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Friday, January 11, 2008

Candido contest

By James Tinley
Register Staff
MILFORD — Tony Candido may have lost his seat on the Board of Police Commissioners, but he said he’ll be at the next meeting to speak his mind about his ouster.
After serving for six years as a police commissioner, his reappointment was shot down by Democratic aldermen in a 9-6 party line vote Monday night. Candido, a registered Democrat although not on the Democratic Town Committee, was the only one of Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr.’s appointees to various boards and commissions who failed to be confirmed at the Board of Aldermen meeting.
Republicans said the vote amounted to political retribution for Candido’s support of his wife Diane Candido’s unsuccessful GOP campaign for a seat on the Board of Aldermen. But Democrats maintain they had the right to pick whom they thought was the best fit for police commissioner, and Candido wasn’t it.
"He’s not reflective of what the Democratic Party is now," said Alderwoman Barbara Lambert, D-2.
But Richetelli said the move amounted to "political retribution." He said it’s unfortunate that the Democrats "turned down a good man" in rejecting Candido’s nomination.
Several residents and Republican aldermen spoke on Candido’s behalf Monday night. Residents speaking included 15-year-old Austin Wheaton, who knew Candido as the chairman of the Mayor’s Commission of People with Disabilities.
"(Candido) … doesn’t ask if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, he just helps you," Wheaton said.
Lambert dismissed the Candido supporters as being all Republicans going to bat for their pick. "I can’t recall one person who was a Democrat that spoke in favor (of Candido)," Lambert said. "He may have had a better shot if he came in as a Republican."
No Democrats on the Board of Alderman explained why they voted to reject his appointment at Monday’s meeting. "Their silence was very telling," Richetelli said.
The mayor said he will make another selection next month. He noted that he put through many Democratic appointments, including several people who campaigned against him in the last election. Among them was his mayoral challenger, Kerri Rowland, who was appointed to a seat on the Park, Beach and Recreation Commission.
Aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5, said his goal was to "strike a balance and our votes reflected what we were looking for."
Blake said he and the mayor "came together in a bipartisan spirit and agreed to a quality list, and for the most part, we agreed."
Candido said he was qualified to be a commissioner as the chief judicial marshal in the Waterbury area. The rejection was not based on the job he did as a commissioner, he said. "I’m a ‘D’ but the ‘D’ in front of my name also stands for decency," he said.
James Tinley can be reached at, or 876-3030.