NORWALK, Conn. City Clerk Erin Halsey has been working without an assistant since mid-October, when Karin Beggan resigned in advance of the city election.
The assistant is nominated by the Common Council's majority party in December, and the vote is traditionally a unanimous show of bipartisanship, according to Mayor Richard Moccia. But December's council meeting ended without a vote on the matter . The majority Democrats presented two nominees, which Moccia doesn't remember ever happening before. Republicans objected, saying if they had to decide between two candidates, they wanted résumés.
Anna Duleep, council majority leader, said Thursday that she thinks Republicans might present their own candidate at Tuesday night's meeting. "They have seven members, so it is certainly a possibility," she said. "Whether they decide to or not ... I have good reason to believe that they may be looking at other candidates."
"Absolutely not," Moccia said Friday. "We have no candidate in mind. If one of my councilmen does, they haven't told me about it. I just talked to Doug Hempstead, he's the minority leader. He said, 'Nobody.' We will respect the tradition."
Duleep has volunteered to help Halsey and requested her input on the announced candidates, Erik Anderson and Tammy Grimes-McPherson, as additional information for the council.
Halsey refused to offer any opinions on the candidates, saying it is a political matter. The offer of help was also declined.
Moccia said an elected official can't volunteer to work in the mayor's office and there are labor rules. "It's not like volunteering to work on the mayor's ball," he said.
Both the city clerk and assistant city clerk answer to the mayor, he said, so Duleep should have spoken to him. "Council people are legislative, not administrative," he said.
Duleep said she thinks it's been a tradition for the minority party to abstain. Moccia said traditionally the minority party votes with the majority on the matter, although there may have been councilmembers who have abstained out of disrespect for a particular candidate.
When Beggan was nominated by Republicans two years ago, the Democrats voted for her, and when Democrats nominated Darlene Young four years ago, the Republicans voted for her.
Duleep hopes Republicans vote for Anderson, the choice of the majority of Democrats.
"We never got to the vote part, so they still have the opportunity to either vote for the same person that our caucus chose or to abstain to show their respect for our will," she said. "That's what I would hope would happen."
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