Hartford Democratic Town Committee Chairman Election Ends In Controversy
Hartford Democratic Town Chairman Election
March 12, 2010
Georgiana Holloway was elected Democratic town chairwoman Thursday night.
That's because, Ramon Arroyo, the temporary chairman elected by the town committee to oversee the election, cast a vote for Holloway during the roll call vote, and when that vote ended deadlocked at 33-33, voted for her again to break the tie.
Arroyo's decision to cast another vote was disputed by Sean Arena, who was seeking a second term as town committee chairman and who called the election a "farce."
"We'll be in state central first thing in the morning," Arena said. "No one can vote twice."
Immediately following Arroyo's ruling that Holloway had beaten Arena, Arena's supporters pointed out that Robert's Rules of Order clearly states that "the chair cannot vote twice, once as a member, then again in his capacity as presiding officer."
But Holloway supporters referred to state party rules that they said allowed the chairman to "have the additional right to vote to break a tie."
State Rep. Kelvin Roldan, a town committee member and Arena supporter, said he believed Arroyo's decision invalidated the convention.
Bruce Rubenstein, an attorney who had sought the chairmanship but dropped out just before Thursday's vote, said that as much as it pained him to side with Arena, he agreed the vote was illegal.
"Local party rules are clear," Rubenstein said. "He can't vote twice."
But resident Hyacinth Yennie had no use for either town committee faction.
"These people do not represent the people of the neighborhoods, they represent themselves," she said. "That's why they can't get along."
Before the election of Arroyo as temporary chairman, Arena thanked the town committee for giving him an opportunity to serve them, and not knowing what lay ahead, referred to hard-fought primaries in the 4th and 5th districts that, between them, spawned a half-dozen State Elections Enforcement Commission complaints, a lawsuit and a recount.
"We've run the gamut," he said.
Former city Councilman Louis Watkins was elected vice chairman of the Democratic town committee.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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