NEW CANAAN, Conn. – John Engel will take over for Tom O’Dea on the New Canaan Town Council after winning a vote of council members Thursday night.
Engel, a lifelong New Canaan resident, received votes of eight of the 11 council members at a special meeting. Engel beat out Kevin Moynihan, who received two votes, and former town council candidate Dan Radaman, who received one vote.
“I’m a big admirer of the town and its government. I think they do a great job of keeping taxes down and providing great services and great schools,” Engel said after the vote. “I think they do a great job, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Engel, a local real estate agent, will finish the term of O’Dea, who won election in November as the 125th House District state representative. Engel ran for the Board of Selectmen two years ago, losing to Nick Williams in the Republican caucus.
Thursday's vote followed nearly two hours of questions to the candidates. They were asked about current town functions, what changes — if any — were needed on the council and their opinions on recent controversial issues, including the Lakeview Avenue Bridge arbitration and the review of the town’s pensions.
Engel talked about how he would work to revitalize New Canaan’s downtown and “fiscal accountability in all our town property taxes.”
Moynihan, vice president of the New Canaan Republican Town Committee, touted his legal experience, suggesting that a lawyer should follow O’Dea, who is also a lawyer.
Radman, who ran for Town Council two years ago, presented his expertise as an architect who would “bring additional depth of bench” to the legislative body as well as objectivity.
The proceeding was not without controversy as Roy Abramowitz withdrew his candidacy during the opening statements, upset with a letter from Historical Review Committee Chairman Mike Farrell that “attacked my professionalism and my character” that was circulated in an email Thursday morning.