Meet the Candidate: Rich Connell

October 9, 2023

Hello Sherman Friends!

I am excited to share with you that I am running as a candidate to be Sherman’s next Town Treasurer.  I have had a long career on Wall Street including being head of Global ($14 Billion) Fund Administration. I am a full-time resident for over 23 years. You may know me from my many roles around town: serving on the Board of Directors for the Sherman Library, volunteering for Naomi, or being the husband of Mary Jane Magoon, a prominent local artist. I am proud of our family of three sons and seven grandchildren.

With the current Town Treasurer retiring and my own recent retirement, I can fully commit my time, experience, and education to serving our community and ensuring its financial security.

I am a fiscal conservative and believe that the Treasurer must operate in an impartial and non-political manner at all times. I am a registered Independent who has consistently voted on the merits of a candidate, not the party they belong to.  

Upon seeing my qualifications, the Democratic party was “excited” to ask me to run as the next Treasurer. To use their words, they felt I was “the right person at the right time”.

As head of Global Fund Administration for a $14 billion hedge fund, I performed due diligence on over 400 executing brokers while working with all the major domestic and international brokerage houses in the world.    Highlights of my  16  years in this area include identifying a  weakness in broker analysis and introducing a  platform that strengthened our commitment to the  Patriot  Act and reduced questionable trading. I also revamped a system for processing trade confirmations, saving over $180,000 in one year.

After leaving the hedge fund for work closer to home,  I became a  conflict resolution specialist for six years, resolving differences between my employer, one of the largest energy companies in the Northeast, and its large-volume consumers.

I have a bachelor’s degree in management from Western Connecticut State University’s Ancell  School of  Business.  To complete an additional degree in paralegal studies,  I interned at the Department of Justice where I researched case law and drafted Medicare fraud complaints for federal court.

As Sherman’s Town treasurer, through my career and even internship, I have developed strong skills for ensuring that our town’s finances are managed optimally and comply with sound accounting practices.

As a twenty-three-year resident, my passion is for making Sherman a better place to live, work, and play. Folks in town know me as one who cares deeply about our town’s quality of life.  I am well qualified in temperament, motivation, and experience to work with town officials, staff, and citizens to achieve our common goals and address our challenges.

Might I have your vote for Sherman’s next Treasurer?

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at

Ready on day one and fully committed,

Richard Connell

Candidate Bio: Selectman Joel Bruzinski

September 23, 2023

Joel Bruzinski is the Democratic candidate running for re-election to the office of Selectman in Sherman.

Joel is a 25-year resident of Sherman.  Since moving to town with his wife Ashleigh Blake in August of 1998, the couple has lovingly restored a home and property in the town’s historic center.  They have enjoyed raising their son Nathaniel and daughter Eden in Sherman.  “It is hard to imagine a better place to raise a family,” says Joel.  The couple proudly watched their children mature through the Sherman school system and on to high school. 

In addition to his current role as selectman Joel has served on Sherman’s Planning and Zoning Commission for a four-year term, the Sherman Historic District Commission for over twenty years, and is currently the representative for the Board of Selectman on the Sherman School Building Committee. He was the Chairman of the Sherman Democratic Town Committee for three years.   Additionally, Joel has volunteered countless hours for the Sherman SPTO and the Sherman Library Association where he identifies his current role as “Chief schlepper and handyman”.

Joel has worked for Pamby Motors, a family-owned Jeep, Chrysler, and Ram dealership in Ridgefield, for over 27 years.  For most of that time, he has been in his current role as General Manager, dealing with all facets of business operations, logistics, inventory management, cost controls, facilities, staffing, and HR.  Joel also serves as the company’s in-house IT Director executing such duties as negotiating, contracting, and on-boarding new communications systems as well as CRM, security, and workflow solutions.  He provides day-to-day support for company hardware and software across all departments.  Joel prides himself on a track record of maintaining well-trained, long-term employees and navigating his company through the pandemic without losing a single staff member. 

Joel has enjoyed his first term on Sherman’s Board of Selectman.  “This has been a particularly strong BOS in my opinion, and I very much enjoy working with both First Selectman Don Lowe as well as Selectman Bob Ostrosky.  Their combined 22 years of experience on the BOS really shows in the quality of work they perform for the community.  I have tried to learn as much as I can from Don and Bob and look forward to putting that knowledge to work for the town as a more seasoned and proficient selectman in my next term.”

Candidate Interview: Selectman Joel Bruzinski

September 23, 2023

1) What inspired you to run for the position again? 

Two main factors helped in this decision.  The first was that people asked me if I was and stated that they hoped I would.  That sort of positive feedback is always great to hear from folks who believe that you are doing a good job and would like you to stay at it.  Secondly, I feel like you really spend the first two years of the job of Selectman getting the “lay-of-the-land” and learning everything you need to be a solid contributing member of the Board of Selectman.  Now that I have a little bit of experience, I look forward to being able to pull my weight with more proficiency in the role.  I feel that, with Don and Bob, we have a great board and welcome the opportunity to work with them again.  

2) What do you appreciate most about your partnership with Don?

Don and I have had a very direct understanding from day one that my opinion or vote on an issue need not be the same as his simply because we are members of the same political party and ticket and we have held to that.  I have enjoyed some debate with Don just as much as I have enjoyed being aligned with Bob Ostrosky on any given topic this board has addressed.  I feel that is what has made this such a strong board over the last two years.  We all work for what we truly feel is best for the town.  I respect the level of experience that Don and Bob bring while they have never minimized or dismissed any fresh perspective that I may have added.  I have known Don Lowe as a good friend for over two decades.  Working with Don however, has given me a new perspective on the earnestness and effort he is capable of pouring into his role as First Selectman.  Don cares deeply about Sherman.  It is difficult to convey the amount of time and thought he devotes to the job. His experience and knowledge in the role will continue to benefit Sherman moving forward.  

3) From Day 1 as Selectman to now, what has changed the most in the Town?

I think the biggest tangible change has been emerging from the pandemic.  It has been great to see Sherman “thaw” back into its previous wonderful self with events and programs happening in person again. A change that has not been positive is the amount of speeding on our streets.  Don, Bob and I have gone at this head-on with added enforcement and traffic calming measures.  We will continue to do so moving forward.

4) There were some tense meetings this past year; particularly during public comment, regarding such issues as: 5G, Happy Acres Farm, Veteran tax benefits, Air Bnb’s – to name a few.  If re-elected, how do you plan on addressing these issues/resident’s concerns?  

I feel this board has addressed all of these issues and well.  We are currently in process on the Veteran’s Tax Benefits and Air Bnb’s topics.  Happy Acres is discussed often by our board.  Typically for maintenance related needs.  I think David Jellen is doing an incredible job out there and the farm is a gem in our town. People passionate about a particular issue may feel things are not moving fast enough or in the direction that they want at all times. I can assure you that it has been my experience that all concerns raised by the public are addressed by this board in manner that is most prudent for the overall well being of the town.  Most of the topics that this board addresses turn out to be far more nuanced than they appear to be initially with potential negative impact brought on by hasty, or inexperienced decisions.  Don and Bob are an absolute asset to the town in this respect with just shy of 22 years combined experience on the Board of Selectman between them.  I look forward to working with them again in the next two years.

5) Do you have any new Town projects coming down the pike that you are particularly excited about?

The renovation of the school is, of course, the most major project Sherman will face.  As the representative of the BOS on the Sherman School Building Committee I want to assure the public that the level of professional expertise and dedication that the other members of this committee have brought to the table are incredible.  These folks, some of whom are sceptics-turned-advocates after seeing the state of the building, have poured endless hours into coming up with the least expensive and most well-engineered plan possible.  No one, of course, is thrilled about the associated cost of this renovation, however, further delay will only make that cost far worse.  The tax impact associated with the project, an average total increase of 14 percent, is going to be felt for sure and I am certainly mindful that for some households this will be difficult.  We do need to keep in mind however the fact that this Board of Selectman and several previous versions under Don Lowe and Bob Ostrosky, have reduced our taxes while building our surplus and allowing tax payers to keep as much of their money in their own pockets, where it belongs, until a time when it is really needed.  I can say that I am excited about the prospect of bringing our school facility up to the level that our students and teachers deserve.  Sherman is better than those same kids and staff having to wonder if they will have heat or potable water in our school on any given day.  I hope the voters also see us a community that can and should do better than that and vote “yes” in the upcoming referendum.
6) What are some areas of Town that you’d like to see improved upon in the coming years?  

A few things – I am looking forward to moving our BOS meeting into a “hybrid” format through the addition of an Owl conference camera system this BOS has purchased.  This, hopefully, will allow greater attendance of our meetings by the public.  Also, I would really like to see more of our citizens get off of the sidelines and participate in our town in some way.  Since my wife and I moved to town 25 years ago there has not been a time when one, or both of us was not serving on one or multiple town boards, committees or organizations.  I don’t say this as a boast but rather as an example that it is possible.  It is possible for two working people, with full-time jobs to serve your community while renovating a house, tending a yard, raising a family and dealing with everything else life throws at you. Volunteers are the life-blood of small communities and we need as many good folks, with all of their varied talents and perspectives, to step-up and get involved.

7) Anything else you’d like to add? 

I really want to thank all of the candidates who are running for an office in this election.  It takes a certain amount of bravery to put yourself out there in such a public way.  I also want to specifically thank Liz LaVia and Ruth Burns for their kind patience over the last two years in bringing me up to speed and answering all of my questions thoroughly.

A Great BOS Team: Promises, Successes

By First Selectman Don Lowe in Town Tribune, September 28, 2023

(editor note: The title was added by the SDTC webmaster, not by Don)

Friends and Neighbors,

I have had the privilege of serving as your First Selectman since 2018. I’m asking for your vote to serve Sherman for two more years.

PROMISES: When I ran in 2017 and you elected me, all I had to offer were promises. I promised to keep Sherman financially strong, promised to budget prudently, to manage Sherman responsively and effectively, and to be actively engaged on issues concerning our seniors, our Sherman School, emergency services, public works, Flappy Acres Farm, Candlewood Lake, and other Sherman matters. And, as I will point out later in the column, all of those promises have been met and Sherman has thrived in the last six years.

SUCCESS: But I didn’t do this alone. This success has taken an entire team of good people working together. The only thing 1 can truly take credit for is my ability to get people to work together. I’m pretty good at that. When I started in 2018, I made a conscious decision to not be concerned about politics, to work in a non-partisan way that incorporates the skills of many amazing people. And it starts with my Board of Selectmen (BOS). I can’t say enough good things about both of the selectmen, Joel Bruzinski and Bob Ostrosky.

A GREAT SELECTMAN: Joel Bruzinski has been on the board for two years now and has made a tremendous difference with his good judgment and his conscientious work ethic. (Previous to this, Kevin Keenan was the democrat selectman and he served the town exceedingly well too!) Joel brings a hands-on business acumen and is an old-school conservative when it comes to spending tax-‘ payers’ money. He graciously stepped up as a committed member of the Sherman School Building Committee and has served as the BOS’s liaison for that critical project. He works cheerfully and honestly for Sherman, has a strong sense of planning and Sherman’s future, and I’m proud to call him a fellow board member.

ANOTHER GREAT SELECTMAN: Bob Ostrosky, on the Republican ticket, has served on the BOS for 10 years and is, in my opinion, an unsung hero for his repeated good judgment and for the care that he puts into his decisions. Bob brings corporate management skills to the table and keeps the BOS on track both procedurally and progressively. Like Joel, he has a vision for Sherman’s future and he bases many of his decisions on where Sherman will be in the near and the far future. Bob is exceptionally strong at creating budgets and finding the most economically sound ways to use taxpayers’ money to keep Sherman running well.

RESULTS: This is not some “rubber stamp” Board of Selectmen where all three plod along in sleepy lockstep with each other. Quite the opposite. We disagree but without the political backstabbing, we disagree to find the best solutions, and we disagree politely and constructively.. Consequently, this BOS has leveraged some favorable financial circumstances to save Sherman taxpayers money by budgeting tax decreases five years in a row. We also nearly doubled the Sherman surplus/rainy day fund, and overall, as taxes dropped services increased. As a board, we completely revived and repaired Happy Acres farm and we have shepherded successful capital projects on every single Sherman-owned entity. It’s been a good six years for Sherman. For Sherman’s well-being, I hope all three of us are back working together for two more years.

THE SHERMAN SCHOOL: Saturday, October 7 will be the referendum to fund a plan to renovate the Sherman School in order to fix the building’s severe infrastructure issues and to right-size the building for current and projected K-to-8 enrollment. If that referendum passes, it will be full speed ahead to make that building whole again. If the referendum fails, it will still be full speed ahead to make that building right again. As long as I’m the First Selectman, we will find a way. Sherman is greatly marginalized when its school building – its most expensive asset – is marginalized. An even worse scenario would be regionalization in which we send our young students to other schools. That’s unacceptable. Property values are dependent on a strong school and the Sherman School is a key part of our Town culture. I’m proud to have put three children through the Sherman School and am pleased that others, in years past, voted to fund the school for them. Now it’s time to fund the school to make it whole for new generations for years to come.

COMING UP: In my next campaign column, I will write about what is expected of a First Selectman to serve Sherman correctly. I will mention others who have furthered the collective improvement of Sherman over these last six years. I will outline, specifically, a list of successful capital projects completed over these last six years

2023 Sherman House & Garden Tour—BIG SUCCESS

We can all be very pleased with so much about the House Tour!

Folks raved about the houses, the party, and how well it was organized! 

We sold an exceptional number of tickets with less than the usual expenses. 

This event certainly brought us together with so many people and boosted our esprit de corps. Thanks to Anne and PD, the party had a stupendous backdrop and certainly was a jovial finale. 

When we first brought up the idea of a tour in March, we were discouraged by thinking of all the moving parts. Thanks to Barbara Ackerman and Chris McDermott, who’ve been running all ten prior tours, they guided us through what’s required. Their drive and work ethic saw us through every task.  

Thanks to each of the hosts, DTC members, and friends who were docents, brought food, drove, placed signs, and did whatever it took to have this success.

Rear L to R: Linda Hubbard, Marie Mennonna (DTC Secretary), Bob Gamper (DTC Treasurer), Ginny Gamper, Mary Ann Lamb, Rachel Booth, Kenric Gubner, Adam Mennonna

Front L to R: Samantha Addonizio Butts, Mary Jane Magoon, Rich Connell (DTC candidate for Town Treasurer),  Anne Weisberg (DTC candidate for Planning and Zoning), Don Lowe (DTC candidate for 1st Selectman), Jeff Ginsburg (DTC Chair, Co-Chair of  House Tour), Chris McDermott (DTC Deputy Treasurer, Co-Chair of  House Tour), Barbara Ackerman(Co-Chair of  House Tour), Kate Frey, Sunday Fisher (DTC Vice Chair)

Not Shown: Stan Greenbaum, Paula Cassidy, Andrea O’Connor

Photo: Linda T. Hubbard. 

Our Candidates

First Selectman:

Don Lowe (term 1/1/2024 – 1/1/2026)


Joel Bruzinski (term 1/1/2024 – 1/1/2026)


Rich Connell (term 1/1/2024 – 1/1/2026)

Board of Education:

Matthew Vogt & Timothy G. Laughlin (term 1/1/2024 – 1/1/2028)

Planning and Zoning:

Commissioner: Christian R. Dacunha (term 1/1/2024 – 1/1/2028)

Commissioner: Anne C. Weisberg (term 1/1/2025 – 1/1/2029)

Alternate: Lauren Weber (term: 1/1/2024 – 1/1/2026)

Alternate: <open>(term: 1/1/2024 – 1/1/2026)

Zoning Board of Appeals:

Ann Chiaramonte (term 1/1/2025 – 1/1/2030)


James Baird  (term 1/1/2024 – 1/1/2026)



To members of the Democratic Party of the Town of Sherman, CT.

Pursuant to the Rules of the Democratic Party and State election laws, you are hereby notified that a caucus will be held on:

Month: July 2023

Date: 19th, Wednesday

Time: 7:30 pm

Location: Sherman Senior Center, 8 CT-37,  Sherman, 06784

to endorse candidates for the 2023 Municipal Election and to transact other business as may be proper to come before said Caucus.

Candidates are requested to be present for the vote and to sign the paperwork. Please let me know if you definitely cannot attend. 

Best wishes,