BEACON FALLS — Even though First Selectman-elect Gerard Smith has served the town for more than two decades, he doesn’t call himself a politician.
Smith said Friday he’s just a normal business guy, with no agenda other than to do what is best for Beacon Falls.
“I’m not seeking to make a total career out of it,” Smith said. “I just see there are things where we could have just a little bit more communication.”
Smith, 50, defeated longtime Democratic incumbent Susan Cable in the Nov. 8 election, 1,024-927. His running mate, David D’Amico, garnered 990 votes for selectman. Cable’s running mate, Christopher Bielik, will serve as minority selectman, receiving 961 votes.
The last Republican to hold the seat was former First Selectman Richard Mihalcik, who served from 2001-03.
Cable served in the post from 1997-2001, losing to Mihalcik for a single term. She then served as the minority selectman, and also served as selectman from 1991-95. She returned to the top post in 2003, which she held until now.
Smith, who has served as the minority selectman from 2005-07, said Cable has been eager to aid in a smooth transition from her administration to his administration.
He said his transition team will include the existing Board of Selectmen consisting of Cable, Dominick Sorrentino, a Democrat, and Michael Krenesky, a Republican who was elected as treasurer; the incoming selectmen-elect; former First Selectman Leonard D’Amico, David’s father; and Leonard Greene Sr., a former state representative.
Smith said nothing will change overnight except the names on the titles. Contrary to what people believe, or have been told, he has no intention of making drastic cuts to departments, he said.
Terms will start Nov. 21. He said he plans to have a swearing-in ceremony at 7 p.m. that evening at Town Hall, and he wants all elected to attend. The only offices that begin in January are the tax collector and the Region 16 Board of Education.
Smith has served the town in elected and appointed positions since 1988.
He most recently served on the Board of Finance before he resigned as its chairman earlier this year due to work obligations. He served on the Planning and Zoning Commission, which is by appointment, from 1988-98, with eight of those years as chairman.
Smith, who is a commercial real estate broker, said he is responsible for budgets at his job. He understands that there needs to be money to run a town, but a town can’t spend what it doesn’t have.
He promised to lead a transparent administration.
“Every time I have a meeting, I am going to invite both selectmen to sit in on a meeting so they can hear for themselves what the concern is, what the need is, what the want is,” Smith said. “And if they can’t make it I understand. I will share that information with them.”
Smith said once he takes office, he also wants to sit down with all department heads and then the entire departments, along with the selectmen, to familiarize himself again with how everything works, and find out what the most pressing needs are to develop a plan to move forward with those particular departments.