Stonington administrative services director loses bid to become Essex first selectman

Stonington — The town will not have to hire a new administrative services director after Vincent Pacileo lost his bid to become first selectmen in Essex in Tuesday’s election.

Three-term Democratic incumbent Norman Needleman defeated Pacileo, a Republican, 1,509-772.

If he had won, Pacileo said he would have continued working in Stonington through February, giving the town time to begin looking for his replacement. He said that during that time, he would have worked in Stonington during the day and attended to his first selectman duties at night. After that, he would have been Essex’s full-time first selectman.

Pacileo has been the administrative services director here for the past five years. He took over in the position after longtime Administrative Services Director George Sylvestre retired.

On Wednesday afternoon, Pacileo reflected on his bid for first selectmen in the town where he has lived since 1986 and serves on the Board of Finance.

“It was a great experience. We knocked on 1,400 doors and got to meet a great number of people, the majority of who reacted positively to my message,” he said.

One of the things Pacileo told voters was that he would bring procedures that have worked in Stonington, such as developing a pavement management system to budget and plan for road repairs, bringing a health district on board to provide a wider array of services and reviewing and updating the town’s zoning regulations, to Essex. He said voters reacted positively to those ideas, which he said speaks well to the management of Stonington.

The lesson Pacileo said he has learned from the election is the adverse effect President Donald Trump has had on the fortune of Republican candidates in local elections.

“I thought the (Democratic) governor’s management of this state would have figured more. But, sadly, I was proven wrong,” he said, adding that some voters told him they would not vote for him because he is a Republican.

“I guess being a political consultant is not in my future,” Pacileo joked.

He said it was too early to say if he would run again for office in Essex but that he is happy working for the Town of Stonington.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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