by marcia chambers | Nov 20, 2013 3:04 pm
The real action of the Representative Town Meeting last night happened before the meeting began.
When the Democratic minority arrived at the second floor meeting room at fire headquarters they found three tables lined up in a row instead of two tables on one side for the Republican majority and one table facing them for the Democrats.
The Democrats then engaged in a symbolic revolt—they picked up their table and put it back where it used to be.
The game of musical chairs reflected the new power dynamics on the RTM, where Republicans have just replaced Democrats as the majority.
The new Republican majority leader, Rep. Ray Ingraham (pictured standing above), said he had had moved the tables into a new arrangement because his constituents had asked him to change the seating plan of the meetings. Ingraham said in an interview that he believes that RTM members should reflect the view of their neighbors, rather than what their party ideology might ask. Mixing up the representatives to get greater thought and discussion is beneficial, he argued.
Democrats said they were steamed over Ingraham’s decision because they had previously arranged via e-mail to have party leaders meet with the new moderator, Dennis Flanagan, after last night’s meeting to discuss the issue. They criticized Ingraham for acting without consulting them or taking a vote; Ingraham said nothing in the rules requires a vote. The Democrats said they are concerned that if everyone is mixed together, it will not be clear who voted for what and that in the end both parties are different philosophically.
One route the Dems might be willing to take is having representatives sit by district, one of them told the Eagle. Ingraham said that idea is worth discussing and perhaps the RTM tables might be placed in horseshoe fashion in the center of the room, with the moderator and the clerk seated to the side.
by marcia chambers | Nov 19, 2013 1:06 pm
Jamie Cosgrove was sworn in as Branford’s first selectman this morning, and he conveyed the wishes of his legendary grandfather Dan Cosgrove—who turns 96 today.
“‘Go do some good,’” Jamie Cosgrove quoted his grandfather as saying.
The timing of Jamie Cosgrove’s swearing-in and Dan Cosgrove’s birthday turned out to be a special coincidence for a family whose political dynasty has shaped Branford’s history in many ways. (Dan Cosgrove, who is ill, was not present for the swearing in at the Blackstone Memorial Library. Click here for a previous interview with him about his history in the town.)
by marcia chambers | Nov 18, 2013 1:49 pm
When the new RTM meets for the first time Tuesday, the Republicans will gain pivotal control of the town’s legislative body, having flipped the Democrats 19-11 majority to their side.
For many on the Republican side, serving on the RTM will be a new experience.
With the RTM now in Republican hands, new First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove will have a far easier time getting his projects approved if party members vote as a group. Cosgrove won 59 percent of the vote to 36 percent for Andy Campbell, the Democratic candidate for first selectman. Jacey Wyatt, who ran an independent campaign, came in with 5 percent of the vote.
Cosgrove, 40, will be sworn in Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. at the Blackstone Memorial Library; his first day of work begins that morning. Joe Higgins, Jr., the Republican selectman, will be sworn in with Cosgrove. Bruce Storm, former superintendent of Branford schools, who drew more votes than Campbell, will be sworn in as the third member of the Board of Selectmen along with the RTM Tuesday night.
by marcia chambers | Nov 15, 2013 6:35 am | Comments (1)
At a dinner last week in honor of retiring First Selectman Anthony “Unk” DaRos, the room was filled with laughter, stories, jokes and appreciation for the Stony Creek mason turned politician who over a total of 12 years as first selectman changed the landscape of the town. DaRos delivered a few zingers himself.
The gathering at Woodwinds brought together more than 200 people, including Branford’s department heads, employees, state and federal representatives and another soon-to-retire municipal leader, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. It was organized by Trista Milici, DaRos’s executive assistant. Criminal defense attorney Willie Dow (pictured), and a longtime DaRos neighbor, spoke about his friendship with DaRos, 71, as did Fran Walsh, a former selectman and the former principal of an intermediate school now named after him.
by Diana Stricker | Nov 14, 2013 8:48 am
Wednesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting marked the end of an era—the last meeting during the Democratic Party’s administration before the reins are handed over to the Republicans next week.
First Selectman Anthony “Unk” DaRos, who is retiring for the second time, served from 1997 through 2003 before retiring from political office the first time. A Republican, John Opie, was first selectman for two years; followed by Democrat Cheryl Morris, who also served two years. DaRos came back into office in 2007 and served another six years.
by Sally E. Bahner | Nov 12, 2013 9:57 pm
We’ve visited the feral colony near Lake Saltonstall from time to time over the past few years. It seems fitting that we check in with them as the cold weather sets in.
Here is the scene when Hurricane Irene hit in 2011.
Charlene Vessichio, working with the Branford Compassion Club, has maintained this colony throughout hurricanes, heat waves, and blizzards. And while she cares for several others colonies, her heart clearly belongs to this group of cats.
by marcia chambers | Nov 11, 2013 5:04 pm | Comments (1)
Master Sgt Walter Zielinski (pictured) served in Germany during WW II. “I was in Korea, too,” he said as he reminisced while waiting for Branford’s Veterans Day parade to begin Sunday.
“By the time of Vietnam I was too old,” he added with a smile.
At 93, he is now one of the few WW II veterans still alive and able to recount his experiences in Europe. He did so under sunny skies that later turned dark, windy and rainy as Branford’s annual Veterans Day parade wound its way through the center of town and past the reviewing stand on Main Street.
by marcia chambers | Nov 8, 2013 9:27 am
First Selectman-Elect Jamie Cosgrove paid a visit Wednesday to Town Hall, where he met with retiring first selectman Anthony “Unk” DaRos and talked with a number of the town’s top department heads.
DaRos said he and Cosgrove, now the third selectman, had a cordial meeting on Wednesday. “I told him I would be available to him if he had any questions,” said DaRos, who leaves office Nov 18.
Cosgrove, 40, won the first selectman’s post handily Tuesday, getting 4,484 votes to Democratic candidate Andy Campbell’s 2,795 votes. To win Cosgrove tapped into unaffiliated voters, the largest bloc in town and, it seems, to the Democratic base. Click here to read the story.
by Staff | Nov 5, 2013 10:15 pm | Comments (2)
Branford government turned from blue to red Tuesday as voters elected a new Republican first selectman and turned control of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) to the Republican Party as well.
by marcia chambers | Nov 4, 2013 3:29 pm
UPDATE—An election campaign violation complaint was filed with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) this morning against the Cosgrove for Branford campaign.
On the eve of the election, the Branford Democratic Town Committee (DTC) charged that the Jamie Cosgrove for First Selectman campaign failed to follow the law in soliciting online campaign contributions.