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Friday, January 18, 2008

Candido bids farewell to Milford police board

By James Tinley
Register Staff
— Anthony Candido fought back tears as he addressed the Board of Police Commissioners this week from the unfamiliar position of being on the outside looking in for the first time in six years.
Candido, who was ousted from his post as police commissioner after his mayoral appointment was rejected by the Board of Aldermen earlier this month, had nothing but kind words for Police Chief Keith Mello and the other commissioners.
"I’m here tonight to thank each and every one of you," he said at the beginning of the meeting. As a commissioner, Candido helped to select Mello as chief, and he lauded Mello and his officers for their work in the city.
"You’ll always be our commissioner, Tony," Commissioner Carol Faruolo responded. "You are going to be very, very missed."The former commissioner of six-years also had to take an uncomfortable seat away from the table while the board leadership was selected
The Rev. L. Kenneth Fellenbaum was unanimously re-elected as the board’s chairman. He has been chairman for four years and has been a commissioner for 15 years.
The Rev. Carleton Giles will also stay on as the vice chairman after a unanimous vote in his favor.
Candido’s rejection leaves an open seat on the board, which will likely be filled after February’s Board of Aldermen meeting. Who will fill that seat, however, is unknown. Aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5, said the Democratic Town Committee offered the names of several qualified candidates, but he declined to reveal them. Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. said Thursday that he’ll consider Democrats’ recommendation, and if he feels the person is qualified, he will likely appoint that person.
Republicans have called the partyline vote by Democratic aldermen to reject Candido, who is also a Democrat, political retribution. Candido helped his Republican wife, Diane, in her unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the Board of Aldermen. Candido has also openly campaigned against Democratic mayoral and state Senate candidates in the past.
Fellenbaum was adamant that despite political controversy that can sometimes surround who gets selected as a commissioner, everyone on the board checks the party affiliation at the door.
"We are all political appointees, but politics never involves anything around the public safety of this city," Fellenbaum said.
Likewise, Mello said he works with the commissioners, but does not get involved in the selection process and tries to stay above the fray in political matters.
"It’s important to let everyone know I run the Police Department and don’t involve myself in the political process," said Mello. "While Tony Candido was an excellent commissioner and will be missed, I look forward to working with whoever will be the next commissioner."