Search This Blog

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Joint Workshop scheduled regarding the Incentive Housing Zone

image

Thursday, December 20, 2012

REMINDER – WALLINGFORD ORDINANCE COMMITTEE (AGENDA)

TOWN OF WALLINGFORD, CONNECTICUT

SPECIAL TOWN COUNCIL MEETING

ORDINANCE COMMITTEE

Thursday, December 20, 2012

ROOM 315, TOWN HALL

6:30 p.m.

1. Call to Order.

2. Pledge of Allegiance.

3. Discussion and possible action on revision(s) to Chapter 156 regarding "Blighted Properties," as submitted by the Law Department.

4. Discussion and possible action with regard to Chapter 43 Purchasing Local Business Preference of the Code of the Town of Wallingford, as submitted by Councilor Parisi.

5. Discussion and possible action on repealing Chapter 75 (Bicycles), as submitted by Councilor Fishbein.

6. Discussion and possible action with respect to purchase, reporting, transfer, sale, methods of sale and disposal of supplies, as submitted by Councilor Zandri.

7. Adjournment.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

AGENDA – WALLINGFORD ORDINANCE COMMITTEE

TOWN OF WALLINGFORD, CONNECTICUT

SPECIAL TOWN COUNCIL MEETING

ORDINANCE COMMITTEE

Thursday, December 20, 2012

ROOM 315, TOWN HALL

6:30 p.m.

1. Call to Order.

2. Pledge of Allegiance.

3. Discussion and possible action on revision(s) to Chapter 156 regarding "Blighted Properties," as submitted by the Law Department.

4. Discussion and possible action with regard to Chapter 43 Purchasing Local Business Preference of the Code of the Town of Wallingford, as submitted by Councilor Parisi.

5. Discussion and possible action on repealing Chapter 75 (Bicycles), as submitted by Councilor Fishbein.

6. Discussion and possible action with respect to purchase, reporting, transfer, sale, methods of sale and disposal of supplies, as submitted by Councilor Zandri.

7. Adjournment.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gouveia may run for Town Council

Wallingford Democrat last served in ’90s

As published in the Record Journal, Monday December 10, 2012

By Laurie Rich Salerno
Record-Journal staff
lsalerno@record-journal.com
(203) 317-2235
Twitter:@LaurieSalernoRJ

WALLINGFORD — Caught up in a wave of enthusiasm over Town Councilor Jason Zandri’s mayoral bid, fellow Democrat Peter Gouveia last week told the Record-Journal that he is considering running again for the Town Council in 2013.

The 64-year-old retired teacher was last on the council in 1998, when he was appointed to finish the term of Democrat David Doherty, who died in office. He was appointed after he was elected to three non-consecutive terms as town councilor between 1986 through 1995 He’s also the man who nearly beat current incumbent William W. Dickinson, Jr. for mayor —twice — losing by 33 votes in 1987 and 31 votes in 1991.

“I’ve always had it in back of my mind but never really took it seriously about running again,” Gouveia said. He’s been rethinking a run since Zandri announced his interest in being Democrats’ candidate for mayor in 2013. As for why he bowed out of public office in the 1990s, he said he felt he wasn’t having an impact.

“After a while you get frustrated. ... Like Jason, I’m a doer. I like to see things done.”

Gouveia repeatedly emphasized in a phone interview late last week that the decision to run was by no means final because family health issues may prevent him from running. He said he probably won’t make his decision final until the Democratic Town Committee’s nominating convention in early summer 2013.

Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Avallone said Gouveia would be a boon for the party.

“Have anybody like that on your ticket bolsters your entire ticket ... and helps attract other candidates,” Avallone said.

Gouveia was known as a vocal councilor. He often focused on topics of energy, the town’s trash plant and environmental issues, working on hazardous waste collection days in the mid 1980s and publicly faulting the state Department of Environmental Protection at the time for not finding the source of contamination of private wells near Grieb Road and East Main Street. Though he entered the council after the decision to construct the town’s waste-to energy plant, he often expressed opposition.

Gouveia also addressed social issues, calling for state funded AIDS literature to be mailed out to residents in 1987, and opposing town pension investments in companies with South African connections in the midst of apartheid.

“Our town money should not in any way help prop up a regime that promotes racial discrimination,” Gouveia said in a 1986 article in the Record-Journal.

His positions were diligently researched, former councilors of both parties say.

“I don’t think he and I would necessarily see eye-to-eye,” said former Councilor Stephen Knight, a Republican, whose terms overlapped with Gouveia’s in the 1990’s, but “I always found him to be well-prepared for the meetings, that his opinions were based on solid research and thorough study.”

Former Councilor Geno Zandri, a Democrat and Jason’s father, agreed.

“I think he has a pulse for the community,” Geno Zandri said.

Gouveia said he’d be able to devote much more time to research these days. “This time it would be even better — because I have a lot of time on my hands,” he said.

Gouveia retired from teaching in 2008 after 34 years in the Trumbull schools.

Since then he has remained involved on the Democratic Town Committee as its vice president, and is also vice president of the Center Street Cemetery under former Republican Councilor Jerry Farrell Jr. Farrell said Gouveia’s involvement at the cemetery and Holy Trinity Church could help him in a run.

“When you run for office certainly past exposure in these settings (is helpful) you want to know the person more than the party label, all of that is helpful,” Farrell said.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Zandri’s lamppost probe cut short

As published in the Record Journal Friday December 7, 2012

By Laurie Rich Salerno
Record-Journal staff
lsalerno@record-journal.com
(203) 317-2235
Twitter:@LaurieSalernoRJ

WALLINGFORD — Town Councilor Jason Zandri, a Democratic mayoral candidate, said he would drop his inquest into the Electric Department’s recent scrapping of 39 ornamental lampposts after this week’s memorandum from Town Attorney Gerald Farrell Sr. Farrell wrote that the disposal did not violate town ordinances.

“There’s no point in continuing this effort. There’s nothing more to be gained. There’s no way to go back and undo it,”Zandri said, adding that he did not believe Farrell’s report addressed the issue he brought up, but that he didn’t want to pursue a “witch hunt.”

Zandri said though he was abandoning the issue for the moment, he would keep a close eye on how departments dispose of assets.

Farrell’s memorandum was dated Dec. 3 and sent to Zandri, the Town Council and Mayor William W. Dickinson this week in response to Zandri’s request at a Nov. 27 council meeting for a review of how the town’s Electric Division disposed of 39 20-plus-year old ornamental lampposts.

The division sent the old lampposts to a scrap metal dealer with which it has a contract after replacing them with newer poles.

Zandri has said he believes that proper disposal procedure was not followed, and that the poles could have been sold intact for a significantly higher price than the less than $2,000 received by scrapping them. The town has disputed both claims.

In the memorandum, Farrell says the Electric Division did not notify the Purchasing Department before getting rid of the lampposts, but reported afterward that that they had been scrapped. He said that was in line with rules in the Town Charter and in the Purchasing Department.

Farrell cited the Town Charter, which says the purchasing agent has the duty to transfer or sell town assets that are “surplus, obsolete or unused,” with the approval of the mayor. But Farrell indicated that the light poles are none of these, instead saying they are “nonfunctioning equipment,” which “would not fall within these categories.“ He goes on to call the items scrap and lists the town’s purchasing ordinance references for “obsolete, worn out or scrapped” items, which allows the department to simply report items they’ve scrapped, but not field requests for disposal through the Purchasing Department.

But Zandri takes issue with the lights being depicted as “non-functioning” as they were working on the streets before being replaced this fall. The Electric Division characterized the poles as having deteriorating electrical connections, being unsafe to work on, and having bases that had been damaged, but did say they were operational prior to being removed.

“The ruling basically defined what could be done with scrap. It didn’t really answer my question of what should be done with ornamental streetlights,” Zandri said.

When asked about the nonfunctioning designation, Farrell said that the department believed they were scrap.

“In the opinion of the Director of Utilities they were scrap — part of what department heads have is the discretion,” to determine the state of their own materials, Farrell said. “Too often people put things on the surplus list that are total scrap and he wishes they would use more discretion in putting it as scrap — all these broken chairs, and no one really wants them.”

A presentation Zandri made at the Nov. 27 meeting listed the broken furniture from various departments that had made its way onto the town’s surplus list, saying he was surprised that if broken chairs were listed as viable assets to be sold by the town, that working lampposts were not.

Democratic Councilor Nick Econompoulos also took issue Thursday with the designation of the lights as non-functioning.

“The lawyer who is an officer of the court is telling us that the lights are not functional when we’ve already been told by (Public Utilities Director George) Adair that they were functioning,” Econompoulos said. He said that little stock should be put into the opinion on an issue where the town could be in the wrong, by an attorney employed by the town.

Republican Councilor Vincent Cervoni disagreed.

“I think it was pretty soundly written. I think it takes into account all the facts and the reality,” Cervoni said. “I think there’s a bit of an acknowledgement that the entire process wasn’t’ followed perfectly. I think in the end the process was ratified.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hand count audits vote scans in Wallingford

As published in the Record Journal Monday December 3, 2012

By Kimberly Primicerio
Record-Journal staff
kprimicerio@record-journal.com 
(203) 317-2279
Twitter:@KPrimicerioRJ

WALLINGFORD

Ten residents spent Sunday afternoon counting election ballots as part of an annual audit to check whether optical scan machines recorded the vote correctly.

Each year, the secretary of the state’s office randomly chooses 10 percent of the 747 polling precincts in the state that use optical scan voting machines for an audit. District 8 in Wallingford, the Wallingford Senior Center, was one of those selected.

“This isn’t a recount,” said Chet Miller, Republican registrar of voters. “We’re not trying to determine voter intention. We’re trying to determine whether the machine counted the ballot or not.”

Miller said the optical scan voting machines used throughout Connecticut on Nov. 6 have sensor lights. If someone didn’t fill in the circle on the ballot enough, the machine might not have counted the vote. The audit makes sure the machines are accurate and record information properly, Miller said.

On Sunday, eight paid helpers, Miller and Democratic Registrar of Voters Samuel Carmody gathered in a meeting room on the third floor in Town Hall. The volunteers, four Democrats and four Republicans who were paid $10 per hour, paired up. Miller handed each group hundreds of ballots cast at the Wallingford Senior Center on Nov. 6.

“We had a remarkably smooth presidential election on November 6th, especially given our state of recovery from Hurricane Sandy,” Denise Merrill, secretary of the state and Connecticut’s chief elections official, said in a written statement. “Now, it is our duty to audit the machine totals from the election to ensure the accuracy of our optical scanners.”

Pairs were first tasked with counting the ballots. As they did this, the room was quiet. Partners concentrated on counting and then recounted their partner’s stack of ballots.

Carmody said for the past several years a Wallingford voting district has been audited. He said no remarkable difference between hand counting and the optical scan machines has been discovered.

After each group counted ballots, they went through each ballot to see if any of its markings looked questionable. If voters checked a bubble on the ballot for their candidate instead of coloring in the bubble, it is likely the ballot was never counted. Counters looked through hundreds of ballots and picked out the questionable ones.

“Auditing election results isn’t just a good idea, it’s absolutely essential in order to guarantee the integrity of our elections,” Merrill said.

No one in the group was bothered by spending their afternoon counting ballots.

“I’ve been working at the polls since my boys were in elementary school,” said Betty Torre. Her sons are now in their 40s.

She even recruited her neighbors Genevieve and Thomas Gersz to help.

Torre and her counting partner Noma Beaumont, were sorting through the ballots and double-checking each other. Nearby, Noma Beaumont’s daughter, Cate Beaumont, was paired with Genevieve Gersz.

“I’ve been around elections since I was born,” Cate Beaumont said. Her mother brought her to a polling place when she was one month old, she explained.

After questionable ballots were located and set aside, partners then sorted ballots by the presidential choice. Those numbers were compared with official machine-recorded numbers. The same was done for congressional candidates and registrars of voters candidates.

Once all the counting was complete, some conclusions were reached.

“There were a few ballots where the ovals were not filled out completely, and therefore, a couple of votes were not cast as the voter had intended,” Carmody said. “The voting machines are smart, but they are not smart enough to decide voter intent if the ballot was improperly filled out.”

While the voting machines did their job, voters need to be reminded to fill in the ovals on their ballots completed in order for their votes to be accurately counted, Carmody said.

Carmody said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would have picked up one additional vote. Congressional candidate Wayne Wins-ley, a Republican, would have picked up one additional vote in the 3rd District race. Miller would have gained one vote for registrar of voters race and Carmody would have tallied four more votes.

“There is no impact on the outcome of any of the races,” Carmody said.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Zandri vs. Dickinson: ‘Unstoppable’ taking on the ‘immovable’?

As published in the Record Journal Monday December 3, 2012

By Laurie Rich Salerno
Record-Journal staff
lsalerno@record-journal.com
(203) 317-2235
Twitter:@LaurieSalernoRJ

WALLINGFORD — Many have tried, and a few have even come close. But since 1984, Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. has been the unbeatable man — or in Democrat Jason Zandri’s terms, “an immovable object” in the mayor’s office.

Zandri is the latest in a long line of Democrats—including his own father, Geno Zandri — in three decades to announce he would take on Dickinson, a Republican. As the 43-year-old town councilor declared his intentions at a Democratic Town Committee meeting Wednesday, he posited himself as the “unstoppable force,” referring to the classic physics paradox, to take on the 64 year-old mayor in 2013.

Local Democratic officials believe he’s the first candidate in a while to have the goods to do so, but Republicans think Zandri is banging an old drum with his focus on bringing the Internet to Town Hall. Democrats counter that his ideas go well beyond just technology, and his energy is unflagging.

“I am so excited about Jason’s campaign and candidacy for mayor that for the first time since I left the council in the 1990s the thought has occurred to me to run for that position again,” Peter Gouveia, the Democratic Town Committee vice chairman, said Friday. Gouveia is a former town councilman and was narrowly defeated in two runs for mayor against Dickinson, in 1987 and 1991.

Gouveia said he was impressed by Zandri’s dedication and drive, as did Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Avallone, using the example of Zandri’s push to raise tens of thousands of dollars each year to put on the town fireworks after Dickinson cut them from the town’s Fourth of July celebration.

“I think a perfect example is the fireworks. Nobody thought that anybody could raise $30,000 — and he did it,” Avallone said.

Avallone said that same drive is what has been pushing Zandri to question town department practices in replacing ornamental streetlights in town. Zandri has said he doesn’t believe town protocol was followed when the Electric Division sent 39 streetlights to a scrap metal contractor. The town could have refurbished and kept the lights or recouped much more from selling them, but officials didn’t check to see what all their options were, he said.

Zandri did that check and presented a PowerPoint and video presentation at Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting that juxtaposed statements utilities officials had made at a prior meeting about there not being replacement parts for the lights with those of a staff member from Penn Globe, a company in North Branford that manufactures and refurbishes lights, who said there indeed were parts available.

“It wasn’t to embarrass anybody. The reason was to show that the town could be run more efficiently,” Avallone said. “He’s not comfortable with the status quo.”

Republican Town Chairman Bob Prentice echoed other town Republicans in characterizing Zandri’s interest as micro-managing the town departments.

“I’m not sure where Jason’s coming from with this electric pole thing, whether he’s trying to be an expert with everything that happens in town. That’s why we hire people to do the job. It’d be like the governor coming to run the projects that I do,” said Prentice, who is a project manager with the state.

Though it was not his sole focus, Zandri did address technology in his announcement Wednesday, saying he’d bring the Internet, email and affiliated services to all departments in Town Hall for less than $20,000 a year and institute direct deposit for employee paychecks.

Though prior Democratic candidates, like Vincent Testa, who lost to Dickinson for the second time in 2011, have talked about bringing Internet access to Town Hall— the difference this time is that Zandri, a systems analyst at Bloomberg in New York City, is an information technology professional, Avallone said.

“What Jason’s going to concentrate on is giving specific examples of what technology’s going to do,” Avallone said Friday.

Prentice said the focus by Democrats on technology in Town Hall is old news.

“For at least 10 or 15 years everybody’s talked about new technology — and guess what, we’ve gotten by without added technology,” Prentice said.

Town Councilor John Le-Tourneau, a Republican, agreed that Dickinson is often painted as less computer friendly than he really is, and he said the mayor’s lean approach to technology is often a cost-saving measure.

“It’s not like there’s no technology. There is. Can there be more? Yes, I agree with that, but not every employee needs a screen on their desk,” said LeTourneau. “The mayor — it’s not like he just shuts it down completely, it’s where he thinks it should be.”

As for Zandri’s prospects, the fellow councilor said he thought Dickinson — though he hasn’t yet announced his own bid for the seat — would likely stay in Town Hall after the 2013 election.

“I’m just pretty confident that the mayor will be mayor again. Jason’s a nice guy, he’s a good councilor, but I think he’s more of a fit for the council,” LeTourneau said.

Avallone believes Zandri has a real shot.

“Everybody knows it’s not an easy task, quite frankly,” Avallone said. “This is not a battle against the mayor to defeat Mayor Dickinson. This is not like a personal thing. Jason feels that he’s got better ideas — and I concur — that will make this town better.”

Saturday, December 1, 2012

REMINDER TODAY - Season of Celebrations - SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

As originally provided on the Town of Wallingford Website

Saturday, December 1
1:00 PM – 6:00 PM


Wallingford Town Hall
45 South Main Street
Wallingford, CT 06492
Driving Directions

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Location: Town Hall

Visits with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus

1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Toy Collection
by Yalesville Volunteer Fire Department
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Petting Zoo
with Adorable Animals
1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Hot Cocoa and Cookies

1:30 p.m. (While They Last)

Photo Booth Pictures
by Show Stopper Entertainment
Sponsored by Wallingford Center, Inc.
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Horse and Carriage Rides

Rides originate in front of Town Hall.
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Yankee Chorus Sings Holiday Carols

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Chestnuts Roasted on an Open Fire

Little Portion Acres
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Frosty Parade

Led by DJ Lou Ferraro, Frosty and Rudolph, the parade will proceed from Town Hall down Center Street to Johanna Fishbein Park. 5:15 p.m.



SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Location: Johanna Fishbein Park

Holiday Carols at the Gazebo
by the Wallingford Chorus

Reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”
by Mayor William Dickinson, Jr. 5:30 p.m.

Lighting of the Tree

Led by Mr. Joseph Archer and Children, generous donors of the tree. 5:50 p.m.

Free to Children of All Ages


Sponsored by Wallingford Public Celebrations Committee and Wallingford Center, Inc.

Thanks to the Department of Police Services, Department of Public Works, Edson Sea Cadets, Lyman Hall High School Key Club, Choate Rosemary Hall School, White Way Laundry, Mark Gingras, McDonald’s Restaurant and our elves and soldiers.