Tensions among Stratford Democrats have come to a head as the town’s Democratic Town Committee chairman is asking for Beth Daponte to step down as Town Council chairman.
In an open letter appearing in this week’s paper, DTC Chairman Stephanie Philips asks for Daponte to resign as chairman of the town’s top board. Philips’ call for resignation is based on Daponte reportedly using an expletive when describing the town’s South End during a recess of the June 13 Council meeting and Daponte’s subsequent apology at the July 11 meeting.
“The South End residents are not second-class citizens nor should they be treated as such. Even worse is that your comments further the distrust and anger in residents who already face remarks because of their socio-economic income level and/or ethnicity,” Philips says in the letter, which can be seen by clicking the link below.
The letter is supported by the other four Democratic councilors — Wali Kadeem of the Third District, David Harden of the Fourth District, Philip Young of the Sixth District and Tina Manus of the Tenth District — along with Second District Council candidate Scott Farrington-Posner, a member of the Zoning Commission.
Harden, though, says he is not specifically calling for Daponte to resign. He does want her to apologize for the remark.
“I don’t have a problem with Beth but with the comments she made. She owes us a sincere apology, [but] I’m not asking her to resign or step down,” Harden said Wednesday. “If the community wants her to step down, the council members will support the community.”
This is not the first time Daponte’s Council leadership has been challenged. Manus proposed a resolution at the July 11 meeting that would have removed Daponte from the chairmanship. A motion to amend that meeting’s agenda to allow for a vote failed.
Daponte also has a letter in this week’s paper, though she does not address Philips’ call for her resignation. Daponte mentions some of the accomplishments of the Town Council in its first six months. Among those are addressing a $5 million hole in the town’s 2015-16 budget, passing a “responsible” budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year and passing budgets for capital improvements and equipment.
“All on the council are concerned about the town’s long-term vitality. Smart economic development, high-quality education, a stable bond rating, and getting the Army Engine Plant revitalized, along with continued oversight, will result in lower taxes and make all of the town’s districts more desirable. I look forward to continuing our work,” Daponte said.