New London council ponders replacement for Nolan

New London — With City Councilor Anthony Nolan headed to Hartford, the City Council is prepared to vote as early as Monday on his replacement.

Nolan secured 51 percent of the votes Tuesday in a four-way race to fill the vacant 39th District state House seat. His impending resignation from the council has set into motion a search for a qualified candidate willing to serve an eight-month period that includes a stretch of time-consuming budget deliberations.

Nolan had not submitted his resignation date as of Wednesday, and the City Charter gives the council 30 days to vote on a replacement, who can be of any political affiliation. Council President Don Venditto said he has no intention of presiding over a council with just six members. Monday’s council agenda contains a measure for a vote on a replacement.

“The intention of the odd-numbered, seven-person council is to avoid tie votes and I want to make sure we are handling the business of the people of New London in a way that is conducive to actually passing or denying proposed legislation by voting with a full contingent of councilors,” Venditto said.

He said several people have expressed interest in filling the vacancy but declined to provide names.

Six members of the seven-member council are Democrats, and they planned at least one caucus before Monday’s council meeting to consider replacements. Venditto said the lone Republican, Martin Olsen, will not attend caucuses but will be apprised of discussions and invited to share his opinions.

One of the factors in finding a candidate, other than willingness to volunteer, is availability, Venditto said. Budget deliberations require commitment and attendance at three or more meetings in a week.

If the council does not approve a replacement within 30 days, then by charter, “the next highest (vote-getter) among those unsuccessful candidates running for the office that has been vacated shall be deemed to be appointed to fill the vacancy regardless of party affiliation.”

Democratic town Committee Chairwoman Martha Marx, edged out on her council re-election bid in 2016, was the next highest vote-getter in the last election.

Marx said she would not be among those immediately seeking the council seat but would fill the role if no one else could be found.

“I loved serving on the council and it’s the budget season — I know the budget. I’m very busy being (Democratic Town Committee) chair but I would absolutely serve if they don’t find a replacement. But I think we have a lot of worthy Democrats that would,” Marx said.

Nolan could not be reached for comment. A spokeswoman with the Secretary of the State’s Office said a date for a swearing-in of new legislators has not been scheduled.

g.smith@theday.com

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