Console, Copp Compose Third Party Slate
WETHERSFIELD - The Paul Copp-led Independence Party announced its third party run this week with a two-man slate: Copp himself, and former Republican Deputy Mayor John Console.

       So last minute confusion among Copp and four other Independence Party nominees-all cross endorsements from both the Republican and Democratic pool of municipal candidates-thinned the slate in the 11th hour, with the Town Council hopefuls citing Console’s inclusion as a surprise deal breaker for them.

       Copp’s original slate-filed with Town Clerk Dolores Sassano on Wednesday-included Republicans Jodi Latina, Mike Rell, and Mary Pelletier, as well as Democratic candidate Anthony Spinella. But Latina and Pelletier said that when they signed the paperwork, they were not aware that they would be running with Console, who is shown to have been penciled in by Copp later.

       Latina and Pelletier both expressed disappointment at the discovery, while saying that they would have been otherwise “honored” to have been also endorsed by Copp.

       Copp said that they were not notified sooner because Console-who ran as a petitioning candidate four years ago after he was not re-nominated by the Republicans-was a last minute addition.

       When asked for specifics as to why his inclusion presented a problem for them, Latina cited “philosophical differences” between her and Console-an outspoken fiscal conservative who has called for more austere budgeting from both parties in recent years.

       “I’m a fiscal conservative, but I think his approach seems to be slash and burn, and I don’t think that’s appropriate, nor does it lend itself to working across the aisle,” she said.

       Console described the characterization of his budgeting style as “off base”, but when asked a few months ago if he would draw the line at staff reductions-a commitment expressed by current Democrats and Republicans alike-he said that he would not, citing the new fiscal reality imposed by the state’s own financial woes and its impact on municipal aid.

       On Thursday, Console said that although he wouldn’t rule it out, he’d like to avoid it.

       “That would probably be the last resort,” Console said. “But a hard look would have to be at what they’re doing, and what their pay structure is.”

       As for Copp, he says he doesn’t hold any hard feelings.

       “I want [them] on the ticket,” he said. “[But] whether [they’re] elected as Republicans or Independents doesn’t matter to me.”

       He admitted that he wasn’t sure up until the last minute whether he himself was going to run. Copp said he had been in talks with other candidates that ultimately opted not to accept a nomination.

       Console was in the conversation for an Independence slate spot two years ago, and he and Copp fall in line regarding a perceived need for tighter budgeting.

       Console has called for the appointment of town residents with financial backgrounds as outside consultants, while Copp for several years has been pushing for a Citizens Audit Committee.