Mayor Harry Rilling hosted his first Mayor's Night Out Monday evening, bringing department heads and concerned residents together.
During is time as Police Chief of the City of Norwalk, Mayor Rilling hosted Meet the Police Chief forums.
Mayor Rilling said, "People in the community often don't have an opportunity to meet the Mayor, to meet their Council people, to meet the department heads and there is a disconnect. I want to bridge that gap."
Residents raised their voice on various concerns from illegal dumping to city communications and crime.
Norwalk resident Diane Lauricella discussed the city's website saying, "If we can have some type of public forum, there are some new improvements that I like on this website but there are some things that are very difficult to find, including finding where the [Common] Council is. Currently you have to know that Council people is listed under Departments, and most people don't know that."
Chief of Police Thomas Kulhawik said, "It gives us an opportunity to get our face out there. People see us, they realize that we're people and that we are interested in helping them. That's what we are here for. Sometimes they don't realize that, they think that it's an antagonistic relationship but it's not. We're all here for the same reason, which is to make things better."
Several public works issues were also discussed.
"If the quality of life is going to improve in the City, it's going to take volunteer effort on the part of the residents - Norwalk Neighborhood Associations and so on," said Hal Alvord, Director of Public Works for the City. "Forums like this help get the word out that they can help improve the quality of life."
Mayor Rilling plans to host a Mayor's Night Out once a month in various neighborhoods within the City.
Mayor Rilling added, "We need to hear what they say. We need to respond to what they say because in reality, we work for them and it's our job to do their bidding. I want to make sure that we know what it is that we can do for them."