Published July 11. 2013 7:00PM Updated July 12. 2013 12:51AM
Stonington — Standing just 20 feet from Democratic First Selectman Ed Haberek’s office late Thursday afternoon, two-term Republican Selectwoman Glee McAnanly announced that she will challenge Haberek for the first selectman’s job this fall.
If she wins, she will become the town’s first female first selectman.
“As I look to the future of the town I believe we can do better,” she told a group of 50 supporters as she stood on the steps of Town Hall.
A former regional director for Servicemaster, she said serving the past four years on the Board of Selectmen has given her a solid understanding of the issues facing the town.
“I have the skill set, experience and desire to be the leader of this town,” she said.
McAnanly, who lives on High Ridge Drive with her husband and two sons, said she would develop a comprehensive plan for the town’s future and display a collaborative working style with town employees and the volunteers who serve on boards and commissions. She said she would also work to mentor younger residents and encourage them to serve on boards and commissions.
She said she has been contemplating running for the job for a long time and made her decision in April after talking to Republican Town Committee Chairman Dudley Wheeler.
Former Congressman Rob Simmons introduced McAnanly after saying Haberek has fallen short on his promises, including bringing “smart growth economic development” to town. Meanwhile, he said, Yardney Technical Products recently moved 150 high paying, highly skilled jobs from Pawcatuck to Rhode Island.
Simmons also referred to the lawsuit that Tracy Swain of Pawcatuck has filed against Haberek and the town over her allegation that in 2010 he sent her graphic photos of himself from his Town Hall office using his town-issued Blackberry.
“Efforts by the town to distance itself from this lawsuit have failed in court, and the town’s insurance carrier is currently covering the costs of his defense. This is embarrassing and shows a lack of character,” Simmons said.
Simmons also charged that Haberek has interfered with the duties of town employees and police, citing an incident this spring when he showed up when a wetlands enforcement officer and police officer were serving a violation notice to a man who had called Haberek to intervene.
McAnanly said she will campaign door to door and is looking forward to debating Haberek this fall. She said she will not be talking about the Swain lawsuit or Haberek’s relationship with town employees and boards and commissions during the campaign.
“That’s not my style,” she said. “I think I can address the issues. I don’t need to do that.”
Haberek announced via Facebook and Twitter last week that he was seeking his fourth term. He defeated Bill Brown in 2007, then easily won his next two re-election bids.
In recent years, Haberek has been praised for his handling of storms and floods and keeping the tax rate low.