Town Council Appoints Republican to Open Finance Board Seat

Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats put up a candidate for an opening on the Board of Finance last November, so the Council filled it Monday.

Michael Manjos was previously appointed to finish fellow Republican Ronald Bunovsky Jr.'s Board of Finance term, but neither town political party had realized when it was time for candidates to compete for the seat once again. Nobody ran for it in last November's municipal election.

On Monday night, the Town Council voted to reappoint Manjos to serve two years of the four-year-term, until next election. But Town Councilwoman Michele Mount, a Democrat, argued that the Town Charter does not specify that the open elected position should go to a Republican.

Republicans hold a 6-3 majority on the Town Council and the appointment was added to the meeting agenda on Dec. 9. Mount also wanted to know why the Democratic Town Committee was not informed, so that it could also field a candidate for the appointment.

Town Councilman J.P. Sredzinski, a Republican, explained that the Town Charter says that the Town Council must make an appointment whenever there is a vacancy on a board or commission.

Mount argued that it was an "opening" not a "vacancy" from a resignation of an elected candidate. She added that the charter says the council can appoint someone so long as it does not violate state statutes.

Sredzinski conceded that he does not remember a situation when both parties neglected to run a candidate for an open seat, so Mount suggested getting a legal opinion from the town attorney on the matter to ensure the town is going about it the right way, or holding a special election.

Town Councilman Frank Lieto, a Republican, said there is no obligation to inform the Democratic Party about putting up a candidate for appointment to the open seat. He also pointed out that Section 7-107 of the Connecticut general statutes specifies that a municipality must fill an open position on a commission or board within 30 days.

Mount contended that council members should have had all of this information prior to the meeting.

The Town Council approved Manjos' appointment by a vote of 8-1, with Mount being the lone dissenter.

Michele Mount December 13, 2011 at 11:46 PM
When I asked for the legal authority that addressed this type of situation, there was nothing exactly on point. This is not a seat that was vacated (which is covered in the Charter and Statutes;) it was a seat that should have been filled by the electors. My vote was against the appointment process in this case, as the town clerk’s mistake clearly benefited the majority. While some of you may conclude that Mr. Manjos would have been elected anyway, that is not the point. The point is democracy, honesty and transparency. The original agenda was sent out without the appointed on it. The amended agenda was only received by some council people prior to the meeting and not all of us had the opportunity to research it prior to the meeting.
Nick Kapoor December 14, 2011 at 02:34 AM
Mr. O'Hara, for the record this was not a mistake of the political parties, but was a mistake of the Town Clerk. Before I go any further, I want to make sure it is known I have nothing against the Town Clerk, it is just a matter of fact that it was the Clerk's office's fault. This can be seen by the town website. The Clerk's Certification to the Secretary of State evidences the lack of notification. This notice, a word document, can be seen here http://www.monroect.org/TownClerkDocuments.aspx under Legal Notice Candidates November 2011 Municipal Election. The Town Clerk certified that the Republicans in the Town of Monroe put up an entire full slate when this is not true. The Republicans put up a full slate minus a candidate for the Board of Finance. As is seen in the bottom part of the page for the Democrats not certifying enough names, there should be the same thing on the top of the page for the Republicans and the Board fo Finance, but there is not. Also, under the Democrats it should say possible number to put up for the Board of Finance as 4 when it is 3. I'm not placing blame, just making sure the record is clear this was not a fault of either political party.
Steve Kirsch December 14, 2011 at 08:43 AM
Pat, can you tell me how both parties were notified that there were 4 openings, rather than the 3 as shown in the document identifed by Nick Kapoor? I find it strange that both parties would have made the same mistake. My other issue is to understand why and how one party could find out about the mistake and have time to put forward a name and the other party could not. Furthermore, since more people are registered independents why is there no notification of the public so that an independent could put their name up for the position. I think that the Town Council has a responsibility to all citizens of Monroe to ensure that these processes are fully open and transparent.
Patrick O'Hara December 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM
You are referencing the wrong document.
Donna Gail December 15, 2011 at 03:06 AM
It's just another typical example of the way things are being railroaded throught now that the republicans control everything.


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