Mayor Finch Taps Three Professionals To Assess Election Procedures

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November 3, 2010

BRIDGEPORT — Mayor Bill Finch today named three business community members to an informal, bipartisan panel which will assess election procedures and make recommendations to improve the process.

Mayor Finch has asked prominent local attorney Richard Bieder, partner in Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, PC; Robert Trefry, former CEO of Bridgeport Hospital and former Republican Bridgeport Mayor Nicholas Panuzio to examine the Registrars of Voters election procedures and make recommendations to help the process run more smoothly and ensure that the difficulties encountered at polling places does not happen again.

During Tuesday’s election, many of the City’s polling places ran out of ballots. Emergency ballots were printed to the specification of the Secretary of the State’s office, and distributed to the polling places by police officers in batches. Hartford Superior Court Judge Marshall Berger later issued an order to extend the hours of voting at certain Bridgeport precincts in order to allow citizens to exercise their right to vote. The application to extend the hours was filed by the Connecticut Democratic Party and the Malloy for Governor Campaign Committee.

“We don’t want what happened Tuesday to ever happen again,” said Mayor Finch. “It’s imperative that we ensure that our voters are able to access polling places and ballots in a timely, orderly and efficient manner. I’ve asked these three reputable community members to take an impartial look at the management of our Registrars’ office and make recommendations for improvements.”

In 1971, Mr. Panuzio was the first Republican elected Mayor of Bridgeport in 44 years and served two terms. He was a candidate for Governor of Connecticut in 1974 and served in the Connecticut Legislature.

Mr. Bieder has been awarded a citation by the Connecticut State Legislature for his legal role in an election case of social significance. In addition to the state and federal courts of Connecticut, he is admitted to practice in the U.S Court of Appeals in the 1st and 2nd Circuits, U.S. Court of Military Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Trefry retired from Bridgeport Hospital on Sept. 30, 2010, after serving the hospital for 19 years, first as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer 1991-94 and for the last 16 years as President and CEO.