2014-11-27 / Front Page

Sylvia, Kempenaar Officially Sworn In

By James Merolla


The 2015-2016 Middletown Town Council, (from left): Henry F. Lombardi Jr., Paul Rodrigues, Theresa Santos, Barbara VonVillas, Antone Viveiros, Robert Sylvia (president), and Robert Kempenaar II (vice president), sworn in by former Secretary of State Kathleen Connelly before a packed house of 200 at Gaudet Middle School on Nov. 24. (Photo by Jack Kelly) The 2015-2016 Middletown Town Council, (from left): Henry F. Lombardi Jr., Paul Rodrigues, Theresa Santos, Barbara VonVillas, Antone Viveiros, Robert Sylvia (president), and Robert Kempenaar II (vice president), sworn in by former Secretary of State Kathleen Connelly before a packed house of 200 at Gaudet Middle School on Nov. 24. (Photo by Jack Kelly) About 200 family members, friends, local and state officials, and well-wishers filled the Gaudet Middle School cafeteria on Monday, Nov. 24 to see the changing of the vanguard in town.

The new Middletown Town Council and School Committee (minus Theresa Silveira Spengler) were sworn in and Robert J. Sylvia was officially voted in as council president, with Robert Kempenaar II sworn in as vice president at the formal inauguration ceremonies.

U.S. Congressman David Cicilline was on hand for a special presentation made to the Middletown Board of Canvassers comprised of Carmella Murphy, Adeline Rose and Audrey Rearick. Cicilline spoke briefly about the murders and tortures committed for speaking out in countries like Syria and Afghanistan and how great our country was in holding orderly, proper elections.

“We couldn’t do that without the Board of Canvassers,”Cicilline added.

Former Secretary of State Kathleen Connell administered the oath of office to new School Committee members Douglas Arnold and Liana Ferreira-Fenton. There was no mention as to why the third newly- elected member, Theresa Silveira Spengler, was not in attendance.

Connell told the new members that her first publicly-held office was as a Middletown School Committee member. “It was the toughest job I ever held, but it was worth every minute of it,” she said.

After Sylvia’s unanimous nomination as president, he said. “The words I have to start with are ‘thank you.’ Together we can face and defeat each challenge. We are united in our love for Middletown. My Middletown is your Middletown.”

Peter B. Regan was appointed town solicitor, replacing outgoing Michael W. Miller who had served for 20 years. Miller, Sylvia said, left to pursue other endeavors and would be sorely missed. Richard Sayer, Melissa Green, Adam Thayer and Christopher McNally were appointed as assistant town solicitors.

Frank S. Holbrook II was named town solicitor for prosecution matters. All appointments were unanimous.

Special presentations were also made to outgoing President Christopher Semonelli, and outgoing members Bruce Long and Richard Adams, along with Miller and Holbrook, who was the former assistant town solicitor.

“They are each pillars of the community,” said Sylvia, “each and every one of them.”

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