Published February 11. 2013 4:00AM
New London - For the past 25 years, Wayne Vendetto has served on the Police Community Relations Committee.
Every three years, as long as he was willing to serve, he's been reappointed.
But City Councilor Wade Hyslop, who in December took over the City Council's administration committee which makes recommendations for appointments to boards and commission, is shaking up the status quo.
Hyslop has not recommended that Vendetto and other veterans of the 13-member police committee be reappointed. Instead, he suggested the names of three newcomers.
"I am making an effort to get new people in,'' said Hyslop, who served as the state representative from New London for 12 years and is serving a third, two-year term on the Council.
"I said when I left Hartford that's it was time for new blood,'' Hyslop said. "I don't believe in term limits, but maybe there comes a time when someone else can do the job and bring new ideas."
In New London, he said "it seems the same people are recycled through the boards."
Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, who was elected mayor in 2011 and has lived in the city for three years, also wants to see some fresh faces representing the city. He shares Hyslop's interest in bringing new energy and diversity to boards and commissions.
But change for change's sake is not the goal. Continuity is also important, he said
"Certainly over the past year, with the appointments I've been making, I've been appointing some new people and reappointed some existing members,'' Finizio said. "I've been making a concerted effort in the process to get people who want to be engaged and to bring diversity, race, ethnicity and gender."
In January, Finizio recommended Efrain Dominguez be appointed to the Water & Water Pollution Control Authority to replace longtime member Mario Strafaci. Dominguez will be the first Latino to serve on that board, Finizio said.
The City Council, which has the final say on mayor's recommendations for the water authority, postponed voting on the appointment in order to talk to Strafaci.
Strafaci, who has been a member on the authority for 15 years, said he would have accepted a reappointment but said he has no hard feelings.
"I enjoyed it,'' he said. "But I have no qualms about being replaced."
But others who are being replaced are not as compliant.
When it was recommended Marie Gravell, Carl Lee, Jay Wheeler and Vendetto, all longtime members of the Police Community Relations Committee, be replaced, the full council questioned changing up so many people at once.
Continuity was the chief concern.
After a lengthy discussion, the City Council reappointed Vendetto, Gravell and Lee. But Wheeler, who has served on the committee for nearly 10 years, was replaced.
Wheeler, who wanted to continue on the committee, said he was booted because of he supported the mayor's opponent in the 2011 election.
Wheeler was director of campus security at Mitchell College when he was appointed to the committee, a 13-member panel whose members represent various sections of the community, including the schools, Hispanics, the NAACP, gays and lesbians, the police union, and six citizens at large.
Wheeler no longer works for Mitchell. Tracee Reiser of Connecticut College was appointed to fill his slot.
Hyslop said he has been contacted by community members who want to volunteer but feel there is no room for them.
"People automatically felt they should be reappointed and could not be touched,'' he said. "People have been trying to get on boards and committees but they've never been given an opportunity to serve. I think we should give everyone a chance."