Milford Democrats nominate police commission chair to fill mayor vacancy

MILFORD — City Democrats have named Police Commission Chair Richard Smith to fill the soon-to-be-vacated mayor's seat.

The Democratic Town Committee, at a special meeting March 9, voted to select Smith over fellow Democrat Kerri Rowland, who had also thrown her hat into the ring for the seat. Mayor Ben Blake announced in February he would be stepping down in June after 12 years to take a state position.

Attempts to reach Smith or Rowland for comment were unsuccessful. 

Gov. Ned Lamont nominated Blake to serve as administrative law judge for Connecticut's Workers' Compensation Commission. The legislature is expected to act upon the nomination before adjourning its session on June 7.

"The Milford Democrats stand united in their gratitude for Mayor Ben Blake's years of service, and we look forward to continuing to govern responsibly in the months and years to come," Justin Rosen, city chief of staff, said.

Rosen said during the meeting, both Smith and Rowland addressed the membership and answered questions.

"After the candidate presentations, the floor was open for nominations, and Rich Smith was declared the winner after a roll call vote," Rosen said.

According to the city charter, the Board of Aldermen will have a special meeting to appoint a mayor from the same party as the mayor who is stepping down. The appointed person will serve until the next city election.

"As with tradition, we expect both Republicans and Democrats to approve our party's choice to fill this vacancy," Rosen said.