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Hartford Council Rejects Candidates To Fill Vacancies

Jenna Carlesso

January 11, 2011

Members of the city council couldn't agree Monday on replacements for Matthew Ritter and Veronica Airey-Wilson, voting down three proposed candidates and postponing the appointment of another.

Three resolutions one naming Sean P. Arena, chairman of the Hartford Redevelopment Agency, to replace Ritter; a second naming David MacDonald, a member of the city's board of education, to replace Ritter; and a third naming Corey Brinson, a Hartford attorney, to replace Airey-Wilson failed to garner the five votes necessary to pass.

A resolution naming Robert Painter, a former city councilman, to take Ritter's seat was postponed.

"There are so many different opinions and questions on people's qualifications, we need more time," Councilman Larry Deutsch said.

A resolution listing Gerald Pleasent, a former Hartford deputy police chief, as a replacement for Airey-Wilson was withdrawn because Pleasent asked to be taken out of the running, council members said.

On Friday, some members acknowledged that none of the candidates had enough support, while others were hopeful that the vacancies would be filled quickly. Although there was some discussion among council members over the weekend, no agreement was reached, Councilman Kenneth Kennedy said.

"The vote was too early," he said. "There's a tactic in politics where if you put a name forward and there's pressure, there will be a vote. But pressuring people to vote is not a good way to go."

Arena expressed disappointment over the council's decisions.

"The Democratic Party had a chance to become whole tonight," he said. "Instead, they chose to ignore the wishes of the citizens of Hartford and continue to forget the reason that they were elected."

Council members said they expect that the issue will come back up for a vote at their next meeting on Jan. 24. The panel has 60 days to fill each vacancy, according to the city charter.

Ritter, a Democrat, resigned from the council on Jan. 3 and was sworn in two days later as a state legislator representing the 1st House District, which includes portions of Hartford and Bloomfield. Airey-Wilson, a Republican, retired on Dec. 31, 2010.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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