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Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission In Need Of New Chairman

Published: April 19, 2018

On Friday, April 6, Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission (SHPMC) Chairman Kyle Lyddy let fellow commission members know that he would be stepping down from his duties and resigning from the group effective immediately.

In a statement Mr Lyddy released to The Newtown Bee regarding his departure, he expressed it was a matter of life becoming increasingly busy and that he, at this time, is unable to devote the amount of attention the position requires.

“I’m humbled to have been a part of this group — it’s one that has respected each other’s ideas, thoughts, and emotions during this very difficult task,” he detailed.

After working with the group for more than four years, he says he is confident that the commission is at a place where it can continue to move forward without him.

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal led the commission’s regularly scheduled meeting on April 12 and gave insight to what the members’ options are for finding a new chairman. He explained that a new chairman could be selected from within the established group they already have, or they can invite an outside source to fill the position.

He assured them that the decision did not need to be voted on that night and that he would be available to lead the SHPMC meetings until they voted in a new chair.

SHPMC members expressed that Mr Lyddy’s role as chairman was very proactive in not only running meetings, but also day-to-day communication with the public, designers, and all the group’s digital accounts.

“He took on a lot,” SHPMC member Donna Van Waalwijk said.

The commission determined that they will compile a list of all the “housekeeping” duties that Mr Lyddy was previously responsible for and delegate them to different members, so nothing is neglected.

In addition to a new chairman, Mr Rosenthal said the commission should strongly consider adding another voting member to the group, now that they were down to nine people.

He suggested they think about adding former First Selectman Pat Llodra as a member, since she had been overseeing their work while she was office. It would also make for a smooth transition, because she is currently on the SHPMC’s Advisory Panel.

“She would make a good member,” Mr Rosenthal said.

He added that when he spoke with her about the possibility, she had said that she would be willing to step in as a voting member if the commission members wished.

Community Feedback

Before the announcement of Mr Lyddy’s resignation, the SHPMC had originally committed the meeting of April 12 to reviewing the feedback they received from the public about the top 13 permanent memorial designs they had selected for further consideration.

The group had organized two days in March for people to stop by their workshop and provide information about what they liked and disliked about the designs. They also invited the public to submit input to communityshpmc@gmail.com.

SHPMC member Dan Krauss indicated that after logging in to the e-mail that day, he found that not all the public participation had been compiled for them to review, but that they would go over the information they had.

SHPMC member JoAnn Bacon, whose daughter Charlotte died on 12/14, relayed that the three of the most positively reviewed designs by 12/14 families so far have been SH37, SH179, and SH233.

The commission decided to create a special meeting on Monday, April 30, to go over the remaining feedback in need of review. Also, the members came to an agreement that they would come to the special meeting with their personal top three designs chosen to help narrow down the short list.

After discussing whether or not to invite all the Advisory Panel members to the special meeting or wait until their regularly scheduled May 10 meeting — since some live out of state — they decided the May 10 meeting would be the most beneficial to have them all there. In the meantime, if they had any questions in need of a more immediate answer to help with choosing their top three designs, they were recommended to reach out to specific Advisory Panel members for advice.

“We’re a resource for you,” SHPMC Advisory Panel member Bob Mitchell, who has been attending each meeting, said.

The public is welcome to attend the next SHPMC meeting on Monday, April 30, at 7 pm, in the Newtown Municipal Center. For more information, visit newtown-ct.gov/sandy-hook-permanent-memorial-commission.

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