Rich Townsend

Recent Articles

‘A Failure of Town Leadership’: Audit Committee Critical of How NCHS Fields Projects Unfolded

Though the donors and volunteers who gave time, money and energy to the partially completed fields projects at New Canaan High School deserve sincere thanks, the town also saw failures on multiple levels that led to undisclosed cost overruns, the chairman of the Audit Committee said Wednesday night. There were “adequate controls in place which should have helped avoid the issues and surprises that we had,” Bill Parrett told members of the Town Council during their regular meeting. “This is really important to understand, because if there were not adequate controls, we would have had material weaknesses from an accounting standpoint and having material weaknesses from an accounting standpoint would be very difficult to rectify in a short period. It looks to us that the issues are more about bad management—possibly waste—versus poor controls. There was a failure of town leadership, department leadership, boards, committees and councils, in our judgment.”

He spoke during an update for the Council on the Audit Committee’s review of how the projects at NCHS—rebuilding of a turf field, creation of two more and total overhaul of the track—came to cost New Canaan an estimated $800,000 more than originally thought. Continue Reading →

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Kevin Moynihan Wins New Canaan First Selectman Race by 33 Votes [UPDATED]

Kevin Moynihan, a longtime resident and community volunteer who has served for four years on the Town Council, won election to New Canaan’s top municipal office on Tuesday by 33 votes. The Republican earned 2,684 votes in a widely anticipated first selectman race against Democrat Kit Devereaux, who received 2,651 votes, according to figures supplied by the New Canaan Registrars of Voters. The .6 percent margin of victory —a math-defying outcome, given the party makeup of New Canaan’s electorate—narrowly beats the state-mandated recount figure of .5 percent. Moynihan said he felt “wonderful” though “we expected to do better, quite honestly.” “I am surprised it was so close,” he told NewCanaanite.com. Continue Reading →

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NewCanaanite.com Endorsements for Town Council

Seven candidates—four Republicans and three Democrats—are vying for six Town Council seats that are up for election on Tuesday. For reasons listed below, I am endorsing three Republicans—John Engel, Rich Townsend and Tom Butterworth—and three Democrats—Sven Englund, Colm Dobbyn and Liz Donovan. Two candidates, incumbents Engel and Englund, most clearly have earned re-election to the legislative body. Engel is an insightful, articulate councilman who brings a singular perspective as a lifelong resident, community volunteer, open space advocate, parent and Realtor. His also is a common-sense voice in a body that can be derailed by overreach and politicking. Continue Reading →

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Town Council Candidates Discuss Transparency in Local Government at Debate

New Canaan’s strong zoning is one of its most important assets, according to one incumbent member of the town’s legislative body. The zoning regulations are what underpin property values here, yet in recent years—considering the handling of applications for Merritt Village, Grace Farms, the Roger Sherman Inn, mixed-use on Forest Street and “Zone D” on Grove Street, New Canaan has been “managing by exception,” according to Town Councilman John Engel. “The mere fact that we have 100 caveats to the Grace Farms approval, another 100 for the Merritt Village approval, shows that we have got to do a better job of getting in front of this and the evidence is, it is costing us money,” Engel, a Republican seeking re-election to the Town Council, said during a debate last week. “When I talk to the developer [of Heritage Square] on Forest Street and I ask, ‘Would you do it again?’ and he said, ‘No, it’s far too risky to develop in this town not knowing after a two-year process whether your project will get approved or not.’ So developers are staying away and I don’t know if most people realize it, but building permits are down by 50 percent this year versus last year. It is costing us money. Continue Reading →

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Letter: Republican Town Council Candidates Are ‘Excellent’

Editor, New Canaanite:

We are fortunate to have four excellent Republican candidates for Town Council. Penny Young has been a major contributor to the town for many years. She brings institutional memory with a deep understanding of our town government. Penny has always been a strong proponent of fiscal responsibility in government. Tom Butterworth’s background as an attorney enables him to think carefully through issues. Continue Reading →

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