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Municipal Leaders From Wolcott and East Haddam Honored With Major Awards In Achievement And Innovation at CCM’s Annual Statewide Convention

Municipal Leaders From Wolcott and East Haddam  Honored With Major Awards In Achievement And Innovation at CCM’s Annual Statewide Convention

For Immediate Release

Kevin Maloney (203) 710-3486

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) presented its two major individual achievement awards for 2019  -- the Richard C. Lee Innovators Award and the Joel Cogen Lifetime Achievement Award -- to Karen Mowad, Town Clerk for the Town of Wolcott, for CCM’s Lifetime Achievement Award and to Cynthia Varricchio, Finance Director for the Town of East Haddam,  for CCM’s Innovators Award.  The awards were presented at CCM’s Annual Statewide Convention on December 3-4 at Foxwoods Resort.

Karen Mowad is a true blue municipal official, and her service to the Town of Wolcott transcends governmental duties. Karen began early, founding a Community Service club at her high school, of which she was president. She volunteered at the Animal Rescue Foundation. She is a certified Girl Scout Leader. She is a Certified Connecticut Municipal official (CCMO). The list goes on.

She currently serves as the Town Clerk and the Registrar of Vital Statistics for Wolcott after serving as the Assistant Town Clerk and Assistant Registrar of Vital Statistics for 12 and 16 years respectively. She has been instrumental in building a Little Free Library in town, and is currently pursuing a grant to help restore the historic Wolcott Grange, which is sponsoring a special needs Boy Scout group who need handicap access.

At the Wolcott Grange, where she is treasurer, she has been recognized nationally for her fundraising efforts. She also started and works in the community garden which helps provide fresh produce to the senior center. At home, she is a foster mother and a cancer survivor who helps children and other cancer survivors through outreach programs, with support and encouragement.

East Haddam honoree back to top

East Haddam honoree

Cynthia Varricchio is the kind of innovator that all towns and cities need. As the Finance Director for the Town of East Haddam, she has brought a keen eye to the fiscal situation that all of CCM’s members are facing. Since 2012, she has achieved substantial financial savings for East Haddam by consistently striving for excellence and always seeking for ways to improve the town.

Examples of this tenacity include moving to a shared services model and converting the Board of Education to the MUNIS financial system for both payroll and human resource to include implementing the Unified Chart of Accounts. East Haddam was the first community in the state to implement the UCOA in a combined system for both the town and Board of Education under Cynthia’s leadership.

What many people will find most impressive is that she assisted in the restructuring of the Towns’ debt by refinancing a 2008 bond. This move saved the town over $600,000 and maintained the town’s excellent credit rating.

Most recently, she has collaborated with the First Selectman’s committee to establish a Capital Improvement Program Policy, which improves long range planning and helps the community reach its desired goals. This policy the Town of East Haddam believes is a model for other municipalities.

The call to municipal work is a special one. It takes a special kind of person to be the Director of Finance or the Town Clerk. It means that you want to give back to your community, you want to help, you want to improve everyday life for the residents of your town. Cynthia Varricchio and Karen Mowad are the exemplars of that call. CCM is happy to share these stories with everyone, and is glad to award them with the Richard C. Lee Innovators Award and Joel Cogen Lifetime Achievement Award. 

The Joel Cogen Lifetime Achievement Award is named after CCM’s first and long-time Executive Director, and is awarded to those who have shown a lifetime of dedicated service.

The Richard C. Lee Innovators Award is presented by CCM to recognize municipal leaders that have developed unique and creative projects and programs to increase the effectiveness of local government. Innovators are individuals in any area of government who address problems common to municipalities throughout Connecticut in new ways. Mr. Lee was a former New Haven mayor and instrumental in the formation of CCM.