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Norwalk Dem Candidate: Campaign Is About Issues

This letter by Andy Garfunkel is a response to the controversy over his promise to conduct a nationwide search for a new police chief if he becomes mayor.

Campaigns are about ideas on how to address the issues facing a municipality. Presumably the candidates will differ on their ideas, thus giving voters a choice. In many cases, that choice is staying with the status quo or changing the way a municipality conducts its business.

Simply stated in December 2012, Norwalk will need a new chief of police. This is an issue that is facing our city. Norwalk residents deserve to hear from us, the mayoral candidates, on our ideas on appointing the next chief of police. As a candidate for mayor, I have taken a pro-active position. As the sixth-largest city in the state of Connecticut, I believe we should conduct a national search for the next chief of police. I believe in casting a wide net with the goal of hiring the most qualified to lead our outstanding police force. This inclusive search process allows candidates from within the Norwalk Police Department to apply for the position.

The process is conducted by the Police Commission, which is comprised of three commissioners, the mayor and two other commissioners appointed by the mayor.

The Norwalk community needs to hear that there is a plan and process in place to appoint the next chief of police to lead our force. The mayor, in his comments, failed to articulate his plan and the process for selecting the next chief of police. Instead, he unfortunately made this a partisan issue and one about individuals, which it is neither. The mayor in his comments put personnel matters on the forefront – the front page of the Norwalk Hour – demonstrating the lack of regard for city employees. The mayor in his comments may lead some readers to believe the next chief of police has been selected already.

Norwalk deserves the best. Whether the next chief of police rises from the ranks of our own police department or comes from another community, Norwalk residents need to know the selection process for the next chief of police will be inclusive, fair and rigorous.

Andy Garfunkel

Democratic candidate for mayor

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