Ellen Burns joins Parking Authority

Books on the Common co-owner Ellen Burns has been appointed to the town Parking Authority, becoming the second village businesswoman on the five-member agency, along with Ancient Mariner owner Jessica Wilmot.

“It obviously becomes an emotional thing when you’re in business and your customers drive away because they can’t find parking space,” she told the the Board of Selectmen at the June 7 meeting where she was unanimously appointed.

But Burns assured the board she could bring a broader perspective..

“I have lived in Ridgefield 35 years,” she said. “I see the issues of the town as a citizen and not just as a owner of Books on the Common.”

The selectmen noted that if Burns joined Wilmot on the Parking Authority, the agency would have two village business owners.

“I’m on the other side of Main Street,” she said.

“I think it’s great to have merchants stepping forward for this committee,” said Selectman Bob Hebert said. “You see and live with the problem.”

She told the selectmen the parking issues in town seem to be getting to be more difficult.

“I’ve heard people say the lot by the Boys and Girls Club is half empty all the time. It’s not. It’s full,” she said.

She shared some skepticism about the Parking Authority’s practice of suspending enforcement of parking time limits in village lots during the holiday shopping season.

“My observation is, all the employees park there,” she said.

Burns told the board she’ll have time for things, like service on the Parking Authority, since she is winding down her 28-year private accounting practice.

She has also worked as vice president of finance and administration for Dapco Industries and was controller and manager of administration for Schlumberger before it moved to Boston.

Her public service includes work on the recent citizens committee that studied potential uses for the town-owned former Schlumberger property, and she is the president and a founder of the Ridgefield Open Space Association and The Friends of Bennetts Pond.

From 2012 to 2014, she served on the retail committee of the Chamber of Commerce.

“You have done wonderful work for the town,” said Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark.

The vote to put Burns on the Parking Authority was unanimous. She fills a vacancy left by the resignation of Mark Seavy.

Other Parking Authority members are: Chairman Christopher Fusaro, who has a business in Stamford; Richard Moccia, retired former mayor of Norwalk; Robert Murphy, a retired educator; and Wilmot, the restaurant owner.