Finance Board: Kelly out, Tesoro in?

Tom Kelly
Tom Kelly

Town Democrats are hopeful that the Board of Finance will be back up to full strength soon, having nominated a new member to replace Tom Kelly, who submitted his resignation last week.

The party has nominated former Town Council member and first selectman candidate Vicki Tesoro to replace Kelly, who left the board due to an ongoing health problem involving a family member.

“She’s recovering well, but some days are still better than others, and with the demands of being on the Board of Finance during budget season, I felt it was best for the town to have someone on the board that can devote their full attention to the budget,” Kelly said.

Kelly, who is also the Democratic Town Committee chairman, said he would retain that post as it is far less time consuming than the finance board.

“The DTC meets once a month, and if I can’t be there the vice chairman can run the meeting,” he said. “Finance board is an elected position and the voters deserve someone who can make the full commitment.”

Under the Town Charter, First Selectman Tim Herbst has the authority to appoint replacements when a vacancy occurs on the board. The Charter mandates that the replacement be of the same political party as the departing member, but does not provide a timetable for the appointment. Theoretically, Herbst could simply not name a replacement. Republicans control the seven-member board 5-2, but the two alternate members are Republican Karen Egri and Vincent DeGennaro, who is not a registered member of any party.

A similar situation currently exists on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Democrat Richard Puskar died in March and the DTC has sent Herbst three requests to appoint a Democratic replacement. Herbst has yet to respond.

The five-member ZBA, an elected board, was controlled 3-2 by Democrats but is now 2-2. Of the three alternate ZBA members, Brian Reilly and Lori-Ann Boveroux are Republicans and Joseph Rescsanski is unaffiliated, meaning that Puskar’s death has effectively flipped control of the board.

In a memo to Herbst, DTC Secretary Cindy Katske officially submitted Tesoro as a replacement candidate to serve the remainder of the term, which expires in December 2017. Democrats also have the option of filing paperwork for a special election to fill the seat, which Katske said the party was willing to do, but hoped would not be necessary.

“We hope that there will be no need to resort to a special election with its associated costs,” she said.