Residents of northern New Canaan are voicing concerns about the welfare of a coyote that’s been spotted multiple times for the last two weeks dragging a leg hold trap through the snow. First seen Dec. 12 by a Jonathan Road resident, the animal is suffering because of what appears to be a botch job by an amateur or otherwise unqualified trapper, according to Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section. “This is just legal animal cruelty,” Halm said of the animal, which she herself saw briefly on Wednesday. No one has been able to photograph the animal, though pictures of its tracks—paws and the trap—are clear in the snow (see photo at right).
Saying that his relationship with the Audit Committee has improved significantly in the past few months, New Canaan’s highest elected official and the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday supported the reappointment of one committee member and the appointment of one new member. First Selectman Rob Mallozzi called prospective new Audit Committee member John Lanaway’s resume “unbelievable” and noted that his predecessor in the group, Janet Lanaway, “was there for some of the turmoil.”
“I have noticed in my dealings with the Audit Committee in the last three or four months, on my level, a much better understanding of the yin and yang of at least my role and [Town Administrator] Tom [Stadler]’s role and [Finance Director] Dawn [Norton]’s role and others in municipal government, and I have found that it has been a much different attitude—on my part, quite frankly, because I was hesitant about the Audit Committee,” Mallozzi said during a Board of Selectmen meeting, held at Town Hall. “So I can say I am feeling that there has been a change in the attitudes and I think a lot of it had to come from the top, and I take some responsibility for that, as well, and most recently in their help in trying to lay out what we are looking for in an internal auditor or controller, they have been much more user-friendly. I am happy to report that.”
The comments come a few weeks after the Audit Committee voted to recommended that the Town Council accept last fiscal year’s financial statements. Last fall, the Audit Committee temporarily suspended its work, surprising and causing consternation for many in town, pending the adoption of some course-correcting measures that the group had drafted.
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.”