Here is a look at the 2013 Town Council candidates:
152 Brookview Drive, Vernon 860-573-6544
Employment: President Mikro Industrial Finishing Vernon, CT.
Town Council 1990-1997, Deputy Mayor 1991-1995
Current Building Code Appeal Hearing Officer
"The most important issues are taxes and spending, every day, of any term."
Past member, Vernon Junior women’s Club, Conservation Chair, Initiated the Survey by the National Audubon Society in 1968 for Valley Falls Nature Center, in Valley Falls Park.
President and founding member, Friends of Valley Falls Park.
Member, Friends of Hockanum Linear Park.
Member, Open Space Task Force.
President and Founding member, Vernon Garden Club.
Member, Vernon Historical Society.
Board of Directors, Connecticut Horticultural Society, Awards Chair (6 years), Member of Finance Committee.
Master Gardener, 2001.
Board of Directors, President, Tolland County Agricultural Center.
Board of Directors, Vernon Community Arts Center.
President, Conn. Chapter, North American Rock Garden Society.
EARTHWATCH Field Representative, 1986-1996, Science Expeditions: Wales, Scotland, Turkey, Fiji, Vladivlostok, Russsia.
Retired teacher, Chemistry, Math, Resource Teacher Gifted and Talented Program ( Grades 6-12).
Vernon Teacher of the Year, 1991.
BS in Chemistry, Math.
MS in Marine Environmental Science.
Married, 2 Children.
Vernon resident 51 years.
Strong interest in the Environment and Education, mainly the push to privatize our public.
"The time has come to form a Charter Revision Committee to address:
1. Adoption of a Town Manager form of Government
2. Protection against violation of the Town Charter
3. Direct referendum preceded by a Town Meeting
4. Allowance of the Town Financial Officer to serve as Purchasing Agent for the Town.
I would address the issue by requesting an Agenda Item to allow the presentation of information to Members of the Town Council for discussion."
1158 Hartford Turnpike
Employment: President/CEO State Farm Insurance of Vernon
Education: BA Binghampton University
Current member Town Council since 2011
"I believe the biggest issue the town faces is how to keep taxes low while continuing to maintain the level of services our residents have come to expect."
"All too often I think elected leaders believe that by increasing spending or throwing money at a problem, it can be solved. I don't think that way. As a business owner and entrepreneur, I know that you first must understand what the problem is and then develop solutions to solve it, not the other way around. Government needs to think the same way in order to be more responsible to the people we represent".
In the coming term, we will address education, economic development, road infrastructure and our hospital, just to name a few. If elected, I encourage residents to contact me directly with your thoughts and ideas. I am here to serve your interests."
Vernon Resident 63 years
married to Carl 45 years
4 children 7 grandchildren
Former Board of Ed. 12 years
Former Town Council 12 years
Member Vernon Senior Citizen Advisory Bd.
Vernon Traffic Authority
Vernon Summer Days Carnival Exec. Bd. 5 years
Vernon Lions Club
Vernon Historical Society
Vernon Fire Dept. Toys for Tykes
Rockville Downtown Assoc.
Fund raiser for Veteran Home at 1 Ellington Ave.
"The biggest issue that I see facing the town of Vernon is money and how and where to spend it.
"Everyone wants to have their share and special interest projects but know one wants to see their taxes go higher. We want better schools, better and safe roads and sidewalks , police, fire and ambulance services to be there when we need them and in top performing condition. Where and how we try to make this happen, there is a need to bring in more revenue monies with more economic development and grant money from the state and federal government."
103 Vernwood Dr.
Spouse: Penny Children: Shannon, Shawna, Anthony
Employment: Systems Analyst at Travelers
Current Member Town Council since 1999
Deputy Mayor Since 2007
"It is my opinion, Economic Development, large and small, goes a long way toward providing a solution for all of our problems. The First Alliance Development in Downtown Rockville, ensuring the Hospital’s existence, redeveloping the mills, sensible commercial development in smart locations throughout our town will bring in Tax Revenue.
Tax revenue will drive our ability to address the problems existing in our Education system, our infrastructure and whatever other situations arise. Plus, there are unforeseen problems on our horizon that will need our attention. Creating a bigger economic engine in Vernon will help all of us and give us more tools and money to use to address our challenges now and in the future.
It will provide jobs, bring in needed business to support the increased needs of people with those jobs, and build upon itself continually. This is not to downplay or ignore the other issues. We still have to address our other issues, education, infrastructure, our budget etc. Tax revenue will help us to solve these other challenges of ours.
We need to support First Alliance’s project to redevelop downtown Rockville. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We must embrace the project and put any resource into it we can to make it work. Our entire populace should get behind this project. I will continue to advocate for the successful completion of this project.
Additionally we must do whatever is in our power to keep Rockville Hospital in business in Rockville, regardless of a sale or not. I will continue to advocate for a discussion between the stakeholders and the community, as planned, prior to a sale. And after that I will demand Vernon receive guarantees that a contingency of the sale include retaining the Hospital in Rockville. If a sale goes through I will advocate for a similar discussion to occur with the new owners. This hospital is a key component to Rockville.
We must retain this facility in Downtown Rockville.
I will advocate continuing the current administrations Economic Development plans. We need to actively pursue businesses to expand, relocate or start in Vernon.
Let’s support economic development and utilize the newly found revenue to solve Vernon’s problems and ensure services remain intact."
30 North Park St.
I am a small business owner with 16 years of experience so budgeting comes easy. As a mother, I have an interest n our education system. I strongly support and contribute to my community.
"Roads will be the first important issue. Homeowners pay property taxes, and can’t have decent roads?
"Vernon needs to stop constantly spending money every year to patch the worst roads and rebuild them instead. Over time, it will cost less.
"The gateway roads leading to Vernon from surrounding towns should be worked on first. Nice roads will help make Vernon a beautiful and attractive place.
"Establish a rotation and repair roads as money becomes available."
214 Tracy Dr.
Employment: Retired Teaching, Army Veteran
Education: BSEE, MS Technology Education
Past President – Rockville Fish and Game Club
Current Member Town Council since 2005
29 Gottier Dr.
Occupation Retired, United Technologies Corporation (UTC);
Education BA - Business and Economics,
University of Massachusetts, 1960
M.B.A. - Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute, 1983
Experience / qualifications
30 years at United Technologies Research Center, responsible for control of multi-million dollar project budgets, government contracting & negotiating, and staff operations; served on the Center's Leadership Council.
Over 40 years community volunteer, including 19 years on the Conservation/Wetlands Commission; 15 years chairman of the Open Space Task Force; 40 years on Hockanum River Linear Park Committee; and on the Boards of several local and state non-profit organizations.
Married, four children, ten grandchildren, Vernon resident for 47 years.
"With a Bachelor's and MBA degrees, I bring over 30 years corporate business experience at UTC Research Center to the table. As a 47-year Vernon resident and community volunteer, including 19 years on the Conservation / Wetlands Commission, and 15 years as Chairman of the Open Space Task Force, I bring an understanding of our government, our lands, and our people. I will work for open, accessible government; a collaborative Town Council; and respect for the authority of our Town Charter."
"The biggest issue is that our former blue-ribbon school system is now in the bottom 30 systems in the state. To address the issue effectively, we first need to get a good understanding of the root causes of the problem. All players, from Council members to educators to citizens, need to have a common understanding of these causes, so that we can address the problems effectively, and with the most efficient allocation of school budget funds.
"This problem did not happen overnight. It must have been happening gradually over several years. I have no doubt that had there been an open, collaborative environment with more debate and better communication on our boards and between our boards and staff, that some of these root causes would have surfaced in prior years. Stifling of democratic process, caucus of Republican majority before nearly every key vote (why??), and suppression of minority party views, also suppressed the problems and root causes that might have otherwise surfaced in a trusted working environment.
"Bottom line, to address the problem I would 1): Understand the root causes, get outside, professional help in this analysis, if needed. 2). Communicate results to all players, including citizens. 3) Ensure that all voices are respected at all Town Council and B of E meetings, and that all boards are open to listening to citizen input and town staff input. The people tell it like it is. We need to listen to them. I will do that."
117 Brookview Dr.
Employment: Engineering Consultant, Pratt & Whitney
Education: BS Mechanical Engineering, South Dakota; MSME RPI
Current member Town Council since 2011
"The biggest issues in Vernon are quite frankly schools and taxes and we need to strike a balance between the two.Secondary issues include development of downtown Rockville which looks like it has a lot of possibilities. Additionally the town must approve the bond issue in January to improve the roads."
Sarah is married and has one child. As a former member of Planning and Zoning and Historical Properties Commissios, she understands how protecting our heritage can lead to economic development.
"The biggest issue for the coming term? Revitalize downtown Rockville by taking a proactive approach: all of the appropriate town commissions together with the economic development commission and the office of economic development coordinator should work together, with input from residents, to draw up a comprehensive plan for downtown Rockville, a plan that can actively be promoted by the town’s economic development commission and the office of economic development."
81 Ravens Croft
Employment: President, Clay Furniture industries
Spouse: Richard Children: Chelsea, Ricky, Cara
Past – Secretary VCMS PTO & Treasurer CRS PTO
Current member Town Council since 2013
"If elected, I will support economic development in Vernon.Major development in downtown Rockville, especially supporting the move of First Alliance Lending to the area will enhance the area dramatically and show how interesting and beautiful a gem it is. Creating jobs and bringing other businesses to Vernon will help the tax base as we look for ways to keep the tax increases in check.
"I also support the road improvement bonding. I think Uconn's program that Dept of Public Works implemented is an excellent way to manage our many roads and maintain them over a long period of time.
"I will also be looking to support our education system and promote our excellent teachers and curriculum that is afforded all students in Vernon."
President and Board member for the Vernon Community Network Organization
Vice-President of the Rockville Community Alliance 2011, member since 2007
Business Manager and Executive Director of the Miss Greater Rockville Scholarship Competition
Coordinator of the July in the Sky Push, Pull, Pedal Parade
Justice of the Peace for the state of Connecticut
Miss Greater Rockville Scholarship Competition
July in the Sky
National Night Out
Neighborhood Advocate events
First Chair of the Neighborhood Advocate Program.
Notary Public for the State of Connecticut
Slice of life Events (S.O.L.E.)
116½ Grove Street
"I would like to restore funds in the budget so that 1.) Parks and Recreation can help fund our community events and 2.) our Vernon Police Department can have two community police officers. I would be a voice for the community."
24 Jan Dr.
Spouse: Ashliegh Kopec DVM Children: Zander, Wyatt
Employment: Owner, Duncan & Fox, Vernon, CT.
Education: BS Animal Science , Rutgers University
Current member Town Council since 2011
"It is no surprise that we are still coming out of some very difficult economic times. As a town, we have weathered the storm better than many other towns, but that hasn't come without a price. While the town has maintained all of its services through the economic down turn, we have postponed some capital improvements and delayed many important repairs in an effort to provide as much relief to the taxpayers as possible. We are now hopefully seeing a turn around in the economy, and there is no shortage of money that needs to be spent on repairs, roads, schools, and many other areas. The most important job for the Town Council in the upcoming term will be to find ways to fund these projects without outpacing the economic recovery of the residents. To address these problems, it is most important the we visualize how everything is connected, rather than just trying to solve one problem at a time, that way each dollar spent will accomplish the greatest good."
Mike Winkler has been on the Town Council for six years. His long perspective and direct questions clarify many Council discussions and motions.
Mike has been married for thirty-seven years to Phyllis Winkler, a first-grade teacher at Northeast School. Their children, Melanie and Joanna, are graduates of the Vernon school system.
Mike was formerly on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He has coached softball and soccer in Vernon. He was on the shelter’s board and is currently the Town Council liaison to Rockville Public Library. He’s a member of the Friends of Valley Falls and the Vernon Community Arts Center.
Mike is a retired state employee, and the former president of union locals in both AFSCME and AFT.
"What is the biggest issue in town for the next term and how would I address it?
"Vernon’s taxpayers are asked to pay tens of millions of dollars in bond interest. We have to budget annually for road and school repairs and thereby avoid bond issues and interest payments."
125 Tallwood Dr.
Enployment: Certified Para Educator, Maple Street School
Spouse: 1st Sgt. Daniel Appleyard
Children: Michael, Brian
Past President – Ryefield Condo Association
Volunteer – CT Army National Guard Support Group
"Being the "Rookie" and being a bit old-schooled in my thinking; I'm never one to rush into anything. Ask my friends, colleagues , and family. I like to hear all sides of an issue so that I can be informed as much as possible before making any decision. It's how I run my household and if elected to the Town Council I plan to bring that with me. I'm pleased with the success that we have regarding new businesses in town and look forward to future growth. Our school system is in the process of improving it's scores, and as most of you know, being a Paraeducator at Maple Street School gives me a certain insight that others don't have. We need to work together, communicate well, and keep moving forward for our town to grow in all positive ways!"
Motor Vehicle Operator LIcense Agent, Connecticut DMV
Manchester heate HS, Class of 1987
Porter & Chester Institute - Automotive Technology
Vice President - International Union of Police Associations Local 74
Alternate member - Vernon PZC
Volunteer firefighter - Vernon FD
Secretary, Dobsonville Firefighters Association
Past chairman, National Night Out
Past Chairman Vernon Democratic Town Committee
“Proper budgeting is the most important issue.
For example, if we had budgeted each year for road replacement and repair, the town administration would not now be asking for a referendum on a bond issue.
"Taxpayers will have to pay almost $13.6 million in interest on the bonds so that we can borrow the proposed $26.6 million for road repairs. The interest is more than half of the cost of the repairs! If we had budgeted properly, we could have saved ourselves the $13.6 million.
Proper budgeting is the most important issue.”