At the December 6, 2023, Board of Selectman (BOS) meeting, a significant change in the Library Commission’s make-up was made. Most candidates seeking reappointment were denied and a new board of commissioners was appointed. This comes on the heels of commission changes from two years ago, January 2022, where similar actions were taken. The result is a board comprised of mostly new members, with only three longstanding members remaining on the twelve-person board.
In previous years, when Library Commission members’ terms were up and they wished to continue to serve, the BOS routinely re-appointed those members. At the January 5, 2022, BOS meeting when terms of six Commission members were up for renewal, five had expressed interest in remaining on the Commission. In an infrequent practice, the BOS asked for resumes from all interested candidates including the members who wished to be re-appointed. There was discussion on both sides regarding opportunities for new volunteers to become involved as well as whether the appointments were political in nature. The conclusion was that three new members were appointed, and three of the five candidates seeking reappointment were reappointed.
At the December 6, 2023 meeting, five of six Commission members sought reappointment, Bob White, Becky Fuller, Eliza Childs, Sam Coatti and Michael Alexopoulos (Chair Austin Roberts, decided to step off the Commission). Existing members and new candidates were asked to submit resumes and interview with the First Selectman before this BOS meeting. A lengthy discussion about re-appointments was held. Much of the discussion (go to suffieldct.gov – Agenda, Minutes and Recordings for more complete information) centered around the change in the methods of choosing the candidates, whether it was a political move or not and whether a change in membership was needed. At the end of several heated exchanges, Selectman Mahoney made a motion to appoint Republicans Klaire Bielonko, Denise Boutin , Nina Kendrick, Cameron Lisk and Les Webb to the Library Commission and re-appoint Michael Alexopoulos (U). Three votes supporting this motion were made along party lines. A second motion was made by Selectman Chafetz to appoint Jim Irwin (D) to fill the two-year term of Joe Grimard. This motion was passed by a 3-2 vote.