Hartford City Council Appoints John Bazzano As City And Town Clerk
JEFFREY B. COHEN
September 29, 2009
The city council Monday night appointed former council President John Bazzano to be its next city and town clerk.
The unanimous vote of the council's Democrats fills the vacancy created by the Sept. 11 death of Daniel Carey, who had served as clerk since 1993.
Bazzano, who was a close friend of Carey's, said the appointment to his new job is "very bittersweet."
"This opportunity comes at the loss of our very, very, very dear friend," said Bazzano, who was sworn in amid applause Monday night.
The town and city clerk is a political appointment of the city council. At least 12 people applied for the job.
But the council's six Democrats went to the city hall meeting Monday night having already decided their vote. Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson, the council's lone Republican, was not present. The two council members from the Working Families Party abstained, saying they supported Bazzano but not the process by which he was selected.
In a prepared statement, Minority Leader Larry Deutsch called the process "a fast closed-door decision … through a backroom one-party private caucus."
Majority Leader rJo Winch agreed that the process was flawed, not because it was political, but because some on the council pushed for a competitive process.
"It gave people the illusion that [it] was actually competitive, and it was always going to be a political appointment," Winch said. She then spoke in favor of Bazzano, as did others on the council.
Councilman James Boucher called Bazzano a man of experience, fairness and integrity, and said he was "a very strong candidate." In addition to serving as council president, Bazzano was former Mayor Mike Peters' chief of staff from 1993 to 2001, and worked in the city treasurer's office from 2002 to 2004.
"I think we're very fortunate to have that kind of leadership interested in the position," Boucher said. Recalling Carey, Boucher said that Bazzano's appointment was "a good moment [after] a very difficult moment."
Also Monday, the council swore in Kelly Bilodeau to be its next assistant clerk.
The city pays $89,100 to $136,640 for the clerk's position. According to the resolution approved Monday, Bazzano will make $105,000. He said he will be in the office today
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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