A city lawyer and former city council member were named Monday to fill two vacancies on the city council.
Robert Painter, 77, who served on the panel for six years as a Republican but has since switched political parties, replaces Matthew Ritter, a Democrat. Ritter resigned earlier this month and was sworn in as a state representative.
Corey Brinson, 30, a city attorney and a Republican, was chosen to replace Veronica Airey-Wilson, who retired last month. Brinson is Airey-Wilson's nephew and is now the youngest member of the council.
"It's a good day for Hartford," Brinson said. "I think I can have a voice for all the young people who want to get involved in the city."
The city council voted 6-0-1 in favor of a joint resolution appointing Painter and Brinson. Councilman Luis Cotto abstained.
Cotto and Councilman Larry Deutsch, both members of the Working Families Party, criticized other council members for not giving them the candidates' names sooner.
"There's no reason I should be finding out about this — or even the thought of it — three minutes before the meeting," Cotto said.
Deutsch said that although he supports the new members, the panel's voting method "is a mess."
"It was dishonest and a slight to the other council people and the public," he said.
Council President rJo Winch said the panel considered other candidates, but ultimately decided on Brinson and Painter.
"It's not an easy task, and sometimes personalities get in the way of our decision-making," she said. "This is where we landed after much discussion. We needed to get this done because there are more pressing issues out there that concern our residents."
Brinson and Painter were sworn in as council members at the end of Monday's meeting. They will serve out the remainder of Ritter and Airey-Wilson's terms, which both run through Jan. 4, 2012.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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