NORWALK, Conn. – Here are some items of interest that were seen or heard recently in Norwalk:
Board of Ed Tweeting
You might think Mike Barbis wasn’t paying attention at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, given his studious attention to his laptop computer.
Nope – Barbis was issuing a play by play for those fortunate enough to be approved to read his Twitter feed, complete with editorial observations. BOE member Steve Colarossi was also sending out updates, which could be seen by anyone, as his account is not protected.
Both were ignoring complaints from “History 1st@professoryogi,” who wasn’t there, about Superintendent Manuel Rivera’s plan to reorganize top staff and add a communications person at a cost of $97,350.
Lisa Thomson took him on, engaging in the silent dialog with all concerned.
Here are some excerpts:
Yogi (to Thomson and Barbis): do u really think the new plan to restructure central office is wise at this time?
Yogi (to Thomson and Barbis): I feel 100 grand could be better spent on STEM programs at all levels? It’s just an observation, a strong central office will help though
Yogi (to Thomson and Barbis): If money is limited where are we getting more of it from?
Colarossi (to Yogi): Restructuring necessary – only question for me re: Communications post – might it be better to wait & see what July 1 brings.
Yogi (to Barbis, Thomson and Colarossi): When past grudges and slights are FINALLY buried and laid to rest then all parties will flourish
Thomson (to Yogi, Barbis and Colarossi): agreed, so let the man DO his job
Yogi (to Barbis, Thomson and Colarossi): who’s interfering at this point?
Colarossi (to Yogi): Unan. vote on reorg. means no interference. Great example of a true re-org plan as opposed to what we saw 2 years ago
Colarossi (to Yogi) much later: Toxic politics require that the fence mending be community-wide and not limited to stakeholders and special interest groups
Barbis play by play:
• BOE approves Manny RIvera’s contract. Rivas votes no. What is her point?
• We are discussing the new plan for Briggs. Rivas and then Murray grill Rivera over the plan. Rivera is very well prepared and addresses all
• FYI Briggs currently has 63 students but there are 11,000 students system-wide.
• Rivera proposes a reorganization plan at Central Office. 3 title changes + a communications director. Keyes in strong support of the new job
• Colarossi wants PR job to be delayed until 7/2014. Rivera argues for the importance of this position and its importance to the plan.
• Unanimous vote of approval for RIvera’s reorg plan. Most of the audience leaves after this vote including Mellion.
• CFO Rich Rudl has been operating without a contract since he arrived. A written contract is now written and was approved unanimously by BOE
• The Board of Ed covered a lot of ground tonight. This was capped by a lengthy executive session on some old legal cases
Mike Turner, a Minuteman Press marketing agent, drives around Norwalk a fair bit. Traffic can be challenging but there are bright spots, he said – the wildflower meadows on Martin Luther King Drive were high on his list. He likes seeing butterflies and hummingbirds as he drives about.
“Who does those?” he asked. The name Mike Mushak drew no recognition.
He went on to laud the triangle on the corner of Washington Avenue and MLK, where a statue of a Civil War union soldier looks over all.
“If I have to be stuck in traffic, I want to be stuck there,” he said. “It’s beautiful.”
Mushak, a zoning commissioner, is co-owner of Tulip Tree Landscaping, and donates his time to landscape MLK and West Avenue.
Speaking of Mushak
Alice Tierney-Prunotto was on a fine rant Wednesday, letting zoning commissioners know just how fed up and disgusted she is with people parking on her lawn as they retrieve their children from Naramake Elementary School.
“Every parent is in a rush and it’s a me-me-me society today. ‘If I can park on the street and get in and out faster than this U, I will do it.’ And they are very belligerent,” she said.
Mushak had a suggestion.
“I would get out the hose and squirt them, but that’s just me,” he said.
That would backfire, she said.
“I’d be the one in the jail,” she said.
Mushak issued a retraction.
“Don’t take my advice,” he said.
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Speaking of outdoor decorations, Wednesday seems to have been a good day for getting signs, at least for Harry Rilling, Rick McQuaid and Steve Colarossi, all of whom announced the delivery of their political campaign signs that day.
The timing was off for McQuaid. His birthday was Thursday.
Rilling announced his sign delivery in an email.
“Friends,” he wrote, “I can’t thank you enough. Throughout this campaign you have shown your support in so many ways. Now, it is time for your lawn to get in on the action.”
The signs have already begun popping up around town.
Speaking of politicians
As previously reported in this space, Harry Rilling and Mayor Richard Moccia both had birthdays recently. We missed some of the party fun – looks like the mayor won his first race against his potential opponent in the fall election.
Moccia got many more Facebook “Happy Birthdays” than Rilling.
On Aug. 6, Rilling’s birthday, Facebook said he had 134 Happy Birthdays. On Aug. 9, Moccia’s birthday, Facebook said the mayor had 229 greetings posted to his time line.
Could this be a sign of things to come?
Maybe. But Rilling got a good sign for his birthday.
“Thank you to all for your birthday wishes,” he wrote. “Had a nice little gift; bought a Ct. Lottery scratchoff ticket and won $500.”