Leadership & Staff

Our Staff
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Mark Howarth 
Executive Director

Bio

Mark has helped advance leadership collaboration between all of the Lake stakeholders including FirstLight, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC), the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) the five surrounding town municipalities and the CLA Board of Delegates.  His tenure at Candlewood Lake Authority began in 2008 as Director of Education and Public Outreach.   Since that time, he has actively expanded community awareness and engagement to preserve and protect the Lake.   Mark earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut.  His family history on Candlewood Lake dates back to the 1930s, just a few years after the Lake was built.

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J. Neil Stalter 
Director of Ecology & Environmental Education

Bio

J. Neil Stalter, MPA is the Director of Ecology and Environmental Education. Neil’s interests and work experience in sustainability include Hydrology and Environmental Policy with a focus on water resources. He earned a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s (NY) School of International and Public Affairs where he was awarded an Environmental Fellowship. Neil holds a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Rochester (NY).

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Jeannine Usher 
Administrative Coordinator

Bio

Jeannine Usher started at the CLA in 2019. She has over 30 years of marketing, administrative, social media, and sales experience. Jeannine has worked at Sprint, Ethan Allen Inc., William Raveis, Coldwell Banker and CityCenter Danbury, just to name a few. Jeannine’s priorities for the CLA include continuing efforts with organization and communication, update record retention, and increasing the CLA’s presence on social media. Jeannine is also a NASM certified Personal Trainer. She is an 18-year resident of New Milford and has three children.

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Nicholas Mellas 
Chief of Marine Patrol
Phone: 

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Henry Dyson 
Assistant Chief of Marine Patrol
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Marine Patrol Staff:  The CLA Marine Patrol has over 20 seasonal, part-time officers who work during the boating season.

Marine Patrol Officers are Candlewood Lake’s first responders for all emergency calls. We also partner with the five surrounding towns for emergency services. We collaborate with the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) to follow and enforce both US Coast Guard boating law and conservation law. Together, we want everyone to have a fun and safe experience on the Lake by boating responsibly.

The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol operates under the supervision of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police.  The Patrol Officers of the Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol consist of both current and former area Police Officers as well as trained professionals serving as Patrol Officers.  All CLA Marine Patrol Officers are trained by the CT DEEP EnCon Police.

Board of Directors
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Marianne Gaffey
Chairman - Brookfield

Bio

Marianne has held leadership roles at the American Red Cross, YMCA of Greater Danbury, Brookfield Craft Center and the Congregational Church of Brookfield. Her extensive experience includes Board leadership, resource development, volunteer management, financial sustainability and education outreach. The Candlewood Lake Authority Board of Delegates elected her Chair in 2020. Her priorities for CLA include building public awareness of conservation and recreation and enhancing partner relationships to support the evolving needs of the Lake.

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Joan Archer
Vice Chairman - New Fairfield

Bio

Joan brings public service and leadership experience from the Candlewood Isle Tax District, where she served most recently as President, as well as the Town of New Fairfield's Inland Wetlands and Conservation Commission and LawHelpNY. She was elected Vice Chairman in 2020 after joining the Board of Delegates in 2019. Joan is currently leading the Public Awareness Committee.

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William Lohan
Treasurer - Brookfield

Bio

Bill spent his career in the chemical industry with positions in distribution, marketing and sales.  International travel was a great bonus. Bill has served on the Board of Candlewood Shores Tax District in a variety of positions including Treasurer and President. He currently serves as a Brookfield delegate to the CLA.

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Martin O’Connor
Secretary - Sherman

Bio

Martin is a strategic global Procurement Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers with extensive experience in financial planning, budgeting, and sourcing. He is noted for his ability to move businesses forward through collaborative thinking and relationship building with all levels of management. Martin resides in Sherman [Atchison Cove] where he held several board positions from Harbor Master to President of the Tax District. In 2020 he was elected as the Town of Sherman's Delegate to the CLA and in 2021 to the Board as Secretary. He expects to leverage his knowledge and experiences in supporting the strategic initiatives of the CLA.

Douglas Cushnie
Sherman

Steve Kluge
New Milford

William Licht
New Fairfield

Jeff Main
New Fairfield

Will Meikle
Brookfield

Chris Robinson
Danbury

Daniel Rosemark
Danbury

Phyllis Schaer
Sherman

Ed Siergiej
Danbury

Mark Toussant
New Milford

Joseph Wodarksi
New Milford

Advisors

Cathleen Donahue
New Milford

Mark Rasmussen
Danbury