Sandra Dennies

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Did You Hear … ?

An attorney representing a New Canaan homeowner last week filed an appeal in state Superior Court of the town’s decision in March to uphold a property valuation from October. The property, 1248 Oenoke Ridge Road, was valued at $7,961,300 and assessed at $5,572,910, according to the appeal, filed May 11 by attorney Amy Zabetakis of Darien-based Rucci Law Group. The New Canaan Board of Assessment Appeals on March 20 notified the plaintiffs, Helene and George Pyne, that it would not change that valuation, which “did not reflect the true fair market value of the property, but rather it was grossly excessive, disproportionate and unlawful,” according to the complaint. ***

Sandra Dennies, New Canaan’s finance director, received a standing ovation from the Town Council on Wednesday night when First Selectman Kevin Moynihan closed the meeting by announcing that she has been made permanent in the job. The former Wilton CFO had been working in New Canaan on an interim basis since last May. Continue Reading →

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Officials Approve $44,000 in Contracts To Reconfigure Finance Department at Town Hall

Officials last week approved approximately $44,000 in contracts to reconfigure the Finance Department’s area at Town Hall in a way that makes it more welcoming and also creates space for two more bodies. The department is “the central service agency” of the town and “people need to feel that they can come in and ask any questions” of the staff there, according to interim Finance Director Sandra Dennies. Yet “right now, when you walk in, you walk into a big gray hall,” she told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting, held Sept. 12 at Town Hall. “It is not user friendly. Continue Reading →

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Did You Hear … ?

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station found a West Nile Virus-infected mosquito in New Canaan, state officials said Thursday, in what’s called the ‘Hoyt Swamp.’ That’s located up against the Merritt Parkway near Exit 38 (here). No human cases of the virus have been reported in the state this season. Officials say using mosquito repellant and covering up when the insects are most active (dawn and dusk) are simple, effective prevention measures. ***

Pet Pantry Warehouse on Grove Street—host of the annual Dog Days New Canaan—is hiring management and entry-level personnel for its store here in town. ***

The Board of Selectmen this week voted 3-0 to approve the hiring of Nathan Vass Jr. as a welder equipment operator in the Department of Public Works. Continue Reading →

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Mallozzi: Search for Town’s New CFO Suspended Until After Election

Officials say they’ve suspended temporarily the search for New Canaan’s new finance director, so that the new first selectman can weigh in on the important decision. First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, who is not seeking a fourth term, said he feels “it would be much, much better for the next first selectman, whether that is Kit [Devereaux] or Kevin [Moynihan], to have direct input into the process and evaluation, and what they want to see in a CFO.”

A committee’s search for a permanent CFO will pick up again after the election in November, Mallozzi said. Human Resources Director Cheryl Pickering-Jones said the search committee—which includes members of the Board of Finance, Town Council and Audit Committee—received “plenty of resumes” in response to an initial call in May and that a candidates to be brought back in for a second interview “are on hold right now.”

“If the panel and Kit and Kevin were to meet, then maybe we would move it sooner, but that is where things are at this point,” she said. The Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting on Tuesday is scheduled to vote on extending the contract of current interim Finance Director Sandra Dennies by four months, through December. Asked about what he sees as necessary qualities for New Canaan’s next finance director, Moynihan said, “I would like to see a CPA, which is not a job requirement but I would like to see a CPA.”

Moynihan, a Republican, declined to speak further on the matter, saying there’s a process underway and that the extension of Dennies’ contract would not preclude the town making a decision sooner than November or December on a permanent CFO. Continue Reading →

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‘The Right Foot Going Forward’: Audit Committee, Interim CFO Praise Finance Department’s Work

New Canaan for the first time since forming an Audit Committee to ensure proper financial controls are in place is no longer operating with “material weaknesses,” a member of the group said Wednesday morning. The town also has given full access to its elected treasurer and “we don’t have people signing checks that are unauthorized to sign them,” Audit Committee member Ed Kangas said during the group’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “It’s almost incredible to me that we had all those problems. These were big deals. This town should not have had those problems. I am pleased they are resolved and we are off on the right foot going forward.”

The comments came on the first meeting of the committee since New Canaan hired a new interim CFO, whose predecessor retired amid lingering “material weaknesses” in town financial processes and controls that had been identified by auditors. Tom Stadler, administrative officer in the office of the first selectman, said last week was busy at Town Hall with the former CFO’s “departure” and new interim hire Sandra Dennies’s start “and the walkthrough and changeover of the bank and investment accounts, and a number of other things,” adding that officials have put those matters “behind us now” to move on and “walk hand in hand.”

Referring to concerns that had been raised by the town treasurer, Audit Committee Chairman Bill Parrett said: “I understand there has been lots of activity in terms of giving the treasurer access to some of the accounts—maybe they were not the biggest or most important accounts—but they were accounts that he presumably should have been looking at, and that has been done.”

Dennies in brief remarks to the committee offered praise for her colleagues in Town Hall and in the finance department specifically. Continue Reading →

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