February 21, 2020
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An Eye on Old Saybrook’s 2019 Elections

Published Oct. 08, 2019

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On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Old Saybrook voters will cast ballots for members of various town boards and commissions. Some, like those running for the Board of Selectmen, are shoo-ins; other races will be competitive.

First Selectman Carl P. Fortuna Jr., a Republican, is running unopposed, now that Democrat John J. O’Brien, who was nominated on the floor at the Democratic caucus in July, opted not to run. As long as at least one vote is cast for Fortuna, he will be re-elected.

Also running unopposed is Republican Robert W. Fish for town treasurer.

Republican Scott M. Giegerich will run for selectman, as will Matthew Pugliese, who stepped up after fellow Democrat and current Selectman Carol Conklin chose not to run for re-election. (Find more information on the selectmen candidates on page 8.) As Giegerich and Pugliese are running for the two openings, they, together with Fortuna, will make up the town’s new Board of Selectmen (BOS).

The race for seats on the Board of Finance is a bit more competitive, with four candidates running for three spots. C. Marston Ladd will run as a Democrat and Carol Rzasa (current vice chair), Rick Swan, and Thomas Stevenson (an incumbent) are running for the Republicans.

Republican Susan Quish and Democrat Alfred H. (“Chubb”) Wilcox are vying for the two-year vacancy left when Frank Glowski, a Democrat, resigned from the Police Commission in March. Wilcox was appointed by the BOS in April to fill Glowski’s seat until the November election.

The race for the three other available seats on the Police Commission is the most competitive of the year: Six candidates, three from each party, will complete for those full-term (four-year) slots. Democrats Daniel M. Moran (incumbent), Adam S. Ladd, and Loraine M. Cortese-Costa are in the run along with Republicans Carl Von Dassel (current chair), Jeff Jordan, and Joseph Maselli.

There are three available spots on the Planning Commission and five candidates running: Chairman Kenneth W.A. Soudan, a Democrat, is seeking re-election, as is Republican Robert Missel, a current commission member. Republicans Mark Patterson and Thomas Cox, who are currently alternates on the commission, are running for a full seat, as is Democrat Dennis Tulimieri, Jr.

Four candidates hope to fill two available seats on the Board of Assessment Appeals. On the ballot are Democrats Carl C. Garbe and Jeffrey R. Gibson and Republicans Matthew Diamond and Peter Gallagher.

Zoning Commission members up for re-election are Republicans Mark Caldarella (vice-chair) and Madeleine Fish and Democrat Ann Marie Thorsen. All three are running unopposed for the seats they currently occupy.

There are two available seats on the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), but only one candidate, incumbent Jacqueline Prast, a Republican. This means that Prast will fill one seat and a second member will be appointed after the election by the BOS. As the ZBA is a five-person board, and no more than four seats may be held by one party, the BOS will appoint a Democrat to that position, Fortuna explained.

Parks & Recreation Chair Susan Esty, a Democrat, is seeking re-election, as are Republicans Kevin Lane and Star Rueckert (both incumbents) and Bror Asche. There are four candidates and four available spots.

Three seats are up for grabs on the Harbor Management Commission (HMC) and four candidates are running: Current HMC Chairman Robert L. Murphy, a Republican, current HMC Secretary Paul M. Connolly, a Democrat, and Democrat Stephen R. Sheehan and Republican Lou Vinciguerra.

All four candidates running for the Board of Education are seeking re-election: Democrat George Chang and Republicans James Henderson, Alan R. Hyla, and Karina Julius.

The website for the Connecticut Secretary of State,, allows residents to check whether they’re registered to vote and to register to vote online. Town Clerk Sarah Becker said her office welcomes calls from residents who are unsure as to whether they are registered. The regular voter registration session ends on Tuesday, Oct. 29; registration applications must be received and mail-in applications postmarked by that date. It is also the last day to register online.

There will be limited registration on Monday, Nov. 4 in person at the Registrar’s or Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall for those who turned 18, attained citizenship status, or moved to Old Saybrook since Oct. 29. On Election Day itself, those who are not yet registered or are registered in another town but have moved to Old Saybrook may register in person.

Applications for absentee ballots can be found on the Connecticut secretary of the state’s website or in person at the Town Clerk’s Office, where voters can fill out the ballot and turn it in during regular office hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Mailed-in absentee ballots must be received by the town clerk by the close of polls on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The ballot may be delivered in person by a designee of the voter. Voters who turn in their own absentee ballots in person must do so by the close of business on Monday, Nov. 4.

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