New Canaan Town Treasurer Candidates Differ on Role of Elected Position, Qualifications at Debate

None of the material weaknesses that auditors have identified in New Canaan’s finances in recent years have been the town treasurer’s responsibility, a candidate for the elected office said this week. Nevertheless, the identification of those weaknesses became a focal point for many in New Canaan and what Democrat Rob Fryer said he would do if elected town treasurer is “see that this doesn’t happen again.”

“What CPAs do who work in auditing in large corporate environments—and probably municipal governments, as well—is work with clients to eliminate material weaknesses as and when they occur and as and when arise,” Fryer told more than 150 people gathered Monday night at Town Hall for a debate. He added: “I have had the experience of years and years of eliminating material weaknesses, working with clients to do so and, if I am elected, the town will be my client and I will see that these things get addressed promptly.”

The incumbent town treasurer who is seeking re-election, Republican Andrew Brooks, said that it’s “important to know who has ultimate responsibility for remediating weaknesses” and noted that he was “one of the first people to support the creation of the town’s Audit Committee and commended members of the Town Council for their wisdom in creating that committee.”

A change in personnel at the top of the Finance Department, primarily, led to the elimination of all material weaknesses identified in New Canaan’s finances, Brooks said, and “it is important to know that the town treasurer is not part of the Finance Department.”

“I am totally independent of the Finance Department for the purposes of checks and balances,” he said. Brooks said further that the chairman of the Audit Committee recently made it clear “that there have never been any material weaknesses or deficiencies in my performance as treasurer, and that all the issues that were in the Finance Department, the material weaknesses have been remediated because of my recommendations and the Audit Committee’s recommendations finally being implemented.”

The pair debated during the League of Women Voters’ Candidates Forum. Candidates in all contested races for this year’s municipal election participated, including first selectman and Town Council.

First Selectman Candidates Talk Trump, School Start Times, Cell Service, Parking and State Budget Woes at Debate

The Republican candidate for New Canaan’s highest-elected office said Monday night that, despite his ties to President Trump, what’s happening in the state capital is far more important to local voters than Washington, D.C.

According to Town Councilman Kevin Moynihan, “the Democrats in Hartford are more much relevant to our situation that we have now in New Canaan.”

“I don’t really think, as most people say, that Democratic-Republican politics matter much on the local level,” Moynihan said during the debate with his opponent, Democratic candidate Kit Devereaux, held at Town Hall. “Cell service and commuter parking are not Republican or Democrat issues.”

According to a biography on his website, Moynihan served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention last year, as well as on the National Finance Committee for TrumpVictory and the Transition Finance Committee of President-elect Donald J. Trump. Devereaux said that she was concerned about the association because “our nation’s capital is in pretty much disarray, and so is our state.”

“And I would hate to see divisiveness come to New Canaan, and I would hope that it would not,” she said. Moynihan responded, “I think the only people bringing divisiveness to this campaign are the Democrats,” drawing some scoffs and hisses from the standing-room-only crowd. About 150 people attended the League of Women Voters’ Candidates Forum, which also was broadcast live on Channel 79.

League’s Voter Info Brochure To Go Out Soon; Seats up for Election on Selectmen, Town Council, Board of Ed

Officials with a nonprofit organization dedicated to voter education say they’re preparing to mail important information to New Canaan electors. This year’s “Know Your Representatives” brochure from the New Canaan League of Women Voters—listing all of New Canaan’s elected representatives, as well as local board and commission meeting times—has been underwritten by Bankwell, according to a media bulletin from the organization. It will go out April 17, according to the league. Seats are up for election this year on municipal bodies including the Board of Selectmen (three seats) and Town Council (six seats) and Board of Education (five seats). First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectman Nick Williams, both Republicans, announced last month that they intend to seek a fourth term on the board.