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.