DARIEN — Though concerns about the state’s fiscal condition are temporarily resolved with the recent signing of the bipartisan budget by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut municipalities are not in the clear.
Long range financial planning, Darien Board of Finance Chairman Jon Zagrodzky said, is still of paramount importance.
“A focus is making sure that we keep a tightly run financial ship,” Zagrodzky said.
Zagrodzky, a Republican, with fellow incumbent L. Frank Huck, will seek re-election this Nov. 7, alongside two newcomers, Robert Cardone and Paul B. Hendrickson, both Republicans, in what will be an uncontested race to fill out the seven-member Board of Finance. Republicans David Lopiano and Bruce Orr are not seeking re-election.
“In terms of top priorities, obviously we have two new board members joining, replacing two retiring members. So making sure they get up to speed and get included with everything we’re doing,” Zagrodzky said.
Zagrodksy, who was born in California and raised in Houston, Texas, joined the board in 2008. He received his bachelor’s in economics and Romance languages from Washington & Lee University and his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently Chief Operating Officer for Rhone Group, a private equity firm with offices in New York and London.
Aside from getting the new members up to speed, Zagrodzky said a focus for the board will be to remain fiscally sound.
“If you study the current deal that’s been passed by a veto-proof margin, you find a lot of pain and suffering that towns were facing, particularly towns with a lot of money, like Darien, didn’t come to pass,” Zagrodzky said.
Specifically, municipalities will not be asked to share part of the teacher’s pension and will still receive reimbursements from the state on special education spending.
“Even though they didn’t do that this year, the state’s finances are still in bad shape. We need to be vigilant,” Zagrodzky added.
Huck, who is finishing his first four-year term on the board, also noted the state’s finances as a key issue in the upcoming term.
“I'm hoping to help Darien respond successfully to the political and fiscal transitions that have begun in Hartford, as the State necessarily moves to address financial issues long in the making,” Huck said. These issues will lead to difficult decisions but making them well will, for both the State and Darien, create some possible opportunities.”
Huck grew up in Washington and went to Harvard College and Stanford Law School. He worked as a lawyer in Manhattan with Simpson Thatcher & Barlett.
“He’s one of the smartest guys around. Because he’s retired and very smart and level-headed, I asked him to be Vice Chairman and I have to say it’s been a terrific partnership. He’s got a planet-sized brain,” Zagrodzky said.
The newcomer Cardone currently serves on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) and is vice chairman of the Finance and Budget Subcommittee. He is currently Vice President and Controller at Remedy Partners.
Paul Hendrickson recently retired from his role as business manager at Ridgefield Public Schools and has previously served on both the Board of Finance and the Board of Selectmen in Darien.
“If you think about the quality of people joining the board, they’re fantastic. We’ve got to have the best Board of Finance in the state of Connecticut,” Zagrodzky said. “It’s an intellectually diverse board and a great group of people. Anyone could be chairman.”