Suit clouds race

Stonington Selectwoman Glee McAnanly says that in her effort to unseat incumbent First Selectman Ed Haberek she won't be talking about the allegations that Mr. Haberek used a town-issued Blackberry in 2010 to send graphic personal photos to a woman. The allegations have the town embroiled in a lawsuit filed by the woman, Tracy Swain of Pawcatuck, who names both the town and first selectman as defendants. She claims the images caused her great emotional harm. Mr. Haberek contends he never sent any photos.

When the Republican challenger was asked whether the lawsuit involving the Democratic incumbent would be part of her campaign, Ms. McAnanly replied, "That's not my style."

Well, we hope not.

But comments from former Congressman Rob Simmons, when introducing Ms. McAnanly as the candidate last week, suggest that while she may not broach the subject, her surrogates might.

"This is embarrassing and shows a lack of character," said Mr. Simmons about the tawdry allegations.

The thing is, what more can be said? Either Ms. Swain will be able to prove her claims or she won't. If she does, it will raise very serious questions about Mr. Haberek's character, honesty and judgment. Until then voters are left with her contentions and his denials. It certainly appears someone is lying.

In the meantime, there are many other topics voters would rather hear about, including economic development, ideas for managing town government and approaches to fiscal policy, to name a few.

By all appearances, Mr. Haberek remains a popular first selectman, twice winning re-election handily after initially entering office in 2007. He makes good use of social networking to communicate directly with townspeople, has prudently managed the budget and was very proactive in dealing with the natural disasters that confronted the town during his time in office.

On the other hand, his administration has not had a good record complying with Freedom of Information laws. Mr. Haberek has at times arguably overstepped his authority by interjecting himself into matters best handled by town employees or its regulatory commissions. His vigorous efforts to attract business development have produced less than dynamic results.

While waiting for the lawsuit to resolve, there is plenty to talk about in this election.

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