Committee Nominations Process Reveals Tension Between Parties

The tension between majority Republicans and minority Democrats on the Winchester Board of Selectmen is still apparent as the seven-member board works its way through its third month on the job. At Tuesday night’s regular meeting, the issue of committee appointments came up, with Democrats Candy Perez and Michael Renzullo complaining that the process of nominating and approving new committee members had been arbitrarily changed by the majority.

The Democrats rightly pointed out that Republicans made them jump through hoops to make two recent committee appointments, requiring letters and a waiting period for nominees to be approved. On Tuesday, the GOP brought forward a number of new committee appointments, deciding to nominate and approve the candidates immediately. Perez spoke up, asking if Republicans were changing the process. “I just want to know if this is what the process is now,� she said.

Senior Republican David Cappabianca said Democrats were welcome to bring nominations to the table and that he did not “recall� requiring the Democrats to observe a waiting period for their appointments. In any case, he said, the new process will be a streamlined one, in which nominations will be brought to the board and voted on at the same meeting. Cappabianca may also not recall that he was one of the proponents of a waiting period for appointments during the last board’s term, when he was a member of the minority party. He and fellow Republican Jay Case abandoned the process entirely at one point, complaining they were not being adequately represented in the nominating process.

Despite the fact that Democrats now feel similarly put out, it’s not the Republicans’ responsibility to assist them. Renzullo said at one point Tuesday that he hoped he could discuss nominations with the Democratic Town Committee and bring them forward to the board for discussion. The uneasy silence that followed had symptoms of suppressed laughter.

The Democrats can suggest whatever they want, but Republicans certainly have no obligation to care what the Democratic Town Committee thinks, and that’s just tough luck. If the minor party wants to bring forth nominations, it should do so in a timely fashion. All that’s required is a little planning ahead.

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