By James Lomuscio
Westport First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff announced today that he will not seek a third term in November, saying he wants to spend more time with his family and “pursuing other opportunities.”
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff: 22 years in public service. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Joseloff, 67, a native Westporter, career journalist and founder and publisher of WestportNow, has spent almost 22 years in local public service, including 10 as moderator of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) before taking the helm in 2005 with fellow Democrat Second Selectwoman Shelly Kassen.
“Our goal was to make Westport an even better place in the exciting early years of the 21st century,” he said. “With the help of so many others, we believe that we have accomplished that goal.
He noted that Westport is one of the safest towns, “thanks to our highly trained, well equipped, and extremely dedicated police, fire and EMS personnel.”
“Public safety has always been my No. 1 priority,” Joseloff said, a line he has often used with town boards and commissions during budget negotiations.
He also said that Westport enjoys “many other superb municipal services, thanks to our deeply committed town employees,” and he noted that the town’s schools have maintained a top tier rating making “Westport a lighthouse school district that others envy.”
“They have always had our strongest support,” he said of the Board of Education.
Among the projects that Joseloff said he and Kassen “hope will flourish in the months and years ahead” is the senior housing facility on the town-owned Baron’s South property, a key initiative of his administration.
He also cited the building of a new Levitt Pavilion, expansion of the Westport Public Library, a new Westport Weston Family Y, a downtown movie theater, “and general revitalization of our downtown and Saugatuck areas”.
“In the remaining months of our term, Shelly and I will continue to work vigorously to pursue these and other projects,” he said. “An anticipated change in town leadership must not be an excuse to stop or slow down the progress we have made.
“As someone who grew up in Westport, it has been a special honor and privilege to serve my fellow citizens for two terms as the chief elected official,” said Joseloff, who underwent prostate cancer surgery last March.
“I am deeply indebted for the confidence shown in me. The challenges have been great, but the rewards have been even greater in the town I proudly call home.”
Republican James Marpe, Board of Education vice chairman and acting chairman, resigned in December as he announced he will be a candidate for first selectman in November.
There has been widespread speculation that if Joseloff did not seek a third term that state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, a Democrat, native Westporter and former deputy moderator of the RTM, might be interested.