Selectman Melissa Bird during the Winchester Democratic Party Caucus on Tuesday, July 20. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Selectman Melissa Bird during the Winchester Democratic Party Caucus on Tuesday, July 20. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
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[Update July 22, 11:05 p.m., while Republican Town Committee (RTC) member Lisa Smith wrote to the Winsted Phoenix that the RTC would challenge the certification, a few hours after this story was published, RTC Chairman Jerry Martinez wrote via email that no complaint by the RTC has been filed to the State Elections Enforcement Commission over Selectman Bird’s candidacy for town clerk.]

[Update July 23, 2 p.m.: In an email from Mayor Perez sent to RTC Chairman Martinez, she writes: “I personally checked in with Kevin Nelligan this morning. Melissa is able to run for town clerk. I hope this settles the issue.” In an email written to the Winsted Phoenix, she adds: “It is my hope that you write a clarification in the article regarding Town Clerk. Leaving it the way it is achieves Lisa’s objective which is to sow doubt in people’s minds. She failed to fact check before getting you to do her work for her. My group works hard to be accurate with our information and adherence to the rules. It is unfortunate that others do not.” Original article follows.]


WINSTED —  The Winchester Republican Town Committee is challenging the certification of Democratic Selectmen Melissa Bird’s nomination for town clerk.

Earlier this week, the Winchester Democratic party met in a caucus and placed Bird on the ticket for this fall’s municipal election as a candidate for town clerk.

Bird was first elected to the Board of Selectmen in 2017 and announced that she will be running as a candidate for Town Clerk to replace long-time Town Clerk Sheila Sedlack who announced earlier this year that she will be retiring by December. 

According to a press release issued by Republican Town Committee Chairman Jerry Martinez, which was sent via committee member and former mayor Lisa Smith, the committee is challenging the certification based on Section 311 Conflict Of Interest of the town’s charter.

According to the section, “No member of the Board of Selectmen during the term of office for which he is elected and for two years thereafter, shall be appointed to any office of profit under the government of the Town of Winchester.”

In response, Bird emailed The Winsted Phoenix that: “[Town Clerk] Sheila Sedlack was in touch with both [Town Attorney] Kevin Nelligan and the State’s attorney and they both agreed that section 311 of the town charter will not prohibit me from running for the Office of Town Clerk. This section only addresses ‘appointed positions.’ We will check in again with Attorney Nelligan, but we already researched.”

In an email, Mayor Candy Perez added: “We agree that someone from the board cannot take a paid position as a town manager, tax collector, or staff position. However, the Town Clerk is an elected position.”

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