BOARD OF SELECTMEN
Rudy Marconi has been Ridgefield’s First Selectman since 1999. Under Rudy’s leadership, Ridgefield has been widely recognized as one of Connecticut’s best towns. It’s the safest in the state, with top schools, strong finances and an arts scene that is the envy of other communities.
Born and raised in Ridgefield, Rudy is a hometown success story. He is remembered as a star athlete at Ridgefield High, and he went on to earn a degree in business administration. In 1986, Rudy returned to the town that raised him. He joined the family business, gaining a unique perspective on town life.
Rudy’s passion for public service led him to two terms on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and then two as a Selectman. He narrowly lost his first bid for the top job in 1997 but was elected two years later by a then-historic 63% of the vote. He has since won re-election eight times—either unopposed or by wide margins.
During his first term, Rudy led passage of “the Bundle”—a landmark project that built a new middle school and renovated the others (creating the Recreation Center and Founders Hall as well). To achieve this, Rudy brought together town officials and citizens together—marking the beginning of his uniquely collaborative approach to town business.
Rudy has made economic development and conservation his twin priorities. He notably brokered a $382 million expansion of Boehringer-Ingelheim—a huge economic boost for Ridgefield. He put together Ridgefield’s first long-term financial forecast and has stuck to it—winning the town a AAA bond rating for 20 consecutive years.
On Rudy’s watch, Ridgefield has acquired and permanently preserved over 600 acres for open space, and taken steps to protect the town from wanton development.
Rudy’s leadership has built a new school and remodeled others. He fostered the creation of the Ridgefield Playhouse, the Recreation Center and Founders Hall—as well as the new ACT of Connecticut theater—earning the town plaudits for its arts, culture and recreational amenities.
Rudy has a daughter, three sons and seven grandchildren. And most Ridgefielders know Peggy Marconi, Rudy’s wife, a respected Ridgefield businesswoman and volunteer.
“Connecticut Magazine told us we’re Connecticut’s #1 town,” says Rudy. “But those of us who love Ridgefield already knew that.”
Barbara Manners has served on Ridgefield’s Board of Selectmen since 1997. She has been a resident of Ridgefield since 1988 when she moved here from New York City to raise her son David Manners-Weber who is now 31 years old and an attorney living in Washington D.C. Barbara herself was a practicing attorney for 17 years prior to David’s birth, concentrating in corporate law and ultimately general counsel of a publicly-traded company. She had extensive experience managing in-house as well as outside counsel, negotiating contracts, dealing with state and federal agencies, administrative law, litigation etc.
Barbara and her husband Morgan Weber, also an attorney, now retired, first bought a house in Ridgefield in 1983 as a weekend hideaway from New York. But with the arrival of their son David, they decided to relocate permanently to Ridgefield.
Once David started kindergarten, Barbara became heavily involved in promoting the arts in Ridgefield and was instrumental in founding the Ridgefield Playhouse. She was its incorporator and first President of its Board of Directors. Subsequent to 9/11/2001 Barbara started CHIRP (now in its 18th season) with the goal of drawing the community closer together through the presentation of free music in the park.
Barbara is the recipient of several awards for her efforts in the arts and public service, including the 2010 Martin Luther King Community Service Award, 2013 Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut Heart of the Arts Award, and the 2014 Ridgefield Arts Council Nancy Comstock Andrews Award.
Barbara also served on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury for three years 1996-1999, Board of Directors of ABC from 1996-March 2001, and Board of Directors of the Ridgefield Symphony for seven years. She was a Member of the League of Women Voters and of American Association of University Women and recipient of their 1999 Connecticut State Award for Community Leadership.
Barbara continues to serve on the Advisory Board of the Women’s Center and also oversees fundraising for the Holiday Trust Fund, a community fund she established in 1999 to raise funds to support the Halloween Walk and downtown holiday lights.
Selectwoman Manners continues to live with her husband Morgan and their four dogs in the home they originally purchased in 1983. As a member of the Board of Selectmen her primary focus has been attempting to preserve Ridgefield’s “small town” feel. She believes it is critically important to maintain Ridgefield as a desirable community for persons of all ages.
Sean Connelly is a proud member of the Ridgefield community, where he has lived with his family for over 13 years, and where he has served on the Board of Finance since 2016. Sean has been involved in many community activities, including coaching over 25 soccer teams for Soccer Club of Ridgefield (SCOR), acting as that organization’s division director forming teams and coordinating other coaches, and serving as a Cub Scout den leader.
After volunteering at the first two TriRidgefield triathlons, Sean has competed in the event every year since 2009. He can be found riding with the Ridgefield Bicycle Sport Club on Thursday evenings in the summer, and running with the Ridgefield Running Company for Saturday shop runs as he trains for the RIdgefield Half Marathon.
Sean’s wife Tao was the owner of a local shop on Main Street called Suburban Underground. They have two children in the Ridgefield public schools, a daughter at RHS high school and a son at SRMS. Sean is committed to supporting the outstanding Ridgefield Public School system.
Sean has worked for Willis Towers Watson, the leading Human Capital and Risk consulting firm, for 25 years, focusing on Talent and Employee Insights. He works with leaders of Fortune 500 organizations to improve their human capital strategies. Sean has graduate and undergraduate degrees in Applied Psychology from Boston University.
Molly McGeehin was first elected Town Treasurer of Ridgefield in November, 2015, winning election to a second four-year term in November 2019.
An expert with a proven record of putting Ridgefield first, in her first term Molly both improved Ridgefield Town’s returns and increased investment revenue (exceeding income targets by $851,000) while also safeguarding principal and reducing expenses. Under her stewardship, operational and governance practices and procedures of the Treasury Office have significantly improved through her organizational and streamlining efforts and initiatives.
Molly received her BA Magna Cum Laude from the University of Scranton and her MBA in Finance from the University of Connecticut. She has been a CPA since 1984. She served as CPA at Coopers and Lybrand and as manager for financial reporting at SBC in New haven, CT. Financial director of the Ridgefield Library for more than 11 years (including working with the current Town Controller on the building project), Molly has been the owner of Ridgefield Accounting Systems since 1996.
Molly’s dedication to the community she has made her home speaks loudly about her ability to work collaboratively and in a non-partisan manner to benefit our town. She has been a driving force in Ridgefield’s anti-idling campaign, resulting in rules that were adopted unanimously by the Board of Selectman. She has been a volunteer treasurer for the PTA or clubs at every level of our public school system–Farmingville Elementary, ERMS and the RHS Post-Grad Party. Her commitment to the environment and quality of life in Ridgefield is evident in her decade as Treasurer of Ridgefield Action Committee for the Environment and as the Treasurer and board member for the Garden of Ideas.
Cindy Bruno has been the Democratic Registrar of Voters since April 2000. She served as the Democratic Deputy Registrar for the five years prior to becoming one of Ridgefield’s Registrar of Voters. Cindy is a State Certified Registrar of Voters and Election Moderator. As well as an active member of ROVAC, Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut.
Assuring the Ridgefield electors constitutional voting rights are protected while following federal, state and local Election laws is a challenge she enjoys. Although elected as the Democratic Registrar of Voters, this position is non-partisan serving every elector in the Town of Ridgefield. Encouraging voter participation, educating Poll workers, keeping accurate Elector files and running all election events with a professional atmosphere to ensure voter confidence are essential aspects of the position of the Registrar of Voters.
Cindy’s dedication to this position also includes education and encouraging future voters through biannual visits to the Ridgefield High School Government classes as well as speaking at other local events.
Cindy grew up here in Ridgefield. She and her husband, Jim raised their two children in Ridgefield, both of whom live in North Carolina with their own families. Their two grandchildren with another arriving this spring are a great source of joy and fun. Cindy continues to enjoy long term friends and activities here in town. She is active at her home church St. Elizabeth Seton and has served in Diocesan and Regional leadership. She is currently the National Chairperson for The Cursillo Movement National Board. Cindy is also a member of the Ridgefield League of Woman’s Voters.
Cindy is happy to serve Ridgefield as Registrar of Voters and encourages everyone to participate and to be heard by, “Registering and Voting!”
BOARD OF FINANCE
Born in Milwaukee, WI, and raised in Villa Park, IL, Dave graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in International Studies, with minor in Economics, from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, in 1969. In 1972, Dave earned an M.A. in International Economics from Denver University Graduate School of International Studies, having completed all Ph.D. requirements except thesis.
Dave was an original fundraiser, investor and consultant with JetBlue Airways in 1998, and served as Vice President – Planning based in the company’s Financial and Planning Office in Darien, CT, from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. Dave has over 30 years airline industry experience in aircraft scheduling, route selection, market development, pricing, competitive strategy, and profitability analysis. He has extensive consulting experience and has provided expert economic testimony in administrative law proceedings, bankruptcy court hearings and depositions in civil litigation. Dave served as a part-time professor at Regis College, Denver, CO, from 1971-1974, teaching history, government, and statistics.
In addition to his Board of Finance seat, Dave serves as Treasurer of the Ridgefield Orchestra Foundation, and has been a board member of the Foundation since 2014. Dave has been a member of Ridgefield’s Wolfpit Running Club since 2000, serving as president of the club for three of those years. Dave was an elected Board Member and Treasurer of Denver Unit 361 and also served as a member of the six-state District 17 Regional Board of Governors of the American Contract Bridge Association.
Amy’s professional experiences began in the fields of public relations and advertising, first at American Express in NYC, then at The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and Foote Cone Belding Direct where she was worked exclusively on programs for Levi Strauss. Amy went on to work at Stanford University in the School of Education before pursuing her passion for baking, which ultimately lead her to buy Ross Bread in Ridgefield.
Amy’s time in the San Francisco Bay area exposed her to the importance of enriching communities with innovation, change and diversity, which she strives to do through her work at the bakery, in Ridgefield and throughout Connecticut. In addition to being an active member of CT Against Gun Violence and The Ridgefield Resettlement Committee, Ross Bread + Coffee honors 100% of all requests for support for Ridgefield based charities and organizations. In this way they support everyone in Ridgefield from students to seniors, animals to athletes, gun violence prevention programs and LGBTQ communities.
In 2017, Ms. Macartney-Freidenrich was elected to the Board of Finance. Amy’s deep Ridgefield roots, exposure to innovation in California, and experiences as a small business owner will help guide Ridgefield to a place where our town’s traditions and values can be the solid base upon which to create innovative pathways to success for both the town and its residents.
Professional finance executive Karen Ogden’s depth of experience and wide-ranging career in many different aspects of finance ensures that she will bring both an expert and valuable
perspective to BOF deliberations.
A compliance officer at NYC’s Guggenheim Partners covering all their sales and trading business since 2016, Ogden is deeply rooted in Ridgefield life. She has served on the board of the Woodcock Nature Center for four years, even stepping in as interim executive director from 2015-16. Her husband is a Ridgefield realtor and, apparently, a die-hard Chicago Bears fan. They have 2 children.
With a BA in finance from Boston College and an MBA from the University of Chicago, Karen went on in 2015 to pursue a graduate certificate in Sustainability from Harvard’s Extension School, thus fulfilling the second part of her twin career interests in finance and environmental concerns. Karen and her family relocated to NY from Chicago in 2005 with Bank of America when she was promoted to chief operating officer for fixed income trading. Following a visit to Ridgefield, Karen and her husband fell in love with the town. They moved here in 2011. They are tuned in and attuned to what makes Ridgefield appealing and also to what Ridgefielders care about most.
Karen ran for BOF to get involved in town governance. “I understand the need for compromise and the importance of knowing both sides of every situation–rarely is any important decision clear cut.”
A resident of Ridgefield since 1992, Michael Rettger brings a mix of senior business roles in the financial services industry together with experience in the financial workings of Ridgefield town government to his position on the Board of Finance.
Mike retired in 2015 as a Senior Vice-president from General Reinsurance Corporation in Stamford, after 31 years in a wide range of leadership roles, including division operating officer, business design and implementation manager for several corporate IT systems, and chief operating officer for several small business units. In these roles he managed significant operating budgets and provided financial management reporting and analysis, among other responsibilities. Prior to joining General Re, Mike worked in the primary insurance industry and also served on the regulatory side of the industry, where he was involved in public policy initiatives including anti-redlining legislation.
Mike was appointed Assistant Treasurer for the Town in 2016, serving as backup for the Town Treasurer, and working with the Town Controller. In this volunteer role, he contributed to the update of the Town’s investment policy for non-pension assets, and to the implementation of a formal credit policy for Town bank deposits. In 2017, Mike was also appointed to the Town’s Pension Commission, and served as Secretary on that board. In this capacity, he was involved in the oversight of the pension plan’s asset structure and performance, the on-going development of investment policies, and the review and revisions of the Town Charter, Town Ordinances, and other legal documents governing the operation of the Town’s pension plan. Rettger has previously served as a member of the Town’s Insurance and Risk Management advisory committee.
Rettger’s education includes a BA in Economics from Michigan State University and an MS in Resource Economics and Public Policy from Cornell University. He has also earned the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Volunteer service has always been important to Mike. During his time in Ridgefield, he has served on the boards of the Westmoreland Homeowners’ Association (president, treasurer, other roles), the Great Pond Club (twice treasurer), and Ridgefield Little League. He was co-chair of the Refugee Resettlement Committee – Ridgefield, and currently does tax preparation for seniors and others as a volunteer with the AARP TaxAide program in Ridgefield and Bethel.
Mike and his wife Terry have three children, all of whom grew up in the Ridgefield school system. Terry works as a bookseller at Books on the Common.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
My family moved to Ridgefield in 2002, for the strength of the community, the charm of the town, and the excellent reputation of the schools. We’ve enjoyed and participated in many of the programs and benefits that Ridgefield offers to its families. As part of my commitment to this community, I’ve volunteered for a varied number of local groups including Lion’s Heart youth community service organization (Chapter President), Ridgefield Prevention Council and Ridgefield Basketball Association (Board of Directors). For over a decade I’ve been involved with the schools in many capacities including PTA President at BMES and SRMS, as well as VP and Chair roles at BMES, SRMS and RHS. I was also a member of the 2009 PreK-G8 Configuration & Districting Study.
I believe my biggest contribution to the BOE is the experience I bring as a longtime volunteer and participant in the school system, and in the greater community. It is also the experience I bring as a mother of 4 boys: 2 of whom have been through the whole RPS system and are now at college, 1 high schooler and 1 middle schooler. And lastly the experience I bring as a lawyer, a marketer, and an executive search consultant who understands the current employment landscape and shifting skill set required in today’s workforce.
I understand the complexities around delivering a system of high quality learning, and continuing to build on the incredible successes of the Ridgefield Public Schools while preparing our children for the rapidly changing world and unknown careers of the future. It is something that I am passionate about, and grateful to be a part of through a role on the Board of Education.
Doug taught high school English for ten years and was an administrator for 4 years in Fairfield (CT) and Westchester (NY) Counties. Subsequently, he was the Director of Research for SPN, the non-profit affiliate of the Scholastic, Inc. In this role, he evaluated schools across the country to identify model schools and their best practices.
He is currently the Chief Academic Officer for KEYS2 Engage LLC., a software company based in Ridgefield, CT. He shares his expertise and knowledge at national education conferences such as the American Educational Research Association; the Association for American Middle Level Educators; and the Texas Computer Education Association.
He has co-authored two published studies: Effective and Efficient: Aligning Data Systems and Research to Improve School Performance and Focused on Student Success; and A Five-Year Research Study of Models, Networks, and Policies to Support and Sustain Rigor and Relevance for ALL Students. The latter was in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Doug holds a BA in English from the University of Colorado, Boulder, a MA in English Education from Columbia University, and a 6th year degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University.
Doug has served on accreditation committees for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEAS&C) and the Tri-States Consortium. He coached high school sports in Wilton, CT, including tennis and skiing.
A Ridgefield resident since 2014, Ken and his wife, Jennifer Berberian, are raising their three sons in Ridgefield. Ken has deep experience in financial auditing and fraud risk management, background he brings to analysis and oversight of Ridgefield’s nearly $100 million education budget. As a parent and husband of a teacher, Ken also brings unique personal perspective to BOE. Ken was elected to a four-year term on BOE in November, 2019.
Ken’s expertise in leadership and management will augment his effectiveness as a Board member: “To grow, children need the solid educational foundation provided by their teachers. However, teachers can only flourish with the active support of their school’s administration. And administrators need the robust backing of a functional, effective Board to run their schools. As a Board of Education member, I will work to provide the administrators the tools they need to support the men and women who teach our children.”
Ken is a CPA who holds a BA in Accounting from Baruch College and an MS in Accounting from the University of Connecticut.
Jonathan Steckler has been proud to call Ridgefield home for the past eight years. Having grown up in the area, he jumped at the chance to relocate here with his wife Jamie and daughter Sadie when the opportunity presented in 2011.
Over the course of a thirteen-year career at locally headquartered The Chefs’ Warehouse, Jonathan has led regional offices; Sales,Supply Chain, Pricing, and Business Intelligence departments; and is now Executive Vice President overseeing all Digital initiatives. HIs wife Jamie is an avid runner and is very active in the local running community. She also started and led local Girl Scout Troop 51100 and volunteered at Barlow Mountain Elementary School. Their daughter Sadie attended BMES for six years and is now a student at Scotts Ridge Middle School.
Jonathan applied to fill a vacant two-year seat on the Board of Education in November 2017, and was appointed to the vacancy in December of that year, winning reelection to a full four-year term in November 2019. He currently chairs the Board’s Strategic Planning subcommittee and is a member of the Board’s Budget and Finance subcommittee.
Prior to his work at The Chefs’ Warehouse, Jonathan was a serial entrepreneur in the food industry, starting and operating coffee bars in Manhattan and a fine-dining restaurant in Upstate New York. Jonathan holds a BA in History from Yale University.
BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS
George Kain, Ph.D. is the senior member of the Ridgefield Police Commission, having served continuously since 1999, and is currently Chairman of the commission. Dr. Kain is a professor and Chairman of the Division of Justice and Law Administration at Western CT State University in Danbury, CT (25 years), and earned his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York in 2006. He has been professionally involved in the law enforcement community, in various roles, since 1983.
Dr. Kain has been a resident of Ridgefield since 1971, and is a former volunteer firefighter in town. In his many years of service on the Police Commission, he has worked with 3 town chiefs of police, and has served on numerous town committees regarding central dispatch, regional dispatch, building renovation, and currently on a building committee to assess the needs of public safety facilities for the town in the years to come. His background and experience in law enforcement, from both a practical and theoretical perspective, has been extremely valuable to the Town of Ridgefield. He is an active member of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) and the Police Commissioners Association of CT (PCAC). His professional associations keep him connected to discussions and debates on modern law enforcement “best practices”.
Dr. Kain has been actively involved in research and public policy related issues in law enforcement for over 25 years, and has lectured around the world, including in Italy, Japan, the Philippines, and Oslo, Norway. He has testified in state legislatures across the US, and has written extensively in peer reviewed journals and professional trade publications.
Dr. Kain is presently in the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program in the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT. He also volunteers at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Danbury to assist inmates with pre-release counseling instructions to ensure a smooth transition back into society. He is married to Marilyn Kain, and lives in Ridgefield.
Issy Caporale is a passionate and driven contributor who rolls up her sleeves and digs in to improve and enhance everything she touches. She has demonstrated her formidable drive through her Coast Guard and law enforcement careers, her athletic pursuits, and her youth sports officiating. Issy is a “people-person” with a proven ability to collaborate and build consensus to get things done. Owing to her 11-year career in the Ridgefield Police Department, Issy is uniquely positioned to contribute unique insights and ideas for departmental excellence to the Commission.
Issy grew up in Ridgefield, attending St. Mary’s and East Ridge Middle School and graduating from Ridgefield High School. A star athlete throughout her school years, Issy played semi-pro and pro softball before enlisting in the Coast Guard. She was inducted into the Old Timers Association of Ridgefield in 2006 in recognition of her sports achievements in Ridgefield, at the time one of the few women inductees.
Issy served in many capacities in the Coast Guard, ultimately spending half of her career as a tremendously accomplished recruiter. She was the Top Recruiter nationwide for all five military services in 1999, proof of her drive, teamwork, critical thinking skills, and constant focus on identifying and implementing improvements in the recruiting organization’s processes. Issy was ultimately was responsible for over 50 Coast Guard recruiters, combining her personality as a natural people-person with her unwavering focus on making the recruiting process more successful. For her service, Issy was awarded the CG Recruiting Service Ribbon, CG Medal, CG Commendation Medal, CG Achievement Medal, CG Good Conduct Medal, and the CG Presidential Unit Commendation. Her series of promotions ultimately brought her to the high-enlisted rank of Chief Petty Officer. Issy also played on the All Navy Softball Team, a women’s team on which she was the only Coast Guard member.
Returning to Ridgefield after her 22 years with the Coast Guard, Issy spent 11 years as a Dispatcher for the Ridgefield Police, bringing her experienced critical eye for how to do things better in order to accomplish the Department’s goals. Since retiring from the Ridgefield Police Department in 2018, Issy has been working as a private security guard for St. Mary’s School.
Issy also officiates for lacrosse and field hockey games from youth level through college throughout the Eastern U.S. She especially values the platform that her officiating provides for giving advice to girls and young women playing sports.
Nick Perna, Ph.D. was appointed to fill a vacancy in early 2019, then was elected in his own right in the November 2019 municipal election. Dr. Perna has very quickly earned the respect of his fellow commissioners and police department personnel. He is smart, affable and regularly attends not only Commission meetings but promotion ceremonies as well as presentations by officers to the community.
Dr. Perna’s brother was a police officer and his son and daughter-in-law are in law enforcement. Nick has gone on dozens of “ride-alongs: traffic stops, domestic violence calls, narcotics raids and more. Dr. Perna recently graduated from the Ridgefield Civilian Police Academy where he learned police procedures and techniques.
Dr. Perna serves on the police commission out of a desire to give back to the town where he and his family have lived for almost 50 years. He wants to “protect and serve,” particularly those least able to fend for themselves such as children and the elderly. He’s convinced that solving our growing traffic issues requires intensive public education in addition to enforcement. He will continue to help the excellent Ridgefield Police Department in fulfilling its responsibilities and making sure adequate resources are available.
Dr. Perna is a nationally renowned economist and has taught at several prestigious colleges and universities, including Williams College and Yale University. He also worked at the Federal Reserve and a number of private businesses. He ran his own firm in Ridgefield which specialized in interpreting economic developments. He’s very comfortable evaluating statistics, performance appraisals, and budgets.
Dr. Perna is well known in Ridgefield. He is a member of Saint Mary Parish and was on the Parish Finance Council, the Ridgefield Men’s Club and, formerly, the First Congregational Church Concert Choir. He coached soccer and had leadership roles in Indian Guides, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Over the years, he has spoken numerous times to the Ridgefield Board of Finance, the League of Women Voters, the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce. He previously served on the Democratic Town Committee and the Ridgefield Board of Assessment Appeals.
Dr. Perna attended Fairfield Prep and Boston College and earned his PhD at MIT. His wife, Cathy, is an RN who worked many years for Dr. Jeffrey Metzger. He has two children (Amy and Nick Jr) and two grandchildren (Sophia and Nick III.)
PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION
Susan Consentino is a seasoned real estate professional with deep ties to Ridgefield. Susan grew up in Ridgefield, attended Ridgefield Public Schools and graduated with a B.S. from Northwestern University.
Susan’s broad experience in commercial and residential real estate makes her an asset to the Planning and Zoning Commission. As a commercial real estate professional in NYC, Susan was responsible for multiple complex transactions. As a volunteer member of the St. Stephens Property Committee, Susan has a unique understanding of local real estate issues.
Susan is currently employed part-time by both Founders Hall senior center and Ridgefield Parks & Recreation. Susan has a passion for photography, an eye for detail and a special view of her surroundings. Having grown up in Ridgefield, she provides a perspective from the town’s past to the present. Her goal is to contribute to Ridgefield being a great place to live, work, and raise a family. She hopes to see the town continue to evolve and move into the future while still preserving its small town charm.
Joe Fossi, a long-time member of P&Z, has earned high marks for his service from members of the community without regard to party lines. Joe is founder, owner and operator of Ridgefield-based Pelham Homes, LLC.
Robert Hendrick has 20+ years of experience in community-sensitive real estate development, land use, planning, and zoning. He was involved in his first new-build commercial real estate development in 1998 (outside Chicago); from that time until today, through several hundred projects worldwide with combined value well above $2 billion, he has always set a high bar on ethics, community engagement, and environmental sensitivity. His skills, experience, and perspective would be of great value to the Town of Ridgefield.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Hendrick graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2003, he was elected by his neighbors in Philadelphia to serve on the Board of Directors for the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA). Among other things, the CHCA was designated by the City as the local entity responsible for review of land use, planning, zoning, and architectural matters within one of Philadelphia’s most vibrant and affluent neighborhoods, with approximately 35,000 residents in 2.8 square miles. Chestnut Hill is also a National Historic District, with an incorporated Business District, a Community Fund, and a Parking Foundation.
In his professional life, Hendrick has focused mainly on developing office and corporate real estate projects in locations throughout the world… but not in Ridgefield! He assembles and manages the interdisciplinary professional team of attorneys, brokers, architects, engineers, consultants, and contractors, and he leads project teams with a very high standard for ethics and sensitivity toward local communities and the environment. He has appeared before public agencies, community boards, and similar authorities in places similar to Ridgefield like Stamford and Needham (MA), and places as diverse as Seattle, San Francisco, London, and Berlin. He has also held leadership responsibilities for large operational teams (delivering corporate services, security, etc.), from 14 to 600+ staff members, and annual budgets exceeding $100 million.
After a few career moves – from Luxembourg, to Seattle, and then NYC – in July 2017 he and his wife (Sarah) decided to “set roots” – and bought a home near the center of Ridgefield. Robert knew the area from family in CT and always had an interest in settling nearby. Sarah is from the UK, and works for PepsiCo in Purchase, NY. In July 2018, their first child (Elizabeth) was born. They look forward to the walk to Veteran’s Park Elementary and many other Ridgefield family experiences to come!
Ben Nneji is the founder and president of SigmaWorks Group, a process management, leadership development and management consulting company. Ben implements data-driven solutions to increase growth and productivity in service industries and has led corporate teams within the advertising, financial services, telecommunications and retail industries. Ben has implemented numerous business process and management improvement programs supporting several Fortune 500 brands.
As a Vice President at GE Capital, Ben set up and led a team of strategic marketers, and successfully increased growth in net income for GE Capital’s Global Consumer Finance. At AT&T, Ben was responsible for enhancing the quality and reliability of the Merlin telephone systems and switches, and led the development of a new pricing model based on optimization algorithms.
Ben holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Columbia University, and he has also earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.
Ben serves as President of the Board of Columbia University Club of Fairfield, CT. He is also active in various non-profit organizations and is an active member of St. Mary’s Parish in Ridgefield.
Charles’ career focused on financial services and commercial banking, having been actively involved in the development and sales of software to support this niche market. During a successful 30 year career, Charles was able to develop client relationships both domestically and overseas, in order to promote the company’s products and services.
After retiring in 2014, Charles focused his efforts in public service. Charles supports the Ridgefield community and is active with ROAR, assisting the refugee family that has settled in Ridgefield, and working with the First Selectman on critical town projects such as the Main Street traffic and transportation study and proposals. Charles chairs the small committee that has reviewed the DOT Concepts, and works with the community and First Selectman to ensure a coordinated effort and responsive set of plans. Until spring 2017, Charles also served as an alternate on Ridgefield’s Zoning Board of Appeals, relinquishing that role when he was appointed to fulfill a vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Commission. Since his appointment, Charles has quickly become a valuable member of P&Z.
Charles values the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment, working with people representing different perspectives and backgrounds. The goal according to Charles is to seek consensus, allowing all of the residents of Ridgefield to benefit from the planning and zoning decisions that will affect their day to day lives and future.
INLAND WETLANDS BOARD
Susan Baker, a resident of Ridgefield since 1976, has been a student of the environment and energetic activist since her high school years. From 1999 to 2001, as a core member of the Ridgefield Open Space Association (ROSA), she worked with others on saving Bennett’s Pond from residential development and in the process learned about state and local land use and wetlands regulations as they relate to preserving open space.
Since 2002, Susan has been a member of the Conservation Commission, and has been active in many of the commission’s initiatives, most recently in the effort to separate the Inland Wetlands Board from Planning and Zoning. Because the commission members cover meetings of the IWB/PZC, she has years of experience reviewing applications and how wetlands regulations have been applied.
Professionally, Susan is Director of the editorial services division at Westchester Publishing Services. She heads a department of roughly 40 employees who manage production of books for major university presses, think tanks, and policy agencies and oversees their manuscripts to completion as final printer files.
Her husband, Tom Elliott, also an environmentalist and former core member of ROSA, is a teacher/musician. They spend their leisure time in the outdoors. Their camping, mountain climbing, and hiking have led them to three continents plus the Arctic.
Tracey Miller is a licensed landscape architect in New York and Connecticut and has been designing landscapes for over 20 years. She is dedicated to the philosophy that sustainable practices promote lasting land-stewardship and she has an avid interest in natural systems and plant communities. She has worked on several ecologically sensitive projects, including Salt Meadow Park in Connecticut and Weekapaug Inn in Rhode Island.
Tracey received a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Virginia. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. She serves on the Residential Design Committee of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and she is a member of the Association of State Wetland Managers.
Tracey lives in Ridgefield with her partner and their dogs and enjoys time spent volunteering at ROAR.
With more than fifteen years experience as a land use and zoning attorney in Westchester County, Mr. Salomone brings the unique perspective of someone who knows what it takes to process development applications in compliance with all applicable environmental regulations. His expertise will enable the Inland Wetlands Board to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of Ridgefield residents by protecting our wetlands and watercourses from unnecessary and undesirable changes associated with development in or around the Town’s wetlands.
Kory received a Bachelor of Science degree from Ithaca College in Cinema and Photography. After nearly a decade working in the film industry, Mr. Salomone entered law school, receiving his Juris Doctorate with an Environmental Certificate from Pace Law School in 2006. While at Pace, Kory was a member of the Environmental Law Review. After working at a boutique land use and zoning firm in Armonk, NY, for over ten years, Kory established his own firm in 2016.
Kory has lives in Ridgefield with his wife Megan, an educator, two daughters, and two dogs.
David Tatge moved to Ridgefield in 2006 with his wife Jennifer Mathy, a marketer and writer. Their son Jackson is a Freshman at Michigan State University studying computer science. Their son Mitchell is a sophomore at Ridgefield High School.
David recently joined Ridgefield’s own r4 Technologies, using artificial intelligence to help clients identify market opportunities and solve problems. Prior to r4, he spent more than 20 years in retail financial services with a focus on consumer behavior, analytics and technology. Fourteen of those years were with MasterCard, working with financial institutions around the world to grow their payments and retail banking businesses. As a member of the MasterCard Advisors leadership team, he built a multi-million dollar product development consultancy and ran the Advisors group in Asia.
He and his family lived in Singapore for 2 years as a result. “We experienced so much while we were there, and came home with a greater appreciation of the wider world — and our place in it — having seen both incredible natural beauty and areas of great poverty throughout Asia.”
David joined the Board of Woodcock Nature Center as its Treasurer in 2015, recognizing the importance of protected spaces as a foundation for environmental education, and based on the enriching experiences Woodcock provides kids through their annual summer camps and other programs.
David stated, “Living in a beautiful, bountiful place puts great obligations on those of us who have that good fortune. I am excited to serve on the Inland Wetlands Board, to ensure that the citizens of Ridgefield benefit from thoughtful economic development, while protecting wetland and watercourses from unintended negative consequences. There was a quote in National Geographic magazine a number of years ago that has stuck with me, ‘All the water that will ever be is, right now.’ And we owe it to ourselves and our community to protect it.”
David grew up in Illinois and Arkansas. In high school, his favorite science teacher allowed him and his best friend to spend many afternoons at a local lake, exploring its tributaries, looking for interesting wildlife, and scouting locations for a student film, though no Oscar nominations ensued. He subsequently earned a BSBA in economics from the University of Arkansas, and later an MBA from Northwestern University.
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
Sky Cole has lived in Ridgefield for nearly 40 years. After college he started his own small carpentry business. While still at it, he is easing into a more relaxed view of priorities.
One priority remains strong however; his commitment to the democratic process. Toward that end he has been an active member of the Democratic Town Committee for many years.
Sky feels equally strongly about his own civic responsibilities toward the town that provided a great education for his two children giving them a leg up for their own futures.
The ZBA is a perfect fit for someone who has spent his entire career working with individuals repairing and renovating their homes, most of that time in Ridgefield. Sky understands the detailed needs of the individual homeowner and the need to preserve the town’s character. Ridgefield’s rich character is it’s greatest asset. Sky’s deep experience living in town and working with Ridgefield homeowners benefits each homeowner seeking a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Joe Pastore has lived in Ridgefield with his wife Donna for 24 years, raising three children in town, and has been an active member of the community. He is managing partner at Pastore & Dailey LLC, a leading corporate, litigation and financial services firm, with four offices nationally. Joe is widely recognized as a leading attorney for securities and commercial matters, and has received the top peer-to-peer reviews for over 10 years. Joe is currently a member of the Board of Assessment Appeals.
Joe holds a BA from Bucknell University cum laude and a JD from Pace Law School cum laude, and also serves on the Boards of both institutions. He views his candidacy for the Zoning Board of Appeals as public service and an opportunity to give back to the community. As a long time Ridgefield resident, Joe believes Ridgefield is a special place that should continue to grow and thrive, while maintaining its historic and architectural integrity.
Robert Byrnes was first appointed to fill a vacancy as an Alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2018, winning reelection in November 2019. In that role, he is dedicated to finding solutions that are both beneficial to the town and to the residents who bring their issues to the board.
Byrnes owns a small Ridgefield business, now in its 10th year, and he is a member and sponsor of the Ridgefield Bicycle Club. Byrnes loves the town’s open spaces, which he enjoys as an avid cyclist, runner, and hiker.
Aaron Lockwood is a public school music educator and professional violinist. Aaron was first elected a ZBA-Alternate in the November 2019 municipal election. He is keenly interested in appropriate growth and sought to serve as a Zoning Board of Appeals-Alternate in order to actively participate in helping Ridgefield retain the qualities that make the town special.
As an educator, Aaron has served his school community since 2005. He understands the importance of critical thinking, collaboration, and working toward a shared vision. Since moving to Ridgefield in 2015 with his wife and two young children, he has taken a keen interest in planning and zoning. He and his family love Ridgefield and chose the town for its excellent schools and small-town New England charm. Aaron is dedicated to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to help make decisions that are in the best interest of the people and the town of Ridgefield.
BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS
A resident of Ridgefield since 1997, Jeff, along with his lovely wife Ann, is active in many facets of our community. He is a member of the town’s CERT emergency response team, a member of the town’s Graveyard Committee, a member of the Ridgefield Men’s Club, a former dog walker at ROAR, and a past Board member of the Ridgefield Symphony. Jeff Lundberg has been a member of the town Board of Assessment Appeals since 2015.
Stan Galanski has lived in Ridgefield since 1999.
From a professional career standpoint, Stan has worked for nearly 40 years in the property/casualty insurance industry. From 2003 until it’s May 2019 acquisition by The Hartford, he was President and CEO of The Navigators Group, Inc., a global specialty insurer. During that time, he relocated the corporate headquarters from New York to Connecticut and created over 200 new jobs in the state. Prior to Navigators, he held executive positions with AIG, Chubb and Intercargo Corporation. He recently formed G58 Capital to provide advisory services and investment to the insurance industry.
From a community perspective, Stan is Vice-Chairman of Kids in Crisis, a Fairfield County non-profit focused on protecting children; a member of the Board of Overseers of the School of Risk Management and Insurance of St. John’s University; an active member of St. Mary Catholic Church; and a member of Silver Spring Country Club and The University Club of New York. Previously Stan was a member of the Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee and for several years served as its Treasurer.
Stan is a cycling enthusiast, a Yankee fan and an avid music lover who can be regularly seen at CHIRP concerts and the Ridgefield Playhouse. He and his wife Susanne have three adult children, and a growing number of grandchildren.