Montville school board member’s widow fills his vacancy

Montville — The wife of a Board of Education member who died in October will fill his seat for the remainder of his term, while another seat on the nine-person board is empty because of a resignation.

Monica Pomazon, whose husband, Todd, died in October after a pulmonary embolism, will sit on the school board until his term expires in November of this year.

“She’s going to be a great addition,” school board Chairman Robert Mitchell said. Pomazon, who attended her first school board meeting as a member on Dec. 20, will be able to run for another term on the board if she wants in the November 2017 town elections, he said.

Another seat is now vacant on the board after Kim Navetta, a seven-year member, announced she is moving out of Connecticut for a job opportunity.

“We’re going to miss her counsel so much,” Mitchell said. “She was quick on the uptake, smart and had a lot of common sense. Everyone is going to miss Kim a lot.”

Navetta, who served as one of five Republican members on the board, resigned effective Dec. 31 and attended her last school board meeting on Dec. 20. Republican Town Committee Chairman Thomas McNally said he asked members of the town committee via email for volunteers for nominations to the seat, and received no responses after nearly a month.

At a December Republican Town Committee meeting, McNally volunteered for the seat and the present members of the committee, which has about 25 total members, agreed to nominate him.

McNally previously served on the school board for eight years until he resigned to run for the Town Council.

But the Town Council, which has the final word on mid-term appointments, voted against McNally 5-2 at its meeting Monday.

Town Council Chairman Joseph Jaskiewicz, a Democrat, said he voted against McNally’s appointment to the board because he knew of another person who had expressed interest. And, Jaskiewicz said, during McNally’s previous term on the board he did not successfully lobby to keep the town’s education budget down.

“The budget didn’t change, the budget kept going up,” he said.

McNally, who said he "loved" his time on the school board and worked well with the other members, said the 5-2 vote was not based on his qualifications but rather his personal history in town politics.

McNally has sued the town twice, once in 2007 when he was removed as an assistant fire chief at the Chesterfield Fire Company amid accusations that he served alcohol to minors at a fire department banquet, and again in 2012 after he was fired from a position at the town Water Pollution Control Authority for what he called political reasons.

All criminal charges against McNally were dropped in the fire department case, and the town settled the Water Pollution Control Authority suit, agreeing to pay McNally $135,000 in 2013.

McNally also has served on the Town Council and ran a campaign against Mayor Ronald McDaniel in 2015. He also has served on the RTM, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Public Safety Commission and was confirmed by the Town Council in December to fill a seat.

Other members of the Town Council who voted against McNally’s appointment also said they thought there are other, more qualified candidates and that McNally did not have a record of taking a cost-cutting stance on the education budget when he was on the school board.

Regardless of party, Democratic Town Council member Tim May said, members of the school board have not pushed hard enough for cuts to education spending.

“We need someone on the Board of Education that’s going to challenge that budget,” May said.

McNally said he will seek the Republican Town Committee’s nomination for the seat again, possibly putting the Town Council in a position of voting on his appointment.

m.shanahan@theday.com

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