Dziekan wins in close race in Derby
DERBY — Mayor Richard Dziekan appeared to stave off a spirited challenge from Brian Coppolo, a Bridgeport firefighter, to gain re-election to a second two-year term.
Unofficial results gave Dziekan the edge over Coppolo. Counting absentee ballots, Dziekan won a second term 1,446 to 1,408.
“The closeness of this race shows every vote counts,” Dziekan said. “I can’t emphasize how important it is to get out and vote.”
Dziekan, a retired Hamden police officer, forged a coalition of Republicans, dissatisfied Democrats and unaffiliated voters to win the day. He was endorsed by the Hearst Connecticut Media Group.
“We put up a good fight,” Coppolo said. “It’s hard to beat an incumbent.”
Coppolo congratulated Dziekan and told him, “I’m proud to be a Derby resident.”
Dziekan said his efforts will focus on getting Route 34 widened and developing downtown. He also wants to impanel a Charter Revision Commission to clean up the wording on the charter and turn the mayoral position into a full-time four-year term.
“People are going to see how this administration will move Derby forward in the next two years,” he said.
Republicans appear to have retained control of the tax board and Board of Education, but lost control of the Aldermen 6-3.
In other races, longtime Derby City Treasurer Keith McLiverty appeared to have lost his reelection bid to Democrat Walt Mayhew 1,436 to 1,319.
Dziekan had come under fire from Democrats for raising taxes 2.5 mills in order to cover a $1.2 million shortfall created by accidentally crediting a state education grant twice, increases in the WPCA usage fee and allegedly failing with the Board of Aldermen to assist 16 homeowners whose homes were flooded Sept. 25, 2018, with runoff from the construction sites at the Leo F. Ryan Athletic Complex.
The Administration developed an eight-point plan which they said they believe will prevent the double booking from ever happening again.
But while development plans are worked on for the downtown, there is a challenge. The state will be on a nearly three-year schedule to rebuild Main Street/Route 34 from its current two-lane roadway into a four-lane highway. And another year will be spent renovating the adjacent Derby-Shelton bridge which moves traffic into Shelton as well as from Danbury to New Haven.
One area the city has fallen short in is getting state and federal money.
Another is schools. Declining enrollments and rising education costs led Ansonia and Derby to study regionalizing the city’s school systems. Consultants are expected to recommend some form of regionalization when the committee meets later this month. Approval of any recommendation would have to come from referendum vote by citizens in both Ansonia and Derby