In response to a questionnaire from The Courant, the six candidates seeking a spot on the board of selectmen discussed in detail their plans to navigate Simsbury through the transition.
Republican incumbents Cheryl Cook and Sean Askham, as well as Democratic incumbents Chris Kelly and Elaine Lang, are seeking re-election to the board. They are joined on the ballot by Republican zoning commission member Jackie Battos and Democrat Chris Peterson.
Republican Selectman Mike Paine, Democrat Eric Wellman and longtime Simsbury resident Robert Kalechman are seeking the position of first selectman.
Those elected to the board in November will either hire a town manager by accepting the current board of selectmen’s recommended candidate, or will have the authority to reject the recommendation and start the search process from scratch.
All candidates stated a commitment to help the new manager transition to town, saying clear communication between the board and town manager is vital to a successful relationship. Several emphasized the distinction between the role of the board — to set and drive policy in the community — and that of the manager — to handle administrative duties and carry out board policy.
The candidates also said with many factors beyond the town’s control impacting the community, such as the state budget crisis and the pending Deepwater Wind solar proposal, it is critical for the board to work collaboratively with other local, state and federal leaders to protect Simsbury’s interests and keep residents informed.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Simsbury is redistricting polling places for approximately 1,500 voters to alleviate crowding. Affected households will receive a mailing with more details, and signs will be placed on affected streets.
The changes are also available to view on the town website under the registrar of voters tab.
The new charter that implements Simsbury’s town manager will go into effect on Monday, Dec. 4.
To view the candidates’ full responses to the questionnaire, go to Courant.com/Community/Simsbury.