Mary Ann Jacob Takes Lead as Legislative Council Chair

Jacob replaces departed former chair Jeff Capeci, who served on the council for eight years. Neil Chaudhary will serve as Vice Chair.

Newtown’s Legislative Council has a change in leadership.

Former Vice Chair Mary Ann Jacob will lead the council in its next two-year session after ascending to the chairmanship at the Newtown Municipal Center Wednesday night. She replaces outgoing Chair Jeff Capeci.

"Our work over the next two years will help shape the future of Newtown," she told the council after her appointment.

Jacob listed increased taxation and declining state and federal revenue as main concerns for the next two years, including finding a way to replace revenue and ease the burden on Newtown taxpayers. A representative of Newtown’s second district, Jacob has served on the council for four years and told Patch in November her primary mission is “responsible stewardship of the taxpayers' money.” (For more about Jacob’s positions and views, see her Patch voter guide profile.)

"With your help I’ll do my best to guide and lead us, allowing our citizens a quality of life they deserve and quality opportunities for our children,” she told the council Wednesday. "I’ll continue in the open manner you’re accustomed to."

Neil Chaudhary will serve as vice chair. A relative newcomer to the council, Chaudhary was selected to fill the vacancy created when former member Mitch Bolinsky was elected to Connecticut’s state legislature. He serves voters of Newtown’s third district and was elected to his first full term in November.

"I firmly believe in finding fiscally responsible ways to maintain Newtown’s core values without allowing those values to become a burden to us as taxpaying residents,” he says in his Newtown Republicans profile.

Capeci: ‘Ask the Right Questions'

Capeci, an engineer who served on the council for eight years, said he isn’t planning on any other political ventures — but that the time had come for a change of pace. Council newcomer Anthony Filiato has taken Capeci’s second-district seat. 

"I'm not seeking any office,” Capeci told Patch. "I don't plan to move out of town. I'm just disengaging from the elected position. If there's something else, I'd consider if I was offered, but I think my time on the council has been long enough. The last four years were a lot of work -- a lot happened."

First Selectman Pat Llodra, who was elected to the council the same year as Capeci, presented the former chair with a plaque and wished him luck. She said she remembered fondly their time working together to learn the ropes of the council.

"We had many off-the-record conversations to figure out what the heck was going on,” she said. "It was a learning process because of the quality of his analytical thinking … It was a great partnership. I never anticipated serving without Jeff in the ranks somewhere. I tried my best to talk him into staying on."

Addressing the council as a private citizen for the first time in eight years, Capeci wished the board luck as it moves forward under Jacob and Chaudhary.

"I’m sure you guys will do a wonderful job heading up this group tonight and for the term,” he said. "I look forward to following everything you do and maybe commenting as the term goes on. These are difficult times for Newtown, but this Legislative Council is experienced and will do well for the town. I encourage you to ask the right question and make the right choices when you’re behind the council chamber microphones."

Paul Alexander December 05, 2013 at 07:45 AM
Mary Ann, I find your comments encouraging. But I still find the budget process to be backwards. Why doesn't the LC dictate the budget to the town and the BOE up front? Give them a hard dollar amount to live within. Let them then determine their priorities within those dollar constraints. The taxpayer then knows up front what their liability will be. The process you have now is akin to letting the kids dictate how much the parents spend for Christmas presents. You just need to observe the past few budget referenda to see that the current budget process is broken. Change the process. Put the LC in control of the process up front.


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