As published in the Record Journal, Tuesday January 3, 2012
By Jesse Buchanan
Record-Journal staff firstname.lastname@example.org
WALLINGFORD — Town Council Republican Robert F. Parisi was elected chairman at Monday night’s swearing-in ceremony, but not without opposition from two council Democrats.
Parisi — on the council for more than three decades and with 16 years’ experience as chairman — was chosen on a 6-2 vote. Democrats Nicholas Economopoulos and John J. Sullivan voted against him.
Parisi was in Madrid, Spain, on Monday.
The vote took place at a special Town Council meeting during which Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr., town councilors, Board of Education members and Town Clerk Barbara Thompson were sworn in. Republicans nominating Parisi praised his service to the community both on and off the council. Republicans hold six of the nine council seats.
"Bob has been a mentor to myself and others," said Republican Vincent Cervoni. "He’s been a leader in many instances."
"As long as he wants to serve the town, we are fortunate," said Republican Rosemary Rascati.
Sullivan said there were other qualified Republicans he would have preferred as chairman. He said he wanted to see a fresh face as chairman and someone who could "strongly lead this council."
"I'd like to see progressive government," Sullivan said. "I think Bob has had his time."
Jason Zandri, a Democrat elected in November and taking his seat on the council after his second campaign, voted in favor of Parisi. Zandri said he might have voted for another nominee if one had been put forward.
"I wanted to vote for someone," Zandri said. "No one put anybody else up to consider, and I wanted to vote."
Zandri and Thomas Laffin, a Republican, took their seats on the council for the first time on Monday. Both said they were excited to take office and begin tackling town issues.
Laffin said he had worked hard to get elected, but that he knew the work "was only just starting."
Zandri said he’s hoping to help resolve issues downtown. "I don’t want this stuff to sit anymore," he said. "We should be discussing it and making plans."
Cervoni, in his second term as councilor, was elected vice-chairman by unanimous vote Monday. "He has brought stability and common sense to the table," said Rascati, adding that the councilor "plays a mean guitar."
Republican John LeTourneau also praised Cervoni. "He doesn’t say a lot on the Town Council, but when he does speak, he speaks volumes," LeTourneau said.
Dickinson addressed the audience after being sworn in, speaking about the seriousness of serving the town, although lightening his remarks with humor.