Voter’s Guide – 2017

Compiled each year as a public service by the League of Women Voters of Darien and presented by the Darien Times.

Vote Tuesday, November 7 — Democracy is not a spectator sport!

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that encourages the informed and active participation of all citizens in the process of government. The LWV of Darien is a local group of both men and women who strive to improve the quality of democracy by increasing voters’ knowledge of candidates and issues. Visit to learn more.

The Voters’ Guide is designed to provide information about the candidates to the public in a nonpartisan and balanced way to assist them in casting an informed vote on Election Day.

Questionnaires were submitted to candidates for local offices, asking one or more specific questions. Responses were limited to a specific word count and are printed exactly as submitted by the candidates.

For every ballot position, a voter may write in a name of someone who is not listed as a candidate on a separate line at the bottom of the ballot for “Write-In Votes.”  In the State of Connecticut for those votes to be counted, the individual whose name is being written in, must have registered with the Secretary of State.  In the case of write in candidates for the RTM, a write in candidate must have previously filed a petition with the Town Clerk signed by at least 25 electors within their District.

(*) Signifies that the candidate is an incumbent.

Note: All offices appear in the order in which they appear on the ballot.

Editor’s note: Answers that appear incomplete have been cut off at the designated league word limit.

First Selectman

 Vote for one

Question: Given changes in State funding to our town, how will you balance the level of town services and increases in taxes?

Rob Richards, Democratic Party

5 Edmond Street

Providing responsible fiscal direction is imperative to ensuring effective operation of town services and maintaining a quality education for our children. With that said, we have many tools at our disposal to mitigate potential fiscal challenges

A worst-case scenario for Darien would be zeroing out of ECS ($400,000), Excess Cost Reimbursements ($1.3 million), other municipal aid ($180,000), and requiring our tax payers to fund part of our Teacher Pensions (perhaps $4.5 million).  While the current budget anticipates a portion of these amounts being lost, it’s only a small portion.  Together these amounts represent about 4.4% increase of current budget.

To mitigate this potential impact on our taxpayers I would implement a hiring freeze and instruct all department heads to target a zero-based budget for the year, not including any current contractual obligations. All Capital plans would be reviewed for postponement and a concerted effort to find cost- saving efficiencies would be prioritized. I would also look to diversify our revenue sources in order to reduce our property tax dependency. This could potentially lower our future property taxes.

But no matter what challenges we face from the state we cannot lose sight of our responsibilities to the people of Darien. My

Jayme J. Stevenson, * Republican Party

65 St. Nicholas Road

Balancing these competing forces is nothing new to the Board of Selectmen.  Each year our community sets service and project priorities.  As town leaders, it’s our job to balance these priorities with our taxpayers’ willingness and ability to support town investments.  Historically, Darien has received state aid to help our schools, special education students and road maintenance.  As the magnitude of the state’s budget crisis came into focus, we began closely monitoring potential local impacts.  Darien’s financial stability depends on vigilant fiscal conservatism.  As uncertainty over state aid grew, we proactively cut our state education aid assumptions.  We’re learning this may not be enough.  We risk losing special education reimbursements and may be required to make contributions to the state-managed Teachers’ Retirement System.  A variety of solutions will be required to meet these challenges—grow our tax base, streamline services and refocus on core government functions.  Raising taxes to offset the loss of state aid must be a solution of last resort and we should not defer maintenance nor reduce emergency reserves.  Experienced leaders are needed now more than ever, to partner with all town boards to help make these important strategic decisions.

Chris Noe, Petitioning Candidate

242 Old Kings Highway South

Malloy’s incompetence is unconscionable. He should be removed from office. Connecticut will elect another Democrat with Trump in office. Economic outlook for CT is really bad no matter who gets elected. It will take years to turn the tide, therefore; Darien cannot expect money from Hartford for years in the future. We have untapped revenue lines to help bridge the gap. We need to focus on schools. Protecting property values is easy if you do the right things. Trump’s new tax code may provide another nail in the coffin for states like CT with income tax.

We can pretend Darien’s elections are based on the issues but the election is merely a popularity contest. In the face of this crisis I don’t expect that to change. I have been out campaigning. Left wing anger is hilarious. You lost… get over it. Anyone with brains has already left so the idiots remain and they vote. You can expect to see steady rise in taxes while property values drop. Homes will no longer be a wise investment for remodeling, banks will stop lending. The real problem is the electorate’s failure to perpetuate change..

Perhaps we should rethink the school lunch menu an


Vote for any two 

Question: Given changes in State funding to our town, how will you balance the level of town services and increases in taxes

Marc Thorne, * Democratic Party

37 Dickinson Road

I will support maintaining essential town functions such as public health and safety and education. I will suggest we defer capital projects that are desirable but not necessary. I will support reasonable property tax increases if needed. What is reasonable? I expect our community will be tested on that question soon, and more so in the future.

Clearly, the state legislature is unwilling or unable to raise taxes to correct the historical underfunding of pensions by both political parties. Our town may be assessed significantly for years to come to support our state’s obligations. We still do not know the impact on our town of our state’s current budget impasse. As soon our town is notified of our share of the burden, we can review our town budgets and make the tradeoffs that are always necessary. Darien is a financially well-managed town. This year’s expected loss of education funding, while painful, will not have a huge impact on our overall town budget.

Pamela Sparkman, Democratic Party

283 West Avenue

As a working mom who was raised locally, I’m committed to our community and inspired to run for the Board of Selectman. Darien is, and must remain, vibrant and thriving. Our schools, coastline and parks draw people to raise their families here and motivate folks to stay long after their children have graduated. We must not let budget adversities in our state compromise the quality of life in town. Excellent education, public safety and green initiatives will remain my priority.

Fiscal responsibility should be a priority for Darien. A conservative approach to both the financial and environmental needs of our town will only improve the quality of life in Darien for all age groups, and for generations to come. Creative and respectful collaboration is needed from all our municipalities to get our state back in the black. Darien needs to set the example and lead the way to fiscal solvency. 

Charles A. Koons, * Republican Party

75 Maywood Road

  1. Until the extent of the funding changes is known, continue to pressure the state and our legislative delegation in particular to preserve Special Education funding and prevent the imposition of direct contributions to the Teacher’s Retirement System. These two additional changes could cost the town up to $3.9 million in the current fiscal year and almost $5 million in the next.
  2. Prioritize all our expenditures with safety, health and education being at the top of the list. Each department must examine what they do and how they do it to ensure three things:
  • Their activities are essential to the town given the new fiscal order.
  • There are no other service providers that can perform these activities more effectively.
  • They have the skills and the tools to work smarter rather than harder.
  1. Continue to make sensible and strategic investments that improve productivity and service deliverables. Do not defer scheduled maintenance expenditures, and do not consider spending down our General Fund reserve as suggested by the Governor.
  2. Encourage appropriate development to maintain and even increase our tax base (the Grand List) given potentially lower valuations on high end homes.

Susan J. Marks, * Republican Party

39 Fairfield Avenue

As we wait for the state Budget to be passed, we must continue to dialogue with our state legislative delegation on behalf of you, the Darien taxpayer. They need to know many of the state mandates do not help us, instead hurt us by placing more financial demands on our town. Unfortunately we need to be prepared to receive zero state funding and possibly be ready for a “Tax Bill” from Hartford!

The Board of Selectmen must work closely with all of town departments, boards and commissions to continue to look for efficiencies. We need to continue to prioritize all our expenditures with safety, health and education being at the top of the list. Each department must examine what they do and how they do it to ensure three things:

  •  Their activities are essential to the town given the new fiscal order.
  •  There are no other service providers that can perform these activities more effectively.
  •  They have the skills and the tools to work smarter rather than harder.

We need to encourage appropriate development to maintain and even increase our tax base. Finally we need to continue to make Darien a desirable town for all ages.

Town Clerk

Vote for one

Question: As a matter of voter education, what are the responsibilities of being the Town Clerk?

Donna E. Rajczewski, * Republican Party

15 Bayberry Lane

The majority of the Town Clerk’s responsibilities and procedures are State-mandated. From daily recording and processing of Darien’s Land Records, to Elections, Vital Records, and issuance of a variety of licenses, our job is to ensure the accuracy and safe keeping of all records entrusted to our care.  It is also the responsibility of the Town Clerk to serve as the clerk of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM).

Town Treasurer

Vote for one

Question: As a matter of voter education, what are the responsibilities of being the Town Treasurer?

Joan D. Hendrickson, * Republican Party

97 Hoyt Street

The Town Treasurer is responsible for managing Darien’s short-term investments including investing all tax receipts. Investments must be made in accordance with state statute. The Treasurer is also part of Darien’s bonding process including accepting the winning bid and signing documents.  The Treasurer’s job encompasses investment strategy and execution as well as providing liquidity for all cash management needs.

Tax Collector

Vote for one

Question: As a matter of voter education, what are the responsibilities of being the Tax Collector?    

Kathleen M. Larkins, * Republican Party

57 Echo Drive North

The primary responsibility of the tax collector is to bill and collect property taxes in compliance with Connecticut General Statutes, on time and to turn the money over to the town in a timely manner.  For taxes which are not paid when due, to pursue collection efforts and protect Darien’s rights to collect them.  The tax collector collects real estate, motor vehicle and personal property taxes, as well as sewer service and sewer assessment charges.

Board of Financ

Vote for any three

Question: Given the changes in State funding to our town, how will you approach proposed Board of Selectmen and Board of Education budgets that could result in tax increases significantly above historical levels?

Francis Huck, * Democratic Party

90 Inwood Road

Fortunately, the members of the town’s Boards generally share with our taxpayers desires to avoid disruptive tax increases and to preserve Darien’s character and image as a fiscally careful town.  Those desires, of course, mix with other common wishes – assuring a quality, and needs responsive, education for the town’s children and maintaining Darien as a beautiful, active and caring town and good employer.  There’s always balancing to do.

Proposed state cutbacks and impositions, which could actually grow, will require new balancing points in coming years.  In the short run, efforts will be made (with the Board of Finance playing key formal and informal roles) to defer projects, initiatives and hiring with a current budgetary effect.  Longer term, we must try not to just effectively phase-in the new budget burdens; we must endeavor to keep our own spending sufficiently in check to lessen their possible impact.  How, and how much, we do that will greatly depend on the community’s counsel.

Robert Cardone, Republican Party

17 Park Lane

Given the state funding issues and the pressure it will bring to Darien town finances, I would propose a complete review, on a departmental level, of all expenses for the 2018-2019 proposed budgets. This would include a review of all current staffing levels. I would institute an immediate hiring freeze for all new employees. In addition, I would look to combine duplicate services that may exist between the Board of Selectmen and Board of Education areas. I would look to perform a high level review of the technology that is currently in place for both the Board of Selectmen and Board of Education as I believe there are functions and services that may be able to be consolidated to bring efficiencies to the current environment.

Jon E. Zagrodzky, * Republican Party

30 Crimmins Road

The potential impact on Darien is significant.  We face both the loss of our last major state grant (Excess Cost Reimbursement) as well as the imposition of teacher pension contributions.  The bill could total millions of dollars.

Given the tax pressure already burdening our residents, and the president’s proposal to end state and local tax deductibility, I do not think it is reasonable for taxpayers to bear the full cost of whatever Hartford imposes.  My strong view is that we must also tighten both Town and Education spending, which may require difficult decisions to reduce personnel and services.  Perhaps we will escape this year with only minimal pain, but pain will come eventually – the long-term mathematics of the State’s financial situation are insurmountable.

If we do have to take significant action now, however, it is important not to act prematurely or rashly.  When there is a final budget from Hartford and the impact on Darien is known, we should engage the Selectmen and Board of Education collaboratively to develop a responsible plan.  To be clear, though, the Board of Finance should be prepared to lead on difficult spending decisions if a consensus plan is not possible.

Paul B. Hendrickson, Republican Party

97 Hoyt Street

The primary problem confronting State as well as Darien taxpayers is the level of budget uncertainty in Hartford.  This coupled with gubernatorial and legislative lack of financial acumen and political backbone do not bode well for the State.  These difficulties have been accumulating over decades, and Hartford has not proposed any long term solutions, but merely “kicks the can” down the road.

I would propose that any tax increase caused by actions in Hartford be broken out in Darien tax assessments, so they are clearly visible to the taxpayer.  In essence it would be a two tiered taxation – that which is Darien specific and that which is mandated by the State.  This would make explicit to the Darien taxpayer which taxes he/she has a voice in.

As a final measure, I would consider banding together with other towns and cities to sue Hartford for illegally transferring liabilities it has incurred to the towns and cities.  Governor Malloy has said that any budget which does not include some transfer of teacher pension liabilities to the towns and cities is a “non-starter”.  In other words, the largesse and irresponsible activity of our State officials now become our responsibility.  Maybe next time Governor

Board of Education Candidates

The nine members of Darien’s Board of Education (BOE) are elected by the Town, but they serve as state officials. The BOE is an independent authority responsible for formulating education policy and administering the operation of the school system. Its annual appropriation must be approved by the Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting, through the general budget adoption process.

Each year, three members of the BOE are elected. This year three candidates are vying for three full term positions. On the ballot, voters will be asked to select two candidates who will serve three years.

In addition, on the ballot voters will be asked to select one candidate to fill a vacancy for one year.

Full term – Vote for any two

Question: What is the Board of Education’s responsibility to balance an excellent education for all students with taxpayer affordability?

Michael Burke, * Democratic Party

137 Hollow Tree Ridge Road

The stated mission of our district is: “…to work cooperatively with families and the community to provide for its students a safe, supportive, respectful, and intellectually challenging learning environment that promotes personal excellence through active, collaborative, and creative thinking and that stimulates individual development of the skills and integrity necessary to become productive members of society.”  Inherent in that mission is to use taxpayer dollars with great discretion and intelligence.  This is especially so during this period of budget crisis in Hartford. Some suggest that the standard we ought to apply in budgeting is to seek only what we truly need as opposed to what we might like. While the phrasing of the aforementioned standard is easy on the intellect it is woefully insufficient for making complex budget decisions on an annual basis.

Rather, we need to think critically about each item in our budget and determine whether it is true to our mission and consistent with our stated goals and objectives.  We also need to ensure that the program, project and/or associated staffing is being delivered as efficiently as possible. Only then can we justify seeking the inclusion of that item in our budget and the use taxpayer dollars.

David P. Dineen, * Republican Party

20 Bayberry Lane

It has been an honor to serve and I am very excited to have the opportunity for another three years on the Board.

It is the role of the Board of Education and the Administration to deliver a high standard of education for our students through a fiscally responsible budget process.   That process has to include understanding the State’s fiscal challenges while working hand in hand with Darien Leaders to balance a budget that maintains our education system and quality of life in Darien.  We live in a well-managed town that is challenged by decades of poor management at the state level.

My intention is to continue to listen, learn, and participate:

Always keeps the focus on “Schools are for children”.   We should have the best curriculum and the best educators and staff available to provide a safe and creative learning environment.

Continued delivery of a fiscally responsible budget based on the educational needs or our district while balancing the challenges of the State budget.

Build upon the work that has been done with the Facilities Committee on the Building Conditions Survey and the longer term Facilities Study.  We must maintain and invest prudently in our physical education facilities.

Dennis J. Maroney, Republican Party

10 Miller Road

First and foremost, the Board of Education exists for students.   That does not mean the Board receives a blank check from the town, but the members of the Board act as regulators to ensure that children get the quality education that parents and taxpayers expect.  How the BOE accomplishes this mandate is to first set a vision and strategy that all new initiatives and programs should be examined against.   The BOE then needs to have open and robust discussions regarding new initiatives. The BOE needs to evaluate the services being provided to students, the cost and review data to understand the benefits.   The BOE needs to maintain the “public” in public education via open communication with the community, both parents of students and non parents, other town bodies such as the Board of Finance and the RTM.

Board of Education Candidate to Fill One-Year Vacancy

Vote for one

Question: What is the Board of Education’s responsibility to balance an excellent education for all students with taxpayer affordability

Debra M. Ritchie, Republican Party

16 Stony Brook Road South

The charge for the Board of Education is to steer the district so it continues to be one of the best in the State and to craft a budget that provides the resources to meet our education objectives. The Board of Education has a duty to the citizens of Darien to find the right level of spending and allocate it wisely to maintain our high level of educational excellence while maintaining an affordable tax burden in Darien. To fulfill its responsibilities, the Board must carefully seek out and vet new initiatives which may provide opportunities to improve our children’s education. It must review the budget proposed by the Superintendent through a critical lens of cost-benefit, and tirelessly work with administration to seek operating efficiencies especially given the current state financial crisis. The Board must work closely with the Board of Finance, who ultimately determines the appropriate level of taxation for Darien, to maintain a mutual understanding of the funding needs for our Schools.

Darien’s combination of excellent schools and reasonable tax rates are the reason many of us have chosen to make this town our home. The Board of Education has the responsibility to maintain this important tradition.

Board of Assessment Appeals

Vote for on

Question: As a matter of voter education, what are the responsibilities of being a member of the Board of Assessment Appeals?

Glenn Ritch, Democratic Party

57 Hale Lane

As a member of the Board I have a responsibility to:

  1. Ensure a fair and equitable review of all assessment appeals.
  2. Provide collaborative support to the other board members.
  3. To help property owners understand the reasoning for the final property valuation.

Christopher Peters, * Republican Party

218 Old Kings Highway, North

Board members decide if an appellant’s home, business or auto value as determined by the Town Assessor is reasonable, fair and equitable and adjust values if necessary.   Multiple variables go into calculating assessments; it’s complicated to decipher.   Board members provide clarity to appellants on the process and must understand how the assessment was derived and know local real estate values to affirm an accurate Grand List which is the basis of our tax revenue system

Planning and Zoning Commission

Full term – vote for any two

Question: Do you believe Darien is at risk of becoming overdeveloped?

Jennifer Leahy, Democratic Party

19 Chestnut Street

Darien is fortunate to have a very comprehensive Town Plan which states that it “must balance growth and development with preservation and protection of the existing ecosystem on which our future depends.” It is the mission of the Planning and Zoning Commission to control the present and potential use of properties to ensure that balance is maintained for all Darien residents. The Commission’s decisions are based on facts that are in accordance with the plan and hearings are done in a public forum where all citizens have the chance to be heard. Also, I believe that thoughtful and dynamic leadership by a Board of Selectman is key in making sure the most desirable use of the land in the community continues. Darien has a solid framework to make consistent decisions that serves all of the citizens. Therefore, I do not believe Darien is currently overdeveloped and I have faith the Planning and Zoning Commission through its deliberations will manage that growth.

Stephen P. Olvany, * Republican Party

49 Echo Drive North

I consider myself a suburban renewal proponent.  Most people prefer new things, including clothes, cars, real estate.  The overbuilding concept is a function of: 1) renovations/additions, 2) replacements, 3) ground-up development.

Darien has limited vacant land as it is 95% developed, and ground-up construction does not significantly add to overdevelopment.  Darien Self-Storage, under construction at Noroton Heights Station was vacant land and is a new development.  Renovations/additions to single-family houses along with “teardowns” is a significant factor to re-development.  Many older houses have added bedrooms and kitchens.  I believe this is generally good for the real estate market when done properly.  The addition of more bedrooms to the housing stock adds to overbuilding.

The final factor of “overbuilding” is replacement construction.  From a P&Z perspective, I believe it should be done well-though out.  The Parklands office conversion to assisted living was well-conceived, responding to market demand.  1950 Post Road appears to be a nice new project.  The three proposed projects (Stop & Shop, Palmers, Corbin Drive) represent replacements to higher uses.  I do not believe these replacement projects represent overdevelopment, now.  But, I believe the Commission must remain diligent in maintaining Darien’s New England character, while allowing for suburban renewal.

James H. Rand, * Republican Party

31 Ox Ridge Lane

I’ve lived in Darien for some 70 years.  Al Wilson taught me how to use tools when the Little Red Schoolhouse was a hardware store and Bert Van Sciver taught me to repair an outboard motor when the Bait Shop was where H&L’s used car lot is today.  I’d love to see the town preserved, but it’s simply not possible.  Rising demand for town services mean higher taxes; increased population means pressure on housing stocks.  Darien is an attractive place to live but to remain so our inventory of shops, services and restaurants has to be varied and up to date.  The demands on Darien and its resources are simply too great for us to stand still.

But Darien is not at risk of overdevelopment.  Darien has a well thought out Plan of Conservation and Development, the result of broad consultation with all of the town’s constituencies.  The Plan, which is under continuing review, is the framework within which all development applications are submitted to, and considered by, town agencies including the Planning & Zoning Commission.  The process insures that inevitable and necessary development adheres to the Plan’s objectives and constraints to keep development under control.

Planning and Zoning Commission to Fill Two-Year Vacancy

Vote for one 

Question: Do you believe Darien is at risk of becoming overdeveloped?

John R. Sini, * Republican Party

36 Birch Road

I do believe that there is risk that Darien could be overdeveloped as a result of overreaching state policies which supersede our Town Plan of Conservation and Development and local zoning regulations.

The oversized Pemberton 16 condominium, located at the corner of Leroy and West avenues, is a perfect example of how state policy can create overdevelopment within our town.  The site, approved by a judge located in New Britain, was constructed under the provisions of State Statute 8-30(g) allowing for much greater density than our local zoning regulations allow for.  Other misguided state proposals, such as the bill creating a centralized Transit Corridor Development Authority and the statewide Inclusionary Zoning proposal, could have profoundly impacted Darien had they not failed in the legislative process.

Without the ongoing threat of state policy overreach, I have confidence that our well purposed Town Plan and zoning regulations allow for appropriate redevelopment in Darien meeting the needs of our next generation while maintaining its small suburban community charm.


Vote for any two

Question: As a matter of voter education, what are the responsibilities of being a Constable?

Joseph Tarnowsky, Jr.* Republican Party

9 Richmond Drive

No Response

Louis J. Calastro, * Republican Party

15 Hollow Tree Ridge Roa

the Constable’s position is unpaid by the town although a small fee is charged when the service is provided to the residents of Darien I deliver legal documents within the town no outside entity other than the state Marshals are permitted to legally provide this service there were very few times during the last 6 years that I have actually been asked to perform my service my number is 203-357-1833 thank you 

Representative Town Meeting

The Representative Town Meeting is determined annually by elector apportionment and cannot exceed 100 members. Legislative powers for the town are vested in this body. Members serve two-year terms, do not get compensated and are not elected based on party affiliation. Its responsibilities include passing laws and ordinances, appropriating money and approving collective bargaining contracts involving town employees.

Though any Darien registered voter is eligible for election, it is unusual for any of the vacancies on the RTM to be contested. To win the election a candidate must receive at least one vote.

Ballots will vary depending on the voting district. There may be write-in candidates in some of the districts, but you must ask at your polling location. Write-in candidates must receive a minimum of 25 votes to serve on the RTM.

Attendance records for incumbents have been provided by the Town Clerk’s office for your information.

Please note the polling location of your District.

District I

Poll Location: 35 Leroy Avenue  

Vote for any 11

Question: How can members of the RTM better represent their constituents on important Town matters?

Patricia Finn Bumgardner *

64 Hanson Road

All RTM members need to actively solicit feedback and have their emails listed on the town website so our constituents can contact us directly. When important issues are being debated such as the Town Plan of Conservation and Development, the Master Plan for Parks and Beaches and recommendations from the Pedestrian Infrastructure Committee, RTM members should spend time in the parks, at the beaches, on the sports fields, at neighborhood meetings, at the train stations, etc. getting input from a large cross section of our constituents so we can make informed decisions on behalf of the town of Darien.

Curtis A. Butler *

106 Stephen Mather Road

For me, there is no substitute for reaching out to residents in my district directly. In the age of email, it is quite easy to canvass friends and neighbors on important issues facing the town, and those friends can then widen the net to all of their friends and neighbors. This way, when issues are debated, I am truly informed about the concerns of my constituents; and when I cast my vote, I can truly represent the people in my district.

Patrick M. Keane *

10 Pembroke Road

An effective RTM member takes the requisite time to fully understand the major issues affecting our town – this is very time consuming.  I believe effective representation requires having the courage to question the status quo, to encourage enlightened and cost effective change while protecting what makes Darien such a great community to live.  This can often become a delicate balancing act.

Colin J. Kelly *

16 Sherry Lane

No Respons

Derek Lublin *

24 Maplewood Drive

Members of the RTM have a responsibility to understand variant views and thoughts from their constituents.  It is important for RTM members to appreciate that their personal network might not represent the views of their district as a whole.

Arpita Muchhal (1)

369 Middlesex Road

(1) LWV note : Served last year in District VI.

I work on representing my constituents by understanding their needs through direct engagement. I believe that by getting constituents directly involved in town matters I can give them more of a voice. Additionally, with Darien investing in the future with many exciting projects, I want to ensure that we decide what is best for the community for years to come.

Living in town for over 12 years and enjoying all it has to offer, I feel honored to be serving on the RTM and hope to continue to be a direct and accessible link for my constituents to their government.

Bradley G. Pattelli *

276 Mansfield Avenue 

No Response

Lois J. Schneider *

31 Maywood Road

RTM members represent their districts with information gathered thru meetings and communication with constituents. We attend many meetings on topics – having discussions with other RTM members, elected officials, town staff and experts to understand all sides of an issue and the impact of any proposals.

We work hard at reflecting many constituent views and not only those of the outspoken people on either side of an issue. The thoughts of constituents are gathered through conversations in the neighborhood, around town, and direct contact. Being available and initiating responses from constituents is important to make decisions that affect all.

Bert H. von Stuelpnagel *

61 St. Nicholas Road

Our RTM is like a mosaic where a multitude of components form a complete, impressive picture. RTM-Members use their many talents to focus on the task or committee where their experience makes a difference. With a career background in municipal finance, I am looking forward to continue to serve on the Finance and Budget Committee, an important agent for change given the Town’s challenges.

District II

Poll Location: Town Hall

Vote for any eight

Based upon the ballot, this is a contested race.

Question: How can members of the RTM better represent their constituents on important Town matters?

Vincent C. Arguimbau, III

69 Salem Straits

Lifelong resident of Darien who grew up and now lives again on Scott Cove and is a witness to the disappearance of seagrass and deep channels leaving us with the low tide mudflat of today. As one who enjoys watersports and believes our waterfront is our town’s best feature I would urge my Delafield Island and Tokeneke neighbors to put in town sewer lines and hook up as soon as possible. My RTM perspective would be to support other efforts to revive the Sound.

William F. Cusack, III *

219 Old Kings Highway South

Do the homework. Understand the issues affecting the District and get educated on those not understood. Talk with constituents at every reasonable opportunity about pending and impending decisions that will affect their lives. Consider how the decisions will impact the District now and forty years from now when families, friends, and finances may have changed. Follow up with constituents about RTM actions, what happened, why they happened, and what may happen in the future.

Timothy M. Goertel *

22 Brushy Hill Road

RTM members have a duty to ensure the viewpoints of their constituents are reflected in the actions taken by the Town government. In order to make fully informed decisions, RTM member should ask questions and carefully evaluate available information about a given topic when it’s being debated, as well as solicit feedback from constituents. Members must weigh both the short-term and long-term implications of Town matters to ensure the best interests of Darien are at the forefront of any decisions made by the RTM.

Susanne R. Handler *

11 Homewood Lane

No Response

Monica M. McNally*

71 Arrowhead Way

No Response

Helen M. (Nina) Miller*

179 Old Kings Highway South

One of the ways the members of District 2 are working to represent their constituents is by holding warned but informal meetings at a local restaurant.  Anyone can come with whatever town issue is on their mind and it will be addressed.  Communication is key.

Iris B. Mix *

4 Wild Rose Lane

Each RTM member should attend all RTM meetings and their respective committee meetings to stay abreast of all town issues.  When it is unavoidable and a meeting is missed, members should avail themselves of online videos of the meetings.  All RTM members need to be active participants in their respective committees – doing the research, working with town officials, discussing the issues, and voting on the appropriate action.  RTM members should be readily open to sharing the facts and decision trees to residents and respectfully listen and incorporate town residents’ issues and concerns in the decision process.

Heather Pommernelle *

3 Settlers Trail

No Response

Stacey Tie *

10 Clocks Lane

I believe that the RTM should represent our constituents.  RTM members have a responsibility to canvas our fellow citizens to discuss issues facing the town and work with other town boards to make decisions that represent the best interests of the town. Last year I went door to door; this year I will encourage our district to hold meetings and invite our constituents to attend so we can hear from them directly. My primary interest is in preserving the town’s strong school system and excellent town services within a fiscally responsible framework.

District III

Poll Location: Noroton Heights Fire Department 

Vote for any 13 

Question: How can members of the RTM better represent their constituents on important Town matters?

Adele M. Conniff *

8 Wheat Lane

Good attendance at RTM meetings and active participation with your assigned committee is the way to be well informed and best represent your constituents.
As a member of the Parks & Recreation Committee, I am closely following the development of the Master Parks Plan, giving valuable input in this process. I, along with my fellow committee members, welcome our constituents ’ e -mails and phone calls.

With your vote I hope to continue serving District 3 on the RTM.

Elise Feldman *

24 Greenwood Avenue

RTM Members must have open communication with constituents so that constituents and Members can discuss questions and opinions regarding issues facing Darien residents. Social media platforms are ideal places for Members and constituents to communicate with each other. Should Town Hall approve, I propose a Facebook group and Twitter handle be set up for each District so that there is a dual-option centralized platform for communication among constituents and their District Members. Members should encourage constituents to attend public Town Meetings in person or to watch them on Darien TV79 so they can see first-hand what their government is doing.

Holly M. Giordano *

17 Leeuwarden Lane 

No Response

Carolina McGoey *

28 Kensett Lane

I believe that having a more diverse group of people can better represent our constituents.

We have an obligation to attend each meeting and represent the trust that the residents of our district have given us. They are placing their faith in us to do the work required to make sound decisions for the well-being of our district and our town.

I also believe communication is key to representing our constituents better and that it is the only way to understand our town’s issues. We are all working on a common goal, making our town a better place to live.

Sue-Ellen H. Mitchell *

50 Kensett Lan

RTM members can best represent their constituents by being accessible and having an open mind to matters concerning all groups from young families to seniors. I have lived in Darien for 36 years and raised four sons who were very active in the community. Most families are attracted to Darien thanks to our first rate school system, strong youth programs and a bucolic setting with Long Island Sound at our doorstep. I hope to serve on the RTM to continue to maintain the high standards that Darien is known for.

Thomas W. Moore*

26 Georgian Lane

I have been a member of the RTM for 22 years and have only missed two scheduled meetings. I feel the best way to represent the constituents of my district is to talk with neighbors and listen to their concerns and issues. I believe having 100 members on the RTM is a good way to ensure fair and balanced representation of the town. My voting record has been a balance between being fiscally and socially responsible. To improve communications between RTM members and their constituents, each district could periodically hold an open house to discuss town issues and concerns.

Seth W. Morton *

20 Denhurst Place

The best way for RTM members to represent their constituents is to get points of view by face-to-face contact. Discussion is the key; while shopping; at school events; at sporting events, walking around the neighborhood; social media. Find situations that allow for dialogue.

Don’t wait for a call.

Peter S. Riordan *

38 Phillips Lane

Seeking as much feedback, from as many constituents, as I can is the key to most effectively representing my District on the RTM. I have seen too many people react emotionally to issues, without knowing all of the facts involved. It is my job to gather the pertinent information by reading about the issue, or listening to the subject matter experts that we have access to.

If there is town spending impact, I often ask myself if MOST District 3 taxpayers would be willing to open their wallets to help pay for it? That question proves to be very helpful.

Tamara S. Sload

50 Allwood Road

My husband, Michael, and I moved to Darien with our three children in 1998.  This is the first time that I am running for the RTM, but I have been actively involved in the parents’ associations at Holmes School and DHS and the CDSP for many years.  I have also served on the Board of the Darien YMCA and as a Trustee of the Friends of the Darien Library.   I would hope to be a balanced and independent member of the RTM, acting in the best interest of Darien residents, children, and taxpayers.

Nicholas Vitale *

41 Phillips Lane

As an independent voter on the RTM, it’s important to be sure my votes represent what’s important to my neighbors and my district as a whole regardless of party politics.

Constituents in my district should feel confident they have a voice in town issues that affect them.

Edward A. Washecka *

7 Leeuwarden Lane

RTM members can better represent constituents by having regular dialogue on issues facing our town.  Such interactions occur at the train station, while walking in our neighborhoods, at church and while shopping in town.  When we chat about these issues, whether taxes, the cafeteria expansion, the beach plan, we are hearing opinions from our constituents, and those thoughts shape our individual views as RTM members.  I am pleased to have received much commentary this past year, in particular around education and controlling taxes.

Jennifer L. Woodbury

31 Briar Brae Road

I believe members of the RTM can better represent their constituents on important Town matters by first, making sure to educate themselves about Town issues and second, by being open to and receptive of feedback from their constituents. As a Darien resident for the past 10 years who has served in many volunteer capacities in town, if I am elected to serve on the RTM I am committed to doing both of these things to better serve my constituents in District 3.

Lisa Yarnell *

15 Kensett Lane

I first stood for election for the RTM two years ago. I wanted to help my neighbors communicate their needs and concerns to the Town. I joined the Finance and Budget committee and kept my neighbors abreast of the key issues with updates at our regular neighborhood meetings. Members of the RTM, can better represent their constituents by participating in committees, attending meetings and talking to neighbors to find out their concerns. As District III Chair this year I was able to recruit other neighbors into the RTM so that our voices in the community are now even stronger.

District IV

Poll Location: Hindley School

Vote for any 11

Question: How can members of the RTM better represent their constituents on important Town matters?

Martha A. Banks *

17 Harbor Road

I believe that every RTM member should be willing to have an email address published on the town website to enable constituents to contact them. Mine is: Such information is not currently posted on the town website. Additionally, the RTM could be more proactive in communicating with its constituents. A system should be developed that allows the RTM to communicate with voters who opt in via email address. It is one more channel to inform voters about important issues coming before the RTM.

James Cameron *

55 Dubois Stree

For ten years I have served as Program Director of Darien TV79, the Town’s gov’t television station.  I believe passionately in open, transparent, electorate-engaged government.

In addition, I have served on the Town’s website advisory panel and pushed hard to require all elected and appointed officials to post their phone number and e-mail address on the Town’s website.

Residents should be able to contact Town officials, especially their representatives on the RTM.  I wish I received more mail and calls from constituents as I value their views in deciding how to vote.

Lucy Fiore *

31 Harbor Road

No Response

Frank B. Kemp *

20 Seagate Road

RTM Members can best represent their constituents by carefully listening to their views, and then, in turn, keeping informed as to the important issues in Town.  Within the RTM, Members may best contribute by participating in their standing committees.  This participation may be at each stage of the legislative process:  hearings, drafting, committee-vetting, and the final discussions and voting on the floor.

As Chairman of the Town Government Structure and Administration Committee I have had a chance to participate in each stage of this process, and hope that my efforts have been beneficial to the constituents in our District.

Joseph D. Miceli *

22 Nickerson Lane

Being an RTM member in our form of government is a very serious position. Each RTM member casts votes on town issues representing many residents. Each RTM member should closely follow town issues as they effect their district. The most important thing an RTM member can do is stay in close contact wth their constituents who both share common interests and those who have differing interests. In other words an RTM should look at issues from all sides. This process will help RTM members arrive at decisions that are best for the town as a whole not just best for

Andrew C. Millar *

18 LaForge Road

To me, the operative word in Representative Town Meeting is “Representative”. To represent you, I need to know how you feel. The grocery store or the train platform isn’t enough. I’ve found the most effective to be sending emails to voters prior to an important vote and asking your opinion. Then I have quantitative support for my votes. I might even try Survey Monkey! That would be fun for you, too. So to join my email list, contact

Sandra A. Savage *

22 Pleasant Street

I believe by getting out in your district as much as possible and talking to as many people as you can about the issues coming before the RTM is the best way to get the information out.  Channel 79 is great because it is taping so many more of the towns meetings.  The ability to watch them is so much easier now that you can get it on demand on the towns website.

District V

Poll Location: Town Hall

Vote for any 12

Question: How can members of the RTM better represent their constituents on important Town matters?

 Carolyn Golden Bayne *

5 Windsor Road

In deciding how to vote on important town matters, RTM members must consider constituents’ views, as I did last year when I voted to fund the high school’s new cafeteria. RTM members should be easy to contact; email addresses and other contact information of all members should be on the town’s website. Members must also take time to understand the issues, attend committee meetings, and show up to the RTM to vote! In my eleven years on the RTM, I have seen resolutions pass or fail by just a few votes.

Terrence J. Duffy, Jr. *

One Lantern Lane

No Response

Kenneth A. Fiveson, Jr. *

27 Edgerton Lane

As a first step, I believe RTM members would better represent their constituents if we were able to fill every RTM member vacancy. It has been a challenge in some districts to find volunteers to commit to these positions and not having full representation hinders the RTM’s ability to accurately represent all population demographics on major town issues. We need to spread the word and find new candidates to fill every open seat.

Harry D. McLachlin *

54 Edgerton Street 

No Response

Jennifer M. Moller

3 Edgerton Court

The RTM can better represent their constituents on important town matters by doing exceptional due diligence to better understand all facts, options, and potential consequences of decisions. Similarly, each representative should be well-informed on each voting topic, without solely relying on a subcommittee’s recommendation. The RTM should also aim to be as transparent as possible – better publicizing its decision-making process, regularly communicating with interested parties, and openly seeking direct feedback from all community members.

Sara D. Parent

227 Hollow Tree Ridge Road

Constituents are best represented by the RTM when members are well informed on local, state and national issues affecting Darien. Members should strive to cultivate positive, working relationships with town officials and share information about important issues freely and in a timely manner. Effective communication is paramount. Attendance at all RTM meetings and other town Board meetings is crucial to understanding the issues facing Darien.

As an RTM member, I pledge to be as knowledgeable as possible about important town matters. I encourage my constituents to share their opinions and ideas with me so I may best represent them.

James M. Patrick *

22 Edgerton Street

Having the convenient ability for constituents to email their RTM representatives is needed but currently not available as RTM email addresses are not included on the Town website. This must change. In my neighborhood, which consists of Edgerton Street and the surrounding area, relevant information is distributed by email to approximately 75-100 households, keeping residents informed of timely issues like the Noroton Heights Re-Development. While it is not perfect, it works. The original list was created 10 years ago in preparation for an Edgerton Street Block Party by canvassing the area with flyers. My RTM email address is

Ann B. Reed *

15 Libby Lane

The best way to represent my constituents is to know what they are thinking.  I have made an effort to talk to various members of my district about issues that will affect them.  This has meant walking up to complete strangers at a game or on the street walking my dog and asking them their opinion. I urge all town residents to watch Channel 79 and let the members of the RTM know your thoughts. Our email addresses are available on the RTM page of the Town’s website; we are all happy to hear what you have to say.

William Smith, III *

2 Tyler Drive

In order to best serve their constituents, members of the RTM must be fully engaged in understanding and evaluating the matters that the RTM considers.  Active engagement in matters assigned to the committees to which a member is assigned, as well as reading all supporting documentation is essential.  Finally, a member of the RTM should actively solicit and consider the views of the residents of his/her district.  In my 10+ years on the RTM, and as a member of the Finance and Budget Committee, I have followed these principals and I look forward to continuing to serve District 5.        

District VI

Poll Location: 35 Leroy Avenue

Vote for any 11 

Question: How can members of the RTM better represent their constituents on important Town matters?
Amy R. Chickles *

24 Cliff Avenue

By speaking less and listening more to the variety of thoughts, ideas and concerns of all constituents, RTM members can better represent the entire Town.

Marie A. Handler *

2 Great Hill Road

RTM members can best represent their constituents by being open, engaged and transparent. I live in a wonderful neighborhood where everyone is open and always raising important questions about what could make our town the best. I also have two small children in the Darien public schools, allowing me to hear the thoughts of other parents. As an RTM member it is in all of these social realms that I can connect to my fellow Darien residents, listen to their concerns, and act as a conduit between them and local town government

Susan R. Lauritzen *

59 Hale Lane

No Response

Susannah E.W. Lewis

1 Great Hill Road

Open dialogue between RTM members and their constituents is crucial to constituents being well represented on important town matters. Toward that end, I believe that it would be beneficial for town residents to have the opportunity periodically to meet with RTM members from their respective districts in a forum where they could keep informed about current issues under the RTM’s consideration and, in turn, express their positions and concerns on those issues.

Martha Caroline Luz *

23 Fairview Avenue

Primarily, it’s important for me to stay informed. I read the newspaper, review RTM bulletins, search digital media, and attend my local party meetings. I try to raise important town issues in conversations when I am walking the dog, shopping for groceries, or visiting friends. Even if they are not my direct constituents, hearing other residents’ views helps inform my votes on issues. I will also reach out directly to people sometimes: I recently emailed my neighborhood list to seek out opinions on the upcoming park proposals.

Emily Quinn McDermott *

73 Locust Hill Road

To better represent our constituents on major issues, we need to know where they stand. We get some sense of that from those who attend public hearings and RTM meetings. But for the many who prefer not to attend, they still have opinions and I would like to hear them. Our town government website would be the perfect place to offer residents a link or a tab to access short surveys on current issues that government officials are debating and voting on.

Peter P. Orphanos

67 Raymond Street

No Response

Shannon Silsby *

42 Mansfield Avenue

RTM Members can better represent their constituents on all town matters by consistently doing three things:  1) deepening and sharpening their knowledge of the work of their committee while remaining mindful and informed of the larger RTM agenda, 2) providing an update to their district and soliciting feedback and 3) insuring that the voice of their district is heard at the committee and full body level.  Leveraging a digital resource to keep constituents informed is efficient, but nothing beats just talking with neighbors to gain valuable insight helpful to the RTM.

Gary C. Swenson *

4 Stony Brook Road

Being well-informed, open-minded and possessing excellent listening skills are imperative to good representation. Couple these characteristics with the knowledge that the RTM membership has their home address, telephone number(s) and e-mail readily available on the town’s website, provides accessibility to the constituency. I know that I am constantly reminding residents of the district to contact me about their concerns. TOGETHER, we will continue to make Darien a place that we are all proud to call home.

William R. Van Loan Jr. *

60 Raymond Street

No Response

Theresa Vogt

22 Circle Road

The most important word in RTM is “Representative”.  It is important that all RTM members try their best to both educate their constituents on local and state matters and gauge their opinion on those matters.  Just as importantly, one should get a cross section of opinions and not only rely on their social circle.  To that end, if elected, I intend to use social media: a Facebook page and Twitter account that would be used only for Town business as well as an email account that will allow for open lines of communication. 


District I           35 Leroy Avenue             

District II          Town Hall                  

District III          Noroton Heights Fire Department          

District IV          Hindley School

District V          Town Hall

District VI          35 Leroy Avenue


The following are the attendance records for the Representative Town Meeting members for the past year. There were six meetings in 2016 -2017 RTM calendar but some members joined after the year’s session began. The attendance record notes both how many meetings were attended as well as how many meetings for which they were eligible. Candidates on this year’s ballots are noted by **


Sarah M. Baldwin 4 out of 6

Amy Barsanti 5 out of 6

Patricia Finn Bumgardner ** 5 out of 6

Curtis A. Butler ** 3 out of 6

Taylor W. Carter 6 out of 6

Diane G. Conologue 6 out of 6

Christopher Ezbiansky 4 out of 6

Patrick M. Keane ** 3 out of 6

Colin J. Kelly ** 4 out of 6

Young-Sup Lee 6 out of 6

Derek Lublin ** 3 out of 5

Arpita Muchhal** 4 out of 4 (Note: served in District VI last year)

Bradley G Pattelli ** 5 out of 6

Lois J. Schneider ** 5 out of 6

Bert H. von Stuelpnagel ** 6 out of 6


Elisabeth C. Bacon 5 out of 6

Charles J. Boulier, IV 2 out of 6

William F. Cusack, III ** 5 out of 5

Timothy M. Goertel ** 3 out of 5

Susanne R. Handler ** 5 out of 5

James Henry Howe 3 out of 6

Monica M. McNally ** 5 out of 6

Helen (Nina) M. Miller ** 5 out of 6

Iris B. Mix ** 4 out of 5

Heather Pommernelle ** 3 out of 4

Cheryl Russell 4 out of 6

Clara C. Sartori 5 out of 6

Joann R. Sawitsky 6 out of 6

Barbara L. Thorne 5 out of 6

Stacey Tie ** 5 out of 5

Michael C. Wheeler 6 out of 6


Steven A. Anderson 2 out of 6

Robert Cardone 4 out of 6

Adele M. Conniff ** 5 out of 6

Jack H. Davis 6 out of 6

Elise Feldman ** 4 out of 5

Holly M. Giordano ** 5 out of 5

Dennis J. Maroney 6 out of 6

Carolina McGoey ** 4 out of 5

Sue-Ellen H. Mitchell ** 5 out of 5

Thomas W. Moore ** 6 out of 6

Seth W. Morton ** 6 out of 6

Peter S. Riordan ** 3 out of 5

Nicholas Vitale ** 3 out of 5

Edward A. Washecka ** 5 out of 6

Lisa Yarnell ** 5 out of 6


Martha A. Banks ** 6 out of 6

James Cameron ** 6 out of 6

Joan V. Davis 6 out of 6

Lucy Fiore ** 4 out of 6

Joseph H. Hardison, III 6 out of 6

Phyllis H. Hawkins 4 out of 6

Frank B. Kemp ** 5 out of 6

Brian P. McKay 2 out of 5

Joseph D. Miceli ** 6 out of 6

Andrew C. Millar ** 4 out of 6

Jennifer A. Montanaro 3 out of 6

Susan E. Morrison 3 out of 6

William D. Peters, III 4 out of 6

Mathew S. Raben 3 out of 5

Brian J. Rayhill 6 out of 6

Sandra A. Savage ** 6 out of 6


Mark R. Adiletta 5 out of 6

Carolyn Golden Bayne ** 6 out of 6

David F. Bayne 5 out of 6

John V. Boulton 5 out of 6

Terrence J. Duffy, Jr. ** 5 out of 5

Kenneth A. Fiveson, Jr. ** 4 out of 6

Kate E. Haueisen 2 out of 5

Marlene O. Hayes 3 out of 6

Joanne K. Hennessy 5 out of 6

David R. Martin 3 out of 5

Harry D. McLachlin ** 4 out of 6

Laura R. Mosher 6 out of 6

James M. Patrick ** 6 out of 6

Ann B. Reed ** 5 out of 5

William Smith, III ** 5 out of 5

Pamela H. Sparkman 6 out of 6

Deborah C. Ven 4 out of 5


Frank H. Adelman 5 out of 6

Carlo F. Cantavero 4 out of 6

Amy R. Chickles** 4 out of 4

Janet F. Grogan 6 out of 6

Marie A. Handler** 5 out of 5

Edgar M. Hawkins, III 5 out of 6

Susan R. Lauritzen** 1 out of 6

Martha Caroline Luz ** 5 out of 6

Emily Quinn McDermott** 6 out of 6

Arpita Muchhal** 4 out of 4

Nanci R. Natale 1 out of 6

Richard Poli 5 out of 6

Debra McGarry Ritchie 3 out of 5

Shannon Silsby** 4 out of 5

Gary C. Swenson** 6 out of 6

William R. Van Loan, Jr. ** 6 out of 6