The Shelton Herald submitted a list of questions to the Board of Aldermen candidates participating in the Sept. 10 primary. Below are the responses. Voters are asked to vote for two candidates in their respective ward. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Second Ward

Mike Gaydos (R)

What are the top three issues you hope to tackle if elected? You can be specific to your ward as well as the city as a whole.

1) Taxes — Keep low taxes while providing good services to all Shelton residents.

2) Advocate for our children and support our great schools — I will be a strong voice in supporting education and our outstanding students. As the father of a daughter in the school system, I have seen firsthand what an amazing job our school system does with the resources we have. We can do even better. We have an amazing, innovative, and forward thinking superintendent. With the proper support, we can do so much more for our children in terms of technology and programs. A high quality education system translates into higher property values for everyone.

3) Development — I will be a proponent of fair, balanced and responsible downtown development. I also see great value in finding better parking options for downtown residents and businesses. Right now, it’s sad to see so many abandoned boarded up buildings, extremely slow progress on development and the lack of parking and accessibility for residents from Shelton and around the state to enjoy the shops and restaurants downtown. Years ago, the aldermen voted on rehabbing the Chromium plant to have parking, sidewalks, lighting and a walking path from Canal Street to Center Street, yet very little has been done. We barely have line striping on the parking lot.

What sets you apart from the other candidates you are campaigning against in this primary?

I think we need to listen more than we currently do. I think we need to communicate better than we currently do. Those are two simple and basic things that I’ve heard from people that I have talked to so far. One person I spoke with from Ward 2 said: “Our ward desperately needs somebody representing us who can actually have a conversation with the people.” I agree.

How has your experience set you up for success as an alderman?

I have been working in the market research industry for the past 18 years. We always have the challenge of finishing projects on time and on budget. Communication skills are also so very important. We always need clear lines of communication with our clients and our vendors. Plus for nearly 20 years, I was on local radio at WEBE108/WICC600 communicating to listeners all the time. We were always out in the community talking and listening to people. I met so many wonderful people doing that, not to mention it being a fun job.

If you would be new to the aldermen, what experience do you have that would allow you handle the added responsibility of being in charge of city finances?

Having served on the Board of Apportionment & Taxation for the past two years, I have gained so much knowledge and insight regarding the city budget and the budget process. As a group, we had many valuable and insightful discussions regarding understanding the budget and trying to come up with solid recommendations to present to the Board of Aldermen.

How would you focus on improving the relationship with the Board of Education, and what are your thoughts on how the education budget has been handled, and what would you do differently, if anything?

It really comes down to both sides listening to each other, both sides communicating with each other, and both sides wanting to work together. I mean really work together, not just saying it! We need more goodwill.

Is looking at having a forensic audit done on city finances in the wake of the questions about the drawn down general fund, special education excess cost grant, etc.?

I think it is absolutely necessary for a forensic audit to be done on city finances and also on the Board of Education finances. Let’s get everything out in the open and on the table and see where we are going right and where we are going wrong. Our surplus has dwindled all the way down to nothing. Our bond rating has seen a consistent and continuous downgrade according to Moody’s 2017/2019 reports. We definitely need more transparency and accountability moving forward.

Stanley J. Kudej (R), incumbent

Answers were not submitted.

A nearly lifelong resident of Shelton, Kudej is an Army veteran and a American Legion Post 16 member where he has served as treasurer of its baseball team. Kudej retired from Allied Signal after 37 years and was a local 1010 UAW official in charge of workmen’s compensation. He is a longtime member of Shelton’s Czech Club and a corporator of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. He was elected to the Board of Aldermen in 2001 and an advocate of low taxes. A strong supporter of recreational opportunities for residents, he has been a Shelton Parks and Recreation Commission member for more than 25 years and Shelton National Little League President for more than 30 years. During that time he played an essential role starting the Challenger Little League for handicapped children. He and his late wife, Pat, have three children and seven grandchildren.

Eric J McPherson (R), incumbent

Answers were not submitted

A Shelton resident for most of his life and a longtime member of St. Joseph Parish, McPherson worked in the security and public safety fields for more than 25 years and helped to create Shelton’s Office of Emergency Management. He is experienced in city government, having been elected in 1989 to the Board of Apportionment & Taxation and in 1991 to the Board of Aldermen where he served four terms. He was re-elected to the Board in 2009, serving on the Public Health and Safety Committee and currently is Street Committee chairman. In 2015, he was elected as vice president of the board. He is a strong supporter of low taxes and balancing Shelton’s growth, development, and open space. He especially believes that government must live within its means. A strong and a tireless advocate for the downtown area, he has worked with police officials to enhance public safety for safer neighborhoods. He successfully led efforts to have Shelton’s anti-blight ordinance amended to force absentee landlords to clean up their property, and has worked through the Street Committee to see that roads are repaired.

Third Ward

John Anglace, Jr., incumbent

What are the top three issues you hope to tackle if elected? You can be specific to your ward as well as the city as a whole.

1. Continue to build tax base

2. Build on BOA/BOE positive working relationship

3. Improving our senior experience

What sets you apart from the other candidates you are campaigning against in this primary?

Since 1994, other aldermen (from both parties) have elected me to be the president of the BOA. They have consistently chosen me because I respect each of them, provide them with the information they need in a timely manner to make the decisions they must make on a monthly basis.

Preparation and performance have resulted in their continued affirmation of a well-run board capable of conducting well the business of the people.

How has your experience set you up for success as an alderman?

28 years serving as an alderman has given me a vast knowledge of city business, procedures and ordinances which has helped enormously with constituent service issues, budgeting, legislation, etc.

How would you focus on improving the relationship with the Board of Education, and what are your thoughts on how the education budget has been handled, and what would you do differently, if anything?

I have already begun this process which has been adopted by the BOA and the BOE. I set up the new budget reporting format and have focused on an initial BOA/BOE meeting to understand how the BOE allocates its given resources with quarterly BOA/BOE budget review meetings throughout the year to promote better understanding of how the BOE spends its money. These meetings will also allow the BOE to inform the BOA of financial situations encountered. These meetings provide opportunities to share other relevant financial information in a non-confrontational setting. It also allows us to share the need for new education investments and ask questions relative to student learning results.

Cris Balamaci (R), incumbent

What are the top three issues you hope to tackle if elected? You can specific to your ward as well as the city as a whole.

1. Maintaining stable taxes for all residents and look for new and innovative ways to secure stability in these uncertain economic times at the state level. While the Board of Aldermen is not given the task of approving or denying development projects with the city, I do believe in sensible development and welcome the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the city residents in all wards and to roll up my sleeves and fight alongside them by voicing my opinion on projects in my ward and the impact on the residents. It’s important to note the aldermen serve the city as a whole, but I am there to assist and serve the residents of the third ward to the best of my ability via personal contact and also giving them guidance on how to navigate the various departments in City Hall to solve any town related issues or problems they may be experiencing.

2. It’s extremely vital to continue to maintain a safe and secure environment for our Shelton residents. I currently serve on the Public Health and Safety Committee where we tackle issues related to public safety by working with the members of the committee and the police department regarding traffic problems, speeding and the overall safety of residents. We regularly address issues in a public forum and do take the concerns of our Shelton residents very seriously and investigate and exercise all efforts to resolve the matter at hand.

3. Ensuring student education is a top priority, while remaining fiscally conservative and laser-focused on the Board of Education and the city of Shelton’s budget.

What sets you apart from the other candidates you are campaigning against in this primary?

I am a veteran who has served my country as a military officer. Leadership, diplomacy and financial acumen are essential in serving as an alderman of the city of Shelton. Understanding the fundamentals of municipal governing is key in running an efficient city or town. I bring this to the table every day that I have served. All of our residents know they can depend on both John and myself in investigating, gathering the facts and addressing the issues at hand in a timely manner.

How has your experience set you up for success as an aldermen?

As an executive who is also a board certified physician associate (PA), the critical thinking required in my leadership roles has prepared me to logically address issues in a compassionate and practical manner. Problem solving is a skill that is crucial as an Alderman and recognizing differences of opinions with robust debates with a positive outcome for the city is the goal. Respect and loyalty to the cause is pivotal for continued stability and success of our city.

If you would be new to the aldermen, what experience do you have that would allow you handle the added responsibility of being in charge of city finances?

I have been a risk management executive effectively mitigating losses in both the public and private sectors, saving more than $100 million in the past 15 years. I pride myself in being analytical and able to “see the big picture” which is vital in maintaining solvency in a municipality. One must make decisions based on factual information and not emotional triggers. One must never forget we represent all constituents of all ages in the community.

How would you focus on improving the relationship with the Board of Education, and what are your thoughts on how the education budget has been handled, and what would you do differently, if anything?

Currently serving on the BOA we collectively recognized the need to have open dialogue with the BOE and we have had recent progress with joint budget review workshops. The new finance director at the BOE is working in concert with both boards and can only result in better outcomes for the BOE.

Is looking at having a forensic audit done on city finances in the wake of the questions about the drawn down general fund, special education excess cost grant, etc.?

I have participated in forensic audits in the public sector and at this time feel that it is not necessary. Also, the general fund surplus draw down was a conscious effort on the part of the BOA to avoid further erosion of the state ECS Grant. All expenditures were approved per Charter and are reflected in the BOA minutes over several years thereby already achieving full transparency. The Special Education Excess Cost budget issue has been resolved with the advent of the cooperation received from the new BOE finance director and many related discussions between the parties. The erroneous reporting of the special education excess cost revenue caused an unexpected reduction of our general fund surplus, but the city is taking steps to rebuild it to a comfortable level. While the rating agencies may like to see huge general fund surplus amounts, this is not always practical since the state could, at any moment, step in and seriously reduce Shelton’s ESC Grant thereby increasing the burden on local taxpayers.

Peter Squitieri (R)

What are the top three issues you hope to tackle if elected? You can be specific to your ward as well as the city as a whole.

* Keep taxes low while providing great services to all. During this current year, our taxes have gone up. Much of it has to do with poor decisions. The Moody Report shows a decrease in our rating and it will continue to do so unless we evaluate and assess the causes so that we can fix the issues and keep our taxes not only low, but possibly lower.

* Continue to be a voice on fair and balanced developments. As a member of SOS (Save Our Shelton), it is critical that we continue to fight against high density development that affects the quality of life for all Shelton residents. Responsible development is the key. How will Shelton benefit from these proposals not only today, but also 30 years from now? This is the question that must always be asked.

* Bringing a teamwork approach improving relationships and communication with boards and commissions. Communication and transparency is the key to success. In order to move forward as a city, we need to establish a strong bond amongst all groups. As a high school soccer coach for the past 15 years I always tell my players that there are no superstars on this team. If we want to be successful it takes the efforts of every single individual. If everyone does their part, the formula for success will be achieved. If everyone has the mentality of what can I do to help my city rather than to point the finger, we can accomplish so much.

What sets you apart from the other candidates you are campaigning against in this primary?

I am not a “yes man,” I am here for you.

I stood with you on the Shelter Ridge development and want to represent you as your alderman. I had the privilege of meeting many great people in my ward gaining signatures to be on the primary, listening to the concerns of the residents is extremely important to me. Having the same vision for Shelton is what sets me apart. The reason I decided to run for alderman, is to be your voice. As a soon-to-be father come this October, I want the best for my child. Just as all of us do, I want to live in a city where I feel safe, provide services for elderly, and have the opportunity to receive a top notch education. This can all become a reality by having someone such as Greg Tetro, the Here for Shelton Team and myself who are true and genuine looking out for the best interests of our residents and city.

How has your experience set you up for success as an aldermen?

I am determined and have the heart of the people. Being part of SOS for the past three years, I always give 110% in all that I do. Much of our success has to do with being a team member and overcoming obstacles because in the end when your goal is achieved, you gain the trust of the people you represent. That in itself is the best reward. Doing what’s right and knowing that my effort played such an intricate part in helping others, defines my character and encourages me to continue to do right by those I stand for.

If you would be new to the aldermen, what experience do you have that would allow you to handle the added responsibility of being in charge of city finances?

I have experience on working with budgets and making sure financial books are in order. As your alderman I will make sure our financial foundation is strong and that there are checks and balances.

I will push to have a forensic audit conducted to get a true baseline of our finances and then institute best accounting practices.

How would you focus on improving the relationship with the Board of Education, and what are your thoughts on how the education budget has been handled, and what would you do differently, if anything?

The relationship problem between the city and the BOE stems from a personal issue between the mayor and the BOE. The breakdown is magnified by the “yes” men of the BOA. The only way to have a positive relationship between the BOA and the BOE is to elect the “Here for Shelton” candidates Peter Squitieri, Greg Tetro, Mike Gaydos, and Jim Capra for the Board of Aldermen and re-elect Mark Holden, Anne Gaydos and Tom Minotti to the BOE. We are are free thinkers that will not be puppets of the mayor. By voting for the Here for Shelton candidates, including myself, the civility of the relationship will be immediately restored.

Is looking at having a forensic audit done on city finances in the wake of the questions about the drawn down general fund, special education excess cost grant, etc.?

100% yes. Shelton has not had one done in decades, if ever. The forensic audit is a tool that will establish a baseline on our finances, ensure that all monies received and spent are properly accounted for. In all likelihood, if the City of Shelton had instituted a procedure for conducting forensic audits on a regular schedule, the million plus tax dollars that was stolen a few years ago would not have happened. A forensic audit will also give the opportunity to streamline our spending and leave the strong possibility to lower taxes while increasing services.

Greg Tetro (R)

What are the top three issues you hope to tackle if elected? You can specific to your ward as well as the city as a whole.

1. I want the citizens to know they will always have my best efforts.

2. I want to get a handle on the money that is missing so we can put in safeguards to prevent it from happening again.

3. I would like the citizens to feel that this government cares. They may not like every answer as it is hard to make all 40,000 happy at the same time. But all decisions will be for the good of the entire city.

What sets you apart from the other candidates you are campaigning against in this primary?

Nothing was handed to me. Some may of earned their place on this ticket. I was questioned by many and I had to earn their signature. I pull no punches and tell no lies. We got hear by people not being open and honest with the citizens.

How has your experience set you up for success as an aldermen?

I learned at a very young age how important money is to people. If you take someone’s money you better be able to show them what you are doing with it. I bought out my brother’s paper route because he was not delivering them early enough. Everything is about commitment for whatever you do. I have not used or needed to use a sick day in 20+ years. I also have taught for over 10 years.

If you would be new to the aldermen, what experience do you have that would allow you handle the added responsibility of being in charge of city finances?

This is always the fine balance. You need to work with seven others. You need to be flexible. In life most everything is a compromise. Be able to live with the decisions and keep fighting until you can live with it. You can sell anyone out. You look for value and save where you can so you don’t overburden any one sector.

How would you focus on improving the relationship with the Board of Education, and what are your thoughts on how the education budget has been handled, and what would you do differently, if anything?

Just as in the question before. Everyone has to move a little. Everyone has to go the table knowing it may be tough but both sides are not just working for themselves. The citizens vote both sides in. If you want to stay in you need to prove you are working on their behalf.

Is looking at having a forensic audit done on city finances in the wake of the questions about the drawn down general fund, special education excess cost grant, etc.?

1. Settle on who gets the special education excess grant by law.

2. Find out the cost of this audit.

3. Weigh the $12 million against that cost of an audit.

4. Determine if the knowledge learned outweighs the cost.

My first thought it is anywhere between 4 times and 40 times Susan Scanlan stole. Why we never found out an exact amount is part of the reason it may have happened again.

Fourth Ward

Jim Capra (R), incumbent

What are the top three issues you hope to tackle if elected? You can specific to your ward as well as the city as a whole.

* Keep taxes low while continuing to provide great services to all of Shelton.

* Continue to be a voice on fair, balanced and responsible development.

* Work on improving relationships between all city departments. Eliminate wasteful taxpayer-dollar lawsuits.

What sets you apart from the other candidates you are campaigning against in this primary?

* I bring experience and a record of keeping taxes low.

* I proudly stood with my ward in opposing Shelter Ridge, affordable housing on Huntington Street/Ripton Road and cluster housing on Booth Hill Road/Waverly Road. I truly care about each residents property value rising!

* I am not a “yes man.” I am a proud Shelton Republican who truly cares about the best interests of the ward and the City of Shelton.

How has your experience set you up for success as an aldermen?

“Actions speak louder than words.” I believe my voting record and actions have shown I have listened and stood with my constituents. Ex: Keeping taxes low, speaking up on bad development projects and building a better line of communication with the Board of Education.

How would you focus on improving the relationship with the Board of Education, and what are your thoughts on how the education budget has been handled, and what would you do differently, if anything?

During the last budget process, I was the voice insisting the City of Shelton (Mayor Mark Lauretti), Board of Aldermen and Board of Education need to work together and be open to listening to each other’s ideas and find some common ground. I worked with the Board of Aldermen, the Board of Education and the superintendent to get funding to hire a full time school psychologist. While a small moment, however, an important moment and opportunity to show that all can work together.

Is looking at having a forensic audit done on city finances in the wake of the questions about the drawn down general fund, the special education excess cost grant, etc.?

I have been one of the aldermen insisting that we immediately conduct a forensic audit on the City of Shelton and the Board of Education. During the last fiscal year, how did we go from a $12 million dollar surplus down to a $0? I have not received a good answer from the mayor, the city auditor and/or the city Finance Department. Also, there is a perception out there that the Board of Education mismanages their funds, why not conduct a forensic audit to be certain their finances are in check? The Board of Education is very open to having the forensic audit done, however, the city is afraid of the idea, why? For those not familiar with a forensic audit, it’s like going to your primary doctor, getting a physical examination and then the doctor sends you out for blood work ensure no major health issues. The city and board of education are long overdue for their examination and the forensic audit will help to ensure the financial foundation of our city remains strong! My job as your alderman is to make sure the city finances are in order and always be a voice for checks and balances.

Noreen McGorty (R), incumbent

What are the top three issues you hope to tackle if elected? You can be specific to your ward as well as the city as a whole.

The top three issues I plan to focus on are holding the line on taxes, oversight of department spending and ensuring responsible development and fighting the inappropriate affordable housing project in Shelton.

What sets you apart from other candidates you are campaigning against in this primary?

This is my 10th year as an alderman in the 4th Ward. I am an experienced investment professional with over 30 years of progressive financial services and operational excellence including managerial and problem solving skills. My responsibilities include working with all types of clients including high net worth individuals, foundations and endowments as well as outside vendors including auditors and legal counsel. This experience has greatly assisted me as an alderman responsible for the fiscal health of the city.

How has your experience set you up for success as an alderman?

In addition to my 10 years as an alderman, I have served our town as a volunteer on several boards and commissions for over twenty years. These include the Public Health and Safety Committee, the Emergency Medical Services Commission and the Board of Valley Emergency Services.

How would you focus on improving the relationship with the Board of Education, and what are your thoughts on how the education budget has been handled, and what would you do differently, if anything?

The first item I would focus on would be the open line of communication. For example, the alderman that sits on the Finance Committee should meet with the BOE Finance Committee, at least quarterly, to ensure transparency and to develop a sense of shared goals. I give tremendous credit to the teachers and staff that generate strong student performance on a streamlined budget. I believe more open dialogue on the finances throughout the year will lead to an improved relationship, especially during budget season.

Is looking at having a forensic audit done on city finances in the wake of questions about drawn down general fund, special education cost grant, etc.?

I don’t think a forensic audit would be an appropriate use of funds at this time. General fund monies were spent on capital projects that benefit the city and our residents. By spending general fund dollars, we avoided new borrowing (and the related interest payments) which ultimately lowers city expenses. I believe the special education costs grant is appropriately due to the BOE and that going forward the process could be improved, again, by more open communication.

Bernie Simons (R)

What are the top issues you hope to tackle if elected? You can be specific to your ward as well as the city as a whole.

Maintaining the high standard of living in Shelton, working with the Board of Aldermen to keep the tax rate low and helping to continue the strong economic development that has been happening in the city. In the fourth ward, I will also work with the city and local sports organizations to maintain and improve the Nike site. This is a place that brings the community together.

If you would be new to the aldermen, what experience do you have that would allow you handle the added responsibility of being in charge of city finances?

I feel I am uniquely qualified to serve on the Board of Aldermen considering my years of experience working on city boards and commissions — including serving two terms on the Board of Education. I also have an in depth understanding of city finances having served as chairman of the Board of Apportionment & Taxation as well as city finance committee chairman.

A longtime city resident, I have my own insurance agency and have a financial background. I am here to represent all taxpayers in Shelton.

How would you focus on improving the relationship with the Board of Education, and what are your thoughts on how the education budget has been handled, and what would you do differently, if anything?

Having served on the Board of Education gives me a unique understanding on how that board operates and what it needs to best serve the school population. I also come in with understand of the city finances, through A&T, so I think I can help bridge the gap that exists between the two boards. For me, it is about cooperation, not competition. I also serve as chair of the city’s Public Building Improvement Committee, on which I have helped work with the Board of Education on several projects — including the new Sunnyside School roof, security enhancements at the elementary schools and the new football stadium — that have come in on time and on budget.

Bernie Simons was not endorsed by the Republican Town Committee at the July caucus but was later asked to run in the fourth ward by RTC members. Simons has the backing of Mayor Mark Lauretti and RTC leadership but is listed on Row B because he petitioned to force the primary.