MILFORD - The Planning and Zoning Board is comprised of 10 members, with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. So picking a chairman appeared to be a daunting task.

The five Democrats met privately and endorsed Susan Shaw, while all five Republicans caucused and backed Mark Bender.

When the board got together this past week, a deadlock was averted when Kevin Liddy, a Republican, voted for himself, which allowed Shaw to become chairman by a vote of 5 to 4 to 1.

Liddy, however, was unanimously selected vice chairman.

“I’m not sure why Kevin did what he did,” Bender said. “I have no idea what his plan was.”

Bender said he had no aspiration to be chairman, but was prepared to do what his party wanted. He declined to comment further on Liddy’s vote, but added he would “lose no sleep over” not becoming chairman. Bender said he remains focused on representing the interests of residents in the 4th District.

Liddy could not be reached for comment about his vote. He served as vice chairman in 2007.

Democrats led by Shaw and former PZB Vice Chairwoman Kim Rose praised Liddy, and said his selection as vice chairman shows the board is committed to working in a bipartisan manner.

“I’m happy that Kevin is vice chairman,” Shaw said. “It’s a bipartisan move. It’s always been a bipartisan board.”

Shaw said the board has never voted along party lines. Rose added that Liddy is “extremely well-qualified” and has 12 years of experience.

Shaw, who owns Collected Stories bookstore downtown, is entering her third year on the board.