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Republicans Go Against Glassman's Choice, Vote in Haase as Deputy First Selectman

Despite the objections of Democrats, the new Republican majority on the Simsbury Board of Selectman chose Nancy Haase for Deputy First Selectman on Monday night.

Members of each party were fully prepared for the move, with some leaders commenting on it during public forum at the beginning of the meeting.

Democrats contended that since at least 2005, both parties had set a precedent in deferring the choice to the first selectman. In the past, Republicans agreed with the sentiment and did not seek to put language in the charter to change it, First Selectman Mary Glassman and others Democrats said.

Glassman also spoke strongly in favor of Lisa Heavner continuing in the role, touting her as the most experienced person for the job.

“To strip Lisa of that title tonight after all of her hard work and all of the Republican party's chance and opportunity to change that rule and that precedent would signal political opportunism,” Glassman said.

She nominated Heavner but there was no second from the Republican board members.

Selectman Sean Askham countered that he had researched the issue and found no such rule in appointing a deputy, other than the town charter, which calls for an organization meeting the first Monday in December following an election.

“At the organization meeting, the Selectmen shall elect, from among their own members, a Deputy First Selectman who shall serve as Acting First Selectman in accordance with the provisions of Section 503 of this Charter,” the charter states.

Precedent is relevant in a court of law not as a board, Askham argued.

“There is no rule,” Askham said “We are following the charter.”

Republicans also argued that selecting Haase would also serve the public well by having someone from both parties in a leadership role.

Cheryl Cook said she had the upmost respect for Heavner.

“I have the greatest respect for her ability,” Cook said. “I really do think it does show the bipartisan support of this board to have one of each of us as the leaders.”

Glassman still felt the move was not in the spirit of cooperation.

“This is strong message that this is a partisan board,” she said. “I think it’s just a sad night of Simsbury.”

Haase was selected along party lines with Askham, Mike Pane, Cheryl Cook and Nancy Haase voting in favor and Glassman and Heavner against.

Patch caught some of the comments on video as seen attached to this story. For those who would like to see the full exchange, Simsbury Community Television taped the meeting and said it should be available on their web site within a few days.
Patrick Spaulding December 03, 2013 at 08:41 AM
Where is "Simbury"
David Moelling December 03, 2013 at 09:44 AM
Ms. Glassman has the perfect new Democrat arguments in that we have to be "nice" and "cooperate". These translate into if you disagree with me then you are being mean or worse. But political discussion always involves disagreement and attempts to shame the opposition into silence are not good in the long term. Hooray for the Simsbury GOP in finally showing a little bit of spine.
Robert Wilson III December 03, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Interesting. A lot here. Ms. Glassman says it would be wrong to strip Ms. Heavner of the title. But doesn't the Board of Selectmen have to choose the deputy afresh every two years? Wasn't Ms. Heavner's term as deputy over? And why didn't Heavner second Glassman's nomination? Another thought. The title of this article is a bit biased. Under the charter Glassman doesn't get a "choice."
David Moelling December 03, 2013 at 11:57 AM
Kevin Rennie's description of the First Selectman as "slippery" in the Courant seems apropos.
CM December 03, 2013 at 12:16 PM
Both parties made their best arguments and a selection was made. Now I'd urge both parties to Really work together. I believe that they will, albeit with lots of opposing discussion. Nevertheless, it has always been great to NOT see our national political nonsense play very much of a role here and I hope and pray that that continues. If it does then we will all be well served by this new Board. I believe that we will. Thank You all for your service.
J A December 03, 2013 at 04:07 PM
If any action comes across as politically motivated, it would appear the Ms. Glassman's comments (“To strip Lisa of that title tonight after all of her hard work and all of the Republican party's chance and opportunity to change that rule and that precedent would signal political opportunism,”) ring more true of political opportunism than the fact that her nominee simply was not picked. Words like "strip" and "opportunism" are inciting and only set the stage for that to happen. The townspeople voted in favor of a 4 to 2 split. Actually having both parties represented at the two highest levels seems most logical and should have been welcomed as a chance to work together in the new configuration. This takes nothing away from Ms. Heavner's past performance, but only reflects the make up better. Given that new make up. Ms. Glassman should recognize that her role should be to lead a bipartisan board, not take shots at the other side at her first opportunity.

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