GOP votes 'no confidence' in town committee chair Pat Sherry refuses to step down from New Milford party leadership post

Pat Sherry refuses to step down from New Milford party leadership post

Pat Sherry said this week she will not resign from her role as chairman of the New Milford Republican Town Committee.

She asserted this Tuesday in spite of allegations made Monday she had waged a behind-the-scenes smear campaign against some party candidates and had raged against the town's GOP mayor.

The accusations preceded a non-confidence vote in Mrs. Sherry's leadership that night at the Republican Town Committee meeting.

"I stand by my reputation and credibility,'' Mrs.Sherry said Tuesday. "I will never lower myself to the actions taken last night. I don't sling mud at anybody.''

Of 28 party members eligible to vote, 20 cast votes of non-confidence against Mrs. Sherry. Five people favored her position and three opted to abstain Monday night.

The committee has 40 members.

"I don't think our town chairman is a good leader," Robert Guendelsberger, a Town Council member seeking re-election and a long-time party leader, said Monday night.

"I think she's vindicative, divisive and a control freak," he added, "and I move that we take a vote of no confidence.''

At the meeting, Mr. Guendelsberger recited a litany of offenses Mrs. Sherry is alleged to have made since the caucus when her husband, Bob Sherry, the Board of Finance chairman, was not endorsed for a town council seat.

The most egregious were striving to sideline endorsed candidates and threatening to seek Mayor Patricia Murphy's defeat this fall. He said she also made inappropriate remarks about Mayor Murphy's family.

Mayor Murphy is away and could not be reached for comment.

Clearly angry at the orchestrated effort to remove her from office, Mrs. Sherry walked out of the meeting prior to the vote. Before she left, she stated, "This is all hearsay.''

Mrs. Sherry's parting words Monday night were that airing petty grievances in public is "wrong."

She said she stands behind her allegiance and devotion to the party's efforts.

Town council member Joseph Failla opted not to seek re-election due to Mrs. Sherry's offensive behavior toward him, Mr. Guendelsberger claimed.

Mr. Failla and Mrs. Sherry shared harsh words at the caucus over a school board nomination.

"One of the reasons I decided not to run was because I don't like the things that are happening in the party... not because of any one person,'' said Mr. Failla.

Mrs. Sherry said Tuesday she will not step down and she will continue to promote the Republican agenda for victory in November.

Town committee officer elections are held in March.

"The role of chairman in the party is not always a popular one,'' said Mrs. Sherry, who is serving her second two-year term. "My job is to speak to people who do not adhere to our principles and platforms."

"I have people who have run on our ticket because we are a strong party," she said, "and after the election they come out with ideals that are not what we ran on. So I'm not going to resign because a small group of people are unhappy.''

Mrs. Sherry said there have been some people she has reprimanded because they vote contrary to party principles, behave in ways that poorly reflect the party, or do not live in town.

The last was a swipe at Mr. Guendelsberger, who has been criticized for serving the town while owning a residence in Brookfield.

Mr. Guendelsberger argues he has a summer home in Brookfield, but lives and practices law in New Milford.

"I am sure I will now be the subject of her scorn," he said, "but I'm just trying to cut the cancer out of the body."

At least three people left the town committee meeting Monday disgusted "dirty laundry'' had been publicly aired.

"Pat has spent a lot of years doing good for this town,'' said Cecilia Buck-Taylor, a new candidate for town council this year. "This should have been handled a different way.''

Committee and school board member Wendy Faulenbach concurred.

"There has been so much drama over the last couple weeks and it had to come to an end somehow, but I'm not sure it's the right venue,'' Ms. Faulenbach said.

Campaign committee chairman Pete Bass said the time has come to focus on the election.

"As of right now, the bickering and cry-babying stops,'' said Mr. Bass, who is seeking re-eleciton to the council.

Mrs. Sherry said that is also her goal.

"Let's move forward and get our Republicans elected. Perpetuating this is not going to help anybody," she said.

Mr. Bass agreed.

"Like any family, we're going to have agreements and disagreements," he remarked. "As a party, the time has come to set aside our differences."

"We need to move forward in unity to get Republican elected," he added, "so we can continue to build upon our infrastructure, encourage economic development to offset tax and create efficiencies in government, so we continue to make this a great place to live.''

Contact Nanci Hutson at or at (860) 354-2274.