December 12, 2019

Chester Selectmen Defer Appointment to Fill Region 4 School Board Vacancy

CHESTER— The board of selectmen has decided to defer the appointment to fill a two-year vacancy on the Region 4 Board of Education until after a new board of selectmen is elected in the Nov. 8 municipal election.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Interim First Selectman Tom Englert presented Mario Gioco as the Chester Republican Town Committee’s recommendation to fill the school board vacancy created by the Oct. 4 resignation of member Richard Strauss. Though Strauss, the board’s treasurer and a member since 2006, is a Republican, the vacancy term ending in November 2013 does not have to be filled by a registered Republican.

Gioco, a certified public accountant, is the chairman of the Chester Republican Town Committee. He is also the chairman and a longtime member of the zoning board of appeals. Gioco’s grown children previously graduated from Mercy.

Democratic Selectman Peter Zanardi, himself filling a vacancy term ending in November, said he has no objections to Gioco as a prospective member of the regional school board, but believes the appointment should be made by the board of selectmen that is elected on Nov. 8. “With the election this close, the new board should own the appointment to this position,” he said.

Democratic Selectman Lawrence Sypher said he agreed with Zanardi, and Englert, a Republican, did not object to deferring the appointment.

The makeup of the board of selectmen is expected to change next month, regardless of the outcome of the Nov. 8 vote. Englert, who became interim first selectman in August after the departure of former first selectman Tom Marsh, is seeking a second term on the board of selectmen, but not running for the top spot.

Edmund Meehan is the Democratic nominee for first selectman, with Sypher seeking a second term as his running-mate. Meehan and Sypher are challenged by two candidates running on the Chester Common Ground Party ballot line, Andrew Landsman for first selectman and Glen Reyer as the running-mate for board of selectmen. The top three vote-getters on Nov. 8 will comprise the board of selectmen through November 2013.