Editor's note: The Darien News gave each Representative Town Meeting candidate the opportunity to submit photos. Five candidates did not provide photos as requested.
Election Day is Nov. 5. While a majority of the positions are not contested, District 4 in the Representative Town Meeting includes 12 people vying for 10 spots.
The Darien News posed the following two questions to the candidates to help voters make their decision at the polls.
1. What experience do you have that would make you an ideal member of the RTM?
2. What do you see as the most important issue that the town will face during your term and how would you approach it?
Martha Banks (D):
Profession: Commodity chemical purchasing and project management at International Paper Company and Procter & Gamble
Civic involvement: Board of directors of Darien's League of Women Voters; former chairman of nominating for the Darien Democratic Town Committee; former co-chairman of the Council of Darien School Parents; and Tokeneke PTO.
1. Having served nine years on the Board of Finance (five as vice chairman), I have a deep understanding of all components of the town budget. I am willing to ask tough questions and have a reputation for being thoughtful, independent and making fact-based decisions.
2. To develop budgets and projects which enhance the quality of life in Darien while maintaining a sensible mill rate. To do that, town operations must be made more efficient and capital proposals carefully validated and prioritized against a long-term plan.
Jim Cameron (D):
Profession: President and CEO of Cameron Communications Inc.
Civic involvement: Program director and co-founder of TV79; Darien representative for Area 9 Cable Council; Coastal Corridor Transportation Investment Areas -- transportation advisory board -- at large; chairman of Metro North/Shore Line East CT Rail Commuter Council; Worship Committee, member of adult choir at St. Luke's Church.
1. I've lived in Darien with my family for more than 20 years, served on the RTM for 10 years and on the CT Metro-North Commuter Council for 19 years. Our daughter went through the Darien public schools and my wife and I are active in community work.
2. The biggest issue in town government is openness and transparency which is why I helped start and still run Darien TV79. I believe every resident should know how town government works and have a say in decisions being made that affect their lives.
Werner Domittner (U):
Profession: Consultant for consumer packaged goods and services clients -- independently and in partnership with Retail Strategy Partners, LLC
Civic involvement: RTM, Finance and Budget Committee
1. I have been managing businesses and organizations as a senior executive with the ability to bridge different perspectives and opinions to achieve alignment on key issues. I am currently serving on the RTM Finance & Budget Committee and liaised a moderate tax increase without compromising on our excellent education and town services.
2. I believe that we need to diligently work through the Special Education issue and help reconcile parents with the administration. Re-establishing mutual trust over time will be essential for all of us to progress beyond this issue. I intend to play an active part in this as a member of the Finance & Budget Committee working with the Board of Education.
Lucy Fiore (R):
Profession: Former president of Milby Associates Public Relations
1. I have been a member of the RTM for a little over three years. Originally I was appointed because my District needed volunteers. I am not a politician or an activist. I am a volunteer and was happy to fill the void. I started out working on the Parks and Rec Committee and for the past two years I have served as the clerk of PZ&H. I am an active RTM member and attend the meetings.
2. The most important issues to me are Housing, Education, Finance and traffic. I have lived in Darien for 10 years and have two daughters in our top rated schools.
Jay Hardison (R):
Profession: Founder and CEO of Interest Capturing Systems, LLC,
Civic involvement: RTM member since 2011, served on Parks and Recreation and Public Works committees; board of directors for Darien Junior Football League; past vice president for Darien Y Piranhas Parents Association; past Darien Junior Football League coach; past Darien Youth Lacrosse coach, past Connecticut Chargers Lacrosse coach; member of the Noroton Presbyterian Church.
1. Twenty-year resident, two kids that have gone through the education system here, 15-year Wall Street career, eight years as the founder of an Internet-based financial start-up; I bring financial experience and an intense interest in our school system to my role on the RTM.
2. Our town debt at our self-imposed $100 million threshold. Having a threshold assures we reach it. Pay down the DHS debt, as scheduled, and lower the debt ceiling to $50 million. We need to say NO to whimsical property purchases and other projects the benefit a select few.
Frank Kemp (D):
Profession: Chief information officer, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, retired
Civic involvement: Person-to-Person Board of Directors and scholarship program; past commander and instructor of safe boating at Darien Sail and Power Squadron; board of directors and president of Darien Arts Center; member of the advisory commission on coastal waters; membership committee for Darien Men's Association.
1. I have been a member of the RTM since 2001, serving on the Public Works, the Town Government Structure and Administration and the Rules Committee. I have participated in the research and preparation for RTM meetings where the issues are debated and decided.
2. Budget and education priorities are most critical issues for the town and they will be my focus. In addition, I would like to continue the TGS&A's project that is bringing the Town Charter up to date by removing obsolete language and inserting relevant documentation of current best practices.
Joe Miceli (R):
Profession: Dentist, Middlesex Dental Group
Civic involvement: Board of Education (1985-91); Board of Selectmen (1991-2005); elementary school building committee (1993-97); committee to improve town services (1995); served on charter revision committee.
1. I served on the Darien Board of Education from 1985 to 1991, then on the Board of Selectmen from 1991 to 2005. I served on the elementary school building committee from 1993 to 1997, I chaired the committee to improve town services in 1995 and served on the most recent Charter Revision Commission.
2. I feel that the issue I would like to address in town government is the widening of the gap between town boards and the public. I would use the powers available to the RTM through the charter to create more transparency to narrow that gap.
Profession: Global pharmaceutical IT manager
Civic involvement: 17 years on the RTM; 10 years on Finance & Budget committee, including one year as clerk. Currently on the Parks & Recreation committee.
1. During the 17 years you have elected me to represent you in RTM, I have worked toward the goal of minimizing your property tax increases.
2. Currently I serve on the RTM Parks and Recreation Committee and have long supported keeping our parks, beaches and recreation programs clean, attractive, well maintained and affordable.
Susan Morrison (R):
Profession: Teacher, Middlesex Middle School
Civic involvement: Former Hindley School PTO co-chairman, CDSP budget representative.
1. A Darien resident for 32 years, is a former Hindley School PTO co-chairman and CDSP budget representative. Has served on the RTM and education committee for 16 years.
2. One of the most important issues we face is maintaining a level of excellence in our schools, for all of our students. As a career educator, I have experience and insights that make me uniquely qualified to ask the right questions and to help the RTM make the best decisions for my constituents.
William Peters (R):
Profession: CEO, Osborne & Little Inc
Civic involvement: Darien Junior Football League board member 12-plus years. Volunteer, Noroton Fire Department, 20-plus years
1. RTM Representative four years, Darien Junior Football League board member 12 -plus years. Volunteer, Noroton Fire Dept. 20-plus years
2. Improving the quality of life for every resident in Darien. This includes education, parks and recreation, emergency services, social services, and the fiscal responsibility of our town government. As a member of the RTM, I will promote and vote for opportunities that come before us that meet this criteria.
Sandra Savage (R):
Profession: Aide in the Darien public schools
Civic involvement: RTM
1. I am a mother of four and have lived in Darien for 25 years. I work for the Public Schools as an aide. I feel that I can bring knowledge of the schools to the RTM.
2. The schools are the No. 1 issue this year. The elementary schools are out of room and need to be added on to make room for the increased enrollment. We as a town have increased the size of Allen O'Neill, and properties have been purchased and been developed for increased numbers of families. We still do not know what is happening with the Heights property but this could have a huge impact on the number of children that could move into the district.