Responding to the news the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) tapped recently ousted Middletown Mayor Sebastian Guiliano as its new director, Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford today demanded the agency to reconsider.
Slossberg along with Rep. Russ Morin, D-Wethersfield chairs the General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections Commission.
You can read their full press release outlining their reservations about Giuliano, a Republican who lost re-election in November, below.
This has been a tough few months for Slossberg. First she had to stand by while Gov. Dannel Malloy moved forward with a merger of elections enforcement and other state watchdog agencies. It was a move Slossberg strongly opposed but, given the politics of the situation, there was not much she could do other than offer some politely restrained public comments to the press.
And then the SEEC goes and hires Giuliano…
Hartford – State Senator Gayle S. Slossberg (D-Milford) and Representative Russ Morin (D-Wethersfield), co-chairs of the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee, today forcefully urged members of the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to reconsider their nominee for executive director.
Yesterday the SEEC nominated former Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano to lead the agency’s day-to-day operations; the position is scheduled to be filled at a meeting next Wednesday. Among other things the SEEC administers grants through Connecticut’s public campaign financing program and more generally, oversees and enforces fair elections statewide. It must also rule on elections-related disputes.
“I strongly believe the SEEC must first and foremost be an independent watchdog of Connecticut’s elections policies, procedures, and processes, without even a hint of partisanship, and a chief elected official, of any party and any municipality, who served in office and ran for re-election as recently as this nominee, compromises that desire for irrefutable nonpartisanship,” Senator Slossberg said. “Individual SEEC commissioners must be removed from partisan politics for three full years before they are eligible to serve; I think the same standard should be applied to the agency’s staff positions as well.”
Senator Slossberg and Rep. Morin said ethics standards of any type prohibit not just outright conflicts of interest but also the appearance of a conflict, and this nominee, given his recent position and campaign, remains unsuitable given that standard. The co-chairs emphasized how their objection has nothing to do with Giuliano as an individual – that they would object to anyone of either party so recently removed from office and partisan political activity.
“There is no place for partisan politics at Elections Enforcement,” Rep. Morin said. “In essence, the commissioners are naming an executive director whose feet are still tired from walking the campaign trail. This is a job that rises above party politics – even the slightest hint of partisanship would contaminate Election Enforcement’s ability to carry out its mission.”
The co-chairs cited their comparable and consistent position during the Regular Session of the General Assembly last year, when they insisted upon the untainted appearance of all state watchdog agencies during negotiations to consolidate them.