The organizers of an upcoming event recognizing those who recently served on municipal boards in New Canaan say a former Parks & Recreation Commission member who resigned this summer following a second domestic arrest will not attend.
Jack Hawkins’s name is being removed from a notice of the Town of New Canaan Volunteer Appreciation Reception, scheduled for Sept. 15, according to Kathleen Corbet.
An original list of 29 volunteers from various boards and commissions on the notice included Hawkins.
Corbet said that the list is “being changed for various reasons” and will be re-sent.
Asked for the reason it changed with respect to Hawkins specifically, Corbet said, “I don’t care to share it but just a number of names on that list are being changed for various reasons and I prefer to leave it at that, Michael.”
It’s unclear what the thought process was in including Hawkins on the invite initially.
Corbet said only that more than 150 people who serve on town boards and commissions, including those whose terms finished in the last 18 months, were invited.
Hawkins first was appointed to Parks & Rec for a three-year term in December 2018. A second three-year term means he would have served through December 2024 if not for the resignation. Police on May 12 removed a shotgun and ammunition from Hawkins’s house following a family violence incident that led to his arrest, records show. He had been arrested the prior May in a domestic incident, and although the disorderly conduct charge was dropped, his wife filed for divorce less than two months later and detailed other violent incidents in papers filed in state Superior Court.
Asked for her perspective on the town’s including Hawkins in the initial ceremony invite, one prominent local advocate for domestic violence awareness, Dede Bartlett said in an email, “I do not know anything about the volunteer recognition ceremony. What I do know is that for 18 years the New Canaan Abuse Prevention Partnership has raised awareness about domestic violence in our town and surrounding towns and helped people in crisis. We have tried to create a community where mutual respect is paramount. Sending a strong public statement that abuse is not tolerated is important for all civic, religious and social leaders.”
According to Corbet, five names originally listed among the 29 honorees are being removed, including Hawkins. In other cases, reasons include that the individual’s time on a municipal board or commission ended earlier than 18 months ago, she said.
In an email sent in response to an initial inquiry about the ceremony, Corbet said, “The formal Volunteer Recognition event was first launched in May 2021 and was organized as a collaborative effort by several individuals – including myself. I continue to offer my time to help give thanks and recognition to those who serve our Town. Just a note, this is not a tax-payer funded event as the costs are covered by the contribution by the attendees.”