Ward 2 Alderwoman Gina Calder ’03 EPH ’08 will resign July 1.
At a Dwight Community Management Team meeting Tuesday night, Calder announced to a group of about 20 Dwight residents that she would leave the Board of Aldermen this summer. Calder said she has been promoted to direct the geriatric and business development divisions at Bridgeport Hospital, and the time commitment of her new position will make it impossible for her to continue as alderwoman.
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Calder said she did not want to leave until the Board of Aldermen passes the city budget, which it must do by the end of the current fiscal year on June 30.
“It has been an honor to serve you all,” she told residents at the police substation at 150 Edgewood Ave.
While a special election would have been held had Calder chosen to resign immediately, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. will now have the power to appoint an alderman to serve the rest of her term. Ward 2 Democratic Committee Co-Chairs Frank Douglass Jr. and Gregory Smith will submit the names of three Democrats to DeStefano, of which DeStefano will pick one to fill Calder’s seat.
Calder said the reason she will not step down until July 1, the deadline for special elections, is that she wants to see the budget process through. The winner of a special election would not have enough time to “acclimate to the budget process,” she said.
But Douglass, the Trumbull College cook who is running for the Ward 2 seat in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary, said Calder’s decision was undemocratic, and that she should step down now.
Douglass said Calder asked him to submit Deborah Davis’ name to DeStefano as a potential appointee to the seat. Davis’ daughter, Bianca, works as a receptionist in the mayor’s office—that raises conflict of interest concerns, said Douglass.
“I’m not happy at all,” Douglass said. “I would like to see democracy done.”
There is nothing uncommon about making recommendations to the mayor for aldermanic appointments, city spokesman Adam Joseph said. Joseph added that there has been absolutely no communication between the mayor and Calder about whom to appoint.
Douglass said he will submit his own name and Smith’s even though he does not expect the mayor to appoint either of them.
But Douglass said regardless of who is appointed, he looks forward to running in the primary, which he expects to win. Douglass announced his candidacy for alderman last Wednesday.
Douglass has served as a second cook in the Trumbull dining hall for 17 years. He lost to Calder in the 2007 election for Ward 2 alderman by just 28 votes.