U.S. Senate confirms Ledyard council chairman for nuclear safety board

Ledyard — The chairman of the Town Council has accepted a seat on the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a position with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Sean Sullivan as a member of the board Thursday.

Sullivan is expected to begin his duties in Washington, D.C., shortly after Labor Day. Because he will need to relocate for the job, he will have to resign from his position on the Town Council later this month.

Sullivan said Thursday he was excited about his appointment but anxious about searching for a place to live.

"Because of the uncertainty surrounding the appointment and whether or not it would happen before the Senate recessed, I was completely unable, prior to (Friday) morning, to start the process of getting a place to live, telling my employer when I was going to leave. ... It's done and now we start from the beginning and see, how is my life going to play out from here," Sullivan said.

He said his wife Sharon plans to continue teaching at Ledyard Center School and he will return to Ledyard on the weekends.

Sullivan served for more than two decades in the Navy and was commander of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton from 2004 to 2006. A Republican, Sullivan ran for Congress in 2008 but lost to incumbent Democrat Joe Courtney. In 2010, he lost a state race for the 19th Senate District to incumbent Edith Prague.

Sullivan was appointed Town Council chairman in December.

According to the DNFSB website, the organization provides recommendations and advice to the president and the energy secretary regarding public health and safety issues at Department of Energy defense nuclear facilities.

Sullivan will fill the three remaining years of a five-year vacancy left on the five-person board by a member's resignation. His term will end on Oct. 19, 2015. He can be reappointed, but he would again have to be confirmed by the Senate.

His nomination for the board was sent to the Senate by President Barack Obama on April 26.

Ledyard Mayor John Rodolico said he was proud of Sullivan's appointment.

"Sean has a tremendous background, and we've been privileged to have his knowledge and background for the year he's been on the council," Rodolico said. "He's been a tremendous help. You can deal with someone as a chairman or someone on the council, but when you have someone who can give you good common sense advice, that's very helpful."

j.hanckel@theday.com

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