Seen and Heard in Norwalk: An uncommon council meeting

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Common Councilwoman Sarah Mann (R-At Large) reacts to her own goof at Tuesday’s council meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. – Here are some items of interest that were seen or heard recently in Norwalk:

Moccia: Take a long walk …

Mike Mushak spoke to the Common Council Tuesday to urge members to approve the part of the capital budget that would pay for repairs to the Calf Pasture Beach fishing pier, which, he said, was “probably the most popular attraction at Calf Pasture Beach besides the hot dogs.” He also asked why the traffic management plan, which, he said, was submitted in September, hadn’t been discussed yet.

Then he became conciliatory.

“Thank you so much for your patience,” he said. “Thank you for everything you guys do. I really am a big fan of every one of you, including the mayor.”

That drew laughter, prompting Mayor Richard Moccia to quip, “I have been encouraging people in past years to take a walk on that pier, also.”

Mushak replied, “And keep going, I’m sure.”

Moccia said he appreciated Mushak’s passion. The council has a lot of priorities, he said, and is trying to work on all of them.

One objection

Moccia had a little fun with Councilwoman Michelle Maggio (R-District C) as he worked his way through a list of appointments.

“Jonathan Maggio is listed here on the shellfish commission,” he said. “That is a mayor’s appointment but, just for informational purposes, we did have one objection to his reappointment. But I told Michelle she’d have to recuse herself from the vote.”

Feeling better

Councilman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) has missed a lot of meetings lately as his wife has been in and out of Norwalk Hospital. Moccia said she had taken a turn for the better.

Hemstead said he’d be “glad to get his Donna back.”

“I can’t say enough thank yous to all the people who either sent messages, said prayers, offered things, did things,” he said. “It’s an amazing thing to live in a city of 80,000 to 85,000 people and feel like you’re in small town America. That’s one of the privileges of living in the city of Norwalk.”

Hempstead said Norwalk should be proud of Norwalk Hospital, and again thanked everyone.

Mayor who?

Tuesday’s suddenly pleasant weather seemed to get the best of everyone in the Common Council chambers. This reporter accidentally set a recording off – not a recorder, but a recording, so the sound of her voice was heard throughout the room. Councilman Michael Geake (U-District B) later did something similar, scrambling with a smile to stop noises coming from his phone as a discussion continued.

Councilwoman Sarah Mann (R-At Large) began to speak without raising her hand, then excused her mistake by saying she was a new member. But the veteran Hempstead had no excuse for his faux pas.

Hempstead, the council president, read the consent calendar, as usual. but suffered a flashback on one of the many “authorize the mayor” passages:

“Authorize the mayor, Frank, uh – wait a minute.”

Quipped Moccia, “He’s the only one not running!”

Chaos continues

Councilman Nick Kydes (R-District C) began to make the motion to approve the capital budget before the consent calendar had been voted on. Moccia stopped him, but after the vote made his own error.

He said, “Now, Mr. Kydes, you’re the chairman of the finance committee –” Only to be interrupted by, “No he’s not.”

“It’s a beautiful day,” Moccia said, as laughter began again. One member said, “Oh my God,” and Councilman Matt Miklave said, “The wheels are falling off the cart.”

Moccia recovered and asked, “Mr. Kydes, are you representing the finance committee?”

“No, I am not,” said Kydes, who explained to Moccia that he was acting as chairman of the Planning Committee, which had approved the capital budget.

IQ test

Miklave had his own “wheels off the cart” moment when he tried to call Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord up for questioning. Moccia reminded him that Councilman David McCarthy had introduced an amendment that hadn’t been voted on yet.

“We’re all having an off night tonight,” Moccia said.

Maggio got in on that fun. “I think when I’m the smartest person up here there is something going on,” she said, to laughter.

Apologies to Fred Bondi

After the meeting, Councilman Fred Bondi (R-At Large) got into the elevator with this reporter. The levity was left behind as a grudge from months ago bubbled up.

“You put that picture up of me sleeping,” he said, clearly hurt. “You didn’t say I was ill – I had a stroke. You humiliated me. My picture is on Facebook.”

Sorry, Fred.

Overheard in Norwalk

After the meeting a citizen weighed in on the authorization of a new pick-up truck for the Norwalk Police Department, to be used to carry large items and to plow the parking lot when it’s snowing: “Didn’t Moccia buy a new SUV for himself? Let them put a snowplow on that and use it to plow the parking lot.”

A tweet

Miklave, who is running to be mayor, said this Thursday on Twitter:

“Dem. candidates collectively raise $78,000 in a four-month period seeking to unseat Moccia. And there are 7 months to go before primary!”


One response to “Seen and Heard in Norwalk: An uncommon council meeting”

  1. Tim T

    You put that picture up of me sleeping,” he said, clearly hurt. “You didn’t say I was ill – I had a stroke. You humiliated me. My picture is on Facebook.”
    If Fred is so sick that he fell asleep during a meeting he really should resign as we would never want to see his health suffer from the stress of the common Council. I am sure its the same process to resign as when he switched parties.

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