.

GOP Campaign Signs Stored? Lost? in Town Hall [UPDATE]

Darien Town Hall is no place to be storing Republican political campaign signs, says Randy Klein, the Democratic Town Chairman; First Selectman Jayme Stevenson says she agrees, but says she didn't know about it.

Editor's note: Update at end of article, 10:27 a.m.:

For over a month, Democrats have been grumbling that Republicans seem to be using Town Hall as a storage spot for GOP political campaign signs, but First Selectman Jayme Stevenson says she didn't get wind of it until Thursday, when a reporter questioned her about them.

"Town Hall should be where the town's business gets done, not a political party's business gets done," Klein said. "I don't know when those signs were initially put there, but it's just not right. Town Hall should not be a depository for political signs."

Stevenson agreed.

"They should not be there," she said. "I will find out where they are and will have them removed."

Stevenson said she assumed the signs were left in Town Hall inadvertently. "One of the political campaigns probably left them behind."

The signs were still in the auditorium until just before the Darien League of Women Voters and other groups conducted a candidate's debate last Tuesday, Klien said he was told. League members removed them.

Complaints

Klein said he received a number of complaints about the Town Hall Auditorium apparently being used as a kind of depot or warehouse for the signs.

At least initially, he said, "I didn't pursue it as vigorously as perhaps I should have."

He said he asked the Democratic State Central Committee headquarters in Hartford about it, and they suggested he contact the state elections commission. He spoke to an official there, who said there didn't seem to be any specific violation of state law, but suggested Klein follow up with the town attorney.

"I did bring this to his attention, I think it was last week," Klein said. "I haven't heard back from him yet."

"I don't recall being asked about it," Stevenson said Thursday afternoon when asked about the signs. "I'm genuinely unaware of what you're talking about."

A copy of an email sent by Jan Raymond to Stevenson on Oct. 10 was provided to Darien Patch by someone other than Klein (or Raymond). 

"I just returned from a public hearing in the auditorium at Town Hall," Raymond wrote. "I was somewhat dismayed to see stacks of lawn signs for Linda McMahon and Obsitnik in the auditorium.

"I know that you are working hard for Linda's election and on that we will have to agree to disagree. However, I do not think it is appropriate for ANY campaign use a public space like the Town Hall auditorium as a satellite campaign office. I hope you will ask the respective campaigns to find a more appropriate storage place."

Klein said Raymond had told him early this week that Stevenson had never responded to the email. But Stevenson said she never saw it.

Didn't see it

"If there's an email I didn't see, that's certainly my fault," Stevenson said, "but—I'm sorry—I'm not aware of it, to be honest."

Klein, or anyone, should have just gotten in touch with her, Stevenson said.

"I don't know why Randy Klein called the town attorney as opposed to leaving a message in my office," she said. Taking up the town attorney's time costs the town money, she pointed out.

"It's pretty simple," Stevenson said. "Call me. I'll call around. I'll find the signs, and I'll get rid of them."

Update 10:27 a.m.:

Klein sent the following statement this morning to Darien Patch:

1. My first call was last Tuesday 10/16 to the State Elections Enforcement Commission. They instructed me to contact town counsel.

2.  Before doing so they advised me to contact Ted Bromley, which I did immediately after speaking to the SEEC. Mr. Bromley is a Staff Attorney in the Elections Department in the Secretary of State’s Office who also advised me to contact Town Counsel. I was never advised to contact the First Selectman’s office. A community member had already done so via email several weeks before and was ignored.

3. Immediately after my conversation with Mr.Bromley on Tues 10/16, as instructed, I called and left a message with Town Counsel. Town Counsel called me back the next day. We spoke for 6-7 minutes. He informed me he would look into it and get back to me.

4. I am pleased that the First Selectwoman agrees with all those officials I spoke with that this is an unacceptable use of town property.

5. As the First Selectwoman must know the Town Attorney is on retainer. As Democratic Town Committee Chairman, it is perfectly appropriate, as advised, I contact Town Counsel directly. If the inquiry I made to the Town Counsel exceeded his contract and retainer fee I will be happy to pay for his time.

Jean D. October 26, 2012 at 12:23 PM
I have good information that they were stolen (from around town) and put there afterwards. And they are trying to turn it around on our First Selectman? Puhleeze.
Bryan October 26, 2012 at 12:38 PM
I hope Klien coomunicates better with people he drives to the airports then with officials at town hall.
Charley October 26, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I'd be happy to come by and pick up a sign or two for my front lawn.
Darien Voter October 26, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I'm confused -- Randy Klein is not listed as the Democratic Town Chaiman per the State Election Commission information system website as recently as the October 10th filing. Mr. Davis is. Oversight or purposeful? http://seec.ct.gov/ecrisreporting/SearchingDoc.aspx
Joe Pankowski October 26, 2012 at 02:40 PM
...another town molehill blown up into a mountain. Until we can pick up the phone and talk with each other, our town is not going to move forward. Let's get it together, people.
Darien Voter October 26, 2012 at 03:12 PM
"As Democratic Town Committee Chairman, it is perfectly appropriate, as advised, I contact Town Counsel directly." - Randy Klein It's sad that the DTC Chair doesn't realize the difference between an 'appropriate course of action' and the 'best course of action.'
Anonymous October 26, 2012 at 03:14 PM
The Democrats have an election to win. They don't have the time or desire to 'plant evidence' as the first comment suggests. That is an embarrassing accusation. Grow up. The Kleins serve our town well and should be commended for their service. That is more than I can say for you people who just throw bullying comments up here.
Siwanoy October 26, 2012 at 03:25 PM
"It's pretty simple," Stevenson said. "Call me. I'll call around. I'll find the signs, and I'll get rid of them." with all due respect, if you say you're reachable by phone, you should also be reachable by e-mail, i'm sure she gets emails on her phone anyway.
victor October 26, 2012 at 03:42 PM
me too
John Boulton October 26, 2012 at 03:45 PM
For the record, the Darien Republican Town Committee is not storing signs at Town Hall. We have a campaign headquarters set up at 1074 Post Road which has been open for over two weeks for this very purpose. We agree that Town Hall should not be used for partisan purposes by any party.
Debra Ritchie October 26, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Of course these signs do not belong in Town Hall. Who notified the press? And then took a picture of the signs with a copy of the Darien Times? As if this is some sort of hostage situation? This could have been easily resolved by the complainer picking up the phone and calling our First Selectman. A phone call would have gotten an immediate response. Instead the press is notified and the first call goes to the state election officials and then town counsel? Does not seem like the intent was to resolve this without controversy.
John Sini October 26, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Speaking of the Republican Town Committee Headquarters (at 1074 Post Road - across from Scena), it will be open both days this weekend from 11am-3pm. Please come by to say hello and pick up your lawn signs and other campaign materials!
Siwanoy October 26, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Just as it could have easily been resolved with a phone call, the same can be said about an e-mail. Should the original complainer have called the first selectman? Maybe, but maybe not, i'm sure she's very busy and shouldn't have to be at her desk waiting for phone calls to come in. But she does respond to phone calls and emails, and she missed the one about this issue, simple mistake.
Darien Voter October 26, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Siwanoy, that's clearly the case. But why the heck did Randy Klein call the State Elections Enforcement Commission instead of reaching out to the First Selectman first? Surely his phone call would have attracted some attention. It's been apparent for months that Randy's overlooked a filing SEEC, yet the several people aware of this issue haven't filed a formal complaint against him. (Hint to Randy: Your Form 2 filing has been overdue for months)
mann about town October 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Why are we playing in the dirt? We are getting dirty. Please stop playing small ball. Arent there more important things to do?
Jane October 27, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Too much free time on his hands? Way too petty. We can do better, can't we?!
sebastian dangerfield October 27, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Siwanoy, Youre insinuating the first selectmen is not being honest about not getting an email. But you apparently do trust an anonymous 'community member'?
sebastian dangerfield October 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Like some grand conspiracy to get obstinik elected is to place a bunch of election signs in town hall. The Klein's are doing a service to this community? I remember vividly seeing a "vote for Klein " pamphlet , replete with her "support education" agenda on the floor near the 2nd floor men's room. I did consider calling the Chairman of the State election board. Considered even calling the police. But then, I realized how stupid and petty that would be. Hats off to you Randall. You bring a whole new defintion to the word petty. Signs get left behind after a debate and the guy goes whining and crying like a tiny little baby to the State election committee? Oh man....
John Sini October 27, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Reminder: Before the storm hits, you can pick up the signs pictured above and more campaign related shwag (excluding the Darien Times issue) tomorrow at Darien RTC Headquarters - 1072 Post Road (next to the Darien Toy Box).
Siwanoy October 27, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Luca, i said "she does respond to phone calls and emails, and she missed the one about this issue, simple mistake." in no way is that insinuating she wasn't being honest, in fact, as you can see, I made a point to say that she DOES respond to phone calls and e-mails. She missed one (which she admitted to... "If there's an email I didn't see, that's certainly my fault," Stevenson said, "but—I'm sorry—I'm not aware of it, to be honest.") and i said it was a simple mistake. Stop grasping at straws to start an argument with me.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something