The Board of Selectmen recently filled two vacancies on the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission created by the resignations of former Chairman Raymond Martin and Vice Chairman Robert E. Maquat.
At its July 20 meeting, the selectmen appointed Jason Klein and Ray Ganim to the commission and Stacy Vavaro as an alternate commission member.
The board selected the new appointments based on nominations received by the Republican and Democratic town committees or made directly to First Selectman David Bindelglass. Ganim was nominated by the Easton Republican Town Committee and Jason Klein was nominated by the Easton Democratic Town Committee. Louis DePietro, a current alternate, was nominated by the ERTC but was not appointed by the selectmen to fill a vacancy.
Democrat Jason Klein is a Land Use & Zoning Partner at the law firm of Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessy in Stamford. He is the instructor for most of the classes that every planning and zoning member in the state must take to learn the parameters of the job. His term on the commission expires on Jan. 2, 2027.
Ray Ganim, a Republican, moved from an alternate position to become a full member of the commission. He is an attorney with Ganim Law in Bridgeport. Ganim’s term on the commission ends on Jan. 2, 2024.
To fill the vacancy for an alternate created by Ganim, the selectmen chose Stacy Vavaro, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Westport. She is also a Republican. Her term ends on Jan. 2, 2025.
The selectmen voted unanimously on the appointments, but Selectmen Kristi Sogofsky expressed her desire to advance the current alternates on the commission to full positions instead of appointing Klein as new member.
“Adding a fresh additional voice might not be the best procedural move,” said Sogofsky.
Selectmen Robert Lessler agreed with Sogofsky that historically alternates on town boards and commissions are moved to full membership positions, but he said Klein is a unique candidate because he is a land use attorney.
“We are bringing on someone who has essentially no learning curve. It’s not every day that we have a subject matter expert apply to be on a board or commission,” said Lessler.
The vacancies were created when Maquat and Martin announced their resignations within a month of each other. Maquat submitted his letter of resignation to the Board of Selectmen, effective July 19. He had served on the commission for more than two decades.
Maquat’s resignation came just weeks after Martin, also a Republican, resigned his post following an ethics probe that found he violated the town ethics ordinance when he pleaded guilty to falsely reporting a stolen car in September 2021. Martin also stepped down on July 19.
The full commission will meet next on Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. with Democrat John Foley presiding as the chairman of the commission, Alison Sternberg as vice-chairman and Nick D’Addario as the secretary.