NORWALK, Conn. – A sign hung on the closed door of a key room at City Hall Wednesday night, informing the public that the special meeting of the Norwalk Board of Education's Finance Committee had been canceled.
But the committee chairman says he knew nothing about it. "I came to City Hall prepared to discuss the deficit issue and had copies of my research to share with the public," said Steven Colarossi, who is a lawyer.
Members of the committee were expected to investigate the cause of the recently uncovered $4 million deficit. They were also expected to discuss options, some of them laid out in five plans Colarossi circulated before the deficit came to light.
The sign was a mistake, he said. "The meeting was called to order at 7:31, but there was no quorum," he said in an email. "A sign was put up that the meeting was canceled, but it was done in error."
He wouldn't comment on the motives for putting up a sign that would deter the public from opening the closed door, where a public meeting was expected to occur and board members were attempting to make a quorum so they could address what one parent called the "dire straits" the school system is in.
"I have no comment as to why Jack Chiaramonte told Superintendent [Susan] Marks to put up a sign indicating that the meeting had been canceled," he said by email. "I had not been informed that anyone had suggested that the meeting was canceled. I did not authorize that the meeting be canceled."
"It's just a major misunderstanding," said Chiaramonte, the school board chairman. "What's the big deal?" Something came up, and he has a paying job that takes precedence. Rosa Murray, the other person on the three-person committee, could not make it. Chiaramonte pointed out that she has been arriving at meetings late because of her other commitments.
Chiaramonte said he had suggested having the meeting Thursday. "How can you have a quorum with one person?" he asked.
The next meeting of the Finance Committee will be at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday in Room A300 of City Hall, Chiaramonte said.