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. 

louis March 09, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I wasn't even considered! It just goes to show you what incompetence is in the First Selectman's office. For years and years we tried to help these people, well little Tim has gotten too big for his current boots, I'll not vote for him again
Joan March 09, 2012 at 03:37 PM
So Herbst's reasons for opposing the highly qualified democratic candidates included that fact that he doesn't like their "attitudes." Wow.
Mark E Smith March 09, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Again the Trumbull Democrats, the Party of sour-grapes, the Party with no Leadership, no ideas and the Party clearly voted out of power in Trumbull whines again. Look at there history of posts and letters since Mr. Herbst took office, do you see ONE letter of positive ideas? No. Just whine, whine, whine. Go ahead look, you can't make this stuff up. Mr. Herbst is doing a great job managing this Town, it is the jealous Democrats who ran this town for decades again who have to attack on issues not important to almost anyone else in this town except themselves. I don't care who the Alternate is on the BoF as long as he or she is intelligent and a taxpayer of this town. However, since again the Democrats have nothing to offer they attack and whine in there non-stop political bickering hoping to get back all they lost with there over the top Tax and spend ideals. The real Democrat issue here is that BoF board member Steve Lupien can not attend meetings and either can not or does not want to attend the Budget Vote next Tuesday. So, in that case an Alternate will sit in his place. Here is what I think the outcomes could be: 1. Mr. Lupien, who wasn't there to vote last year does not show again, the Alternate votes and the Budget gets passed (4-2, Tesoro, Palo vote No). Or 2. Mr. Lupien shows up and the Board does not Pass because Mr. Palo (R) will vote with Democrats (3-3, Tesoro, Palo, Lupien vote No).
Tom Kelly March 09, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Well, Mark, I hate to burst your bubble, but the alternate that can replace a D will NOT be in place by Tuesday because the Emergency Legislation did not pass. So he will NOT be voting on the budget. As for your comments about leadership, the Republicans have governed in dysfunctional fashion since they've taken over. They can't even get along with the people in their own party. I will give you credit for one thing, Mark. You were able to forgive and forget. The treatment that I personally witnessed you experience...the total lack of respect, the very night Mr. Herbst was sworn in....you dealt with that much better than I ever would have. I knew at the time that we were going to be in for rough sailing, and you were not the only one being belittled at the time. The Democrats are definitely not whining....yes, the Republicans have won in Trumbull for 4 years, but that will be short-lived and elsewhere in this state, the Republicans struggle for relevancy and they have no say at all in the way the State Government is won. As for the federal government, the Republicans don't have a single Congressman or Senator, and the President and Senate are Democratic as well. I predict that Republicans will lose control over Trumbull in 2013 because they are alienating women....watch, it's happening right now everytime one of the Presidential candidates open their mouth...
Mark E Smith March 09, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Tom, See unlike you I can take a disagreement, argument and debate of local politics and put it in perspective with the rest in my life. I don't need to hang my issues with anyone out for the public to read. I don't need to blog about it over and over at 3am. Why? Because I have a lot more in my life than just Politics. As for arguments and disagreements, I can let go of all those things and more when it comes to the frailties of people and move on with my life. My philosophical beliefs and principles are much bigger than a disagreement with anyone, especially when it comes to Politics. Life is too short. Too many other much more important things to do and enjoy. I like Trumbull, like helping the town, like most of the people. However, Trumbull Politics don't define who I am. Second, I don't have a clue where you fit national politics into this conversation, it has as much value to this conversation as the Democrats main issue in this article. However, you remark about Republicans alienating women is probably the most ridiculous thing you have ever said. Third, some free advice to the Democratic party: 1. Find a Platform that you believe is important to the Citizens of Trumbull. 2. Make it your own, understand it at every level with all constituents 3. Sell it to the community as important in a positive light 4. Stay on message and don't deviate 5. Go back to #4 M
Chadwick Ciocci March 09, 2012 at 08:15 PM
As a point of clarification, I am not a member of the Rules and Research Committee, but I did attend the relevant meetings.
Aaron Leo (Editor) March 09, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Sorry about that Chad. I fixed the mistake.
Tom Kelly March 09, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Mark, I don't know how it all fits together for you, but as you say all about how you have things in perspective, it was you who completely melted down last year at a Board of Finance meeting over someone using a laptop (which members are entitled to do). You walked out of the meeting you were Chairing, and resigned your position on the Board of Finance. It was all part of the dysfunction that I describe. And while you claim to not need to let things hang out in public and can put disagreements aside, your post is filled with jabs at me. So be it. But getting to the point of your first post, the Democrats have most certainly articulated many specific ideas and goals during the 2011 campaign. It's amazing how many of Mary Beth's specific plans that Herbst is implementing right now. Democrats specifically called for withdrawing the frivolous lawsuit against Bridgeport over the magnet school, which Herbst has now done. Democrats specifically called for civility, and Herbst called for that in his inauguration speech. Democrats called for a committee to study efficiencies, and Herbst formed a volunteer committee to find efficiencies between the BOE and the Town. Democrats specifically called for hiring consultants to find additional efficiencies, and Mr. Herbst wants to put out an RFP to hire a consultant to do exactly that. Democrats also called for hiring the Economic Development Director-not done yet, but the job was posted. Democrats called for appropriate-cont
Tom Kelly March 09, 2012 at 10:09 PM
funding for Full-Day Kindergarten, which Mr. Herbst said was his top education priority, but he did not include funding for it in his budget; Democrats also called for giving the people in the vicinity of the Cell Tower a voice, and it's a shame that the information Mr. Herbst initially gave to the Siting Council regarding the radio failure was in error. Democrats also urged meeting with Bridgeport to discuss the way forward with the sewer contract with Bridgeport-no report as to where that's at other than the WPCA's plan to change the way they bill for summer usage which will result in a fee increase for many; We also have no assessments released yet for the North Nichols Sewer Project--they were promised long before this and the hookups were supposed to be allowed by now as well; Meanwhile, we continue to govern our town requiring legal opinion after legal opinon....costs paid for lawyers continue to go up when you add up all the expense accounts which contain legal fees which are in several places in the budget...Daniels Farm Road and many roads in Nichols are still a disaster to drive on, and the sewer project has been going on for three long years. Herbst has proposed an increase in spending of 4.5%, including several new positions, and after criticizing how much Baldwin spent, he has only increased spending significantly more. As people dig a little deeper, and as the quality of life continues to erode, people will see exactly what price we pay to get "2% Tim."
Tom Kelly March 09, 2012 at 10:16 PM
And Chad, just as a point of clarification for you, the names of Lisa Valenti and Kathleen McGannon were submitted to Tim. He rejected them, in writing. I don't know if he has the power to do that before the Council acts on them (I know he ultimately has veto authority), but there is a reason why those names never came before the Council. I think you knew this already, but not everyone does.
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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