Norwalk political notes: Serrano remains RDA chair; immigration rally planned

Norwalk Redevelopment Agency Chairman Felix Serrano, left; Redevelopment Agency Secretary/Treasurer Lisa Cooper, right.

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s an assortment of Norwalk developments:

  • Serrano’s Redevelopment leadership reaffirmed, with one dissenter
  • Redevelopment chooses search firm to help find Sheehan replacement
  • Melendez announces rally to protest Trump Administration immigration policies


Serrano in charge

Norwalk Redevelopment Agency Chairman Felix Serrano was reelected for another one-year term as agency leader Tuesday. Commissioner David Westmoreland had the lone dissenting vote.

Commissioner David Speirs was elected vice chairman and Commissioner Lisa Cooper, who had been vice chairwoman, was elected secretary/treasurer of the five-member panel.

Serrano has been chairman since 2012, when he replaced Emil Albanese in the role. He’s been on the Redevelopment Agency for 14 years, according to his LinkedIn page.

Westmoreland did not comment on his vote.



GovHR to assist with search

The Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday unanimously approved the selection of GovHR USA to assist in the search for a replacement for departed Executive Director Tim Sheehan, at a cost of up to $27,000.

A consensus had been reached by email, Redevelopment Agency Attorney Marc Grenier said, explaining that Sheehan had spoken with four recruiting firms, three had responded with proposals and “the consensus was Gov HR was thought to be the best fit professionally and economically.”

Gov HR’s recruitment fee of $15,000 is a “significant savings” from the other proposals, which started at 30% of the new recruit’s first year salary, Grenier said. Other firms guaranteed their work for 90 days while Gov HR’s guarantee is for a year.

GovHR expects $5,000 in general expenses and $2,500 for advertising expenses, Grenier said, suggested that an additional $4,500 be approved to provide “wiggle room.” Gov HR has already done most of the leg work and expects to take 90 to 120 days for selection.

Gov HR is already familiar with Norwalk, Sheehan said.


Immigration rally planned

“The Trump Administration’s immigration policies and detention camps meet the United Nations’ definition of genocide and crimes against humanity,” Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin is quoted as saying in a press release issued Tuesday by Common Council member Eloisa Melendez (D-District A).

A rally is planned for 7:30 p.m. Friday on the Norwalk Green, she said.

“On Friday July 12th, 2019, Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps, will bring thousands of Americans to detention camps across the country, into the streets and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by refugees,” a Lights for Liberty press release said.

“Across this country, we have witnessed acts against people fleeing persecution many of us thought we would never see in modern times,” Lights for Liberty states. “At Trump’s human detention camps, teen mothers and babies are held outdoors in ‘dog pounds.’ We have witnessed the sick and elderly confined to ‘icebox’ rooms for weeks at a time. Unbelievably, children as young as 4 months are taken from their parents, medicine is confiscated, and medical care withheld, and LGBTQ and disabled individuals are held in solitary confinement.”

“Every day, we learn more about the cruelty migrant children and families are experiencing at Trump’s detention camps on the U.S.-Mexican border,” wrote Melendez, Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Vice Chairwoman. “We can no longer sit by and lament the torture, we need to speak out in unison and make our voices heard. This is inhumane.”






8 responses to “Norwalk political notes: Serrano remains RDA chair; immigration rally planned”

  1. Bill Nightingale

    Why is the RDA being re-staffed? Why do we need the ever failing RDA? This unaccountable, unelected agency is a disgrace to Norwalk. It needs to abolished.

  2. Jason Milligan

    Redevelopment Agency continues to spend tax payer cash like water.

    They are moving into their lavish new office next door to me soon. I’ll bet the new office runs $100k + / year.

    Remember the $700k (& growing) attorney fees suing me for irreparable harm?

    What about the fact that the entire 2109 Wall St West Ave Plan is a sham? The Agency didn’t strictly adhere to the procedures set out in the Chapter 130 statute to establish new plan areas or amend existing plans. They are not quite sure if they want to claim it is a new plan or an amendment of 2 previous plans from 2004. Either claim has consequences and either claim is false.

    The rules are very clear and RDA did not follow them!

    Plus the whole plan was based upon a fraudulent determination of blight!!

    Unfortunately the wheels of justice turn slowly. The lawsuit attacking the fraudulent 2019 plan is progressing. The accomplices have requested and received more time to plead.

    I am thinking that this lawsuit would be more powerful as a class action. Every property or business owner in the plan area is affected by the plan.

    If you have interest in joing the lawsuit please reach out.

  3. CAROL

    we do not need to search for a new director for the rda , we need to abolish it. no way to spend all that money,same people running it.
    serrano there for 14 years. no term limits just the same people spending tax payers money. NO MORE RDA!!!!!!

  4. Jorge A Torres

    Trump Detention camps, don’t forget before they were Obama detention camps but no one absolutely nobody said something about it, Latinos in public jobs are funny they are using the iligal immigration fiasco to make them look good but they do nothing about it they just promote them self

  5. Kathleen

    Thanks Eloisa…see you there!

  6. DT

    I am going to go out on a huge limb and guess that Melendez idolizes AOC.

  7. Mike McGuire

    RDA needs term limited on the commissioners. Otherwise issues like Wall West, POKO going to 100% affordable, lost library parking etc slip by.

    Commissioners need to challenge RDA staff, ask hard questions, insist RDA put Norwalk first. This does not seem to be the case.

    14 years is around 9 years to long.

  8. Debora Goldstein

    A consensus had been reached by email, Redevelopment Agency Attorney Marc Grenier said, explaining that Sheehan had spoken with four recruiting firms, three had responded with proposals and “the consensus was Gov HR was thought to be the best fit professionally and economically.”

    Am I reading this right? A decision on a vendor hire was done by “consensus” on email?????? Not a VOTE at a legally noticed, accessible to the public meeting?

    And the outgoing Sheehan was involved in selecting the hiring vendor for his replacement?????


    You can’t make this stuff up!

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