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Norwalk's Dems Disagree on Clerk Nominee

NORWALK, Conn. – After a month of deliberation, Norwalk's Democrats have been unable to reach a consensus on naming a new assistant city clerk.

Democrats, who regained the majority on the Common Council in November's election, presented two nominees at Tuesday night's council meeting – a move that may be unprecedented.

"Normally the majority party picks a person, and out of courtesy everybody votes [for that person]," Mayor Richard Moccia said prior to Tuesday's meeting. "It's always been a courtesy vote."

The mayor nominates the city clerk – now Erin Halsey – and the majority party nominates the assistant, according to the city charter. Common Council President Carvin Hilliard, a Democrat, nominated Tammy McPherson, a South Norwalk resident. Anna Duleep, majority leader, nominated Erik Anderson, saying that not only is he very qualified but that as an openly gay man he will serve as a role model for area youth. Bruce Kimmel said he would vote for Anderson because he is smart and the work would be done efficiently and competently. "Erik in that office will be a big plus for all of us in this room," Kimmel said.

Asking Republicans to vote for either candidate without seeing their résumés was a "little bit of a difficult situation," said Republican Doug Hempstead, adding that the request was not in keeping with the "spirit of communication" that was being established.

Earlier in the meeting council members discussed a request from Democrats for more time to review the résumés of appointees.

Democrats asked for a four-minute recess to discuss the situation, but after their caucus the matter was unresolved. The council voted unanimously to table the assistant city clerk appointment until the next meeting, scheduled for Jan.

"I would hope that council people will understand that when requesting information from the city clerk's office we only have one clerk there and it's a little understandable if she doesn't answer you right away," Moccia said. "I'm not criticizing, you understand, but hopefully you'll understand that it may take a little longer for her to get back to you."

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