TRUMBULL — A change in the town’s top position came with a change in party leadership in Town Council, with Democrats taking over the majority for the first time in a decade.
New First Selectman and Democrat Vicki Tesoro was sworn in as the clock struck midnight on Dec. 4. Members of the Town Council and other town government officials were officially installed and Tesoro sworn in in front of community members at Trumbull High School Monday night.
“Elections by nature are a divisive thing. You want your team to win, you work for that result, and there is elation if you win and disappointment if you don’t,” Tesoro said to the packed auditorium. “Now the election is over, we have to put aside our elation or disappointment and come together as neighbors, working for the common good. That is how Trumbull will prosper.”
Tesoro is following Republican Tim Herbst, who did not run for re-election to focus on his gubernatorial campaign after serving eight years as Trumbull’s first selectman.
Herbst was present with other former first selectmen Monday night, applauding his successor as she was sworn in.
Town Council went through a shift as well, with Democrats taking the majority for the first time since 2007, according to Democratic Town Committee chairman Tom Kelly.
The previous Town Council had six Democrats and 15 Republicans, while the newly sworn-in Town Council has 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans.
Democrat Jason Marsh is the new majority leader and Tom Whitmoyer is the new deputy majority leader. Republican former Town Council Chairman Carl Massaro Jr. is the minority leader and Lori Rosasco-Schwartz is the deputy minority leader.
Democrat Mary Beth Thornton was elected new Town Council chairman and Democrat Dawn Cantafio was elected vice chairman.
Ten members of the newly-installed Town Council — nearly half — are new additions. Republicans David Pia, Paul Verbitsky, Michele Rutigliano, Ted Chase and JC Cinelli, and Democrats Keith Klain, Kevin Shively, Cynthia Katske, Bruce Elstein and Ashley Gaudiano, join veteran Republican Town Council members Donna Seidell, Edna Colucci, Ann Marie Evangelista, Massaro and Rosasco-Schwartz and Democrat veterans Dawn Cantafio, Bill Mecca, Lisa Valenti, Thornton, Whitmoyer, Marsh.
Now that state budget has been approved and Trumbull not receiving cuts as large as feared by town leaders, Tesoro said her goal is to control town spending, not increase revenue.
The first way to reel in spending: reducing attorneys fees and consulting fees, Tesoro said, before turning attention to department budgets.
“We also need to control spending throughout the budget... (we are) looking to our department heads to hold their budget lines steady or reduce them,” Tesoro said. “They actually already had to do that this last year when we reduced the budget lines by 3 1/2 percent, every budget. Some of those lines have been restored, others have not.”Read Full Article
Around mid-February, Tesoro will issue the town budget, which will be voted on by the Board of Finance in March. From there, it will move to Town Council.