New GOP-controlled City Council, school board, treasurer take office in Norwich
Norwich — Standing ovations greeted the newly sworn-in Norwich City Council, Board of Education and new treasurer Tuesday, formalizing the historic results of the Nov. 3 election that brought all three elected agencies and offices under Republican control for the first time in decades.
Democratic Mayor Deberey Hinchey, in the middle of her four-year term, introduced all six aldermen — returning Republican William Nash, former Democratic Alderman H. Tucker Braddock, Republican former Mayor and Alderman Peter Nystrom and newcomer Republicans Joanne Philbrick, Stacy Gould and Gerald Martin.
Hinchey brought a change to the traditional swearing-in ceremony by inviting the Board of Education and new treasurer Michael Gualtieri to participate in the formal affair. Superintendent Abby Dolliver introduced all nine school board members — five Republicans Aaron Daniels, Dennis Slopak, Angelo Yeitz, Susan Thomas and Margaret Becotte, and Democrats Yvette Jacaruso, Robert Aldi, Joyce Werden and Kenneth Saythany. Becotte, Thomas and Saythany are new to the board.
Dolliver thanked Hinchey for combining the swearing-in ceremonies, symbolizing that the two elected agencies have the same task of commitment to improving the city in education as well as economic development and city functions.
“Consider yourselves to be partners, consider all of us as partners on the road ahead,” Dolliver said.
Action taken during the organizational council meeting that followed the applause, standing ovations and a few jokes was done swiftly and unanimously.
Nystrom was elected unanimously as council president pro tempore, but that vote proved anti-climatic, as Nystrom's brass name tag already bore the title.
After the meeting, Nystrom said Republicans “had a caucus of sorts” and agreed that he would be nominated as president pro tem.
Braddock, Gould and Philbrick were named to the Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee, while Nash, Martin and Braddock were appointed to the Public Safety Committee, the only two council standing committees.
Formal business concluded with comments by all elected officials, each one vowing to work with the others for the betterment of the city, including the Republican election pledge to lower city property taxes.
“Who would have thought I would be sitting here,” longtime city gadfly Philbrick said to a rousing applause. “I sat in that audience for 11 years. I have complained and I have criticized.”
She then invited others in the packed house of Council Chambers to follow her footsteps, bringing their complaints, concerns or even praise to the new council.
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