To The Editor:
Recently, the local media has reported on the Stamford Board of Representatives’ Appointments Committee voting against Mayor Simmons’ nomination of Josh Fedeli for the position of Fire Commissioner. This was on the heels of several representatives, myself included, who spoke to the historic bullying behavior we have witnessed over the years from Mr. Fedeli, particularly toward women. I personally felt grateful that four female representatives had the courage to speak out. Unfortunately, none of the information stated that evening was new news to anyone, including the members of the Stamford Democratic City Committee at the time, some of whom were also responsible for reelecting Mr. Fedeli as their chairman in 2020.
Who also has been aware of the conduct allegations of Mr. Fedeli since prior to 2020 is our Mayor, Caroline Simmons. Yet, even with having to withdraw her nomination of Mr. Fedeli, at his request after the down vote for commissioner, and knowing that the four female representatives had spoken out vigorously against Mr. Fedeli’s nomination, our mayor decided to instead place Mr. Fedeli on the pension board of the Fire Department, which does not require confirmation by the Board of Representatives.
Given the content of public remarks about Mr. Fedeli, I find the Mayor’s decision to still support Mr. Fedeli in a public position troubling, especially after one of the biggest criticisms of her mayoral campaign was that her opponent referred to her as a “girl.” When The Advocate had opportunity to press our mayor on this decision the Mayor was quoted stating, “Given Josh’s business and fiscal background and his support and advocacy for the Stamford Fire Department, I felt he would be an asset to this important board.”
This statement hardly addresses the question that is begged here. If our mayor felt so strongly during her campaign about the remarks her opponent made toward her, apparently deeming them as a disqualifier for office, then how could the Mayor stand behind Mr. Fedeli, given statements about his conduct by female members of the Board of Representatives? Regardless of Mr. Fedeli’s qualifications, do these concerns not outweigh all others? Do you not believe these women Mayor Simmons?
To make it clear to the public, all of the representatives who spoke out against Mr. Fedeli are long time Democrats, myself included. This is obviously not a partisan issue. Mr. Fedeli’s claim that the accusations are merely, “a political hit and a sham,” are disgraceful and an outright lie. In March of 2020, I chose to run for chairman of the Stamford Democratic City Committee for the primary reason of preventing Josh Fedeli from continuing to be our leader. Mr. Fedeli was able to maintain that position, having decisively won, 25 to 15. The party spoke.
The Democratic Party was the genesis of the “Me Too” Movement. However, standing up for the mistreatment of women, in any context, seems to be qualified by political convenience for my own party. I will not abandon my party nor refuse to work with our mayor over this misgiving. I feel our responsibility to the people must absolutely transcend these matters. I am well aware that I will be further targeted for speaking out by some in my own party, but some things still do matter regardless of personal detriment. Lastly, I would like to say to the Mayor that there is nothing wrong with admitting that you are wrong. It is desired by the public you serve when appropriate, actually garners respect, and starts the healing process. If derogatory treatment toward you is unacceptable, then it should be unacceptable for all.
Sean D. Boeger
Stamford Board of Representatives,