she said. “We all need to disagree. We can talk, have our battles and at the end of the day we need to come together. We all need to be working for the same cause. We are blue. We need to stay blue. We have excellent people to run. We have a rainbow. We have black, white, Hispanic and that’s good. We ought to work for the common cause.”
What of the Republicans?
Republican Fred Wilms, who served as Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) chairman for eight years before Democrat Harry Rilling ousted Mayor Richard Moccia in November, said he is not interested in becoming the next Republican Town Committee chairman.
“The only name I’ve heard is Pete Torrano,” he said.
Torrano did not return a phone call.
Might Wilms run for office again?
“It’s very difficult to say, right now,” he said. “I’m just enjoying my time off and spending more time working.”
The Republicans are meeting for their caucus at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Norwalk Inn to elect new RTC members. All are welcome. Registered Republicans can vote.
The number of people vying to be elected to the DTC in District E has dropped from 10 to eight. Scott Kimmich and Regina Krummel have withdrawn.
Krummel was involved in an altercation with DTC Chairwoman Amanda Brown last July in the City Hall parking lot, commonly called The Brawl at City Hall. She declined to comment on her reason for withdrawing.
Kimmich said he backed out so his wife, Kate Tepper, could have a shot.
“I’ve been on for about four to six years and I am leaving to make room for Kate,” he wrote in an email. “District E has a gentleman’s agreement that husbands and wives do not run for the DTC as the same time, to avoid the appearance of machine politics, as was the case in District B.”
Bill Krummel, Regina’s husband and current District E chairman, is one of the candidates. The Democratic caucuses are Thursday night in various locations.
Watts files campaign fundraising papers
Common Councilman David Watts (D-District A) undersold the size of his war chest by a few hundred dollars when he said he had raised about $5,000 as he explores a bid for state representative.
David Watts 2014 reports $5,347.38 in total fundraising since the committee was formed in April. His balance on hand is $4,660.69. Watts said the $686.69 his committee has spent on expenses were related to fundraising.
The report, filed Tuesday, is attached below. It includes a $25 donation from David Jaegar, former Perone campaign treasurer.
Also attached are the July and October filings.
Board of Education member Sherelle Harris gave the committee $100 in April.
“I met David as the result of his son being in one of my story time sessions a few years back when I was a children’s librarian,” she wrote in an email. “He sought me out because his son spoke favorably of me. I tend to peel back layers so I can see who they really are before letting them in. David makes me laugh because he has such ‘creative’ ways of doing things.
“Aside from him supporting me during my run for the Board of Education, I can see that he is a loyal person and that he is no stranger to the hard work,” she continued. “He really helps. He is not shy about putting himself out there. He doesn’t sit back and wait for things to come to him. He seems to really understand politics, he quickly learns from his mistakes and his ego is not so inflated that he can’t apologize. That takes strength. Selfishness and being taken for granted are two of my pet peeves. I presently believe he will work for his constituents year-round and not simply pander to those in power to get power.”