Rilling names ‘super lawyer’ to lead Norwalk law department; King as city clerk

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Norwalk Mayor-elect Harry Rilling, left, announces the appointment of Attorney Mario F. Coppola as Norwalk Corporation Counsel. The appointment is at the discretion of the mayor and does not require a council vote.

NORWALK, Conn. – Harry Rilling made his first public maneuvers as Norwalk’s next mayor Wednesday morning by naming two people with the “highest qualifications” for two of the city’s highest positions – longtime Democratic insider Donna King for city clerk and “Super Lawyer” Mario F. Coppola as Norwalk’s next corporation counsel.

Coppola brings “a high degree of knowledge and wealth of experience” to “one of the most important appointments that a mayor can make,” Rilling said. King is “a very qualified and capable individual” who will hit the ground running, Rilling said.

Coppola, a partner at the law firm of Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C., will replace Corporation Counsel Robert Maslan, who has led Norwalk’s law department since March 2006.

Coppola has regularly provided legal representation and services to other municipalities such as the towns of Westport, Trumbull, New Canaan, Madison and Easton, according to a press release. He has handled hundreds of matters on behalf of municipalities in the areas of land use and zoning, zoning enforcement, tax assessment appeals and tax collection from the administrative level through the Connecticut courts.

He’s is listed in New England Super Lawyers Magazine. Coppola outscores Maslan on Internet lawyer ratings sites, with a 4.6 out of 5 to Maslan’s 4.4 out of 5 on Martindale.com

While Maslan is described on various websites as an attorney specializing in land use and commercial litigation, Martindale.com describes Coppola’s practice area as municipal law, land use and zoning, property tax assessment appeals, real estate transactions and general civil litigation. The Connecticut Law Tribune listed Coppola as one of its “New Leaders In The Law” in the November 2012 edition of its New Leaders In The Law Yearbook, the press release said.

“I’ve spoken with him on many occasions and I am very, very confident in his ability and the fact that he will be an excellent corporation counsel and represent the city of Norwalk in the highest degree,” Rilling said.

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Donna King has accompanied Harry Rilling to many Common Council meetings.

King’s appointment is no surprise to anyone following Norwalk politics. She is a 35-year member of the Norwalk Democratic Town Committee who served as chairwoman for seven years. She was elected city treasurer from 2001 to 2007 and is the chairwoman of the Maritime Authority. Since 1999, King has been working in the office of the state treasurer in Hartford as an executive assistant and banking liaison in the cash management division.

“I’ve known Donna for many years,” said Rilling. “I know that she has tremendous connections, not only locally, statewide, but nationally in the political circles. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge that is going to serve the city of Norwalk and serve the mayor’s office extremely well over the next two years. … I know she is going to hit the ground running as soon as we get settled into the office.”

The former police chief predicted that King’s nomination will be approved by the new Common Council in its first meeting next week.

King will replace Erin (Halsey) Herring, who has served for more than two years.

King said she will be glad to “return home” as city clerk and may attend meetings on Rilling’s behalf.

“There is a learning curve to the prescribed responsibilities so that will be interesting, but I think there will be issues and policies that the mayor will initiate and will want me to help see through,” she said.


22 responses to “Rilling names ‘super lawyer’ to lead Norwalk law department; King as city clerk”

  1. Tim T

    Wow Rilling is making appointments on the advice of “Internet lawyer ratings sites”

    This is scary..

  2. Sad for Tim T

    Aww, Tim….

    Sore loser I see?

    So every time something is posted about Rilling, you’re going to be the parrot in the cage in the corner making your remarks, huh?

    It sounds like throughout this entire process, you bashed and bashed Rilling, yet, you’ve never stepped foot in the Mayor’s office to run the city – BUT – you have all the answers.

    We should have elected YOU as Mayor.. HECK, even President!

    Maybe we should open churches and worship you instead of Jesus Christ?

    Wake up Tim T… This man deserves a chance like ANY OTHER candidate who wins an election.

    Until then, it’s better to be seen than heard.

  3. WOW!

    @Tim T:

    Wow, Tim! I was taught that quoted statements are always written inside of quote marks, e.g. “Are you that stupid?”

    Where in this article do you see Mr. Rilling being quoted as saying any such thing?

    You’re the scary one!

  4. Penny

    Okay, fair question; Anyone looking at the relationship between Berchem, Moses & Devlin and City Hall? Has mayor elect Rilling done his homework? Can someone tell us how much Berchem, Moses & Devlin has billed Norwalk for the last administration and what were the services provided?

  5. Don’t Panic

    Try asking the BET.

  6. Tim T

    Amazing how the pro Rilling group is allowed to insult me and others in violation of the TOS, yet my posts are moderated ..Talk about bias.
    A user name “Sad for Tim T” in itself is an insult
    me being called ““Are you that stupid?” from WOW.
    Hopefully these individuals will have their posts removed and put on moderation. What’s good got one is good for the other if NON is truly un-bias..

  7. Ark

    Don’t think Berchem did any work for City before. They donated to Harry’s campaign and now get some of the spoils. Same as Maslan, Nolan, and Reid did under the Repubs. Very competent firm but they charge giant fees to the other towns they represent. Could have saved money with local Dem lawyer like Ciccarillo or Corselo, but its Harry’s choice as with all mayors.

  8. Tim T

    “He’s is listed in New England Super Lawyers Magazine. Coppola outscores Maslan on Internet lawyer ratings sites, with a 4.6 out of 5 to Maslan’s 4.4 out of 5 on Martindale.com”

  9. Tim T

    @Sad for Tim T
    You state
    “Sore loser I see”
    Nope the loser is Norwalk
    Also you state
    “So every time something is posted about Rilling, you’re going to be the parrot in the cage in the corner making your remarks, huh?”
    Yes every time Rilling says or does something stupid, So I guess I and many others will be the parrot in the cage very often.

  10. WOW!

    @Tim T:
    YOU added the quote marks in your comments. They don’t appear, as you claim, in the fifth paragraph, first sentence of the article. Unless quote marks appear in the original article, it’s NOT a quote. Tim T, no one needs to call you names, your comments speak wonders for yourself. FYI, “Are you that stupid?” was used as an “e.g.”, which means “for example”. Sorry that you thought I was referring to you! And yes, I did try reading before commenting. Comprehension is part of the reading process… you should try it! Don’t discredit someone for words that aren’t his.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @WOW, Tim T

      OK, let’s keep it on topic, and the topic is not each other. Please re-read the comment policy (bottom widget right side on the home page)


  11. Mr Norwalk Ct

    What’s with all the hate and anger. I guess this is to be expected from the Rilling supporters as childish name calling is the only defense they will have for the next 2 years.

    I understand that Coppola is a resident of Orange. Shame that good old Harry didn’t hire someone from Norwalk that has a vested intended in the town instead of just a paycheck. Norwalk has many fine attorneys but I guess good old Harry thinks otherwise.

  12. penny

    @Ark, Berchem, Moses & Devlin has had much business with city hall. Trying to get totals payed out and for what services rendered.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Penny, et al

      From what we have found, the firm has had no work with the city, but has done a significant amount for the Board of Education. Mr. Coppola has not been involved in that work. We will ave a story up for tomorrow morning that includes this information.

  13. Suzanne

    I don’t think a competent attorney hired to look after the City of Norwalk affairs should necessarily live in Norwalk. With all of the internecine battles that go on at all levels of local government, perhaps a bit of distance and, thus, perspective would be a good thing. Ms. King seems to have excellent qualifications and is likewise most recently coming from “outside?” Either way, these look like two outstanding appointments selected for support, competency and professionalism. Norwalk deserves very high standards and it seems they have that in these two appointments.

  14. penny

    Thank you Mark. Some say the firm has done rather well with Norwalk. Be great to get more information.

  15. Joe Espo

    Prediction: Mario will do Harry’s bidding, give up on the appeal and see to it that the mosque will be built in time for Ramadan. He lives out of town, just like most of the union members that endorsed Harry’s tax give-away promises, so what does he care? That $250 Al Madany contribution to Harry is going to pay off big-time.

  16. Suzanne

    Mr. Espo, You underestimate the citizens with which you live. I do not believe the mosque is going to be built without strong intervention, whatever the legal consequences, by not only people in the neighborhood but others who find the location and size unreasonable. Dire predictions are your specialty, I realize, but I have confidence in those who elected Rilling to office in the first place (or not.)

  17. Break the Unions

    Mr Espo
    Is 100 percent correct. This may be the reason that good old Harry went out of town to fill the position.
    Looks like Harry will become a lame duck before even taking office

  18. Sad for Tim T

    @WOW . Are you serious?

    This comment has been edited.

  19. NorwalkVoter

    @ Suzanne. Ms king has lived in Norwalk for a long time.
    She has been working out of town, and commuting.

  20. Suzanne

    Thus the quotes around the word “outside.”

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