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Democrats Win Local Elections, Gain Seats On Boards

Democrats Win Local Elections, Gain Seats On Boards

Beth Heller was reelected May 6 for her second term as first selectman, and along with her the whole Democratic ticket swept the government slots that were up for re-election.  Heller beat Republican Ed Weinberg 1,571:1,017.

At 40.4 percent, the voter participation was significantly lower than for the previous election in 2017, when 47% came out to vote for municipal representation.  A total of 2,620 voters went to the polls this year, as opposed to 3,307 two years ago.

Selectmen:  The Board of Selectmen retained its 4:2 structure, but come July 1, they will be joined by two new faces, namely Democrat Sandy Stein and Republican Dwight Rowland.  They both come with a long history of serving different groups in town, with Stein switching over from the Board of Finance; Rowland has been long-time president of the Bethwood Baseball League.

Re-elected to the board were Democrats Mica Cardozo and Joe Crisco and Republican Joe Dey.  Not returning are David Lober and Teri Schatz.  Schatz, a Democrat, did not seek reelection.  Lober ran on a Republican ticket and lost by 7 votes to Dwight Rowland.  The result was so close, in fact, that it triggered a recount of the ballots, which took place on May 10.

“A lot of people vote party line,” Lober said after the vote.  He said during the campaign he went door-to-door to probably 400 homes, and people were very receptive to what he had to say, but “I guess it wasn’t in the cards.”

Weinberg also was disappointed.  “I thought we could do a lot of good in this town,” he texted.

Board of Education:  The Woodbridge Board of Education also will see some changes, as its chairman, Margaret Hamilton, did not seek re-election.  Along with Hamilton, Claire Coleman and Garret Luciani did not seek re-election.  As a result, all of the six candidates who ran will join the board irrespective of election results, to satisfy minority representation requirements.  They are Todd Jokl (D), Lynn Piascyk ® and Joyce Shavers (D), and new to the board, Jeff Townsend (D), Dan Cowan ® and Jeff Hughes (D).

Rounding out the 9-member board are Paul Testa ®, Maegan Genovese, (D) and Steve Fleischman ®, who will be up for reelection in 2021.

Amity Board of Education:  Two Democrats won seats on the Amity Board of Education, namely incumbent Sheila McCreven (D) and newcomer Patrick Reed (D).  The other two Woodbridge members are Pat Cardozo (D) and Robyn Berke (D).  In Bethany, incumbent Jenny Turner was re-elected to the Amity Board, while Paula Cofrancesco won the post of First Selectman in that town.  The town is expected to have a special town meeting to fill the vacancy on the Amity Board.  As for Orange representatives, they are not up for re-election until November 2019.

Zoning Board of Appeals:  Three candidates ran for this board, one Democrat and two incumbent Republicans, but only two positions were up for re-election.  The Republicans therefore lost one seat, with Democrat Shawn Flynn taking the lead, followed by Republican Cynthia Gibbons.

Similar to the two Republicans on the Board of Selectmen, the results for Cynthia Gibbons and Robert Wiznia were so close that they triggered a recount.  In the end Gibbons outpolled Wiznia, 1331:1315.

There are three alternates for the board, with Joi Prud’homme (D) and Frank Ciarleglio ® being newly elected.  A third alternate position, which was previously held by candidate for first selectman, Ed Weinberg, is vacant.

Board of Assessment Appeals:  Jeff Ginzberg (D) won re-election to the three-member Board of Assessment Appeals.  The other members, Ann Rubin (D) and Beth Walter ®, were not up for re-election until 2021.

Appointments:  As for the newly elected Board of Selectmen, its first responsibility will be to fill the numerous boards and commissions that are not elected positions.  According to the Woodbridge Charter, appointed boards include the Board of Finance and the Plan and Zoning Commission, among others.

Nominations will be put forth by the Democratic and the Republican Town committees for a vote by the Board of Selectmen.  Both parties are typically open to support unaffiliated candidates as well.  Typically, the selectmen-elect will have a meeting on the last Wednesday of the month of June, specifically to vote on those appointments.  Since the new board will not yet be sworn in it cannot conduct any other business.  The swearing-in ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 29, at 4 p.m.

By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent

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