Board seat filled: Council approves librarian as new school board member

Published on Wednesday, 12 July 2017 21:42
Written by Skyler Frazer

Staff Writer

NEW BRITAIN – The Common Council appointed Catherine Cheney to the Board of Education in its meeting Wednesday night.

Cheney will take over the Republican seat previously held by Elaine Zottola, who resigned from the board for personal reasons in June.

Tony Cane, chairman of the Republican Town Committee, said the committee searched for and interviewed numerous candidates for the position before recommending Cheney.

Cane said Cheney has worked as a librarian in the schools for years and currently works at the New Britain Public Library. Cheney has supported the schools immensely over the years, having helped raise $47,000 for the New Britain High School Band over the years.

“When you look for a person that is dedicated to New Britain schools, you can’t ask for anybody better than Cathy Cheney,” Cane told the council during public participation.

Before the council voted on her appointment, numerous aldermen spoke about Cheney.

“It’s going to be exciting to see her on the board, because she’s really going to bring some added concepts and ideas to the Board of Education,” Alderman Salerno said.

“You’ve already been doing a lot of great work in the community to benefit our students,” Alderman Daniel Davis said.

“I couldn’t think of a better person to take that place,” Alderman Jim Sanders said. “She is a force to be reckoned with.”

“Cathy is a cherished family member of the New Britain High School Music Department and will always continue to be,” Alderman Robert Smedley said.

“You’re blunt and straightforward, and that’s my kind of person,” Alderman Kristian Rosado said of Cheney.

Cheney said she was excited to get started in her new position. The next Board of Education meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 24.

The council also discussed an amendment to the code of ordinances related to beekeeping in the city.

Alderman Daniel Salerno said the issue of beekeeping has been raised by numerous citizens in the city wondering if they can do it. Beekeeping is allowed in the city, but there is currently no ordinance in place that specifies or regulates the legality of it. This amendment would insert text in the city’s code of ordinances about beekeeping that specifies what is and isn’t allowed.

The council voted to refer the ordinance amendment to the Planning, Zoning and Housing Subcommittee.

In other action Wednesday night:

- The Common Council gave the OK to Mayor Erin Stewart to hire SignPro Inc. to help the city’s Beehive Bridge project back within its original budget.

According to the resolution on Wednesday’s agenda, contractor bids for the project came back above budget when the city sent it out to bid in April. SignPro will help bring the project’s pedestrian enclosure, sculptures and specialty lighting within the city’s funding limits.

- The council approved the hiring of a contractor to begin constructing the city’s 65th Infantry Regiment Monument. The city sent out invitations to bid on the project honoring the Borinqueneers to 19 different contractors, but only LaRosa Earth Group of Meriden submitted a bid. The company’s bid met all project specifications, so the council is expected to “OK” a purchasing order of $280,000 to LaRosa Earth Group for its services.

Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, New Britain on Wednesday, 12 July 2017 21:42. Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2017 21:44.