New Montville Town Council member resigns due to DoD directive

Montville — The town's newest Town Council member has resigned before he was able to attend a meeting.

Ryan Hartman, who announced his plans to run for the Town Council in July, was soon after nominated to fill a seat left empty when Democratic Town Council member Laura Tanner resigned her seat three months before the end of her term.

Hartman, an active-duty senior chief in the U.S. Navy and the former chairman of the town's Parks and Recreation Commission, planned to serve the remaining three months of Tanner's term before running for office himself.

But on Wednesday he checked with a military lawyer at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base, and was told a longstanding Department of Defense directive prevents active-duty military personnel from campaigning for political office.

"I had no idea," Hartman said.

He will not be able to run for office until next year, when he plans to officially retire, he said.

Though the directive doesn't necessarily prohibit him from serving the rest of Tanner's term — he was nominated for that position by the Democratic Town Council, not elected — he decided to resign, just in case.

He was scheduled to sit on the council for his first meeting on Monday.

"I wanted to protect both myself and the town," Hartman said.

The Democratic Town Committee met Wednesday night and nominated Denise Gladue, a member of the Montville Zoning Board of Appeals, to fill the rest of the open term on the Town Council, committee Chairman Joseph Jaskiewicz said.

Jaskiewicz said he didn't know about the Defense Department directive.

"I feel terrible," Jaskiewicz said.

Gladue plans to run for a full two-year term on the council in November, after she serves the remaining two months of Hartman's term.

Hartman said he hasn't given up on politics.

"I will be on the Town Council eventually," he said. "When it's legal and it's not against any directives, eventually I will get elected so I can help the town," he said.

m.shanahan@theday.com

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