Stonington's administrative services director running for Essex first selectman

Stonington — The election of a first selectmen in Essex on Nov. 7 will determine if the town has to hire a new administrative services director.

That’s because current Administrative Services Director Vincent Pacileo is running as the Republican candidate for first selectman in Essex against three-term Democratic incumbent Norman Needleman.

Pacileo, who has served on the Essex Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance, 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.

“I enjoy my work here. I enjoy the people here,” Pacileo said. “I’m running because it’s something I want to do in Essex, not because it’s time to leave Stonington.”

He added that the time is right for him to run for first selectman.

If he wins, Pacileo said he would continue working in Stonington through February. This would allow him to qualify for a town pension. He said that during that time, he would work in Stonington during the day and attend to his first selectman duties at night. After that, he would be Essex’s full-time first selectman.

That three- to four-month period also would give the town time to find his replacement. First Selectman Rob Simmons said that if Pacileo wins, the town would look to hire an interim director and then begin a regionwide search for his permanent replacement.

“I’m sure there are a lot of qualified candidates out there who would be interested in case there is a vacancy,” he said.

The administrative services director handles human resources issues, such as personnel, benefits and labor relations.

Pacileo said he feels his background and experience in Stonington, as well as working under three first selectmen, has prepared him for the job in Essex, a Connecticut River town with about one-third the population of Stonington.

Pacileo, who has lived in Essex since 1986, said that if elected, he would bring ideas that work from Stonington to Essex. These include 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. He said he also would work more closely with Essex’s representatives in the General Assembly.

Pacileo said he has knocked on 1,200 doors since beginning his campaign after Labor Day.

“I’m confident I can do the job. I’m confident I can do it well. It’s all about getting the opportunity. I just need people to agree with me and vote for me,” he said.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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