The State Elections Enforcement Agency, which has been without an executive director for the past seven months, chose former Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano to lead it at a time of great uncertainty.
Giuliano, a Republican, will become the new executive director and general counsel of the agency in charge of public campaign financing and election complaints. He will be the first partisan to fill the position.
Giuliano replaces Albert Lenge, who retired in November. Lenge succeeded Jeffrey Garfield who was in charge of the agency for 30 years.
“In light of the challenges we face in the area of public campaign financing and agency consolidation issues, I have every confidence that Sebastian Giuliano possesses the knowledge and experience to lead the Commission, and I welcome him to his new position,” SEEC Chairman Stephen Cashman said. “We believe he is the right guy for the job.”
Cashman said Giuliano stood out from the field of applicants, but Democrats are likely to question his views of public financing, a program largely opposed by Republicans. Former GOP Chairman Chris Healy a staunch opponent of public financing ran Giuliano’s failed bid for mayor last year.
In addition to being consolidated with eight other state agencies the SEEC’s Citizens’ Election Program has taken a few hits over the past few years. Its budget, which comes from the sale of abandoned property, has been swept to fill budget gaps elsewhere in state government and its staff has been cut.
There was also legislation which limited the term of commissioner’s from five to three years. It’s unclear if the agency has enough staff to process the public finance applications in an General Assembly election year.
The challenges will be enormous, but Cashman believes Giuliano is up for the challenge.
“Giuliano is a committed and dynamic leader and an experienced attorney, practicing law in Connecticut for more than 20 years,“ the press release announcing his arrival said. “After graduating from Boston College in 1975, he attended and graduated from Catholic University in 1978 with his law degree. He also attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.”