We reached out to both the Haddam Republican Town Committee and the Haddam Democratic Town Committee and asked candidates to respond to a set of questions; if a candidate did not respond, their name is listed, so that you know who is running for each office. Updates from all candidates are welcome, and will be published as Letters to the Editor. The questions posed to the candidates were:
Marc Adelberg (Unaffiliated, but endorsed by the Republicans)
Marc Adelberg is a husband, a father, and your fellow neighbor who believes in civic duty through volunteering. He has lived in Haddam for the past 7 years with his wife and 3 school age children. He has an MBA degree and he currently works as a Division Administrator at Yale University. Marc manages the business of a surgery group where he is responsible for a budget of $10 million. When he lived in Bethany,
Connecticut, Marc served on several commissions and was on the Board of Directors of the Bethany Land Trust.
Marc currently serves on the Finance Committee for the American Association of Surgical Administrators. It is very important to elect the right person to the Board of Finance since the financial health of our town is critical to us all. Marc is a fiscally conservative person by nature, so a priority for him is to maintain our AAA bond rating for the town since we have limited resources. However, his vision is that it is important for us as a community to decide what investments we need to make in the town to bring us together.
Marc pledges that he will work hard for transparency regarding the financials of the town and how decisions are arrived at. He also has a personal goal that he wants to champion what we can do to make the finances more easily understandable by improving the way the information is presented. He has done this for his career, and would like to help accomplish this for our town.
David Carini (Democrat)
Born in Haddam, I currently live with my wife and two of our three children in the old Undina Farmhouse that we have restored over the last 20 years. Two of my children are in their senior year at HK and I have two grandchildren that live in Maine. I have a long history of working with Fortune 500 companies. I have been with my current employer for the last 15 years where I manage approximately $25,000,000 in revenue with 300 employees. In my spare time, I have been involved with various activities: renovating a fixer upper, training for ½ marathon, volunteering for the CT River Conservation District, and attending my daughter’s basketball games.
Haddam is currently in a position with many opportunities ahead of us. We will acquire HES, there is talk of a new town garage, Higganum Village, Tylerville, and the Scovil Hoe building to name a few. It is vital that a plan that also includes how to pay for all of the great things that could happen for us is in place and understood by all the citizens.
Lately, bonding has been the preferred method to take care of needed items for the town. While this can be a great option, we need to be careful of how much debt the town will take on. It is important for all of us to understand various ways to make these things happen. As a member of the board of finance, I can utilize the skills I have acquired in my personal and professional life to add value to the board.
I love living in Haddam. The school district has been great for my children. They have been able to excel academically while still experiencing activities that round them out. My neighbors are wonderful, always keeping an eye on things and supporting each other. It’s great bumping into everyone I know while taking a walk or shopping at the market.
Haddam is a great small town. I want to help ensure that it keeps its character while we move into the future. Enhancing what we have while being fiscally prudent with the opportunities before us will take many people working together to produce a great outcome. I am up for the mission. It’s important to me!
Dave Challenger (Republican)
Dave is running for full membership on the Board of Finance after previously serving as an alternate on that board. He believes it is important to maintain our infrastructure in a cost-effective manner, while assuring that our Fire and Public Works Departments have the proper equipment that they require to safely do their jobs and to provide services to our residents. By managing our limited financial resources effectively, he says that we can maintain our high AAA bond rating and provide the roads and services that we all need.
Dave has lived in Higganum for 13 years, is married to his wife Sharon for 33 years, and has a son and daughter-in-law and three grand-children. He is well-qualified to serve since his career included employment at The Travelers Insurance Company, General Electric, Keane, and Aetna Insurance Company where he had financial and operations responsibilities and experience preparing and managing budgets of up to $35 million dollars. Since his retirement in 2013, Dave is a Moderator for the town elections in addition to serving as an alternate on the Board of Finance.
Sean Moriarty (Democrat)
I am a long-time resident of Higganum who has raised two children through the HK school system with my wife, Tanja Buzzi Moriarty.
Over the years, I’ve served Haddam in various roles as a member of the board of finance and the infrastructure committee. I’ve coached youth basketball and soccer teams. I march as Desert Storm Veteran in the local Memorial Day parade honoring those who have given their lives so we can live freely in this country and town.
Now that I am retired from 31 years as a municipal police officer, I am able to bring invaluable career experience to the Town of Haddam. As a Lieutenant and Captain, I’ve worked collaboratively with several municipal and private agencies including public works, the Fire Department, the Ambulance Service, Health Department, Parks and Rec, along with Middlesex Community College and Wesleyan University.
I managed the Patrol Division comprised of 80 sworn and civilian personnel, patrol supervisors and officers, the traffic unit, Animal control, Marine unit, and S.W.A.T.
I am eager to bring my managerial and budgetary skills, as well as respect for all people to the Town of Haddam.
I am currently on the board of finance and would like to continue to assist in developing honest budgets, either as member of the board of finance or the board of selectmen, that not only address the immediate financial needs of Haddam but also properly plan for the future. We just borrowed seven million dollars to “catch up” with items that have gone unfunded for quite some time. Haddam needs to get back to a true Capital Plan. A Capital Plan should look out for at least five to ten years to determine what large expense items will be needed and money should be set aside each year to reach the long-term goals. I helped develop and administer the police department’s $13,000,000 budget—I know how to trim fat from a municipal budget by utilizing a zero-based budget process and will encourage this strategy at budget time.
The important issue facing Haddam as far as the board of finance is concerned is developing budgets that are honest without hidden fat. The budgets should reflect the needs of the town and fund those first. Only then, can a budget look to the wants of the town and see if those can be funded. This can be achieved by starting each line item at a zero, not at what was given the year prior. Building the budget up from zero, based on “needs,” will save money and help fund some of the “wants.”
One of my absolute favorite things in Haddam is the Memorial Day Parade. As a Veteran it makes me proud that my town has not forgotten the brave women and men who have served their country and gave all to it. The camaraderie and reverence that the people display at the parade exemplifies what it means to live in a small town.
Our school system is top notch. The teachers show their dedication every day. Our parents are truly involved in their children’s education, which is something you do not see in all towns.
It has been my experience over the 31 years that I have been a resident, the people of the town really pull together in tough times. Whether it is an illness, tragic fire, or loss, we seem to put aside our differences and reach out to help lift each other up.
As I stated earlier, I am experienced in working with large municipal budgets. I feel this experience will lend itself to helping Haddam spend its money wisely, which will keep our taxes at a reasonable level. In order for this to happen, the board of finance must work together, respecting each other’s input in a united fashion.
Wayne Rutty (Republican)
Wayne M. Rutty and his wife Susan have been lifelong residents of Haddam. They have raised their two sons in town. Wayne is retired from Middlesex Hospital where he worked for 40 years as the Project Manager.
Wayne has been a member of the Board of Finance for the last 16 years, including serving as Chairman. He currently serves as an Alternate, and with his wealth of knowledge and experience, he is well-qualified to regain a position as a full member of the board.
In addition, Wayne was the Treasurer of the District #17 Board of Education, and a member for 4 years. He also served as Board Chairman of the Charter Revision Committee in 2017. Wayne has recently taken on the position of Senior Van Driver for the Town of Haddam.
Melissa Schlag (Democrat)
I’ve been honored to spend more than a decade volunteering and serving Haddam in various ways. I am proud of my time as first selectman and now selectman and I would be honored to serve you again on the board of finance.
As first selectman, I gained a deep insight into the departmental budgets. While diligently researching and economizing, I was able cut the budget by nearly 10 percent the first year. Unfortunately, Haddam historically over-budgets and the board of finance at the time did not keep the savings I found. At the end of the fiscal year, Haddam again had a surplus that could have been used to reduce taxes.
Over-budgeting means each department was not using all of the money allocated to them in a fiscal year, which pads the bottom line, unnecessarily adds to the surplus, and overtaxes residents.
It’s time for accountability on the board of finance, and I will work hard to bring back the checks and balances we have been missing.
- I will utilize a zero-based budgeting system, and have more oversight over departmental budgets.
- I will make sure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and for the benefit of all (Take Chatham Lake for example, paying for dam repairs should come with a guarantee that the town will benefit from using our new lake and open space, not hand it over to a few property owners for free.)
- I will work on a responsible and sound 10-year capital plan and only bond for items like major road reconstruction.
- I will ensure straightforward budget reports that will clearly show what is received as income and how the town is spending taxpayers’ money.
- I will support investment in the right technology to save money and improve needed services. For example, I support instituting credit card capabilities at the transfer station and in the town offices, as well as support online applications.
I was honored to serve on the Municipal Opportunities Regional Efficiencies Commission at the state, and was working with other towns and cities to reduce expenses through shared services. We also worked with state officials and looked at unfunded mandates and how the state could help municipalities.
I know the municipal budget in and out and am not afraid to dig in and make tough decisions; I know local and state leaders, and will support shared services and use creative methods to save money; and I know what can be streamlined without reducing important services.
The role of the board of finance should not be to make the administration look good by using accounting gimmicks to hide budget increases; the board of finance should look out for the checkbooks of every taxpayer to ensure we have the best services at the right price.
I would be proud to serve you on the board of finance and promise integrity, fairness, transparency, and communication with all residents.
You can reach out to me anytime at email@example.com.
Robin Spencer-Klimaszewski (Democrat)
As a fourth generation Haddamite, I still live in my family home near Spencer’s Haddam Shad Shack, our family business. My son will be graduating from HK this year.
My grandfather and father owned several businesses in town, and at age 10, I started helping out at Spencer Amusements and the Shad Shack.
I’ve worked at Middlesex Hospital since 1990 and love my job helping people of our community. I also volunteer with rescue dogs by transporting them to their forever homes. If I’m not on a beach somewhere, I’m spending my downtime with my rescue dogs.
I love our town and its deep history and want to bring back the friendly, united atmosphere I remember growing up here.
I’m honored to be running for board of finance and will serve with honesty and integrity. I will help bring back fiscally responsible budgets to ensure a bright and affordable future for the next generation.
Tim Teran (Democrat)
My family has been part of the Haddam community for almost 70 years. My grandparents (Mr. and Mrs. Cecil M. Moore) moved here in the early 1950s.
I grew up spending summers and holidays on the Landing in Higganum and moved here full time in 2014 because I just had to be “back on the river.” Over the years, my wife and I have been active supporters of our volunteer fire and ambulance teams, as well as the Haddam Historical Society and The Haddam Scholarship Fund. My two sons also had the pleasure of being taught at HES.
Haddam is one of the most naturally beautiful towns in New England—from Higganum Cove to Haddam Meadows; from The Landing to Walkley Hill; from the Higganum-Durham Road to Swan Hill and Bible Rock—we live in a very special place. I love this town and the people that make it our town. Now I would like to give back to the people that have made and continue to make me feel like this is a very special place.
My finance experience includes being a Managing Director at Citigroup (Citibank) and heading up customer strategy at Macy’s. I have also been a frequent guest lecturer at Columbia’s and University of Pennsylvania’s business schools.
Having left the corporate world behind to be in Haddam fulltime and I am active in consulting with non-profit organizations around the world helping individuals, businesses, and communities find pathways to better, more sustainable livelihoods. Closer to home I am an avid photographer, boater and gardener—although this year you wouldn’t know it by my tomato crop!
Recent events have presented Haddam with numerous opportunities to grow our community while maintaining the quality of life and scenic beauty that brought us and keeps us here. I passionately believe that when the people of Haddam unite they can do anything. This means making the choices on how, when, and where we spend money to create a bright future for all. I would like to have the privilege of helping us do that.
Prem Aithal (Republican) Board of Finance Alternate (6-year term)
Prem has been a resident of Higganum for almost 10 years. He lives with his wife Becky, a kindergarten teacher at RSD#17, and they have a lovely 6-year old daughter.
Prem currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Economic Development Commission and is a newer member of the Capital Planning Committee. He is working hard with the EDC team to make our Farmers’ Market more vibrant. Prem is currently the Senior Finance Director at Anthem, Inc. He has been at Anthem for almost 15 years, working on the ever-changing Individual Segment which forces him to pivot and look for solutions on a daily basis. He has a CPA license, a BS degree in Accounting from Babson College, and a MS degree in Accounting from UConn. Most important to him, Prem is a cancer survivor and actively fundraises for the V Foundation, which uses 100% of its raised funds for cancer research.
Prem asks for your vote for a 6-year term as a Board of Finance Alternate because he believes that he can help find creative solutions and help us reach new heights by working together as a team.
Peter Baird (Democrat) Board of Finance Alternate
My wife Jane and I moved to Haddam 17 years ago, and have raised two children in town. For the last twelve years, I have worked as a social and health policy researcher for a company called MDRC, evaluating ways to increase employment and improve the lives of veterans and people with disabilities.
I love Haddam for its character, people and natural beauty, and am a regular customer at all the businesses near my home in Higganum Center. Supporting our great local businesses is key to our town’s health! You’ll also frequently see me hiking and bicycling around town and enjoying our scenic beauty.
I previously served for six years on the town’s planning and zoning commission and more recently was deeply involved in the effort to save and protect Haddam Elementary School.
While restraining spending is a key to keeping our taxes affordable, another part of that strategy must include developing lively, walkable, and livable spaces for our town centers in order to make it a desirable place to live. With the purchase of HES, possible relocation of public works, and the creative thinking about inexpensive public septic systems, we now can do some serious planning. However, that planning comes with a price tag. As a board of finance member, I will work to balance needs and wants, and promise to listen to each request with openness. I will serve with transparency and fairness to create honest budgets and work to keep the public informed of our finances and decisions.
I look forward to serving all of Haddam to build a bright, affordable future for our town.
Audrey Brookes (Republican) Board of Finance Alternate (2 year term)
Audrey Brookes and her husband Scott are lifelong residents of Haddam. They share four adult children, all graduates of Haddam-Killingworth High School. Audrey has spent many years volunteering in the community. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Village Parks Society.
For the last 28 years Audrey has worked in accounts receivable and presently works for Apple Rehab as an AR Coordinator. She is seeking the alternate seat for the Board of Finance this November and is asking for your support.
Michelle Burr Caron (Democrat) Board of Finance Alternate
Born and raised in Connecticut, I enjoyed time at the sub base in Groton when my father, a Vietnam veteran, served in the Navy. I moved to Haddam in 2001 and my older son graduated from HK. I’m currently homeschooling my younger son.
For over a decade, I have been involved in helping our community in many ways. I’ve volunteered at Haddam and Burr Elementary Schools, the middle school, Haddam Little League, and I’m currently volunteering at a church food pantry. Last year I joined the Save HES movement because I believe that a community school adds to the social fabric of our town and is an economic driver for our center.
I was asked to run for the board of finance and am honored and excited for the opportunity to help with major decisions facing Haddam in the next few years. From the future planning for HES, to finding creative ways to save money without jeopardizing important services, to ensuring transparency of our finances, I look forward to giving back to the community I love in my next adventure on the board of finance. I will work to ensure fair and efficient budgets, and push to increase communication about our finances with the public.
We all love Haddam and I believe bringing people together will make us a stronger community. I look forward to the opportunity to serve you on the board of finance.