Mark will challenge Herbst in November election; Democrats, GOP name slates
Town Council Democrat Martha Jankovic-Mark will face off against First Selectman Timothy Herbst in the November election.
On Tuesday night the Democrats and Republicans each met to name their slates for the Nov. 5 election and both candidates for Trumbull’s chief executive came out swinging.
Mark served eight years on the Town Council, first as a Republican and then switching party affiliations in 2011. She accepted the nomination for the town’s top office during the Democratic Convention, ending the mystery and speculation surrounding who the opposing party would run against Herbst.
“As a wife, a mother, an attorney, an elected official, and community volunteer, I bring to the table the perspective, maturity and judgment our town needs and sadly has lacked in the last four years,” Mark said. “I believe that in a small community like Trumbull the petty power politics of the last four years has not served our community well. The lack of civility, the lack of cooperation, the lack of any interest in new and different ideas demonstrated by the current administration has hurt our community. That needs to change. I will change it.”
Herbst, who is serving his second term, accepted his party’s nomination at the GOP convention, held at Tashua Knolls Restaurant, saying that the entire Republican slate is the strongest the party has ever put forward. Herbst also touted Trumbull’s growth over the last four years.
“During these last four years, Trumbull has earned state and federal recognition as a model suburban community,” Herbst said. “In 2011, Family Circle magazine ranked Trumbull as the seventh town in the nation to raise a family. Just a few weeks ago, Coldwell Banker ranked Trumbull as the number one booming suburban community in Connecticut. We overcame communities like Greenwich, Fairfield, Ridgefield and Westport. My friends, that does not happen by accident.”
Herbst said he will continue his commitment to three pillars: Strong finances, strong schools and a strong quality of life. He criticized his Democratic opponents for failing to mention the progress that has been made in the last four years, including senior tax relief, full-day kindergarten and bond rating agencies lauding the town’s fiscal management.
“On their watch, the highest tax increases in Trumbull’s history,” Herbst said of Democrats. “On our watch, the most stable tax rate in Trumbull’s history.”
During Mark’s acceptance speech, she claimed Herbst did not keep his campaign promises, criticizing him for not putting an end to “family and friend” hiring practices, not fully funding pensions and going on a “spending spree” covered up by bonding operational expenses.
“My only question tonight is can you believe anything candidate Herbst promises,” Mark asked. “His record shows that his promises are simply not believable. His promises have been like snowflakes; they’re pretty; but they have quickly melted away, leaving a puddle.”
At the Republican Convention, Herbst criticized his opponents for what he called an “identity crisis.”
“They never tell you what they stand for; they only tell you what they are against,” Herbst said of Trumbull Democrats. “In the last two years, Democrats on Town Council have not introduced one positive piece of legislation to move our town forward.”
Citing Herbst’s promise to run the most transparent government in town history, Mark challenged Herbst in her acceptance speech to release his phone records and expense accounts.
When asked later that night by the Times if he would be willing to release his expense accounts and phone records, the first selectman said “absolutely.”
Herbst says he has kept thorough reports, with notations explaining each expense related to town business. Herbst also uses two cell phones, one for work and one personal.
Nancy DiNardo, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, said at the party’s convention that she would like to know if Herbst plans to run for state office in 2014.
“If so, he should step aside and not be the Republican candidate for first selectman,” DiNardo said.
Later, Herbst countered that Democrats used the same argument two years ago.
“I am committed to doing the job,” Herbst said. “They said that two years ago and I’m still here.”
Fellow Democratic Council member Vicki Tesoro nominated Mark for first selectman. Tesoro said she was impressed with Mark even when she was part of the other party.
“She was one of the few who chartered a thoughtful, independent course,” Tesoro said.
Tesoro said she believed Mark could restore civility to Trumbull politics.
Mark praised her team and said there would be a lot of work ahead in their “grass-roots” campaign but she said her team could “outwork” and “out-debate” the competition.
“I do not want a team which mindlessly follows the leader,” Mark said. “I want a team of our fellow citizens who are capable of defending their positions on issues. We have that.”
State Rep. Dave Rutigliano and Board of Finance Chair Elaine Hammers spoke in support of Herbst at the Republican Convention. Newtown First Selectwoman Pat Llodra was also the convention’s keynote speaker. She spoke on leadership and Trumbull’s support following the Dec. 14 school shooting.
“Many persons, including some in this room, reached out to me and to others in Newtown with offers of support, or love and hope for the future,” Llodra said. “One of the first persons to do so was Tim Herbst — an act of kindness I will never forget. Not only did Tim provide personal support, he also ensured that Trumbull resources were put to our disposal.”
Llodra’s daughter is running for Trumbull Town Council this year.
Both party’s slates are below. Incumbents are marked with an (i).
First selectman: Timothy Herbst (i)
Town clerk: Suzanne Burr Monaco (i)
Treasurer: John Ponzio (i)
Board of Finance: Roy E. Molgard
Board of Education: Susan LaFrance, Jeffrey Donofrio, Joseph Peddle
Planning and Zoning: David Preusch, William Haberlin
Zoning Board of Appeals: Richard Mayo
Board of Assessment Appeals: Justin C. Rice
Constables: James Battistelli Sr. (i), Victor Pioli (i)
District 1: Suzanne Testani (i), Vincent DiMasi Jr. (i), Johnna Dineley, Ennio DeVita;
District 2: Cynthia Penkoff, Edna Colluci, Tony J. Scinto (i), Kenneth Martin Sr.;
District 3: Carl Massaro (i), Michael London (i), Lori Rosasco-Schwartz, James Blose (i);
District 4: Ann Marie Evangelista (i), Mark LeClair (i), Bethany Llodra Gilman, Enrico Constantini, Joseph Pifko
First selectman: Martha Jankovic-Mark
Town clerk: Kathleen Miranti
Treasurer: John Walkley
Constables: Matt Silber, David Kayne
Board of Education: Rosemary Seaman (i), Lainie McHugh, Thomas Tesoro, Anthony Timpanelli
Board of Finance: Thomas Kelly, Andrew Palo (i), Kathleen McGannon
Zoning Board of Appeals: Steven Elbaum, Dennis Miko
Board of Assessment Appeals: Susie Laffitte
Planning and Zoning: Donald J. Scinto (current alternate), Frederick T. Garrity (i)
District 1: Jonathan Greene, Daniel Marconi, Douglas Sutherland, MaryAnn Baldwin
District 2: Fred Palmieri (i), Thomas Whitmoyer (i), Charles A. Pitcher, Tom Christiano
District 3: Vicki Tesoro (i), Roy Fuchs, Lisa Cellini, Paul Hongo
District 4: Scott Wich, James Meisner (i), Bruce Elstein, Brendan Keatley, AnnMarie Fekete