Person of the Week
Michael Hornyak: A Newcomer at the Center of the Action
Since arriving in town six years ago, Michael Hornyak has served on numeorous boards and committees, including the Charter Revision Committee that proposed the successful adoption of a new form of town government. (Photo courtesy of Michael Hornyak )
Though he has only lived in Clinton for six years, Michael Hornyak has quickly made a name for himself in Clinton. Most recently, Michael was named co-chairman of the Senior Resources Advisory Committee that was designated by the Town Council to help study issues that are affecting Clinton’s seniors.
Michael says he was motivated to join the committee because as he puts it, “I’m a senior and I would like to make sure their concerns are heard.”
The committee will be tasked with studying the feasibility of bringing a senior center to Clinton, among other responsbilities.
Michael says he knows there are senior centers in nearby towns, “but I think there are resources we could use here,” he says. “And there’s a good percentage of seniors in town.”
The committee has had three meetings so far and has been charged by the Town Council with providing a final report to the council by December. As one of the committee’s co-chairs, Michael says he believes he can be successful by keeping the group on task.
“I’ve been chairing other committees and I think I have the know-how and a talent to keep the committee focused,” says Michael.
When it comes to leading committees, Michael says he likes to remind people that they’re all there for one common purpose.
“I like to say I may be a Republican and you a Democrat, but when we’re getting together, we’re doing it for Clinton,” says Michael.
Michael also is a member of the Republican Town Committee, where he says he enjoys “trying to get the right people in the right jobs.” Michael also serves on the Board of Education (BOE) and in the past served on the Pierson Future Use Committee and the Charter Revision Committee.
Michael says that he has always had an interest in municipal politics, even when he was living in Newington before he lived in Clinton.
“Always, we had newspaper in Newington and I was always following it and going to town meetings,” Michael says.
Michael says he follows along with all issues, not just the big ones, and when an issue comes up that he feels strongly about, he will advocate his position on it.
“I like to know what’s going on,” Michael says.
Michael says he’s been enjoying his two years on the Board of Education.
“We all want the best for our students, and I think [Superintendent of Schools] Maryann O’Donnell does a great job and I wanted to see if I could help make it better,” Michael says.
Michael was inspired in part to become a BOE member by experiences he’s previously had outside of Clinton.
“Back in Newington, I was on the BOE at my son’s parochial school and thoroughly enjoyed it,” Michael says.
As part of the BOE, Michael chairs the Building and Grounds Committee, which he enjoys.
“I get satisfaction from seeing a job that needs to be done and seeing it gets done under budget,” said Michael.
In 2018, Michael served on the Charter Revision Commission, which ended up having an enormous impact on Clinton’s governance. The commission eventually proposed revisions to the town’s charter that changed the form of government from the centuries-old Board of Selectman form of government to the current town manager form.
When the proposed changes were put to voters on election day 2018, there was some question as to whether the change would be approved by the voters.
“I thought it would,” he says. “I thought people liked the ideas.”
The change was passed overwhelmingly and Michael says he’s proud of having been a part of the commission that facilitated that change. In the time since the new charter has gone into effect, Michael says he likes the way the new form of government is working.
Michael is now retired after a 33-year career where he worked with nuclear power for Northeast Utilities and Con Edison.
“I thoroughly enjoyed that, but it was time to retire,” Michael says.
In his time since retiring, Michael has taken up several artistic hobbies, chief among them wood carving and painting. Michael will also decorate small rocks that can be found around town. Michael is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and is on the veterans committee of the Westbrook Elks Club.
“My dad was a Navy man for 30 years and I’ll do whatever I can give back to them,” Michael says.
As a last hobby, “We also have a dog that keeps us very busy,” says Michael, laughing.
Though he is relatively new to Clinton, Michael is quite fond of the town and its people.
“I like the community so much that whatever I can do to make it better, that is my motivation,” says Michael.
Michael says that other than the people, his favorite part of own is the marina area. Growing up Michael would often visit a family member that had a summer house in the Madison area and developed a love for the water. Now, Michael is happy that he can walk from his house down to the marina and observe the boats sailing by.
“You certainly can’t do that in Newington,” says Michael. “It’s a great town, the people are fantastic.”