Four years is a long time in Hartford politics. And so it is not all that surprising that one third of the candidates who were elected to Hartford City Council in 2007 will not be finishing out their terms.
Pedro Segarra left council in June to become mayor, following the resignation of Eddie Perez. Segarra was eventually replaced by Alex Aponte.
Matt Ritter, who was elected State Representative in November, will officially leave Council January 3, 2011. His successor has not been chosen.
And on Tuesday, Veronica Airey-Wilson announced she was accepting the Cityís retirement package offer, effective December 31. In October, Airey Wilson was granted accelerated rehabilitation on charges stemming from the investigation into the Perez administration. Her successor has also not been chosen.
Council will also have to fill the City Treasurerís position as Kathleen Palm will be retiring at the end of the year.
Council leadership is reportedly hoping to make a decision on the three vacant positions at their next meeting on Monday, December 13. The Councilís Democratic Caucus has scheduled a meeting to discuss the issue this Friday, December 3.
Since Ritter was officially confirmed as the winner of his race against Ken Green for 1st District State Representative, several names have been suggested as his replacement. These include David MacDonald, First Vice-Chair of the Hartford Board of Education, former Hartford Democratic Town Chairman Sean Arena, and Town Committee members Tom Page and John Gale.
Several names have also been put forward to fill Airey-Wilsonís seat, the only council seat currently held by the Republicans.
According to Republican Town Committee Chairman Mike McGarry, four and possibly five party members have indicated an interest in replacing Airey-Wilson: Dr. Sweets Wilson, an independent training and coaching professional; former Hartford Assistant Police Chief Jerry Pleasant; and attorneys Corey Brinson, Michael Fryar and Steve Bonafonte. Brinson is a nephew of Airey Wilson. McGarry said he has sent out a letter to all Republican Town Committee members asking for additional suggestions. Those suggestions can be forwarded to Republican Treasurer Walter Butler at 860-527-3609. The Republicans will be meeting on the issue on Tuesday, December 7.
Of course, the Democratic Caucus and the Republican Town Committee can only make recommendations, Council can appoint any candidate as long as they are from the same party as the councilperson they would be replacing.
That means councilís two Working Families Party members, Luis Cotto and Dr. Larry Deutsch could play a key role in filling the positions vacated by Airey-Wilson and Palm. They might also play a role in selecting Ritterís replacement if the Democrat cannot agree on a candidate.
Cotto said he has reached no decision on a replacement for Ritter or Airey-Wilson. He did say that, ďIn terms of the Republicans, as a Working Families Party member, Iíd naturally be looking for the most left-leaning candidate...I would support a candidate who is fiscally conservative, but not socially conservative.Ē
As for city treasurer, Attorney Adam Cloud has reportedly expressed an interest in the job. Cotto said that he was hoping that Assistant Treasurer Donna Nappier would be able to take over for Palm, but he has heard that Nappier is retiring as well.
However, Nappier said she did not exactly resign voluntarily. She said she had told some council members that she would be willing to serve as city treasurer for the remainder of Palmís term. However, she got the impression that Palmís replacement had already been selected. Since the new treasurer would probably appoint a deputy of their own choosing, leaving Nappier out of a job, she said it made sense to take the retirement package while it was available.