NORWALK, Conn. — Common Council leadership shifted Tuesday, as Nick Sacchinelli (D-At Large) became Council President.
“We find ourselves at the first Council meeting after the election and that means my term is up,” then-Council President Barbara Smyth (D-At Large) said, to begin the discussion. “…As my last act as the outgoing Council President, I get to take nominations for our next Council President.”
“Nick is a three-term council member. And I see this as an opportunity for us to gain a different perspective from a tenured leader,” Manny Langella (D-At Large) said, nominating Sacchinelli. “I believe this is a chance to generate new ideas and new strategies and how we can work together as well as with our city stakeholders.”
The vote among the 13 Democrats present was unanimous.
Sacchinelli has been Health and Public Safety Committee Chairman since Nov. 21, 2017. In the previous term, he led the Personnel Committee.
“I feel that Nick has grown tremendously. And I’m keen to see what is in store next for him,” Langella said.
Sacchinelli thanked everyone but especially Smyth, who he said, “was dealt a very unique hand in leading the council through COVID, which no one could have predicted.”
“There was no handbook or established best practices for, or even a predecessor to ask questions of. This last year posed a landmark challenge for everyone, but she did an outstanding job,” Sacchinelli said.
Smyth noted this also included shifting to Zoom meetings. She thanked E-Government Coordinator Larry Manzi and the IT Department.
“As an educator and a lifelong lover of learning, this has been a real learning experience for me, you know, getting to have a deeper understanding of the intricacies of running this complicated city, having the honor to work with our chiefs and staff, and the mayor at this level. It’s just been a great honor,” Smyth said.
Sacchinelli announced that Council member John Kydes (D-District C) had been elected to continue as majority leader and Council member Thomas Keegan (R-District D) will likewise continue as minority leader.
Since Keegan is the only Republican Council member, this led to a bit of kidding. Mayor Harry Rilling noted that it had been a tight election and close race. Keegan said there had been a lengthy discussion about who would lead the Republican caucus, but the smoke came out of the chimney at midnight.
“You won by one vote, I understand,” Rilling said.
“That was it,” Keegan replied.