Stratford zoning board member sworn in after special election canceled
STRATFORD — Meet the new member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, same as the old member of the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Town Clerk Susan Pawluk swore in Lorenzo Elder to the BZA Tuesday on the Town Hall steps after a June 30 special election was canceled.
The ceremony closed out a six-month political squabble within the local Democratic party over a seat on the land use appeals board.
And while Elder has been clashing with other local Democratic leaders for months, regularly engaging in long-running wars of words on community Facebook groups, he held off on the fiery rhetoric after being sworn in Tuesday.
“Basically, I’m glad it’s over and I am looking forward to moving onward,” he said. “I’m not going to say anything negative about anyone. This is a positive day and I just want to thank everyone who was willing to support me.”
The town’s Democrats had nominated former Town Council member Emma Brooks to challenge Elder after he angered members of his party by supporting Republicans for the board’s leadership spots.
The challenge was made possible because Elder is serving out the remaining term of current Town Council member Paul Tavaras, who had chaired the BZA before his election to the council last November.
Tavaras and other Democrats collected signatures to force a June 30 special election after initially supporting Elder’s appointment to the board.
But last month, Assistant Town Attorney Bryan LeClerc delivered an opinion that said Brooks’ name can’t be on the ballot because Democrats nominated her too early — on Feb. 20. Democrats did not challenge the lawyer’s conclusion.
Elder’s term will expire Jan. 1, 2022 — though his time on the board could be abbreviated if he runs successfully for Town Council, a step he has repeatedly said he’s contemplating.
About a dozen people were on hand for Tuesday morning’s ceremony, including Mayor Laura Hoydick, 9th District Town Council member Bill O’Brien, Board of Education member Bob DeLorenzo and registrars of voters Lou DeCilio and Rick Marcone.
Elder stood next to his wife, Jessica, and his two sons, Carter and Chance, as he took the oath.