By Galen Wells
Democratic Town Committee member
NORWALK, Conn. – Republican Town Chairman Art Scialabba was correct to confirm in his recent letter that Harry Rilling collects only one pension. However his other comments concerning Mr. Rilling’s employment with the city were willfully inaccurate and misleading, and merit a response.
In 2001, the late Republican Mayor Frank Esposito saw fit to ask Harry Rilling to work past retirement and stay with the Police Department under a new contract. Rilling’s exemplary job performance and significant cost savings versus hiring a new chief were cited as reasons for his retention. Not only did the city realize those savings in every year of his employment contracts, but Mr. Rilling gave back 70 percent of his earned severance entitlements as part of his extension in 2001, something that is rarely mentioned.
In fact, Rilling’s contract was extended three times during Moccia’s tenure because the city continued to save money while benefiting from Rilling’s service. “We felt that we needed someone here with experience … so we extended Harry’s contract,” Moccia said in 2011. Mayor Moccia later appointed Harry to the Zoning Commission after his retirement.
It’s no wonder that morale is said to be low in many quarters of City Hall. After all, slamming a retired city employee after decades of distinguished service for having accepted a paycheck and benefits in exchange for doing a good job is no way to win hearts and minds at City Hall or with hard-working Norwalkers.
Member, Democratic Town Committee and Rilling for Mayor
Former zoning commissioner and NDTC chairman