One month after voicing his displeasure in losing the chairmanship of the Police Commission, Sperry DeCew last week resigned from the appointed body in a pointed letter to the first selectman.
DeCew in his Feb. 20 letter to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said he had “reflected on your puerile, narrow-minded position to have Republicans chair every town committee” and felt he had “no option but to render my resignation immediately.”
A member of the Police Commission since June 2012 and its chairman for two years, DeCew had attended and participated in a final meeting Wednesday.
“The thought that New Canaan, with its wealth of talent, should be defined by a political party is indefensible partisan nonsense,” DeCew said in his letter, obtained by NewCanaanite.com. “Further, the fact that you did not have the courtesy to call me prior to the January Commission meeting and let me know that you were going to replace me as Chairman, again speaks to the unnecessary negative feelings this matter has generated.”
DeCew is a Democrat and his successor in the chair role, Paul Foley, is a Republican. This month, another appointed town body, the Health and Human Services Commission, saw its Democratic chair and one other member resign amid a change in chairmanship to a Republican.
Moynihan, asked during a press briefing Thursday about the reasons for the changes, noted that chairmanships can turn over “every time you have an election” on an elected or appointed body and said, “I suppose the fact that Republicans outnumber Democrats on the boards and commissions.”
“I don’t have any control over it,” Moynihan said. “If the board votes for a new chairman, that is that board.”
“There is always change and especially when the first year I didn’t get to make very many new appointments,” he said. “So when you have change over time, things are going to change.”
He added, “Each of these boards and commissions has their own dynamics—how long someone has been chairman, what is happening with that particular board or commission. So I don’t know that you can attribute any grand scheme to what is going on.”
Municipal boards and commissions are chaired by both Democrats and Republicans. GOPers traditionally have led more powerful bodies, such as the Board of Finance and Town Council. Recently, a Democrat was re-elected as chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission. An election determining the chairmanship of the Parks & Recreation Commission has not yet been held this year. The former chair of the Historic District Commission was not re-appointed, and that body is scheduled to meet Thursday.
A 1965 New Canaan High School graduate and combat veteran of the Vietnam War, DeCew in his letter reviewed his significant service to the town.
“You have, thorough your actions, poisoned my will to serve New Canaan and it is the most disheartening result of the unfortunate position you have taken,” he said.
Selectman Kit Devereaux, Police Chief Leon Krolikowski and Democratic Town Committee Chair Christina Fagerstal were copied on the resignation letter.
It’s unclear how quickly DeCew’s seat on the three-member Commission will be filled.