NAUGATUCK — After a two-month vacancy, the borough has a new burgess.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses appointed Republican Ed Fennell, 48, as burgess during a special meeting Tuesday night. Fennell, who is running for burgess in November, fills the seat left vacant when former Burgess Ron San Angelo accepted the position of town administrator for Hanson, Mass. in July.
“I think he will be a great replacement for Burgess San Angelo,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said.
Fennell would have been nominated during last month’s board meeting since he had his party’s recommendation. However, the board was concerned that language in the charter would prevent Fennell from taking San Angelo’s seat. According to the charter someone who fills a vacancy on the board has to come from the same ward, or voting district, as the burgess he or she is replacing.
Some of the members of the board raised concerns at that time about Fennell having to come from the same ward as San Angelo since burgesses are elected at large.
“It seems like an archaic provision, but it is a provision we’ve had since the ‘50s,” Mezzo said last month.
However, after discussing the issue with borough attorney Ned Fitzpatrick, the board decided that Fennell could take San Angelo’s vacant seat.
“The borough attorney said the charter can be interpreted literally and also as a living document,” Mezzo said.
Mezzo pointed out that the borough has appointed replacements from outside wards in the past.
Fennell is a sales manager for Perkins, a food service company based in Massachusetts, and is Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 138.
Fennell said after he was nominated to run for burgess he was also asked whether he’d be interested in filling San Angelo’s seat. He hopes to gain a better understanding of the board heading into the election while finishing San Angelo’s term.
“I hope to be able to understand how the board works so, if I am elected, I will be able to quickly become a contributor to the board,” Fennell said.