The latest Board of Selectmen meeting provided some mild fireworks this week as the Board had on their agenda to appoint a new board of finance member.
Within the last couple of months, the Board of Finance asked for candidates to submit a letter or intent to join the board and held a special meeting elect a new member. The seat was open due to then Chairman Brian Baker resigning his position and Scott Davis once again elevated to Chairman. Davis had already served as chair, before Baker’s term.
Two candidates were nominated at the special meeting, Republican Dana Bennett and Democrat Amanda Brycki. Davis conducted a vote of the current board to elect a new member, a board of 3 republicans and 3 democrats at the time. Both votes that were conducted ended in a tie, 3-3, and a new member was not elected.
Selectman Grabowski motioned to nominate Amanda Brycki to the board of finance, Selectman Jared Picco stated that he thought that there was more time needed to find qualified candidates for the open finance board spot and asked to have the vote tabled until at least the beginning of the new year. Picco also said that he felt the board was operating “quite well with the split down the middle,” 6 current members, 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans. “I don’t think we need to rush into this anytime soon” added Picco.
“The rules and regulations as pertains to this ability of the selectmen to do this is not a new thing. This has been on the books for many many many years, the ability to fill a vacancy after 30 days,” Selectman Rich Grabowski said in reference to the Board of Selectmen adding a member to a board or commission. Grabowski also admitted to have not attended any Board of Finance meetings “how things are progressing on that board.” The feeling from Grabowski is that budget season will be starting at the first of the year and having the ability to make decisions without the board being deadlocked is “paramount. In the past, deadlocks have caused many delays.” Picco replied stating again there was no need to rush an appointment.
First Selectman Todd Babbitt went on to mention that in November, the board notified both the Republican and Democratic town committees to possibly submit new candidates for the purpose of filling the spot on the Board of Finance. Again, Picco announced there was not a need for a rush to fill the vacancy. Picco also added “Clearly I’m outnumbered. But if that’s the case, I nominate Dana Bennett to fill the vacancy on the board of finance.”\
Executive Secretary to the First Selectman, Lisa Wood then intervened stating that the Selectmen had to act on the motion that was already on the floor, and that was Grabowski’s motion to nominate Amanda Brycki, Babbitt 2nd the motion with Picco voting no.
Amanda Brycki is the new member of the board of finance with a 2-1 vote.
The vote didn’t go without comments during public forum. Republican Town Committee Chair, Dana Bennett, who was to be the Republican nominee for the finance board seat
Current Board of Finance member, Dan Webster, who has been on the board for 4 terms (16 years) said that he has been part of the board when there has been 3 republicans and 3 democrats on the board when former member Gary Levy departed when he moved out of state. Webster went on to state “The only piece of business that the board has not been able to conduct was electing someone to be the 7th member of the board of finance. Other than that, we’ve been able to conduct every bit of business, and I’m not sure what Rich (Grabowski) is referring to about business that could not be conducted but it hasn’t been in my 16 years on the board of finance. The only piece of business that we haven’t been able to conduct since former chairman Brian Baker left the board is to elect a 7th member to the board of finance.”
Webster also made a statement in a message to SNSN that “I don’t like how this recent vacancy was handled at all. The BOS never even attended a prior meeting to discuss this with all board members which is not the type of communication our taxpayers should be expecting from all of us that are elected to boards or commissions to work on their behalf and in their best interests. Very disappointing, and disappointing that such an issue wasn’t also discussed prior to the 11/17 meeting with the Vice Chair of the BOF.”
Current Board of Finance Chairman, Scott Davis, sent in a message to SNSN stating “I am pleased that all seats on the board are filled, and that there is a back-up mechanism in place to ensure a vacant seat is filled in a timely manner. I believe that it is especially important that we have a full board as we enter a new budget cycle.”
The end result is that Amanda Brycki has been appointed to the Board of Finance. She will fill the spot on the board until the next cycle of elections, November 2021.