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Three interested in New Canaan Town Council vacant seat

Published 10:58 am, Monday, December 24, 2012
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The Town Council will address the task of filling Republican Tom O'Dea's seat at its first meeting of 2013, on Thursday, Jan. 3.

Three names are circulating for the seat, but there has been some disagreement over the process, and whether the seat needs to be filled with a Republican. The seat will be up for election in November 2013. At the Jan. 3 special meeting, which takes place at 7 p.m. in the Sturgess Room of the New Canaan Nature Center, the council will interview the candidates and vote on a replacement.

The three candidates thus far are Kevin Moynihan, Dan Radman and John Engel, according to Town Council Chairman Mark DeWaele.

Moynihan is the vice chairman of the Republican Town Committee. He graduated from Georgetown University and got his Juris Doctor at Boston College. He began his career as an attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission before moving to Merrill Lynch, and is managing director and assistant general counsel.

Radman is also a member of the RTC and ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Town Council in 2011. He is a member of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance and an alternate member of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Engel was born and raised in New Canaan. He previously ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Board of Selectmen. He is a real estate agent with Brotherhood and Higley.

DeWaele had asked town counsel Ira Bloom if O'Dea's seat needed to be filled by a Republican, to which Bloom reportedly wrote that it should be filled by the same party.

At the Wednesday, Dec. 12, Town Council meeting, Democrat Jon Emert expressed his opinion that Bloom may have been incorrect that the vacancy needs to be filled by a Republican. Republican Roger Williams agreed with Emert.

"I agree with Jon that it should be kept open so that we can have the biggest field and fill it with the best candidate," Williams said.

Republican Councilman Ken Campbell disagreed, saying that to allow a Democrat or Independent to fill the vacancy would disenfranchise voters.

"Voters voted for a Republican and sit in that seat," he said.

DeWaele said he would double check with Bloom and other attorneys, which he did last week, e-mailing the members of the Town Council the findings.

"Several attorneys, including the former and current town attorneys, have opined that the applicable state statute 9-167a is `somewhat ambiguous' as to this issue. However, they all conclude that if measured by best practices, fundamental reasoning, and convention, Mr. O'Dea's seat should be filled by the same party through which the seat had been duly elected," DeWaele's e-mail read.

twoods@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4413; @Woods_NCNews