A death and a retirement leaves Elections Enforcement with just three commissioners

The death of Joan B. Jenkins of New Haven has left the State Elections Enforcement Commission with three commissioners, the minimum necessary to conduct business.

Jenkins, 70, who died July 2, was named to the commission in 2007 by Kevin B. Sullivan, then the top leader of the state Senate. It is up to Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, to name a successor.

“Joan’s term was up a while ago. She agreed to stay on” until a successor was named, said Michael J. Brandi, the agency’s executive director and general counsel. “She was a great lady. She will be missed.”

Richard C. Bozzuto, an appointee of the Senate Republican leader, left the commission last year after the expiration of his five-year term. Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, has yet to name a successor.

The three remaining commissioners are Stephen F. Cashman of Windsor, Patricia Stankevicius of Wolcott and Anthony J. Castagno of North Stonington.

Cashman, who has been on the commission for nearly 13 years, said Friday he notified House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, after the 2012 election of his intention to retire upon Cafero’s selection of a successor. He was about to set a departure date, with or without a successor in place, when he learned of Jenkins’ death.

Now, he said, will remain so the commission has a quorum to meet and conduct business.

The two vacancies and Cashman’s desire to retire have prompted Brandi to ask legislative leaders to focus on a search for successors so the commission is at full-strength before the 2014 election cycle.

“No panic. We just want an orderly transition here,” Brandi said.

The governor and the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate each are the appointing authority for the five-person commission. Each gets one appointment.

Terms are five years, and all three remaining commissioners were chosen by people no longer in office.

Cashman was named by Robert Ward, who was Cafero’s predecessor. Former Gov. M. Jodi Rell chose Stankevicius in 2009, and former House Speaker Christopher Donovan named Castagno in 2010.

Jenkins was an attorney with a long history of public service, working for legal aid, the city of New Haven and a nonprofit that cared for neglected children.

Before her appointment to the elections enforcement commission, she served on another watchdog panel, the state ethics commission.

A memorial service for Jenkins will be Monday at 11 a.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New Haven.

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