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Chandravir Ahuja Appointed To Finance Board Vacancy – The Newtown Bee

Published: Sep 03, 2021 06:00 AM

A t its Thursday, August 26, meeting, the Board of Finance unanimously appointed Chandravir Ahuja to the open Republican seat vacated by Matthew Mihalcik .

The seat, which is up for election in November, was left vacant when Mihalcik departed to fill a vacancy on the Legislative Council earlier this month. That Legislative Council seat in turn was vacated by Dan Weidemann when he moved from town in July.

“I look forward to learning and to participating [as a member of the board],” said Ahuja.

Ahuja moved to Newtown 18 years ago. He and his wife have been married for 26 years and have two sons in college, both of whom attended Newtown public schools.

He worked for 31 years in commodity trading, 21 years as a senior trader with Louis Dreyfus of Bridgeport, and has worked the last ten years with Kolmar Group AG as a business analyst, in a strategic and analytic role.

Ahuja was a volunteer on the Fairfield Hills Master Review Committee, where he “worked hard,” according to First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, who appointed him to the position.

“He did a really good job in terms of the recommendations that came out of that committee, and he was a contributing member,” said Rosenthal.

Ahuja also serves on the leadership council of Beacon Hill Evangelical Free Church in Monroe, where he is a parishioner. He is on the council’s finance team and does strategic planning for capital campaigns and mortgages. He also serves on the board of the denomination his church belongs to and is chair of its finance board.

“I have a little experience serving in a financial capacity,” said Ahuja.

There was some question of whether Ahuja would be appointed, but not due to his qualifications. BOF Chair Keith Alexander had concerns that the board had only been sent a single candidate from the Republican Town Committee (RTC).

“I was the chair of the Board of Education (BOE) for a while, and my primary concern was that the board had a chance to decide on who was named to it,” said Alexander. “I did not want to dictate who the board had to choose, so I prefer more than one candidate. I thought it was important that there be a choice.”

Alexander explained to Ahuja that his desire to interview other candidates rose from concerns over “autonomy of a board that struggles with autonomy from the legislative body.”

Alexander, a Democrat, wanted a chance to interview Ahuja in executive session and possibly interview other candidates, but Vice Chair Sandy Roussas and board member John Madzula, both Republicans, wanted to appoint the RTC’s candidate immediately.

Roussas noted the short timeline the board was on, with only a few months before the election and both the Board of Selectmen’s and BOE’s capital improvement plans to review.

“Time is not on our side,” said Roussas. “If we were at the beginning of the term, I’d agree.”

Roussas also noted that the appointment was not an “automatic in,” as the BOF members would have to vote to approve the appointment.

“Expediency should be prioritized over process,” said Roussas. “Though we are not skirting the process.”

It was also noted that on a previous finance board, Democrat Ned Simpson, who was still serving, was appointed without an interview process.

Madzula said that he was in favor of going with the nomination of the RTC and that he had “full faith and trust” that both town committees know what they’re doing and send the best candidate they have for the appointment.

Rosenthal also stated that to the best of his knowledge, interviewing a candidate for public office was not eligible for executive session. It is not allowed the same protections as interviewing a potential employee.

Ahuja stated that he was “fully sympathetic” to Alexander’s concerns.

“It is not just about competence and character, but also chemistry,” Ahuja said.

Ahuja was not sworn in by the town clerk at the meeting but was expected to be before the BOF’s next meeting on Monday, September 13, so he can begin to serve at that meeting.

Reporter Jim Taylor can be reached at

Chandravir Ahuja was named to the Board of Finance at the board’s Thursday, August 26, meeting.