GOP Sweeps Back Into Office; Dunn Re-Elected

by Christopher O'Brien

By Chris O’Brien

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Mary Hernandez congratulates Tom Dunn on his re-election at the VFW Tuesday night

The Republican ticket that began four years ago will return to office for a third term, as the GOP rebuffed a barrage of accusations by Democrats. It may be unprecedented that so many candidates on one ticket have consistently won re-election to both the Town Council and Board of Education.

“The voters supported the Republican team for another two years. They agree that our team does what’s in the best interest of Wolcott,” said Republican Town Committee chairman Sean Hughes Tuesday night.

Republicans were ready to get back to work after their team ran on a record touting saving over $1 million in an energy conservation program, increasing the Town’s bond rating, and several awards for educational excellence. That propelled the team to winning seats on the Board of Assessment Appeals and Zoning Board of Appeals as well.

Unaffiliated Thomas G. Dunn easily won a sixth term as Mayor. “I don’t have a team – people vote the team in. As we can see tonight, the people voted the same team in again,” he told a room full of supporters at the VFW. The crowd then erupted into chants of “four more years”. Dunn quipped perhaps opening the Town Charter may allow that.

Republicans await returns Tuesday night

Republicans await returns Tuesday night

“People see what we’re doing,” Dunn tells the Whisper. “Some campaigns might send postcards out to sway them at election time, but residents painted their own postcards when they go to the dog park, the ballfields, and the senior center. We are one of the few towns that provides garbage pickup. Without that, you might see garbage littering the roads. They painted their own postcard and voted for the people who made these possible.”

His opponent, Steve Olmstead ran a nominal campaign to present another choice to voters. “I think he’s doing a good job,” said Central Avenue resident Tim Benwell before the polls closed.

Some residents cast protest votes. “I’ve always been a fan of Mayor Dunn, but I don’t like how he handled the tree issue on Mr. Shea’s property,” says a Spindle Hill resident at Wakelee School. “Someone from the town killed those ancient trees”.

A local businesswoman says she voted for newcomers to the Board of Education, saying “I think some of the current members have been there too long. They’ve lost their trustworthiness.”

FicetoMalloyGOPMailler    Yet, a majority of voters re-elected eight of the current Board of Education members and returned Anthony Gugliotti who previously had spent more than two decades on the Board. Democrats led by their Chairman Robert Ficeto accused Republicans of losing money to a bankrupt vendor. Republicans viewed the Democratic party’s tactics as ‘dirty politics’ and tied the Democrats with Governor Malloy in a mailer over the weekend. “Dan Malloy and his Wolcott Democrat Candidates are at it again”, the mailer said, suggesting that Wolcott would be run like the State of Connecticut. It features a photo of Ficeto wearing a Malloy-Wyman t-shirt at a Malloy rally in 2010. “Voters sent a message to Dan Malloy and his team. Voters are clearly happy wit hthe job Republicans are doing – and we thank the voters for recognizing the job we’re doing for them,” said Councilwoman Gale Mastrofrancesco.

Ficeto says the piece was “desparation”, distancing himself from the Governor ahead of the election. “there’s no way we would introduce Malloyanomics to Wolcott.” Ficeto’s team stuck to its message that Republican Councillors raised taxes almost $1000 over the past five years and suggested the Trifection contract cost taxpayers over $258,000. Republican BOE Chairwoman countered that the contract saved taxpayers at least $150,000.

Democrats appeared fractured and some were unhappy with the way their party ran the campaign. “They threw our Board of Education members under the bus,” said former BOE member Lori DelBuono. Incumbents Art Lerz and Tom Buzzelli avoided the campaign’s themes and ran on their experiences of service to students. Both had voted for the Trifection contract and also attended the Board’s retreat at a Southbury hotel. They were re-elected while fellow member Tony Casagrande tried to win a seat on the Town Council, but lost. DelBuono blames Casagrande and Ficeto for the loss. “We should have placed our candidates out front to campaign against their opponents.”

Republicans await returns Tuesday night

Republicans await returns Tuesday night

Tom Buzzelli was looking forward, however. “I’m excited to begin working with the new superintendent,” he said. Buzzelli served on a search committee that hired Anthony Gaspar, who will start on November 23rd.”I’m glad to work with Tony Gugliotti who brings with him a wealth of experience to the Board.”

He exemplifies the kind of official Mayor Dunn is looking forward to working with. “Sometimes people ask ‘should i run with a team?’ Not if I have people who the voters pick that can work with you. I’ve had an open door policy and its worked well.” Dunn says that voters said ‘thank you’ to him throughout the day at the polls. “We’re not going to pay double the taxes – I’ll fight against that tooth and nail – but we’re going to maintain the services that make this place a beautiful town.” Republicans tied their campaign to the Mayor. “Republicans didn’t challenge services. Democrats challenged the services we provide.”

While all six Republican Town Council members and Fran Masi will be returning for another term, they will be joined by two newcomer Democrats. George Phelan is well known in town and has served as Chairman of the Lions Club. Joe Membrino owns an electrician company.

   Here are the total election results. They are unofficial and do not include absentee ballots. Winners are in BOLD:
Mayor

Cindy Mancini hugs Harry Najarian after hearing results

Cindy Mancini hugs Harry Najarian after hearing results

 

Tom Dunn  – 3133  85%

Steve Olmstead – 579  15%

 

Treasurer

Joe DelBuono – 1231  33%

Tony Marino – 2500 67%

 

Town Council – Dist. 1

George Phelan – 1368

Tony Casagrande – 1319

David Valletta – 2301

Jeff Slavin – 2235

 

Town Council District 2

Fran Masi – 1802

Paul Mazurek – 1610

Donald Charette – 1998

Rachel Wisler – 1915

 

Town Council District 3

Joe Membrino – 1254

John Murphy – 1220

Gale Mastrofrancesco – 2190

Roger Picard – 2596

 

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Mayor Dunn analyzes the results at his HQ

Board of Education

Michelle Hlavna – 1132

Donna Ferguson – 1258

Tom Buzzelli – 1764

Tony Gugliotti – 1802

Art Lerz – 1593

Robert Ficeto – 1355

Roberta Leonard – 2491

Gloria Gubitosi – 2308

Cindy Mancini – 2219

Kim Lumia – 1991

Gloria Clair – 1920

Patricia Najarian – 2026

 

Board of Assessment Appeals

Mary Szabo – 1574

Richard Irwin – 1274

Adam Glasser – 2021

Harry Fitzgerald – 2175

 

Zoning Board of Appeals

Roland Depre – 1359

John McCarthy – 1350

Ted Storlazzi – 1191

Jim Treanor – 2129

Steve Grant – 2226

Ken Barnes – 2195

 

Constables

Lorraine McQueen – 1523

Austin Casagrande – 1120

Lucille Marsella – 1447

James Natale – 1948

Paul Gallucci – 2375

Peter Dubois – 2124

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