DARIEN, Conn. – Darien’s Democratic ticket launched its campaign on Tuesday. Board of Selectmen candidates Christopher “Kip” Hall and E. Reilly Tierney and Board of Education hopefuls Shannon Silsby and Callie Sullivan rolled out their platforms for this November’s election.
Hall and Tierney both currently represent District 1 on Darien’s Representative Town Meeting, with Tierney serving as the district delegation’s chair. Hall, an attorney, and Tierney, who works in capital management, both say they want to “develop intelligent plans to handle significant, repetitive problems.
The two say they want to cut down on “seemingly pointless and wasteful projects,” specifically mentioning the shuffle project as a “$6 million boondoggle” and opposing the Board of Selectmen’s recent plan to buy land from Spring Grove Cemetery.
The project is so named for a plan to 'shuffle' town facilities, including moving the senior center to Town Hall and the Board of Education to a new office at 35 Leroy Ave.
“Our focus will be on fiscal responsibility,” Hall and Tierney wrote in their joint platform. “We will not just consider individual projects or the few percent of the budget that could be cut at the margins, but will seriously question how (and why) the Town pays for all of its operations and services.”
Hall and Tierney’s platform also includes pledges to work with other government agencies. Their plan specifically mentions supporting the Board of Education as it deals with rising enrollment, teaming with state and federal authorities to develop a better flood plan and improving the town’s affordable housing situation by cooperating with “established, responsible developers and the Planning and Zoning Board.”
Silisby has not held political office before, but she is currently co-chair of the Royle School PTA. She has previously worked for Unilever and Procter and Gamble, and now is a senior brand manager for Sun Products in Wilton.
“The recent watershed of events with special education are indicative of the direction we are headed if we don’t make improvements all around,” Silsby said. “We must take ownership of all pieces of the educational pie and I want to be on the front line with the BoE to lead that charge.”
Sullivan is a former member of Darien’s Representative Town Meeting and the Board of Selectmen. Professionally, she runs an educational publishing company and has volunteered for A Better Chance (ABC), the League of Women Voters and Tokeneke School.
“Over time, every system develops cracks so we need to seal them before they get any bigger,” Sullivan said. “Let’s stop paying lawyers and start paying educators. Let’s focus on the future and invest in it. Our children will thank us for it.”
The two school board candidates want to reach out to voters to get their opinions before Election Day. In particular, the two are looking for responses on the following issues:
Are you satisfied with our Board of Education?
What do you think would improve our schools?
What opportunities should we seize on behalf of our children?
What are your biggest concerns with the Darien school system?