SOUTHINGTON — The new Republican Town Council chairwoman shook up town committees with recent appointments and restructuring.
Chairwoman Victoria Triano said she wanted to streamline committees in some cases and align them with the Town Hall chain of command in others.
“We’ve become encumbered with so many committees,” she said. “It fragments the flow.”
Triano announced her list of council committee appointments and structuring last week.
Democrats, who lost control of every major board and commission in town in the recent election, were worried about being shut out of town government but worked with Republicans to put Democrats on some committees.
The Apple Harvest Festival committee will be led by Dave Lapreay, the town’s recreation director. Triano said since Lapreay oversees the festival, it makes sense to have him lead the committee.
If councilors have concerns about the festival, they should address them with Town Manager Mark Sciota, who oversees Lapreay and all other town department heads.
Chris Palmieri, a Democrat on the council and the former council chairman, had been Apple Harvest Festival committee chairman for years. He’ll remain on the committee.
Republican Tom Lombardi, council vice chairman, said the authority for committee appointments and structure lies with the council chair. He’s also a past co-chair of the festival committee.
“Chris has done a great job and we definitely wanted to keep him on the Apple Harvest. I made that very clear,” Lombardi said.
The chairs of major boards and commissions started meeting in the last council term as the Committee of the Chairs. Triano said she’d continue the committee but that it will meet on an as-needed basis.
Chris Poulos, a Democratic councilor, said he was concerned that none of the chairs on the committee are Democrats. He asked about minority party representation during last week’s council meeting.
Triano rolled the Farm Heritage Committee into the council’s Open Space Acquisition Committee and named Paul Chaplinsky as chairman. Chaplinsky, elected to the council last month, served as Planning and Zoning Commission vice chairman for years.
Democrats wanted to be able to appoint a designee to the open space committee, something allowed on other committees. Poulos said the three council Democrats supported Dawn Miceli, a former councilor who chaired the open space committee for years, to serve on the panel. Miceli decided not to run for re-election this year.
“She’s been a champion of open space for years,” Poulos said.
Triano said open space was a “vital” committee and that council appointments should remain with council members not party designees. Palmieri was the Democrat appointed to the committee.
“That’s the way it was designed and I chose not to change that,” Triano said. “It’s too important.”