NORWALK, Conn. — Embattled Norwalk Republican Registrar Karen Doyle Lyons will be out of her position in less than three weeks, according to Mayor Harry Rilling.
Doyle Lyons said Rilling doesn’t have the legal documents necessary to make that happen.
The registrar is under fire for a Facebook comment she maintains has been taken out of context. She called Rilling’s action a “very vindictive” personal attack.
Doyle Lyons’ initial Facebook comment, made June 22, was “No more Black History Month because many of us know more then many Blacks.” She complains that many people are leaving out her follow-up explanation, “I am just saying study, learn not just one month but all year. I do and so should many others.”
Black history should be taught year-round, she said.
Doyle Lyons subsequently agreed to resign and not seek reelection this fall, Republicans say. According to Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Carl Dickens, the veteran registrar sent letters to the RTC, Town Clerk Rick McQuaid, Rilling, Chief of Staff Laoise King and Director of Personnel and Labor Relations Ray Burney.
Doyle Lyons on Sunday called the letter “a draft” done in response to bullying and threats. Dickens said there was “nothing of the sort.”
“I was not the only one that was speaking with her regards the situation: no bullying, no threats,” he wrote.
Rilling on Wednesday said, “Karen Doyle Lyons’ employment with the City of Norwalk will terminate on July 20, 2020. We are processing her retirement documents in accordance with the formal notice of retirement she submitted on June 25, 2020 to the Personnel Department.”
Doyle Lyons said there is no signed letter of resignation.
“You know, originally when they were threatening me and bullying me, I said, ‘Well, maybe I should resign, maybe I should retire.’ But I never followed through on that,” she said.
She asked the Human Resources Department to tell her what her buyouts would be for July, September and March, she said. “I don’t know what the Mayor is talking about.”
“These verbal attacks on me are because he doesn’t like me personally,” she said. “My position has always been to uphold the integrity of elections, and I will do so to the best of my ability.”
Although Doyle Lyons focused on Rilling, many Republicans have joined with Democrats to express outrage and demand that Doyle Lyons end her 20-year career as Republican Registrar. Dickens called her Facebook comment “not something that Republicans and, in particular, this RTC can ever accept or stand for.” Republican State Central Committee member Kelly Straniti called the remarks “inexcusable” and former State Rep. Fred Wilms (R-142) said they were “hurtful, divisive and completely unacceptable.”
Doyle Lyons has lost the public trust and, “She has no choice but to follow through with her previous resignation,” Wilms said Tuesday.
“My stance still is ‘I’m not retiring. I’m not resigning and I’m not withdrawing.’” Doyle Lyons said Wednesday, asserting that she’s gotten calls of support from “all over” and “it’s been an uplifting process even though it’s bothersome.”