Moynihan: Emergency Management Director Out After ‘Disagreement’ Over COVID Testing [UPDATED]

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Update 9:45 p.m. Wednesday 

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan late Wednesday issued a statement regarding his request that Mike Handler resign as director of emergency management. According to the statement (printed in full below), Handler’s “role as EMD was to coordinate and communicate as the ‘voice’ of the EOC [Emergency Operations Center], but not as the ultimate decision maker.”

“Throughout any crisis, and especially during this pandemic emergency, decisions must be made after thoughtful and respectful discussion and debate,” Moynihan said in the statement. “While all of this coordination may have appeared seamless to the greater community, regrettably, recent circumstances have required me to make this change in staffing.”

Update 12:45 p.m. Wednesday 

Mike Handler issued the following statement via email: “There are so many reasons why I love to call New Canaan home, and why I have spent over 20 years volunteering for our town — the last 9 years as Emergency Management Director. I have always promised that I would only do what is in the best interest of the people of New Canaan. This promise is one that I am unable to keep under Mr. Moynihan. I am extremely proud of my service and I believe the town will be in wonderful hands under the leadership of my friend, Chief Jack Hennessey and our talented and dedicated team. I will certainly miss the honor of serving you all in this capacity and wish you all good health. With gratitude and respect, Mike Handler”

Original Article

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said Wednesday that he asked for and received the resignation of of Emergency Management Director Mike Handler.

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. Contributed

According to an email sent in the morning to 10 fire, police, EMS, health, school and other town officials, Moynihan said that “due to a disagreement over his handling of the Covid testing and his treatment of staff and other personnel I asked for and received Mike Handler’s resignation this morning as Emergency Management Director.”

“Until further notice, [Fire Chief] Jack [Hennessey] will be in charge of the EOC [Emergency Operations Center],” Moynihan said in the email, obtained by NewCanaanite.com.

Mike Handler. Credit: Michael Dinan

It wasn’t immediately clear what the disagreement involved or what the first selectman meant about treatment of staff. Moynihan declined to comment when reached by NewCanaanite.com.

Handler could not immediately be reached for comment.

In his volunteer role as emergency management director and head of the EOC, Handler has been in regular contact through town-wide calls and emails with residents about the latest on COVID-19 virus-related cases, restrictions, closures and testing. As COVID-related restrictions took hold, a New Canaan woman created ‘I [Heart] Mike Handler’ mugs to benefit local COVID relief funds.

In the most recent town-wide communication, on Monday night, Handler noted that New Canaan has 214 positive cases and that 31 people had succumbed to coronavirus disease. He thanked those who have been tested for their patience in getting results and said that demand for testing was very high.

“This is good news in that the infection rate throughout our community appears quite low and this is reinforced by data we receive daily from our local hospitals,” he said. “It would be a huge mistake, however, to assume that this testing data in any way means that it is completely safe to move about New Canaan without basic protections like face coverings, hand-washing and social distancing.”

Handler added in Monday’s call that “very few people have developed antibodies.”

“While not surprising given our swift actions in March, this means that we have very little potential immunity within our community which makes us extremely susceptible to future hotspots or outbreaks. It also means we have very few potential therapeutic plasma donors. If you did test positive for IgG antibodies, please consider donating plasma at either Stamford or Norwalk Hospitals. I will post town-wide testing results just as soon as I am able, much like the case data that is posted and updated on the town website regularly.”

A popular local figure who ran for governor three years ago, Handler also is an EMT with New Canaan Emergency Medical Services.

***

Full text of First Selectman Kevin Moynihan’s statement:

“Earlier today, I asked for and received the resignation of Mike Handler as Director of the Office of Emergency Management.  Mike was appointed and served as EOM Director as a volunteer for the past nine years and has served the Town well through many prior storms and other natural disaster emergencies.

“The clinical complexity and duration of the novel coronavirus emergency has been unprecedented and while Mike’s role was to head the Town’s Emergency Management Center (EOC), both Mike and I continuously relied upon our medical and public health experts to help establish policy and to provide the details of communications to the public.  Our town is blessed to have a great team of highly experienced first responders, two distinguished medical directors in Dr. David Reed for the Town and Dr. Harrison Pierce for the Schools, and our Health Director Jenn Eielson. In this health emergency, our medical advisers and health director are our most critical assets, and Mike’s role as EMD was to coordinate and communicate as the “voice” of the EOC, but not as the ultimate decision maker.  All decisions under our Emergency Operations Plan are made, after consultation with our medical and public health advisors, other EOC members and Town leaders, by myself as CEO.

“The COVID testing plan we commenced two weeks ago caused great strain on our Health Department and other Town staff. Our goal remains to provide community testing to meet the needs of our residents and to provide the critical data on the infection rate of our residents in order to move forward re-opening our local economy in a safe manner.

“Throughout any crisis, and especially during this pandemic emergency, decisions must be made after thoughtful and respectful discussion and debate. While all of this coordination may have appeared seamless to the greater community, regrettably, recent circumstances have required me to make this change in staffing.

“While I regret the circumstances that led to Mike’s departure, the team of medical advisers and other EOC professionals who have provided extraordinary service and advice have not changed with Mike’s departure and will continue to help us manage our way through the current pandemic as a leader in the State of Connecticut.

“We certainly appreciate Mike’s past service and wish him well.”

60 thoughts on “Moynihan: Emergency Management Director Out After ‘Disagreement’ Over COVID Testing [UPDATED]

  1. OMG – no – please no – how do we fire our best volunteer in the town ? I have been so grateful to Mr Handler and Mr. Moynihan and Ms Murphy and all the town officials for coming together to keep our town safe. This is a loss.

  2. Mike Handler has done all this work for the town of New Canaan as a volunteer? Thank you, Mike. My family put your daily calls on speaker, and listened to them together. We sincerely appreciate your time, effort & devotion to all of us, as you shared information, urged us to protect ourselves & each other, and informed us of the devastating infection & death rates in our town.

    I know nothing about challenges or frustrations in your volunteer performance, as cited, but not detailed, by Moynihan, so I cannot comment on the alleged egregiousness or lack thereof in Handler’s conduct in his position.

    However, I can & do understand the value of a dedicated volunteer, versus the partisan acts of elected officials. I honor & value the contribution of Mr. Handler’s time, work & devotion to our town.

  3. How…why?? Mike Handler has been one of the most reassuring voices since the very beginning of all this. He’s well-informed, proactive, and balanced between caution and pragmatism: EXACTLY what we need right now. The town has to be far more transparent about why this has been done, and accountable for why it should have been done at all.

  4. Wow. I hope that our First Selectman thought long and hard about making this decision, which seems incredibly unfortunate. We need to rise above our differences and work together.

  5. Thank you Kevin Moynihan, for your leadership and ability to make difficult decisions in a time of crisis. Mike Handler did a good job of keeping lines of communication open between New Canaanites, Town Hall and Health Officials and his comprehensive efforts for our town are very much appreciated. Now that CV19 is moving onto a new phase, I agree a new way of managing the situation is in order. I welcome a fresh start in our return to life as we once knew it.

  6. Unfortunately this demonstrates how out of touch our First Selectman is. Mike Handler is a tremendous asset to New Canaan. He has been a reassuring voice of reason in the toughest of times.
    But if you recall just a few short months ago our First Selectman unceremoniously terminated a few other valuable long-term volunteers. It appears if you don’t agree with his opinion, he just fires you.
    It sounds eerily familiar….

        • This doesn’t seem right. What happened? Something’s not right here. There needs to be more information from our elected official on why he’s replacing a trusted volunteer and leader, proven over many events. Mike’s value was high and the town was lucky to have him serving us. In a highly functioning team, disagreements are heard and shared solutions found. It’s hard to believe the resignation of Mike Handler was the solution given his past performance. Intangible assets like the intellectual property and operational knowledge of Mike are hugely valuable, some research says 85% the value of an operation.

    • Looks like the 1st selectman can’t handle the situation where someone is far more popular and more respected.
      So sad.

    • I agree. Firing Mike Handler is petty and short sighted. I hope it is being reconsidered. His service to our community has been immeasurable. I can only hope his voice is heard here in the future.

      • ABSOLUTELY! Not the first instance of petty, shortsighted behavior on the part of our FS either. He has deservedly lost much town wide respect over this I’ll wager. I am 100% opposed to the decision to “replace” Mr. Handler, he is NOT replaceable.

  7. This is disappointing news. Commitment, intelligence and passion is what we need in our leaders. Mike seemed to represent all and from my family’s perspective did a wonderful job, tirelessly informing the town in his own time, educating us and our leaders on the science and challenges we faced and not pretending to know it all or to have it all under control. While I am not sure the cause or the issue that lead to Mike’s transition, we should all (citizens and elected or appointed officials) be given latitude to express our views, opinions and gratitude (or discontent) with those who are not following guidelines or other public duties. We are all in the process of learning our way through this and need to remain open minded, forgiving and humble in the process of doing so.

    • I can’t agree more. Mike presented a calm presence and cut through the noise to tell us what mattered. He brought a sense of peace and reassurance in a thoughtful way. We are all truly in this together and need to find ways to work together in such troubling circumstances no matter how difficult it could be at times. I am truly saddened and disappointed.

  8. Mike Handler has served our community in an upfront, dedicated, caring and thoughtful manner for years and his handling of covid was another example of this. Very sorry to hear of this and truly hope First Selectman Moynihan handled it better in person than in the press, saying : “…due to a disagreement over his handling of covid testing and treatment of staff and other personnel…”. How about just saying thank you for your service and we have decided to part ways- no reason to get personal in public with someone who tirelessly and selflessly served our community. Not right.

  9. Mike Handler not only made me feel safe with his daily announcements in these difficult Covid-19 times but was always very helpful during power outages. He’s absolutely the best this town ever had during my time here in emergency management. Can this be reversed?!

  10. This news is extremely disheartening. Thank you Mike Handler for your volunteerism. You did such an incredible job these last several months. You are a household icon and your thoughtfulness, knowledge and care will be truly missed.

  11. What a colossal mistake. Would be far better if the situation was reversed and Mike Handler took over running the town. Mike’s measured, factual, intelligent demeanor was crucial getting us through all of this – and there’s still a long way to go. Changing horses in the middle of a stream is always a bad idea, and when that stream is a global pandemic it’s a really bad idea. Thank you Mike Handler for all you’ve done. Hopefully we as a town will deserve your leadership once again.

    • Thank you, Mike Handler, for all of your years of service. I sincerely hope that this is a reversible mistake. Such kind and thoughtful leadership of your magnitude is hard to find – particularly in a volunteer position!

  12. Almost speechless over this news. Mike has seen us through countless emergencies – how well my family remembers his soothing voice during the aftermath of hurricanes and power outages. This same wonderful voice has kept us sane and connected since the start of the pandemic. Mike if you read this you must know that you have support of the New Canaan community – can you tell from the comments that we are all taking this very personally?
    Thank you Mike for your tireless work and commitment to New Canaan.

  13. I’m from New Canaan but live in New York City. I have been getting Mike’s emails. If only we had a Mike Handler in NYC handling things so well. My dad still lives in New Canaan, and I thank Mike for doing such a wonderful job.

  14. Under Mike Handler’s guidance, we have been confident that New Canaan’s response to the pandemic has been in capable, trustworthy hands. Thank you, Mike, for all you have done during this difficult situation. I am confident that the vast majority of our New Canaan neighbors understand the value you bring to our town. I dearly hope this is not the end of your participation in town affairs.

    • Very well said Hank Green. I completely concur and especially appreciated the information and explanation in every one of Mike Handler’s updates.

  15. All I can say is, What? Every time our town has been in an emergency situation, we have been guided by the calming voice of Mike Handler. From hurricanes, to micro-bursts to Covid-19, Mike’s has been the voice of reason and reassurance since town-wide calls became a possibility. Anytime the call is made, our family gathers around the speaker to listen. I do not understand why Mike has been pushed to resign and fervently believe we should be informed. From our perspective, his performance has been unmatched.

  16. This is such a disappointment. Mike Handler has had such a positive influence with his calm and informative messages. I can’t imagine who will manage to fill his shoes with all of the challenges we’ve faced as a community. Thank you, Mike!

  17. Mike Handler is a class act. A true asset to New Canaan. This is a stunning loss for our town.

    I served as a volunteer in the EOC with him for eight days following Hurricane Sandy. He is an outstanding leader: thoughtful, considerate, helpful, organized, dedicated and a great communicator.

    It has become clear during his reign that Kevin Moynihan has a big ego, makes rash judgments, often has his facts wrong and can be very difficult to get along with. Sadly, it looks like Mike is his latest victim. Moynihan should be the one resigning. Mike Handler for First Selectman!!!

  18. About 10 years ago, I had the honor of working with Mike Handler and about 100 volunteers during Hurricane Irene. I thought up a generator-sharing program and I offered to coordinate the effort. Mike called me at home to invite me to the Office of Emergency Management Command Center where I sat with the team and helped to coordinate the distribution of generators to families in need. Throughout it all Mike Handler remained calm, confident and well-organized. I witnessed a truly remarkable human being who gave so much to the New Canaan community.

    During any local crisis my family welcomed Mike’s reassuring phone messages.

    Mike, thank you so much from all of us!!!!
    What a tremendous sense of loss!

  19. Where is Mike Handler? I don’t live in New Canaan anymore but have continued to feel comfortable in his sound judgment for my friends and colleagues still living in town. I cannot believe that he has been removed from town guidance. Handler has much respect among us. What a loss for New Canaan.

  20. Very sad to read that Mike resigned. he has been the voice of calm, reason and reassurance for years during so many storms and now during this pandemic. I hope this can be reversed for the sake of our town.

  21. Three words.
    Bring.Mike.Back.
    As a New Canaan resident for almost 6 years, I feel that his removal/resignation makes my family and I feel less secure in the challenging and uncertain times ahead as we transition into these next phases of our recovery.
    Bring.Mike.Back

  22. Thank you Mike Handler for your years of volunteer service to New Canaan. Thank you for your dedication towards securing the safety of our community and for your expertise in emergency management. During times of crisis, your evening updates with your calm and steady voice have been most welcome and re-assuring that we are on the right path to recovery.

    Please know that you are much appreciated and will be sorely missed.

  23. The FS stated in his firing notice of Mike Handler that EOM was ‘ not the ultimate decision- maker’. However, from the Town website on the EOM, it appears EOC IS charged with making decisions, not merely being an information point.

    “Emergency Operations Center-During major events, the EOC is the central point for information coordination and decision making.”

    Seems on the surface like a rash and unnecessary firing.

  24. Infighting is such a shame. It’s sad to see that diplomacy cannot solve the issue in question. Thanks Mike.

  25. Leadership is about both process and style. Given the strong comments above, I believe the community deserves to know more.

  26. We no longer live in New Canaan, but still follow the NC Office of Emergency Management on Facebook. Mike Handler has always been the voice of calm. When Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy hit, my family and I would welcome Mike’s telephone updates each night – like clockwork. His messages are always clear. To do what he does, on a volunteer basis, tells one something. What a mistake to ask for his resignation because he is supposed to be ‘a voice’ and not a ‘decision maker’. Wow.

  27. My heart sank when I read this morning the news of Mike Handler’s “resignation.” I have valued his work for years but never as much as during this current Covid-19 crisis. His telephone messages have informed and reassured me and I have looked forward to each one. Can this decision not be reversed? Does our leadership listen at all to those of us who care so much about our town?

  28. Mike Handler has been nothing short of AMAZING through this pandemic. I had no idea he was a volunteer. I am deeply disappointed by an action that on its face appears capricious and at its worst, petty. Bring back Mike Handler! FS just lost my vote…

  29. Mike Handler started out in his job as a voice of information. Full
    Of facts and statistics . He was a calming voice . But as time went on his sense of power , and self
    Regard got larger and larger. He became a doctor, a scientist, a scold. He was not either a Doctor nor a scientist.
    An a example ,was when he talked on Sundays with the minister of St. Marks church, (on video), he recently said “ it’s a privilege, not a right to go into
    Downtown New Canaan” . His rigid belief that mask wearing was the
    Answer to all ills was draconian at best, and not based on cumulative facts.
    I wrote him a week or so ago. I asked who are you? You are not a Dr. are you
    A volunteer? Are you paid? What exactly is your role. I found his role,
    As time went on, more about his power, than our health. While playing the most humble servant, he lost any believability , ruled by his own sense of
    Sheer righteousness. He will play the victim in all this. And some people will believe him. But power is an ugly thing, that can turn good people into something ugly. It was a disheartening thing to watch. I hope he finds Some happiness in his life..some measure of balance. And I for one am relieved
    That I don’t have to hear that depressing voice in my house one more night.
    I feel so free now, so free.

    • I find this comment fully off base. No one, regardless of whether one agrees with their decisions or comportment, can be accused of “playing the most humble servant” when they have dedicated decades to volunteerism in our town. There is no “playing” here. Mike Handler has walked the walk and is owed our gratitude for having done so for so many years. Full stop.

      The town’s emergency response to covid, as well as any number of other emergencies, has been top notch. While we all understand this was a group effort and took the commitment of any number of dedicated individuals, Mike’s ability to both drive a process and communicate clearly are obvious, and needed in this town. I sent the covid nightly emails to friends/family in many states, and to my company’s leadership. All found them useful tools, wished they had such clear communication from their localities, and some even passed them along to their local leadership as examples of best practice.

      I am fairly sure it will be difficult to replace this volunteer role with someone who has the depth of knowledge about NC and is willing to dedicate the man hours Mike has committed to the role. So, regardless of the degrees next to Mike’s name (no he is not a doctor), this transition will reduce the level of service that New Canaanites have come to expect from our Emergency Director and that should not be taken lightly. Are we making that change consciously, or is that inevitable reduction in service collateral damage? And why wouldn’t our First Selectman find a replacement for the role prior to asking for a resignation to ensure continuity of quality service for our town?

      Finally, I don’t want to divert from the discussion at hand, but anger and frustration over face masks makes little intuitive sense to me. The town is not asking citizens to do anything that will have a permanent negative impact in our lives. It is just inconvenient. Weigh that against the fact that mask wearing may save lives. Every mother knows that boo boos heal more quickly with a band aide. Masks are our covid band aide. So let’s just wear them.

  30. Thank you Mike for your leadership, hard work and reassuring approach. The community counts on you for guidance. You will be sorely missed.

  31. Mike Handler has been there for every member of the New Canaan community for events big and small for ten years. He’s talking us through hurricanes and other storms, massive power outages, a pandemic while working for different First Selectmen. We trust Mike. This isn’t positive news. Not at all.

  32. Is this not the time to come together?
    Is this not the time we have been saying “we’ll get through this together”?
    Is this not the time when we are fighting bigger battles than a disagreement that could be resolved?
    Is this not the time to show and be a united front in leadership and community?

    Then surely this was NOT the time to fire Mike Handler.

    Mike: You will be sorely missed. They can replace the position, but not the person.
    You handled it all so well and we all relied on your calming and informative messages.

    Godspeed
    -Deb Dayton

    • I so agree with Deborah Dayton. Mike has shown calming leadership in these very frightening days of the virus and in past weather related emergencies. He will be missed. I looked forward to his evening calls and updates and also to listening to him every Sunday morning with Father Peter Walsh at St. Marks. And why didn’t we hear from our First Selectman personally about this last night, or the new person who is taking over for Mike? Where are they?

  33. I am shocked, but not surprised. Saddened too. I will miss Mike’s calm, reassuring voice stating facts and statistics whether it be for hurricanes, power outages or Covid 19 procedures. A talented and analytical resource now lost to our government. What a shame!
    Mike, we will miss you.
    How about running for First Selectman? No matter what your party is, you have my vote.

    • This is egregious! Mike Handler has been an exceptional leader through this crisis – the best in CT. Kevin Moynihan has lost my vote. Period. What a supremely short sighted decision because some people wanted to reopen the community sooner and not wear face masks.

      Mike, thank you for your tireless service to the NC community. This is a stunning loss for our town. I would listen to your messages every night, sometimes more than once. Your reassuring voice was just what we needed amidst this pandemic.

      This decision should be reversed immediately! #firemoynihan

  34. Excerpts from First Selectman Moynihan’s statement:
    1. “Mike’s ROLE as EMD was to coordinate & communicate as THE “VOICE” of the EOC, but NOT as the ULTIMATE DECISION MAKER.”
    2. “All DECISIONS under our Emergency Operations Plan ARE MADE, after consultation with our medical and public health advisors, other EOC members and Town leaders, by MYSELF as CEO.”
    ~ ~ ~
    Reactions to news of MH’s forced resignation, here & elsewhere, have not been to devalue MH’s contribution to our town, as KM does in his statement, but to praise MH’s contribution to New Canaan, as well as to express dismay, shock, regret, anger, & to question the wisdom in Moynihan’s demand of the abrupt departure of our valued volunteer — a volunteer who has been so, since long before most of us even heard of Mr. Moynihan. Emergency Operations Logistics management is a complex & challenging job. By the nature of his role in the Emergency Management Center, MH gave the most significant portion of his time to us during periods of great stress. Any description of MH’s contribution to our town, especially since he has done so during times of great stress, cannot be dismissed or reduced to his simply being a “voice.” Reactions to Handler’s removal reflect our respect & gratitude for his valuable contribution to our town.

    Our local New Canaan government, as I understand it, is layered with paid staff & volunteers, decision-makers at every level, with complex, publicly held commission meetings, wherein decision-making is done through publicly held votes, before which the public opinion can be contributed & weighed. Though the New Canaan government has a hierarchy of roles, the decision-making process, within our government, spreads responsibility for decision making throughout, promotes transparency & invites public participation.

    Given this structure, it is surprising to read Mr. Moynihan’s interpretation of his elected position in our government, as being sole arbiter of decision making, authority & responsibility. It is also surprising to read that Mr. Moynihan interprets his role as one with the perceived power to summarily demand the resignation of a beloved volunteer, even a volunteer who gave his time to our town, since long before most residents knew of Mr. Moynihan’s existence. I understand that Moynihan’s removal of a valued volunteer is not the first such event by Mr. Moynihan, but one of a pattern of “dismissals.” Surely Mr. Moynihan understands that firing an unpaid volunteer may not prove cost-effective for the town of New Canaan?

    Lastly, it is startling to read, in First Selectman Moynihan’s statement, not only his declaration of himself as SOLE decision maker for New Canaan, but his reference to himself as our “Chief Executive Officer.” Since when does New Canaan have a “CEO”? Did I miss the vote to change our job titles? Did I also miss the vote to change our job descriptions? Did we vote to change the structure & decision-making processes of/in our government? Or, does our government grant one person unilateral power to remake our government, its job descriptions, & its processes?

    Has First Selectman Moynihan made multiple non-consensus, executive decisions, by not only firing a long term beloved volunteer (whom it seems, no one but Moynihan wants fired), but by changing both title & description of the job to which he was elected to serve?

    This particular NewCanaanite recommends the immediate reinstatement of Mr. Handler (should he be willing), with our collective gratitude & apology, as well as the initiation of a careful & thorough review of First Selectman Moynihan’s management “style.”

  35. To Pamela McFeely,

    I have spent 30 years in Communications and Mike Handler is simply excellent. As far as wearing masks, you are misinformed. Companies with medical experts on payroll are making them mandatory when employees finally return to the workplace, as they should.

  36. It seems our First Selectman has decided to import the qualities of our national leadership to New Canaan. Let’s see:
    1. Make rash decisions without input from others. Check.
    2. Determine he’s the only decision maker that matters. Check.
    3. Dismiss long-time employees and volunteers whose work is highly respected by the public with little or no notice, particularly if they don’t share his party affiliation. Check.
    4. Slander those dismissed after they go. Check.
    5. When confronted by negative public opinion of his decisions, blame the media. Check.

    Regardless of what you think of the dysfunction in Washington, I think most of us would agree we don’t need that here in New Canaan. Blog posts and editorials are nice but most important, though, is our right to seek change. Remember to vote not just this November but in our next local election as well.

  37. Are you kidding, seriously? What are you thinking, Mr. Selectman? Are you going to silence everyone else now? Mike’s outreach has been tremendous, not just for New Canaan, but all of Fairfield county. Think again.

  38. I reached out to Mr. Moynihan directly to express confusion and concern over the requested resignation of Mike Handler. It simply doesn’t make sense? Since I didn’t hear anything back, I am including my email to him below:

    “I am reaching out, as a 21-year-resident of New Canaan to express confusion and concern over the requested resignation of Mike Handler. It simply doesn’t make sense?

    For years, Mike has been a calming and knowledgeable volunteer presence in our community. Mike is someone who has spent countless volunteer hours keeping us informed in times of hardship— whether they be weather-related, safety-related or disease-related. He has pooled the expertise of all town employees and elected officials and has been a voice of reason and calm— something that is much needed right now.

    I do not know the specifics of what went on behind the scenes, but I can only hope this decision was made with the same thought and care that Mike has demonstrated our our town citizens for years. In a time when anxiety, stress, and divisiveness seems to be running really high, this comes across as a very ill-timed decision on your part.

    The damage may already be done, but I hope that you will reconsider such a decision. Know that those of us who have trusted Mike, and been calmed by his informative calls, are extremely upset by your decision.

    Eila Johnson”

    From the local new updates I have read these past few days, it does not seem the decision was made with thought, care, or any sort of gratitude for the years of volunteer service Mike provided our town. To the contrary, which makes this even more alarming. I hope that what is taking on the tone of a ‘smear campaign’ against a revered town volunteer is examined very closely. Everyone is on edge right now, but that is not an excuse for thinking illogically, making hasty decisions, or — at absolute worst– inaccurately casting a dark shadow over someone’s character.

  39. This is very disappointing to hear. Mike Handler showed respect to the people who needed it the most: the people of New Canaan. He can be very proud of the work he has led voluntarily to keep us safe. I hope Moynihan has followed due process in making this apparently sudden decision as it affects all of us. We need him to be truthful and transparent.

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