Portland first selectwoman to head Connecticut Conference of Municipalities
First Selectwoman Susan S. Bransfield has been selected as the new president of the Connecticut Council of Municipalities.
Bransfield, the organization’s first vice president, was chosen for the post for 2017 during the CCM’s annual meeting this week. CCM is the state’s largest, nonpartisan organization of municipal leaders, representing 162 towns and cities, according to its website.
Bransfield will succeed Danbury Mayor Mark D. Boughton.
Bransfield, who has been first selectwoman since 2003, said Thursday she has been active in CCM for many years, as is the town. She described CCM as “a great organization.”
Bransfield has also served as president of the Council of Small Towns, another advocacy group for municipalities in the state.
She will have two vice presidents to assist her: John A. Elsesser, the manager of Coventry, and Neil O’Leary, mayor of Waterbury.
While Bransfield will serve as president of the organization beginning in January, the day-to-day operations of CCM are handled by an executive director, Joe deLong.
Bransfield is taking over as CCM’s president as the state remains mired in a deepening financial crisis.
The state Department of Labor reported Thursday the state had lost 7,200 jobs in October. That puts the state on a pace to record its worse labor market status since 2009,
As Connecticut’s economy shows little sign of improving, there have been calls for CCM to take a more prominent and vocal role in calling for changes in how the state is operating. Bransfield said CCM has already begun taking steps in that direction.
CCM has held a Bring Every Stakeholder Together workshop that involves business and labor as well as local and state government officials, Bransfield said. The workshop, which included the participation of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, “represents a great opportunity for all of us to try and collaborate and work together” to explore options to improve the delivery of services and to move away from an overreliance on property tax revenues to fund municipalities.
Addressing a range of issues back to top
“We have also been working and planning how to address a range of issues through a state and local partnership plan,” Bransfield said.
In addition to the knotty issue of state revenues, Bransfield said CCM has also begun to focus attention on the municipalities sharing services. Portland has long pursued that goal on its own, Bransfield said, pointing to the town’s involvement in the Council of Governments and the Chatham Health District.
She also pointed to cooperative efforts involving Middletown, including caring for animals from Middletown in Portland’s animal control facility, which has been going on for more than 20 years.
The town also contracts with Middletown to dispatch police, fire and emergency first responders, Bransfield said.
“That’s the kind of collaboration that may occur between and among other municipalities,” she said.
In yet another example of cooperative efforts between and among towns, Portland and Cromwell this year jointly pursued a grant that allows for shared use of a bulldozer and other construction equipment.
Bransfield’s selection as CCM’s president brought praise from her professional colleagues in both Cromwell and East Hampton. “Susan’s a great leader of a small town and it’s great to have a small-town leader in that position,” East Hampton Town Manager Michael Maniscalco said Friday. “I sure she will do a great job.”
Cromwell Town Manager Anthony J. Salvatore on Friday also congratulated Bransfield.
“She is an excellent choice and I look forward to working with her in her new capacity,” Salvatore said. “I hope under Mrs. Bransfield’s leadership CCM will begin to take more of a leadership role with regards to the legislature. I’m not saying they aren’t already a presence in Hartford, but the very fact that CCM represents 162 of the state’s 169 municipalities should speak loud and clear in and of itself.”