standing North Stonington Town Hall

North Stonington Town Hall

FIRST SELECTMAN (1 seat)

Robert (Bob) Carlson

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired

Education: Associate in Science in business — Rhode Island Junior College (1974), Bachelor of Science in business admin, URI (1976)

Top issues:

Two issues that I would like to address immediately are:

1. The planned use of the American Rescue Funds.

2. plans for the demolition and or future use of the 298 Norwich-Westerly Rd. building.

I plan on having a Community Conversation followed by a Town Meeting on both of these issues so I will be able to listen to and then act on the wishes of our taxpayers.

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SELECTMAN (2 seats)

Toula Balestracci

Age: 44

Occupation: Realtor® and Independent Bookkeeper

Education: 1995 Wheeler Graduate, some college

Political Experience: Chairwoman, North Stonington Democratic Town Committee; served on Economic Development Committee as secretary; served on Sustainability Committee as secretary; served as chairwoman on School Building Repurposing Committee.

Why you should vote for me: I am invested in the success and sustainability of this town.

Top issues:

1. A lot of issues are integrated with the health of our local economy. We need to be proactive with our economic development in order to ease the tax burden on the residents. Creating jobs, promoting businesses, encouraging consumer spending in our town, will benefit everybody. We have an economic corridor that is ideal for business development.

2. The other issue is the vacant former middle/high school. What is the best solution that makes sense for the town, the budget, and residents? We need to find a creative solution that is inline with the deed restriction and that can turn a liability into an asset.

Brett Mastroianni

Age: 46 

Occupation: Small business owner

Education: Bachelor of Science Management, Johnson & Wales University

Political Experience: Ad Hoc School Building Committee 2008-14; Economic Development Commission 2011-present, chairman since 2014; Board of Finance 2020-present; Republican Town Committee 2013-Present, chairman since 2015; Republican State Central Committee of CT 18th District Representative since 2021; member of Planning Committee for first Community Conversation. 

Why you should vote for me: Having over a decade of commitment and service to North Stonington as an elected official makes me the most experienced well rounded candidate running for Board of Selectmen.

Top issues:

1. 298 Norwich Westerly Rd: We need to find a solution that reduces the burden on the taxpayer by looking into grants for demolition of some sections of the building and viable uses for the other parts to benefit the town.

2. Taxes: We need to critically evaluate our spending, work on savings by evaluating purchasing programs, look at shared services, maintain our assets, further explore tax programs for our seniors, and continue success in economic development through responsible growth.

2a. Community: I will work collectively with all residents by opening up real communication, ensuring transparency, and concentrating on the relevant issues in our town- not on national partisan ones.

K. Nicole Porter

Did not submit responses.

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BOARD OF EDUCATION

Lisa Mazzella

Did not submit responses.

Stanley "Chet" Stefanowicz

Age: 43

Occupation: Teacher

Education: Bachelor's degree in international studies and Spanish; master's degree in education

Political experience: None

Why you should vote for me: Policy and administrative decisions should be based on practice and efficacy in the classroom, and I bring years of experience in education into this position.

Top issues:

1. I believe that the most pressing issue facing our BOE is the search for a new superintendent. I think it is exceptionally important to find a candidate that is willing to connect and become a part of a small town. In a small district, even more so than a large one, leadership involves open communication and connections with the people whose children are attending the schools. We need to find an individual who can handle both the management of the school, as well as the social and interactive piece of the position.

2. I also believe that improving communication and involving parents and townspeople is paramount to a successful school system. Not all parents, not even most parents, have the time to attend BOE meetings consistently. Not attending meetings does not translate into not caring about what is happening in the town's schools. I would like to work on and find new ways to make certain that more people understand the incredible work being done in our schools. Creating connections to our school system helps build community and translates into better outcomes for our students.

Christine Wagner

Did not submit responses.

Jamie Towle-Weicksel

Age: 37

Occupation: College professor

Education: B.S. in biology from WPI, MA in chemistry from Clark University, Ph.D. in chemistry from Clark University.

Political experience: None. Currently serving on the BOE as a replacement for member who resigned.

Why you should vote for me: You should vote for me because I am a problem solver and my experience in Higher Ed, as well as a scientist, will bring a unique perspective to the Board of Education.

Top issues:

1. An inclusive and equitable learning environment: Develop policies within the district that supports every child creating a safe place for students to be themselves and thrive.

2. Superintendent search: Working with teachers, staff, students, and families to help select a superintendent who will work for all our students, support our faculty and staff, and provide innovative ideas to lead our district.

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BOARD OF EDUCATION (2-year seat; vote for 1)

Jennifer Welborn

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BOARD OF FINANCE (full-term seat; vote for 1)

Sarah Nelson

Gary Annino

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BOARD OF FINANCE (4-year vacancy; vote for 1)

Carl R. Johnson Jr.

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BOARD OF FINANCE (Alternate seat; vote for 1)

Winona Berdine

Amy Friend

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TREASURER (Vote for 1)

Shawn P. Murphy

Age: 64

Occupation: Retired

Education: Bachelor of Science in Management, UNC Wilmington

Political experience: Former first selectman 2 years; Board of Selectmen 8 years; Board of Education 2 years; Chairman, Board of Finance 2 years; Current Vice Chairman, Zoning Board of Appeals 3 years.

Why you should vote for me: Because I have the educational and financial experience, the drive and commitment, and the time necessary to fulfill all duties of the position without time conflicting fulltime employment.

Top issues:

1. As town treasurer, issues will include assisting with the implementation of new financial management software, and the creation of a public online “North Stonington OpenCheckbook.” The recently approved financial management software will require the coordinated efforts of the treasurer, admin/finance officer, and Board of Finance during the initial setup. The new chart of accounts to be established will serve as the foundation for all future financial reporting and determine the software’s usefulness and flexibility for many years to come. I have direct experience in transitioning to new financial management software products during my service in the U.S. Navy and while employed at Connecticut College.

2. I would also like to implement a user friendly online checkbook where anyone having an interest can access information through the town website on how the town is spending funds allocated. This could include data such as date, description, to whom paid, and what departmental account was charged. Having this basic information available will answer many questions that have at times been raised and also facilitate a better understanding to those individuals that follow the budgeting process.

Mustapha Ratib

Age: 56 years old

Occupation: Enrolled Agent Registered Tax Preparer by the IRS/ accountant / financial advisor

Education: ECSU Graduate with BS in Accounting, Institute Central de Formation graduate with BS in Computer Science( French), EA Certificate by the IRS.

Political experience: I am the current treasurer voted in unanimously by the Board of Selectmen of North Stonington and served as Board of Finance member in North Stonington for nearly a decade and was a chief architect of our budget. As volunteer, I am the treasurer of NSEF, and the accountant of KNSA, both non-profit organizations in NS.

Why you should vote for me: The role of town treasurer requires an intimate understanding of accounting and municipal finance and my professional and volunteer experience has prepared me to be qualified to serve in this role.

Top issues:

1. As the current treasurer, I work behind the scenes to provide financial oversight for the town and Board of Education. This is a critically important responsibility, and we need someone who is fully qualified for this role and understands financing accounting. Additionally, my degree in computer science is an asset for the town when it comes to the transition from the old accounting systems to the new software North Stonington is planning to use. Finally, I believe that the person in this position must have knowledge on loans, financing, and accounting in order to provide the best financial stewardship possible.

2. Clarity and transparency are two qualities I believe any treasurer should have. Throughout my 10 years on the Board of Finance and time as treasurer, I have proven to be completely honest with the members of the Town Hall and North Stonington community about all issues regarding finances. If elected, I will continue to serve this town with clarity, transparency, and complete honesty.

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BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS (Vote for 1)

Lisa Mazzella

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (Full term; vote for 2)

Christopher J. Friday

Salvatore E. Cherenzia IV

Stefan Grufstedt

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (Alternate; vote for 1)

Emily Lewis

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PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION (Full term; vote for 2)

Anthony Mazzella

Wayne M. Wilkinson

Priscilla Lewis

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PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION (Alternate; vote for 2)

Robert Mazzella

Robert Kappes

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ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS (Full term; vote for 2)

Mark S. Perkins Jr.

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ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS (Alternate; vote for 3)

Amy Friend

Daniel Smith

William Mason

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