Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Hal Cummings in line for town attorney appointment from Republicans

By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
November 20, 2007

VERNON - A change of the mayor invariably means a change in staff and tonight should be no different, as Republican Town Chairman Hal Cummings likely will be voted in as the new town attorney, replacing Susan Boyan, a Democrat and appointee of the former administration.

Following tradition, newly elected Republican Mayor Jason L. McCoy will ask his Republican-led Town Council to install his choice of Cummings as Vernon's lawyer at tonight's Town Council meeting.

Boyan will remain in town service and be given the title of assistant town attorney, as will two others: Martin Burke and Aaron Janichill.

"We'll be running things more like a law department, where we have very competent, capable, conscientious attorneys who'll divide the work up according to their history and experience," Cummings said.

For instance, Boyan has worked closely on the Home Depot building proposal and will remain in charge of that file, Cummings said.

A similar change in lawyer appointments caused rancor on the Town Council last year, when former Democratic Mayor Ellen L. Marmer's proposal to install Burke met with resistance.

A replacement was needed for Town Attorney Joseph D. Courtney, who had been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Marmer intended to nominate Burke, a Democrat. But a protracted political squabble over executive authority between the mayor and the Republican Town Council majority that involved Burke's legal opinions on Marmer appointments ended when he resigned as special town counsel, a post he held since the mid-1990s.

Boyan, Courtney's law partner, was appointed instead.

On Monday night, Boyan said she expects no such wrangling over the new change in guard.

"It will be an extremely smooth transition," Boyan said. "I think people see this as a political appointment, but it's really not a job that is politically driven.

"It'll be business as usual with no surprises," she added.

Cummings is a graduate of South Windsor High School and Trinity College in Hartford. He received his law degree from Georgetown University in 1970 before going on to active military duty that included a tour in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division.

He returned to South Windsor in 1972 to start his legal career as an associate with Edward R. Kuehn while continuing his military service in the Connecticut National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve.

Cummings has served on the Board of Education, the Conservation Commission, and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

©Journal Inquirer 2007