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Article Published January 11, 2021

Downes Joins North Branford Town Council

By Pam Johnson/

As of January 5, North Branford’s Town Council resumed its full complement of nine members, with new member Tara Downes seated to fill the remaining term of the late Lou Paternoster, who passed away on Nov. 6, 2020.

Downes, a Democrat, last ran for elective office in the November 2019 municipal election on the Board of Education ticket. The Northford resident and New York native is currently serving as Assistant State Comptroller in the CT Office of the State Comptroller. Downes’ 20-year career in state policy and communications includes her prior position as Director of Communications to the State Comptroller and serving as policy and communications advisor to the state attorney general. She began her career as a print news reporter covering the state’s government issues and breaking news.

At the Jan. 5 regular Town Council meeting, following acceptance of a recommendation from councilman Joseph Faughnan (D) to move the item to the top of the agenda, the Town Council voted 6-1 in favor of Downes filling the seat vacated by Paternoster for the remainder of the 2019-21 term. Voting in favor were Democratic council members Faughnan and Marie Diamond and Republican members including Mayor Bob Viglione, Michael Doody, Ronald Pelliccia Jr. and Walter Goad. Council member Rose Marie Angeloni (R) voted against. Deputy Mayor Thomas Zampano (R) was absent for the vote.

Downes was then sworn in by Town Clerk Lisa Valenti at Town Hall. The meeting was held as a Zoom video conference recorded by Totoket TV and linked on Facebook.

In a brief statement following her swearing-in, Downes told her fellow council members, “I regret the circumstances of why I’m here, because Lou Paternoster was such a significant loss to our town and this council. But I look forward to working with all of you; so thank you so much for your support.”