The Board of Education and City Council voted members into leadership positions in back-to-back organizational meetings on Monday night. The start of the new term led to changes in the board while the council remained largely the same.
In the Board of Education, Rosemary Russo was replaced as chairman by newly elected member Cebi Waterfield. Waterfield has previously served on the board for six years.
The board voted 6-3 in support of picking Waterfield as chairman. The three votes for Russo were cast by Russo herself, Robert Guthrie and Jim Morrissey. Morrissey took umbrage to the change in leadership.
“Why try to fix something that definitely isn’t broken?” asked Morrissey, who added that Russo was an effective chairperson during her tenure in the role. He said that while he and Russo disagreed on a number of issues, she had always done a good job at leading the body. He said Assistant Superintendent Anne Druzolowski had told him that the board, under Russo, was the best she had ever worked with.
The votes for vice-chairman and secretary treasurer fell along the exact same lines. Rosa Richardson was voted in as the former while Patricia Libero was picked for the latter. The newly minted Waterfield thanked Russo and Guthrie, the former vicechair, for their leadership in the last term. She said she hoped they would be of assistance as she took on the new role.
“Lastly, I am really looking forward to the next two years of working together with all of you to utilize everyone’s talents in a collaborative effort for all the students and staff and taxpayers of the city of West Haven,” Waterfield said.
On the City Council side, Ron Quagliani was unanimously voted to remain in the position of chairman. Robin Hamilton was chosen to retain her position as majority leader while Republicans Barry Lee Cohen and Colleen O’Connor will split the duties of minority leader.
Quagliani said that over the next week he would work with the council to pick chairmen for each committee. He said there are 13 committees on the council and every member would chair one. Quagliani noted that the council will most likely be forming a committee on charter revision to see through the process started in the last term. He also said the committees on recycling and the environment may be rolled into one committee on sustainability.
Quagliani said he was happy to get started with the new council. He said the fact that eight of the members of the council are newly elected was exciting.
“It brings fresh ideas, a fresh perspective, advocacy,” said Quagliani. “I’m really excited to see what lies ahead in this term.”