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Stonington - Democrat Town Committee Chairman Ray Trebisacci said Monday the Democrat-controlled Board of Selectmen should go ahead and appoint former Republican Congressman Rob Simmons to replace Glee McAnanly on the board.
Meanwhile, Democratic Selectman George Crouse said Monday that while he respects Simmons and has worked well with him in the past, he could not say if he would vote to appoint him until he talks to Democratic First Selectman Ed Haberek and the town committee.
Haberek, who was criticized by Simmons in the months leading up to his narrow 2013 re-election victory, did not respond to a email seeking comment Monday about whether he would vote to appoint Simmons.
Last week, the Republican Town Committee recommended that Simmons replace McAnanly when she resigns on Sept. 15. McAnanly is stepping down because she is taking a job in Memphis, Tenn. Haberek and Crouse have 30 days from Sept. 15 to name a Republican replacement to serve out the remainder of McAnanly's term which ends in November 2015.
If they fail to do so, state law stipulates that elected Republicans in town government who are not on panels with staggered terms then have 60 days to fill the post.
Because of this stipulation, Trebisacci said it appears to be a "foregone conclusion" that Simmons would eventually be appointed to the board.
"So why put up a fight?" he said, adding he has no problem with Simmons being appointed to the board.
"He's certainly qualified. Maybe overqualified," said Trebisacci.
Crouse said that when he and Simmons served together on the town's Board of Police Commissioners they were able to work together to solve a number of problems.
"I have no problem with Rob Simmons," he said. "I've always considered him a person I can talk to and get along with."
In 2004 when Republican First Selectmen Peter Dibble resigned after being arrested for inappropriate conduct with a underage girl, Republican Selectmen Bill Brown and Democrat Peter Balestracci could not agree on a Republican replacement. The town's elected Republicans then appointed Stephen Bessette.
Simmons has also indicated he is considering running for first selectman when Haberek's term ends in November 2015.