Leadership & Staff

Our Staff

Mark Howarth 
Executive Director


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 1940s, a short time after the Lake was built.


J. Neil Stalter 
Director of Ecology & Environmental Education


J. Neil Stalter, MPA is the Director of Ecology. Neil was recently certified as a Certified Lake Manager (CLM) by the North American Lake Management Society. 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). His history with lakes dates all the way back to growing up on Conesus Lake in Finger Lakes region of NY.


Dee Wright
Administrative Coordinator


Dee Wright joined CLA in 2023. She has over 25 years of administrative and communications experience, including the web and social media. Dee spent most of her career with Praxair, Inc., in Danbury. She lives in the Northwest Corner and has three kids and a Bernedoodle.

CLA Marine Patrol

Nicholas Mellas 
Chief of Marine Patrol

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


Board of Directors

Marianne Gaffey
Chairman - Brookfield


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.


Joan Archer
Vice Chairman - New Fairfield


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.


William Lohan
Treasurer - Brookfield


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.


Martin O’Connor
Secretary - Sherman


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

Steve Kluge
New Milford

William Licht
New Fairfield

Jeff Main
New Fairfield

Will Meikle

Chris Robinson

Daniel Rosemark

Phyllis Schaer

Ed Siergiej

Mark Toussant
New Milford

Joseph Wodarksi
New Milford


Cathleen Donahue
New Milford

Mark Rasmussen