Photo courtesy of the House Democrats
State Rep. Tim O’Brien (Photo courtesy of the House Democrats)

State Rep. Tim O’Brien, D-New Britain, asked Speaker of the House Chris Donovan to reassign his legislative assistant after it was discovered by The New Britain Herald that the assistant posted negative comments about New Britain Mayor Timothy Stewart from his state computer.

“Elected officials should not engage in negative, personal attacks that distract from the issues,” O’Brien, who is challenging Stewart, a Republican, in the mayoral contest, said.

In a statement Sunday O’Brien asked for Donovan to reassign his legislative assistant, Greg Gerratana, who has already been suspended for a week without pay for posting the comments on his state computer.

“I am personally disappointed in Greg Gerratana’s action in writing personal attacks against another official, and I’m sorry that he did,” O’Brien said. “It was inexcusable.”

The House Democratic Caucus found, after an investigation, that Gerratana wrote personally derogatory comments about Stewart and Stewart’s son on newspaper comment thread. The comments were posted by Gerratana from a state computer.

“Those working for me must maintain my values in any venue in which their words and actions might represent my office,” O’Brien said. “I want to offer my sincerest apologies. I am sorry for hurt that this incident caused the Stewart family.”

In addition to reassigning Gerratana, O’Brien is calling on Gerratana to resign as the Democratic candidate for Tax Collector in this year’s city elections.

“Because Greg has so blatantly acted against my wishes for a positive campaign, I do not feel he should be on the Democratic ticket,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien reiterated his call for both Democrats and Republicans to end the politics of personal attacks. “It is time for both sides to stop personal attacks and focus on building a brighter future for our city, state and nation,” O’Brien said.

Earlier this week, according to this article, O’Brien and Democratic party leaders in New Britain attacked The New Britain Herald for its coverage of the issue.