The town is on pace to exceed its fiscal year 2021 budget of $300,000 in legal fees by tens of thousands of dollars, records show. Members of the Board of Selectmen discussed the high legal costs during their regular meeting Tuesday, while approving payment of a $40,271 legal bill for March from the town attorney’s firm that brought the total spent since July 1 to $297,967.79, according to a summary invoice. The town pays a $8,500 monthly retainer to Berchem Moses PC. “So we are definitely going to go over budget this year,” Selectman Nick Williams said during the meeting. “We’ve only got $2,000 remaining in the budget.”
As he has in the past, Williams noted that the single most-expensive legal matter on the bill involves a dispute over a proposed terrace on God’s Acre and ownership of the property.
Town officials announced Tuesday that a longtime member of the New Canaan Planning & Zoning Commission has submitted her resignation from the appointed body, effective immediately. Jean Grzelecki has served on P&Z for three decades, and has been elected secretary for the past several years.
She’s been “a fabulous, dedicated and very thoughtful Planning & Zoning commissioner,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, held via videoconference. “I have enjoyed working with her for the past several years and I think everyone is going to miss Jean’s contributions.”
The selectmen voted 3-0 to appoint Arthur Casavant to a three-year term filling Grzelecki’s regular seat on P&Z, through Dec. 1, 2023. Grzelecki’s positions on P&Z in recent years have included leading its Plan of Conservation & Development implementation committee as well as its Sign Committee.
Unafraid to question applicants or raise concerns about plans for expansion, reuse or redevelopment, Grzelecki through 30 years of service has bridged eras on P&Z, most recently from the chairmanship of former member and architect Laszlo Papp to current Chair John Goodwin and several recently appointed members.
Eric F. “Jic” Snyder, 61, of Seymour CT, passed away March 17, 2021, at CT Hospice in Branford after a courageous battle with cancer.
Eric was born in Berwyn, IL and grew up in New Canaan, CT. He attended West school and New Canaan High. He was a professional glazier and worked at glass shops in CT and NY. Well-respected for his work, Eric was the recipient of many accolades, including consecutive Glass Installer and Employee of the Year awards. Eric was an avid bowler, WW II history buff, and a meticulous builder of model airplanes of that era.
Police on Saturday afternoon arrested a 67-year-old Richmond Hill Road man by warrant and charged him with second-degree harassment. The same man had been arrested March 21 by New Canaan Police and charged with disorderly conduct. At about 6 p.m. on March 25, police received a complaint from a victim with an active protective order, officials said. The victim provided evidence that the man was actively violating that order, according to a police report. Following an investigation, police brought the new misdemeanor charge.
The town couldn’t meet an April 12 deadline to settle a firefighter’s lawsuit claiming that municipal officials for years failed to address abuse by a superior in the department, court documents show. In requesting a third extension on behalf of both parties that day, an attorney for the firefighter noted that “[t]he plaintiff has signed off and delivered all documents necessary to resolve the matter, but the Town’s attorney advised plaintiff’s counsel this afternoon that it cannot sign off, complete its process and deliver its final documents until April 21, 2021.”
“The parties do not anticipate that there will be any further extensions requested,” Shelton-based attorney Michael Lynch of Lynch Law Group LLC said in a joint motion filed in U.S. District Court. Though Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam agreed to extend the deadline for restoring the lawsuit to the docket to April 22, she wrote in her order, “The Court notes that the motion does not comply with Local Rule 7, which requires that any motion for extension of time be filed at least three business days in advance of the deadline.”
“The Court cautions counsel against assuming that the Court will generally be either able or willing to act on motions on such short notice in the future,” she said in the order. Filed in April against the town, the suit seeks damages on behalf of John Aniello, a 42-year-old white male hired as a full-time firefighter in 2006, according to a nine-count complaint. It claims that a captain in the New Canaan Fire Department over the course of nearly one dozen years made overtly racist and homomisic comments to the firefighter, while singling him out through criticisms, quashing his bids for promotion and hampering his ability to earn wages through overtime.