‘Simply Inadequate’: Audit Committee Cites Poor Town-Schools Relationship in Suspending Its Work

Saying they don’t want to be associated with New Canaan’s financial statements, members of a committee that town officials appointed last summer in order to help oversee financial reporting for the municipal government and school district said late Tuesday that they’re suspending their work. The five members of the Audit Committee, including two alternates, said in a letter sent to the first selectman and Town Council that they “have no reason to believe the systems of internal control at both the Town and the Board of Education are adequate nor have recommended improvements been implemented.”

“Communication between the finance department of the Town and the Board of Education has not been adequate. This has resulted in un-reconciled accounts dating back several months. In addition, the Town CFO’s access to the Board of Education books and records, accounting and control systems, is not at an appropriate or adequate level. Without resolution, this would likely prohibit the Town’s CFO from making required representations regarding those controls and records to the Town’s external auditors.”

The committee will cease its activities Nov.

‘It’s Part of Why People Come to This Town’: Officials Discuss Future of New Canaan Playhouse

Possibilities for New Canaan Playhouse include expanding its offerings to include live performances, shifting toward a classic and independent film venue under a public-private partnership or simply continuing as-is with the town footing the bill for sorely needed, high-cost capital improvements, a panel of local stakeholders said Wednesday night. No one in town government is interested in “having a developer come in and ‘mini-mall-ing’ the Playhouse or ‘Gap-ing’ ” the iconic 1923 structure, panelist First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said during a New Canaan League of Women Voters-sponsored discussion on the future of the building. “The idea is, quite frankly and I think legitimately, is we want to keep that an environment for entertainment, and my only hope is that stays as a Playhouse and provides Hollywood shows, or, ideally, it morphs into something much more exciting—a place that houses live entertainment, simulcast broadcasts from major venues across the world on arts and cultural programming, or that shows some more independent movies,” Mallozzi said at the panel discussion, held in the Sturgess Room at the New Canaan Nature Center. “But I think it is a real opportunity for this community to expand the offerings of that theater, and have it run by a private group instead of the town running it, so to speak.”

More than 50 people attended the 2-hour discussion, moderated by the League of Women Voters’ Kate Hurlock. In addition to Mallozzi, panelists included: George Maranis, who had been serving as town administrator when the town acquired the Playhouse for about $2.2 million in 2007; Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tucker Murphy, whose organization is located in the building; Department of Public Works Buildings Superintendent Bill Oestmann; and Jerry Miller, a New Canaan-based attorney and member of the New Canaan Kiwanis Club who is also a founding member of the Ridgefield Playhouse.