Selectman Devereaux at Final Board Meeting: Spend More Time Listening to Residents


Town officials should listen more closely to residents and work hard to safeguard New Canaan’s heritage, Selectman Kit Devereaux said Tuesday during her last meeting on the Board of Selectmen. 

Devereaux, who is moving this month to Maryland, said that “having an opportunity to serve as a selectmen has been an honor that I have really enjoyed.”

“Just a couple of wishes on my way out,” she said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “I think we should be very careful about making decisions about what we think residents should have and more time listening to what residents say they want. And one thing, too, would be to not constrain public input at meetings of the Board of Selectmen to only matters that are on the agenda, but rather open it up to the matters that residents want us to address. Allowing just a couple of minutes to hear the thoughts of a resident could only add to the effectiveness of the Board of Selectmen.”

She added that town officials should “take care to preserve our heritage, it’s a small New England town, and to what helps to keep the historic look and feel of New Canaan.”

Devereaux in January—following a presentation by New Canaan Library on its rebuilding plan, which includes creation of a town green where the original 1913 building now stands—voted 3-0 together with First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Nick Williams to recommend a $10 million earmark to support that project. Prior to casting that vote, she said losing the original library building would be regrettable. On Tuesday, she made specific reference to the library building and Vine Cottage.

Decisions that affect such buildings “should be put to a public vote,” Devereaux said.

“Either a referendum or a really well-conducted poll so that if these buildings are to be torn down or changed, the residents have agreed with the decision,” she said. “That being said, it’s been a real honor. I loved every minute.”

Moynihan thanked Kit for her suggestion regarding public comments at selectmen meetings, which she has made in the past.

“We will try to take that up with Kathleen [Corbet] in two weeks,” he said. “And I share your sentiments about preserving the character of the town.”

Corbet, a former Town Councilman, is to serve out Devereaux’s remaining term. The selectmen thanked her for agreeing to fill the seat. The next local election is to be held in 2021.

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