Deb Polun Tapped to Fill Vacancy on West Hartford Town Council

Deb Polun. Courtesy photo (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor has announced that Deb Polun will be nominated to fill a vacancy on the Town Council.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor said she and her Democratic colleagues will be nominating Deb Polun to fill a vacant seat on the West Hartford Town Council created by the resignation of Adrienne Billings-Smith earlier this month.

Polun is currently a member of the West Hartford Board of Education where she has served since 2017, including a term as chair, She will be formally nominated for the Council seat at the next regular meeting, on Nov. 9 and will be resigning from the Board of Education.

Polun said she is humbled to be nominated, and looks forward to continuing to serve a town that has given so much to her and her family.

“I am proud of my five years on the Board of Education,” Polun told We-Ha.com. “Now I am thrilled to be joining Town Council, with the opportunity to broaden my service to our wonderful community.”

“This is a transformative time for West Hartford with lots of exciting community and economic development projects in the works, and it was very important to me and my Democratic colleagues to find an experienced public servant who understands our community and is ready to hit the ground running,” Cantor said in a statement. “Deb has a proven track record as a leader on the Board of Education, and we are fortunate to have her experience.”

Polun and her husband, Ian, live in West Hartford and their two children graduated from Hall High School. She has more than 20 years experience in the field of public policy, and currently is executive director of the Connecticut Association for Community Action, a state association for community action agencies that provide services to low-income people. In addition, she chairs the Government Affairs Task Force for the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Polun’s legacy of community service includes serving on the West Hartford Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities, as Vice President of the League of Women Voters of Greater Hartford, as a mentor in the West Hartford Public Schools, and in several positions on the Board of Directors for Congregation B’nai Tikvoh Sholom (previously Tikvoh Chadoshoh).

Deputy Mayor Liam Sweeney added his support to the nomination of Polun. “Deb is an enthusiastic, creative problem solver, and I look forward to collaborating with her to maintain West Hartford as one of the most livable, successful and welcoming communities in America,” he said in a statement.

Billings-Smith has accepted a paid position as the town’s equity coordinator, reporting to Executive Director of Equity Advancement Roszena Haskins, which was the reason for her resignation from the Town Council. When Polun is formally appointed to the Town Council seat, that will create a domino effect of leaving a vacancy on the Board of Education.

Under Town Charter, the Board will have 90 days to appoint someone to serve the remainder of her term.

Board Chair Lorna Thomas-Farquharson expressed her appreciation for Polun’s service, and said a replacement will be identified soon.

“Deb has been a wonderful partner in supporting our nationally recognized school system,” Thomas-Farquharson said in a statement. “I am grateful to her for her service on the Board, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role.”

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