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The Branford Electric Railway Association Annual Membership Meeting

November 20, 2021 @ 10:30 am EST


November 6, 2021

Join your fellow members, friends, and other museum supporters on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021, for the 2021 Annual Meeting.  This year, lunch will be served at 1:30 PM with the membership business meeting beginning at 2:30 PM at:

          Church of Christ and the Epiphany
          39 Park Place
          East Haven, CT 06512

The church is on the East Haven green, a short walk from the museum’s Sprague building. There is also ample parking behind the church.

Lunch will include chicken, turkey, tuna and veggie wraps.  Coffee, tea, soft drinks and bottled water will also be served along with dessert. 

There is no charge for the lunch, however we do need RSVPs for a head count so please let us know by Thursday, November 18 if you’ll be joining us for the business meeting by completing the form below or by calling the museum at (203)467-6927 or by e-mail at

Please scroll through this page to see the meeting agenda and candidate bios.

2021 Annual Meeting Registration
Will you be attending the BERA 2021 Annual Meeting?(Required)

2021 Annual Meeting Agenda

10:30 AM – Trolley Rides at the Museum
12:00 PM – Memorial Service (Trolley Shuttles to the Memorial Garden will be provided)
 1 :30 PM – Luncheon – Church of Christ and the Epiphany
 2:30 PM – Membership Business Meeting

            President’s Opening Remarks
            Certification of Quorum
            Minutes of the 2020 Membership Meeting
            Board Chair Remarks
            Executive Director Remarks
            Financial Report
            Election of 3 Trustees
            Membership Q&A, Good and Welfare

To vote at the Annual Meeting, you must be a voting member in good standing as of the Record Date of the meeting. Per Section 3.9 of the bylaws, the Board of Trustees must set a Record Date that is not more than 70 days prior to the meeting in question. The Board set the Record Date for the 2021 Annual Meeting at September 11, 2021, which is exactly 70 days before the date of the Annual Meeting. Therefore, you must have been a member at a voting level (any level except Associate, Family or Complimentary), at least 18 years old, with dues paid for the 2021 dues cycle, on September 11, 2021. Per Section 3.10 of the bylaws, the list of members eligible to vote at the 2021 Annual Meeting is available for inspection at the museum’s office. Bring your 2021 Membership Pass Card or valid form of ID for verification.

Trustee Election (3 positions open):

Candidates recommended to the Board by the Nominating Committee:  Joyce Aurelius (candidate has withdrawn), James Boylan, Joseph Deko, Maxim Diamond.

Additional candidates nominated by the Board: Peter Ezzard

Additional candidates added by petition:  Jeffrey Hakner, Richard Slinsky, William Wall


JAMES BOYLAN - Member 1494

James F. Boylan 1494, member since 1981 and active since then in operations, track work, and car maintenance. A retired railroader, I started out as trackworker and ended as General Freight Agent, so I have experience both in maintaining the track, and the accounting and finance necessary to pay for it.

My Civic Service has been in local politics, I have been a Borough Councilor and Judge of Elections, gaining experience in how laws and contracts are made, and politicians dealt with. I am now an Inspector of Elections for the City of Philadelphia (a twice a year job), making sure that everyone who is entitled to vote gets to vote.

I believe that our collection is important and needs not only to be maintained and repaired, but also to be protected against hazards like floods, fire, and vandalism. This means secure and safe indoor storage.

We should welcome and encourage our members, both present and prospective, to be more involved with supporting and participating in our Museum.

We should cultivate good and impartial relations with local residents, businesses, and politicians.

Our Museum should be interesting and enticing to our visitors, and something that they will want to see again.

I want to do my part to help our Management accomplish these goals and convince fellow Board Members to support them, if you elect me.

MAXIM DIAMOND - Member 4235

I am currently a conductor at MTA New York City Transit and previously have served in data analytics and operational support roles at the MTA. I am also involved in volunteer work and occasional operations of museum trains for the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn. 
Over my last three years on the board, I have been deeply involved in governance modernization work to make the museum more nimble and progressive. When the COVID pandemic began, I led the coordination effort between the board and the museum’s operational management to ensure the museum’s survival. We had to make many hard decisions, but in the end, the museum came out of this crisis intact, and we have many things to look forward to now.
I hope that the membership will re-elect me to continue working to ensure that the museum can truly live up to its potential.

JOSEPH E. DEKO - Member 4927

I’m a lifelong resident of East Haven, living only a few minutes from the museum. As a child, I always visited the museum during field trips during school, or with my family.  

I’m proud to follow in my  father’s footsteps as a
career firefighter in Guilford, CT.   I hold a degree in mortuary science and am the owner of  Shoreline Cremation.

As the East Haven Town Council Chair, I have personal relationships with many influential members
of Congress both of the sate and federal levels including the Lieutenant Governor and staff at the state Capitol.

One of my biggest visions is to ensure future generations see the museum as a place to actively volunteer, keeping the
museum alive, preserved and thriving.

As BERA President, I’ve worked to engage different ways of marketing, fundraising, community engagement, and most importantly getting people to visit and enjoy the work and effort that the museum and its volunteers have done since 1945 to make the museum what it is today.

PETER EZZARD - Member 3197

I am thankful for the opportunity to be considered as a Trustee of the Shore Line Trolley Museum.  I am extremely grateful to all of the members and volunteers that have helped the Museum grow into the wonderful place that it is today.   

I first became a member of the Trolley museum in 2003 when I attended guest operator day with some friends and I attended the operator training course in 2004.   My earliest memory of the trolley museum was at a pageant back in the early 1970s. I remember riding on the open cars and watching the parade of trolleys making their way down the line.  The highlight for this 10 or 11 year old was taking a ride down to the end of the line on the Johnstown Brick.  My interest in all aspects of electric railways was sparked back then.   

Upon the good fortune of being able to retire early I have become much more active as a volunteer doing track work, sometimes assisting in line work and occasionally doing restoration work.  Each time I come to the museum I try to leave it a little better than when I arrived. 

Besides enthusiasm and a good understanding of the Museum’s operations, collection, and mission, I believe I can offer the Museum certain skills and personal attributes as a trustee.  

For twenty eight years I was a high school math teacher.  For many of those years I served as part of the school leadership team.  I came to  understand how budgeting, staffing,  and regulatory requirements impacted implementation of my school’s offerings.  

Prior to the start of my teaching career I worked in various accounting jobs including the Department of Justice, a credit union with over 20 individual branches, and a large medical practice.  I learned the importance of using financial data to make decisions about the operations of each of the organizations and track each organization’s ongoing performance. 

I have previously served on the Board of another non-profit organization where I am still active. There are similarities between this organization and the Museum, including motivating a large group of volunteers and organizing admission fee based events as a part of its fundraising efforts.  I was part of the team that researched and implemented our transition from a fraternal organization to an educational non-profit. 

Thank you again for the opportunity to be considered as a trustee and I look forward to working with everyone at the Museum in the future in whatever capacity is afforded to me.

JEFFREY HAKNER - Member 2073

I have been a member of the museum since 1988 and a very active volunteer since 1993.  Over these many years, I have volunteered on average over 1000 hours each year, spread across almost every museum department, literally from being on hands and knees building track, to being at the pole tops 30 feet above it, plus a lot of work in between on cars, buildings, and signals.  I also directed the operator training program for a dozen years, and have been publishing various museum newsletters for 22 years.

Hands-on experience is not a requirement for being a Board member, but I feel that a Board should be balanced, and my deep familiarity with the needs of all facets of the museum would be a strength.  I also bring considerable museum governance experience.  I have been the President of this museum (2012-2015), and I have been the Board Chair (2010-2011).  During those times, I lead the museum through its greatest accomplishment (thus far) in Elevating the Collection, and recovery from two major flooding disasters.  As a board member, I could be ready to hit the ground running.

One of the most important obligations of a Board member is fundraising.  Since I became heavily involved with fundraising ten years ago, I have personally closed nearly four million dollars in major gifts and grants.  We need to get every board member involved in fundraising, and to expand our fundraising reach, to continue to achieve success with major initiatives.  As a candidate, I also bring college-level educator credentials in furtherance of our educational mission, and was one of the co-founders of the Gateway Community College partnership program which is now in its 9th year.

The museum we see today is the collective product of the labor and financial support of many generations of museum members.  While nobody “owns” the museum in a legal sense, collectively we all have shared ownership of it spiritually.  Our community should be planning now for what the museum can become in 5, 10, or 20 years down the road.  That must be a shared vision which we formulate through an open, collaborative process of engagement and thoughtful, respectful discussion, knowing that while
we all have different opinions, we all want a museum with the best possible programs, physical infrastructure, and collections. If you look at my past record, you will see that I have been a champion
of transparency and membership engagement, and would continue to be one if elected.

In summary, I believe my long record of experience and accomplishment at the museum, success as a fundraiser, and commitment to the membership, would make me an effective Trustee, and I thank you for your consideration.



I have been visiting the Shore Line Trolley Museum since I was 5 years old, and as I grew up I attended many events and Member’s Days.  I’ve always appreciated the trolleys themselves, as well as the idea of historic preservation. 

I joined as a member in 1996.  Since joining I have served two terms as Trustee.  I spearheaded the acquisition of the 14 and 19 River Street properties and then managed those properties for 8 years.  I have been actively involved in various trolley car repair/restoration projects including cars 775, 948, 850, 500, and 356; various Buildings & Grounds projects including the recent Track projects that raised Riverside East Curve to prevent the damage that occurs during the now more frequent extra-high tides, and the repair and improvement of the retaining walls to Quarry Trestle and Stony Creek Trestle.  I have also been involved in the implementation and staffing of special events (notably Haunted Isle and Pumpkin Patch), and have assisted in various community outreach events.

I am a 40 year member of the Darien Volunteer Fire Department.  I have held the positions of Vice President, Treasurer, Trustee, Assistant Chief, and Chief Engineer.  While Treasurer I was on the committee that was instrumental in forming the Darien Foundation, a community outreach arm of the three fire departments within Darien which provides vital additional funding. While Chief Engineer I was on several committees to design and purchase replacement fire apparatus.

I have held the positions of President, Vice President and am currently serving as Treasurer for The Stamford Model Railroad Club Inc., an 84-year-old organization which provides a yearly community gathering.

I have been a Security Consulting Engineer for over 20 years.  I custom-design/engineer and sell commercial and high-end residential integrated electronics including security, access, fire detection and life-safety systems. 

I feel my passion for the Trolley Museum, coupled with my experience and skills will be an asset to the organization in the position of Trustee.

Thank you.

WILLIAM WALL - Member 896

The museum comes first.   If anything sums up my nearly 50 years of membership, that is it.  Recently retired from a 42+ year career with New York City Transit, with the the last 20 years overseeing the use and special operations of the NYCT vintage fleet, I look forward to expanding my support to the museum from behind the scenes or out front as needed.   Past and continuing accomplishments include directly raising over $2 million in non government money from donations, special projects, commercial rentals, consulting work, etc., as well as well as over an additional $2 million plus in materials and services to support restoration, maintenance, administration and programming, examples of which can be found throughout the museum, with the the most recent being the complete rebuild of trucks for Connecticut open car 1425 for a return to use next year.  Assisting other museums and transit systems with vintage rail equipment around the world has resulted in a network of contacts that regularly benefit all and has allowed our museum to get world renowned things like cable car 28, the world’s oldest horse car (76) and PATH car 745 from 9/11, as well as our handy little diesel Atlas and most recently, South Brooklyn steeplecab #7.    Supporting the museum community benefits all of us, cooperation is the key.

Speaking of cooperation, our museum right now, under the quiet and highly successful guidance of our executive director, John Proto, has finally reached a point of stability after an extended period of assorted issues (storm damage, Covid-19, etc.) and is now positioned to not merely get by, but to thrive.  If one looked closely at what it really takes to make the museum function in its entirety, John’s role and how it has benefited the museum – again, quietly – would be obvious.  A good board member would understand and support him accordingly.  After all , the museum comes first.


November 20, 2021
10:30 am EST


Shore Line Trolley Museum
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The Shore Line Trolley Museum
17 River St.
East Haven, CT 06512 United States
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