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Trumbull Dems Oppose Appointments

Vincent DeGennaro, an unaffiliated voter, and republican Susan LaFrance are now alternates on the Board of Finance. Trumbull's Democratic Town Committee Chairman Nancy DiNardo said democrats are being excluded.

Twenty-seven democrats came out to support Tim Cantafio for a Board of Finance alternate seat, but were disappointed and angered when the Town Council filled the seats with a republican and an unaffiliated voter.

That gives the finance panel four republicans and two democrats, and two republican and an unaffiliated alternate. The alternates vote when other voting members are not present. The new members are Vincent DeGennaro, unaffiliated, and republican Susan LaFrance. The third alternate is republican Cindy Penkoff.

Traditionally, the three alternate seats are filled by a republican, democrat and unaffiliate.

Aware that attempts to get Cantafio appointed would probably fail because of the council's republican majority, democrats still praised him for attending the appointment hearing at the Town Council meeting Monday night.

They applauded him outside of the Council Chamber in .

"Partisan Politics"

Before the decision, several Town Council members, including republican David Pia, asked for a bipartisan mindset.

He acknowledged that Susan LaFrance could "do a great job" on the board.

But, he added, "The democrats have put up their candidates for a democrat seat. How do we feel when the tables are turned? At some point we have to put partisan politics aside."

Democratic Town Councilman John DelVecchio Jr. cited the Board of Education as an example of a board that benefits from minority representation.

"I think we should take a cue from the Board of Education," he said.

DelVecchio added that he has been part of the minority and the majority, and power always switches sides at some point. He asked for his colleagues to think hard about their vote.

A War of Words

The dispute began when First Selectman Tim Herbst and Trumbull Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo exchanged letters regarding numerous nominating democrats for different boards and commissions, a practice done for many years, the chairwoman said.

However, only the Council has the power to make certain appointments, after candidates are vetted in the Rules & Research Committee. Candidates are nominated and their names are forwarded to the council for review.

Republican Council member Chadwick Ciocci said the Town Council R & R committee had not interviewed several of the candidates because their names had not been submitted.

He denied accusations of partisanship, saying that unaffiliated voters, who make up 50 percent of the voting population, are underrepresented.

Seats should be filled based on qualifications, not party, he added. "This is not a democrat seat. This is not a republican seat. This is a people seat. By every objective standard, Mr. DeGennaro is most qualified."

Democratic Town Councilwoman Vicki Tesoro replied, "Why not give up your republican seat then?"

Herbst has laid out his reasons for opposing the democratic candidates, ranging from disagreement with their attitudes to past actions or statements.

Among those democrats not nominated but disputed were former First Selectman Ray Baldwin Jr., a former U.S. Marine and a retired Trumbull police officer, for the Police Commission; and Kathleen McGannon and Lisa Valenti, for the Board of Finance. Both women once served on the commission.

All the council republicans but Pia voted for DeGennaro and LaFrance.

"They rubberstamp anything [Herbst] says," DiNardo said of the republicans. 

Tom Kelly March 09, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Mark, the Democrats position on these items was put out in policy statements repeatedly and are in the Patch articles, Trumbull Times, and Trumbull Chat. Also on Mary Beth Thornton's candidates page. They were all clearly outlined, and Tim responded to virtually all of them. As for national politics, of course it has an impact here in Trumbull. 2009/10 were years when MANY incumbents were put out, including in surrounding towns like Seymour, Stratford, and Monroe. We even lost a Republican as Governor in 2010, although Jodi Rell did not seek re-election. The same thing happened in other towns exactly like it did in Trumbull. But now the economy is finally improving, and the wave that carried these Republicans in, with all their doom and gloom and scare tactics, will carry them right back out as well. And there most certainly are a lot of women who are upset with the Republican Party right now. This whole digression into contraceptives and other women's rights which have been in place for 40-50 years is not going to over well with women. The polls reflect a growing gender gap already. To be totally honest, the national political scene causes me far more angst than Trumbull politics. In local politics, I do the best I can, but you know what? At the end of the day, if I am not happy with the quality of life in Trumbull after the R's get done, I can solve that problem in a couple months...I can move to Shelton or Stratford in a heartbeat.
Tom Kelly March 09, 2012 at 11:12 PM
If they can't get things straightened out in Hartford, I can leave Connecticut, too, or as I get older, move to Florida for 7 months a year. But I can't leave the United States, and we need our President and Congress to work for good of all people, not just the poor, not just the rich, not just for business, not just for unions, but for everyone. It requires compromise and bipartisanship. Sadly, I see none of that in Washington, and the current four candidates running for the Republican nomination are, in my opinion, an embarrassment. Is this the best the Republican Party has?
Bill Holden March 10, 2012 at 03:17 AM
You certainly may leave the USA.
Tom Kelly March 10, 2012 at 03:55 AM
I'm just as much as a loyal, patriotic citizen as you are, Bill.
Thomas Tesoro March 14, 2012 at 09:57 PM
For the record, the vote on the budget was 6-0 in favor with Mr. Lupien attending and voting in the affirmative.

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