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Rilling to name Destruge, Collier-Clemmons to fire, police commissions

The Rev. Oscar Destruge
The Rev. Oscar Destruge

(Updated Nov. 24 to include other appointment information from other stories)

NORWALK, Conn. – Incoming Mayor Harry Rilling, who will be sworn into office at 12:30 p.m. today (Tuesday) at City Hall, is wasting no time in following through on his promise to bring more diversity to Norwalk’s boards and commissions.

Rilling told NancyOnNorwalk Monday night he will appoint Fran Collier-Clemmons to the Police Commission and the Rev. Oscar Destruge and Irene Dixon to the Fire Commission. Collier-Clemmons is African-American, Destruge is Latino and Dixon is of Asian descent.

Rilling also appointed Republican Charlie Yost to the Police Commission.

Common Council approval is not needed for the commission appointments.

Collier-Clemmons is no stranger to the Police Commission, having served on the panel during former Mayor Alex Knopp’s administration. She is currently serving on the Fair Rent Commission, where the city website lists her as an alternate whose term expired in July.

Destruge, who was born in Ecuador, is pastor at El Camino United Methodist Church on West Avenue. A longtime leader in Norwalk’s Latino community, he moderated a mayoral primary debate in August at the South Norwalk Community Center.

Dixon is the head of sales and marketing at the Hilton Garden Inn. She is involved on the boards of the Maritime Aquarium and the Seaport Association, and has served with the Norwalk Symphony and the Education Foundation. She is on the board of the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce and a member of the board of the Western Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Rilling, as mayor, will serve on both commissions, according to the city charter. Torrano and Daniel O’Connor’s Police Commission terms expire Friday, Nov. 22. The terms of Fire Commission members Carol Andreoli and Michael Coffey also expire Friday.

Rilling said he has asked all department heads to have a “two- or three-page report” on his desk Tuesday morning to bring him up to speed on what is happening in each department. Rilling has requested copies of the contracts of all department heads for his review as he makes decisions on personnel going forward.

Rilling promised during his campaign to hold a monthly “Mayor’s Night Out,” with department heads joining him for meetings in the community to get feedback and answer questions from residents. He said he is hoping to schedule the first one in early December.

The mayor-elect also answered what has been a burning question for some people: “Yes, I will keep the current vehicle assigned to the mayor. I plan on keeping it for at least the next two years. I see no need to purchase a new vehicle during times when homeowners are struggling to pay their taxes.”

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