Candidates for the Lebanon Board of Selectmen

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Lebanon - posted Tue., Oct. 22, 2013
- Contributed Photo

Meet the candidates for the Lebanon Board of Selectmen:

Edward Tytor – First Selectman - Republican

Tytor and his wife, Peggy, have been residents of Lebanon since 1987. He earned his B.S. from Central Connecticut State University with additional masters-level courses in hospital management. He is currently on the Board of Finance and a past member of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Sergeant First Class Tytor served our country for 26 years in the U.S. Army, Army Reserves and the Connecticut National Guard. During his duty, Tytor achieved the Distinguished Service Medal. In addition, Tytor is a past commander and current service officer for the American Legion Post 180. Above serving his country loyally, he has been president of the Connecticut Gun Guild since 2006, and has been involved with the DEEP’s Conservation Firearms Safety Program since 1977.  Tytor is passionate about Lebanon and preserving the land and character of the town. When elected, Tytor will always make time for residents’ concerns, do what is in the best interest for the town and ensure a prosperous and economically-sound future for generations to come.

Linda Finelli – Republican

Finelli is a 38-year resident of Lebanon.  She recently retired from the State of Connecticut, Judicial Branch where she worked in juvenile probation in Willimantic. She currently serves on the Board of Selectmen.  For the past 27 years, she has served on numerous boards and committees to include Jury Selection Chair, Summer Dance Fest, Board of Finance and Recreation Commission. Working for Lebanon, Finelli provides leadership and keeps the people informed of the issues.  Effective communication is extremely important to her, and she believes in working in a team environment where thoughts and ideas are shared.  She has the knowledge, skill and dedication to serve Lebanon once again as a member of the Board of Selectmen. “In order to increase our tax base we need to attract and promote new and expand existing businesses for Lebanon while preserving our town’s rural character and beauty,” said Finelli. “We need to support the agriculture community, support the quality of education within our schools, and support and respect our senior population.  We need responsible fiscal planning through simple common sense practices, and to show professionalism in all areas of government,” said Finelli.

Joyce Okonuk – First Selectman – Democrat

Okonuk is looking forward to the challenge of her 10th term as First Selectman. She has proudly represented her community for 18 years and wishes to continue to serve yet another two-year term.  With the enthusiasm, energy and experience necessary for this challenging position, she will continue to be responsive to residents and make sound financial decisions when spending residents’ tax dollars on the maintenance of town roads, bridges, equipment and municipal buildings and grounds.

To address the ever-increasing complexity of town government, a specific focus has been to improve the level of professional staff in order to provide the level of expertise now needed. In the Finance Office, Okonuk has worked diligently to hire competent professional staff.  The town now has a full-time professional assessor and a public works director with a professional civil engineering background. Okonuk is a member and past-chairman of the Windham Region Council of Governments (WINCOG),  a member of the Board of Directors for the Council of Small Towns (COST), a director on the Eastern Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) and past director for the Conn. Council of Municipalities (CCM).     

Okonuk is a life-long resident of Lebanon who enjoys community involvement as a member of the Lebanon Lions Club, Lebanon Historical Society, LVFD Ladies’ Auxiliary, and a communicant of St. Francis of Assisi Church.

“The Town of Lebanon has weathered the economic challenges of the past several years due to the cooperation and support of our residents,” said Okonuk.  “I will continue to make insightful decisions, propose prudent budgets and plan for Lebanon’s future, keeping in mind what is in the best interests of our community.”

John Bendoraitis - Democrat

Bendoraitis believes that as a multi-million dollar business, the town of Lebanon needs an experienced team to ensure success and stability.  Bendoraitis believes that he complements the skills and abilities of the other members of the Board.  In addition to his businesslike approach to decision-making, he is not afraid to make difficult decisions and stand by them.  In his first 8 years on the Board he has proven to be a very active member.  Bendoraitis does not just show up for meetings – he takes on projects for the betterment of the community.  He is the chief architect of Lebanon’s website and is working on a new version soon to be released. He has spent countless hours working with the Building and Land Use Department to develop and implement procedures to help streamline its operations, ensure a better level of tracking and reporting on activity, including writing custom software – at no additional cost to the town. Most recently Bendoraitis has undertaken a review of the phone, Internet and television services utilized by the town and implemented changes where needed to improve the level of service and ultimately cut costs.

A longtime Lebanon resident, Bendoraitis is retired from ING where he held a high-level management position, often overseeing a staff of 75 or more with multi-million dollar budgets. Bendoraitis brings a business perspective to local government. He is a member of the Board of Directors and treasurer of the Connecticut Youth Leadership Project, Inc., a non-profit organization that sponsors a unique leadership program for high school juniors and seniors with disabilities. Several Lyman students have participated in the program since its inception.

Bendoraitis and Okonuk share many of the same priorities: preserving Lebanon’s rural character, keeping Lebanon affordable, maintaining the significant investment Lebanon has in its town buildings, roads, and bridges, and increasing the professional and technical proficiency of town staff.  But most importantly, Bendoraitis has demonstrated in his years on the board a focus on what is right for Lebanon, regardless of whether it’s a Democratic idea or a Republican idea.

“I am fully committed to improving the quality of Lebanon, proud of our accomplishments in the last eight years and look forward to another term as selectman,” said Bendoraitis. “There is still much to do!  I am eager to continue to work to keep Lebanon a desirable place live.”

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