Mallozzi: Search for Town’s New CFO Suspended Until After Election

Officials say they’ve suspended temporarily the search for New Canaan’s new finance director, so that the new first selectman can weigh in on the important decision.

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, who is not seeking a fourth term, said he feels “it would be much, much better for the next first selectman, whether that is Kit [Devereaux] or Kevin [Moynihan], to have direct input into the process and evaluation, and what they want to see in a CFO.”

A committee’s search for a permanent CFO will pick up again after the election in November, Mallozzi said.

Human Resources Director Cheryl Pickering-Jones said the search committee—which includes members of the Board of Finance, Town Council and Audit Committee—received “plenty of resumes” in response to an initial call in May and that a candidates to be brought back in for a second interview “are on hold right now.”

“If the panel and Kit and Kevin were to meet, then maybe we would move it sooner, but that is where things are at this point,” she said.

The Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting on Tuesday is scheduled to vote on extending the contract of current interim Finance Director Sandra Dennies by four months, through December.

Asked about what he sees as necessary qualities for New Canaan’s next finance director, Moynihan said, “I would like to see a CPA, which is not a job requirement but I would like to see a CPA.”

Moynihan, a Republican, declined to speak further on the matter, saying there’s a process underway and that the extension of Dennies’ contract would not preclude the town making a decision sooner than November or December on a permanent CFO.

“I appreciate the fact that the selection-confirmation of the new CFO will not be made by Rob, but I think the discussion of what is going on and what the search involves is not public at this point.”

Devereaux, a Democrat, said an ideal candidate “would have experience as a CFO of a wealthy medium-sized town.”

“That person would be objective, have the background and training to produce clean financial reporting for the auditors, to establish appropriate, streamlined financial procedures and have the ability to establish the proper priorities. Also, importantly, the ideal candidate would be able to work well with all segments of the town. Even in the most numbers-oriented position, being a team-player and having the ability to work well with other people is imperative.”

New Canaan has been without a permanent finance director since, Dawn Norton, who held the position for about five years, retired in the spring. Dennies—formerly CFO in Wilton and director of administration in Stamford—took on the role in May.

One thought on “Mallozzi: Search for Town’s New CFO Suspended Until After Election

  1. It is amazing a crucial job such as a CFO is put on hold for months. Is it really that difficult to add two upcoming candidates to the interview process? The candidates’ input may actually produce a better outcome. No profitable private sector company puts shareholders at risk for months and operates this way. If this is some sort of odd brick in the foundation to run a political campaign on years from now, it has been noted. Let’s get the CFO interview process moving now.
    If the above delay is true, of course it follows that the replacement for the Town Planner must also be put on hold, to say nothing about the “full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes” approach to placing a cell tower, potentially higher than the water tower in Waveny, according to Mr. Moynihan’s report in the press. Mr. Moynihan described precious Waveny very well in another publication. Yet, to be sure, the PZ process is very far from complete as it relates to criteria for communications equipment in New Canaan.
    In addition to its position on the CFO selection process, one can only imagine what the current administration has cooked up for the current PZ process. Of course, if everyone lived up to policies of “transparent government”, we all would know by now that that PZ is far from finished. Yet, the current administration has advocated certain unneeded third party vendors to proceed with plans that PZ has had zero opportunity to opine on. This is a really bad idea, unbecoming of one of the wealthiest towns in America. New Canaan stands head to head with other successful towns who improved communications without traditional towers.
    On top of all this, perhaps no one has consulted the Town’s emergency director Mike Handler (currently running for Governor) who would tell you if he thought cell towers were crucial (and not just political), he would have pounded the table years ago when he started the job.
    For the avoidance of doubt, the message here is to: (i) get the CFO process moving with the input of current candidates; (ii) do not push cell towers that are higher than a water tower on a town jewel called Waveny; (iii) let the PZ do its job without undo, “mad dash”, political influence; and (iv) do not ignore talented guys like Mike Handler and the PZ commission.
    The sky is not falling, but the value of New Canaan will if the above is allowed to continue. For those that disagree with any of the above, consider volunteering to interview CFO candidates ASAP or your backyard for a cell tower, but only after getting your four closest neighbors to sign a letter that supports your position with respect to the latter point.
    Finally, almost an afterthought, but not forgotten, credit is due to the current administration for pointing out the logistical and financial issues surrounding double decker train station parking. Hard numbers and real plans apply here too. Many agree an easier commute improves real estate values near and dear to all our hearts but only if the associated costs make true economic sense.

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