Mayor and Deputy Forgo Reelection Bid
WETHERSFIELD - Mayor Paul Montinieri will wrap up a 12 year Town Council tenure with the election of a new governing body this coming November.

       Montinieri, who has served as Mayor for the past four of those years, announced yesterday that he will not be seeking re-election, leaving the Democratic Town Committee slate without its leading vote getter from the last go around.

       “He has been a fantastic Mayor,” said DTC Chair John Gallivan over the phone Tuesday. “Really took the town to the next level in terms of economic development.”

       Also forgoing a reelection run is Deputy Mayor Steve Barry-the second highest vote getter two years ago-according to Gallivan.

       Democratic Councilors Amy Bello, Tony Martino, and Anthony Spinella will be returning to the slate.

       Montinieri, who has been noncommittal about his decision whether to run again over the past few months, said that he’s opting to walk away due to a combination of work and other volunteer commitments, and what he feels is a need to open the door for fresh energy.

       “I just felt it’s time,” he said over the phone Tuesday. “It’s not an easy decision-I really labored over it. I’ve been blessed to serve, but it’s been 12 years. I think it’s time for new faces to get into the limelight.”

       As for who those new faces will be, Gallivan admits he’s not sure yet. Beyond the three other incumbents, who will make up the slate is unclear. The DTC announces its Election Day roster on July 20th.

       “We have terrific incumbents, and they need to have the opportunity to get front and center,” Montinieri said.

       Gallivan said that while what Montinieri’s decision would ultimately be was less than certain for him until recently, the Committee had prepared for the possibility of his not returning.

       “As soon as he even said it was a question, we went full force in recruiting as if he wasn’t coming back,” he said.

       During the conversation, Montinieri had kind words for colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

       “The bipartisan spirit has been amazing,” he said.

       Montinieri exits at a time in which Wethersfield-along with many other municipalities throughout the state-brace for tighter budget years to come due to the state’s own deficit driven cuts and subsequent impacts on aid funding.

       While he acknowledged that the outlook presents impending challenges for whoever takes his place, he expressed confidence in the town’s ability to contend with it.

       “Wethersfield is healthy,” Montinieri said. “The town is run intelligently. We have great administrators. Our schools are well funded.”

       Barry said that his decision not to return this time was also prompted by personal time commitment issues.

       “I feel that if I’m going to do this, I have to throw myself into it 110 percent,” Barry said. “I’ve known [I wasn’t coming back] for a few months-probably since the turn of the year.”

       But neither have ruled out another run sometime in the future.

       “It’s ‘run, run, run’, and then you just stop,” Montinieri said. “I have to see how that wears on me first.”