Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Smith will fill Anthony Candido’s spot on the Police Commission, against the wishes of some local Republicans.
Candido resigned recently because of an ongoing investigation into his conduct as a judicial marshal for the Waterbury district.
Smith said the mayor asked him to fill the seat, and he accepted because he believes he can do a good job.
Smith and other Democrats had protested Candido’s appointment several years ago. Even though Candido is a Democrat, he had supported Republicans in prior elections, and the Democrats therefore wanted a different Democrat to fill the police commission seat.
The Republicans in power at the time, however, overrode the town committee’s wishes and appointed Candido.
While the Democrats on the Milford Board of Aldermen last week supported Mayor Ben Blake’s recommendation that Smith be named to fill Candido’s term, Republicans, including Republican Town Committee chairman Lisa Bull DiLullo, objected.
DiLullo objected because, she said, Smith is head of the town committee, and because she doesn’t think he has any special qualifications to be on the police board.
“The only item listed under civic activities, professional organizations or government activity is that he was a former member of the Milford Conservation Commission,” DiLullo said, referring to Smith’s résumé.
She also asked why Smith’s résumé doesn’t include the fact that he is the town committee chairman.
“I submit that acting as chairman of a major political party — and then not disclosing it on the only public document that supports an appointment — does not qualify one for police commission service,” DiLullo said.
She said a police commissioner needs to be nonpartisan, not an “entrenched political leader.”
Smith dismissed DiLullo’s comments as politically motivated and aimed at finding fault with the Democrats.
He said he has a background in criminal investigations, and has done forensic investigations for AT&T, where he works.
“The police commission is not a partisan commission,” Smith said, adding that Democrats and Republicans who have been town chairman and district chairman have and do serve on local boards and commissions.
“We trust that people have a role and responsibility with their party and can still do a good job on a commission,” Smith said.