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New Canaan Treasurer Candidates State Their Cases

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Candidates V. Donald Hersam Jr. and Kathleen Corbet each stated their case for serving as town treasurer, the only head-to-head race in New Canaan this election year.

Hersam and Corbet were center stage at Monday’s candidates' forum hosted by the New Canaan League of Women Voters.

The treasurer’s race has come into more focus because the town paid a $650,000 arbitration award to Loureiro Contractors for its work on the Lakeview Avenue bridge. Town Council members were upset last April, saying they should have been told about the expenditure, which came from capital non-recurring funds.

Corbet saluted Hersam for his years of service to the town both as treasurer and publisher of the New Canaan Advertiser. But she said the treasurer should have an “active” role in reviewing town finances and should act as “a second set of eyes” for expenditures.

Corbet touted her experience with investments, finance, technology and government, including her role with the town’s Board of Finance. “I believe all of my experience in government, in the community serves me well for representing all of you as New Canaan town treasurer,” she said, noting that the town’s financial situation has changed greatly in the last 25 years.

Hersam admitted Corbet’s qualifications were astounding, saying, “I can’t hold a candle to that.” But the incumbent treasurer of 46 years said he knows about the town and its needs based on his familiarity. He also said it isn’t necessary for him to watch over people, such as Finance Director Gary Conrad, who know what they are doing. “When you see talent, you let talent do the job without interfering,” he said. “I’m not about to change how the town is being run.”

The second set of eyes, he said, is with the Town Council and the Board of Selectmen.

Hersam said it was an “interesting idea” to make seats on the Board of Finance elected positions. Such a move would require a change of the town’s charter. Corbet said the decision on making it an elected position should be left to the voters.

Election Day is Nov. 8.

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