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Cheryl Thibeault Out as Bristol Board of Finance Chair — John Smith Takes on The Role

Cheryl Thibeault former Bristol Board of Finance Chairwoman

Longtime Bristol Board of Finance Chairperson Cheryl Thibeault is out as the chair of the powerful Bristol Board.

Established and governed by the City of Bristol Charter, the Board of Finance is authorized with specific powers and duties related to the fiscal policies of the City.

At last week’s meeting, the nine-member board elected a new chair and vice-chair. John Smith, longtime Bristol resident and community leader, was elected to be the new chair, and Orlando Calfe, an active member of the community and former IBM business executive, was elected vice-chair.

Smith replaces Thibeault who chose to not seek re-election, and Calfe replaces Smith, who had served as Vice Chair.

John Smith served for twenty years as the Assistant Superintendent of Bristol Public Schools and Chief Business Administrator. Smith left the Board of Education to become a senior Vice President with Bristol Hospital until his partial retirement in 2006, at which point he went into private business consulting.

“We couldn’t have asked for a more qualified person to take this leadership role,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, “John Smith may be one of the most civic-minded, community oriented people I know.”

In addition to his many years of service at the Hospital and with Bristol Public Schools, Smith has also held various leadership roles at the United Way, the Bristol Education Foundation, the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce, the Main Street Community Foundation, as well as having served on various City of Bristol committees.

“He is the most qualified person to lead the Board of Finance,” said newly elected vice chair, Orlando Calfe, “I really look forward to working under John’s leadership.”

Much like Smith, Calfe also has a long record of community service in the City of Bristol. In addition to his time with the Board of Finance, Calfe has also been a Library commissioner, where he served as the chair of the Finance subcommittee; a Board of Education commissioner; a member of the Housing Code Board of Appeals; and a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Energy Consumption. He holds an MBA from the University of Connecticut, is currently a Services Availability Manager for public companies in the financial sector, assessing data for risk analysis in terms of business continuity, disaster recovery and resiliency.

“Strategic and financial planning are main objectives for providing sustained growth and stability,” Calfe said.

“I think we are moving in the right direction with many of these initiatives and I am happy to serve in a leadership role to move them forward.”

Bristol’s Board of Finance provides the financial guidance and oversight that every town needs.

The Board holds tremendous power and members work seriously on keeping the city budget within reasonable spending limits while allowing the City to grow and prosper. The delicate balance between town income and expenses is especially apparent when property and business taxes become due.

The next Board of Finance meeting will be held at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, February 26th in the City Hall Council Chambers. All meetings are open to the public.

A complete listing of Board of Finance commissioners as well as a variety of City financial documents are available on the Comptroller’s office tab of the city website.

Cheryl Thibeault could not be reached for comment.

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