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New Canaan Council To Pick From Four To Fill O'Dea's Seat

The New Canaan Town Council votes Thursday to approve the process for filling its vacancy being created by the departure of Tom O'Dea. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason
New Canaan Town Council Chairman Mark DeWaele, right, and Kit Devereaux talk during Thursday's meeting. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason
Outgoing New Canaan Town Council member Tom O'Dea, center, speaks to council members during Thursday's meeting. He is flanked by John Emert, left, and Ken Campbell. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Tom O’Dea’s successor on the New Canaan Town Council will be one of four Republicans voted for by the council membership.

Town Councilors voted Thursday that the seat O’Dea is vacating as he becomes the 125th House District state representative will be filled by a fellow Republican. The decision concurs with the recommendation of Town Attorney Ira Bloom, based on his interpretation of the town charter and minority representation rules.

O’Dea plans to resign before being sworn in to the General Assembly. He voted along with 10 other council members, saying town voters intended for the seat to be filled by the GOP. “I do feel strongly that my seat should be filled by a Republican,” he said. A Democrat should be chosen if another Democrat left the council, O'Dea said.

“I think the voters’ intention was to have a Republican in that seat and, therefore, what to me what seems fair is to pursue it as such,” said Kit Devereaux, a Democrat.

The four Republicans who have expressed interest in the seat are Kevin Moynihan, a vice chairman of the Republican Town Committee; Dan Radman, also a member of the town committee who ran for the town council two years ago; John Engel, a local real estate agent who ran against Nick Williams in the Republican caucus for a seat on the Board of Selectmen; and Roy Abramowitz, who also ran for Town Council two years ago.

The council also decided to ask each candidate four questions during a Jan. 10 special meeting. The candidates will have two minutes to answer each question. They will receive the questions from the council over the weekend.

Council members will vote at the meeting by paper ballot, though the ballots will be signed by the voting members and the votes will be part of the public record. Engel had asked whether a winner could be announced while keeping the results private in order to not embarrass the losing candidates because they are all friends. “I don’t want to know who lost, and I don’t want to know by how much,” Engel said. But each council vote must be public, Council Chairman Mark DeWaele said.

One vote will be taken, but a second vote would take place in the event of a tie if First Selectman Rob Mallozzi III opts not to break the tie as he has the right to in the town charter.

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