CHESTER— Town Democrats are expected to nominate Edmund Meehan, a former member and chairman of the board of finance who works as town planner in Newington, for first selectman at the party caucus next week.
Peter Zanardi, chairman of the Chester Democratic Town Committee, said the committee has endorsed Meehan for the open first selectman seat, with incumbent Democratic Selectman Larry Sypher seeking a second term as his running-mate for board of selectmen. Zanardi said five people had expressed interest in the first selectman nomination, while adding that he does not expect Meehan to face a challenge for the nomination at the party caucus set for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.
Meehan is seeking the seat now held by First Selectman Tom Marsh, a Republican-turned-unaffiliated voter who has held the top job since 2005. Marsh is resigning effective August 1 to relocate and become town manager in Windsor, Vermont. Zanardi said he does not expect Meehan, who currently works full-time in Newington, to be in a position to accept the position of interim first selectman next month to complete the remainder of Marsh’s term that ends on Nov. 22.
Meehan, a long-time town resident, worked as a staffer for the Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency and the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, before taking the planner job in Newington. He has served previously as a member and chairman of the board of finance.
Town Republicans have not announced a prospective candidate for first selectman, or an interim replacement for Marsh. Mario Gioco, chairman of the Chester Republican Town committee, said the committee is seeking a candidate for first selectman, but “does not have a definite yes from anyone yet.” Incumbent Republican Selectman Tom Englert, who was elected with Marsh in 2009, is seeking a second term on the board of selectmen, but is not interested in running for the top spot. The Republican nominating caucus is set for Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.
The decision on appointment of an interim first selectman rests with Sypher and Englert, who cannot make the appointment until Marsh’s resignation is effective on Aug. 1. Under state law, if the two selectmen are unable to reach agreement on the interim appointment within 30 days, the appointment is made by a committee of Republican office holders because Marsh had been re-elected to his third term as a Republican in 2009. The GOP committee would be comprised of Englert and Marsh’s wife, Kathy, who serves as the town’s Republican registrar of voters. Gioco said town Republicans hope to announce a choice for the interim position before Marsh’s resignation is effective.