SECOND LOOK: Former councilor Secondo answers hot topic questions

Published on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 22:11
Written by Art Secondo

Does the Town make a profit on the Apple Harvest Festival?

Taxpayers are curious about this question. Traditionally the town has made expenses with little or no profit but when there is a profit they spend it on fireworks during a Saturday festival evening. Sponsors, vendors and a host of volunteers make this festival a break even event.

Why is Town Manager Garry Brumback really resigning?

Brumback and his wife have no children and honestly both are restless. Brumback has lived in various states and his aging father lives in Florida. After years of being in the military, Brumback is ready to slow down and probably confided that to councilors years ago when he was hired.

If Brumback could publicly support his replacement what would he say?

Before John Weichsel retired seven years ago he had no problem stating that his assistant Mark Sciota would and should be the man to replace him. Yet, councilors felt Sciota needed a little more time on the sidelines. Now Brumback has privately confided that Sciota would be the best candidate to become town manager. Why? According to sources, Brumback believes Sciota is an excellent administrator and has done enough work on the town’s behalf as an assistant, to easily qualify for Brumback’s job. But Brumback publicly states that he’ll leave the decision to his bosses - the council.

Can an independent candidate really win a seat on the town council this November?

Obviously candidate Jack Perry believes he can win. Traditionally, independent voters far outnumber the two political parties but either does not vote locally or are split between the GOP and Democrats. There have been a handful of candidates over the years who have challenged the entrenched council candidates and in the 1960s the late Ray Baginski stunned the odds by winning a seat making the council a 4-4-1 sitting. Baginski was a thorn in the sides of both parties and for two years made great stuff for the media to write. Frank Marine, Art Cyr and of course the legendary Adam Rackzowski peppered the council over the years making meetings truly entertaining but all were sincere with their criticisms. Thus Perry has his work cut out for him but the young businessman has a decent chance for the following reasons.

The Republicans have won the council for the past three elections and seem poised to win again but Ed Pocock III Cheryl Lounsbury will not be candidates for the GOP this year. The two are popular veterans and their absence has forced the GOP into worrying about a potential change in leadership. On the other side, the Democrats are poised to return the popular trio of John Barry, Chris Palmieri and Dawn Miceli but the party needs more than the three to win.

Perry can capitalize on the fact that both parties are running new candidates. In any event, be prepared for new councilors.

Are voters this election period mindful of the council’s decision to allow the fire chief to be paid $150,000 to retire and will voters react negatively to Chairman Mike Riccio’s so-called secret meeting to gain support for Sciota?

Having served for a decade on the council, I can publicly state that there never would have been a situation where we encouraged a town employee to retire early with a payoff. The reason the town has boards and commissions to oversee departments is to take care of issues without the contention that the council should make such a decision.

As far as Riccio is concerned, he did what many claim was nothing more than a request for a consensus about Sciota. Riccio is stubborn at times but is a keen politician. He believes he knows what is best for the town and those who are blasting the council majority and him, are trying to make a point that Sciota should not be the only candidate. Even the three Democrats who honestly admit Sciota is the best replacement for Brumback, are tip-toeing the issue because of the upcoming election. Unfortunately, Sciota is literally a doormat for political opinions.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Southington Herald on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 22:11. Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2017 22:13.