Our slate of Democratic candidates this year includes the founder of Wilton Pride, a member of the advisory committee administering the opioid settlement in the state, one of the top 20 “knowledge brokers” in the country, a creator of Wilton’s emergency response team, a corporate controller, the president of an aviation advisory firm, as well as incumbents who have done standout work on the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Education and the Board of Assessment Appeals… We could go on. This is simply one of the most impressive and well-qualified groups of candidates we have ever assembled, with educational resumes that include the University of Chicago, Dartmouth University, Fordham, NYU, Columbia, the Boston School of Law, and Northwestern. Our slate is full of faces fresh to politics, along with those who have served the community for years. Get to know them, and please find a way, at a time when so many critical issues are coming to the fore in Wilton, that you can get out and support them, too. Welcome to the 2023 Democratic Team!
Farah Masani (she/her), is a farmer and social justice advocate with a BA in Social Work and Economics. She is founder of Wilton Pride, the President of Trackside Teen Center, a Scout Leader of BSA Troop 125, a volunteer at Middlebrook PTA and CP2027 Co-Chair at WYC. She was appointed by the Board of Selectmen to serve on the SIMM (Schenk’s Island/Merwin Meadows) Committee. Farah has lived in Wilton since 2009. She is married to Shawn Frendt, one of Wilton’s finest, a police officer here for 24 years. They live in town center with their child Oliver and their rescue, Scruffy. Farah works at Barcelona Wine Bar as the Director of Purchasing.
“I’m running for the Board of Selectperson to make our community better. I really care about improving our shared experience, boosting the economy in a smart way, making sure everyone’s heard, and celebrating our differences. I’m all about moving forward and not giving up, which makes me the perfect person to make good things happen. I’ll also make sure everyone is part of the process and that our town government works well together.”
Ross Tartell (incumbent)
Ross Tartell (incumbent) is seeking his second term on the BOS. Tartell founded a leadership development consulting firm and is a professor at Columbia University, where he received both an M.B.A. and Ph.D. Before retiring he worked in senior managerial positions at GE Capital and Pfizer. Having spent his career helping individuals become successful leaders and enabling organizations to achieve peak performance, he brings that same commitment to public service, serving as a Wilton fire commissioner, chairing long-range planning teams in Wilton schools for 22 years, and now volunteering with the Wilton Kiwanis. Ross and his wife, Karen, moved to Wilton in 1989. Their son graduated from WHS.
“I am running for the Wilton Board of Selectmen because it is some of the most significant and meaningful work I can do. I have spent my life helping people find common ground and then work together to create a bright future. I believe that taking action on a local level to keep Wilton a great place to live is where I can make a huge difference in all of our lives. Vote for me for Board of Selectmen on Election Day”.
Tim Birch is Executive Vice President-Legal and Corporate Development for NorthStar Memorial Group, LLC, Houston, Texas. Birch manages all legal functions as well as mergers and acquisitions for a funeral and cemetery company with approximately 100 businesses in 13 states. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Muhlenberg College, which he attended before earning a Masters at Xavier University and a law degree from Boston University School of Law. Tim has served on the boards of the Wilton Soccer Association and Ridgefield Academy and currently serves on the committee administering the opioid settlement in Connecticut. Tim and his wife Cathy have lived in Wilton for over 31 years and they raised their two sons here.
“As a long time resident of Wilton I would like to be a part of developing a strategic plan for the town. I think I bring a new perspective to Finance as an experienced corporate finance attorney”.
Slava Servello is Controller for North Sails Group LLC in Bridgeport and previously served a similar position with Sisley Cosmetics in Danbury. Servello has overseen all facets of strategic financial planning, including budget management and financial reporting. She earned an MBA in Accounting & Finance/Leadership & Change Management from New York University. She is Treasurer of the Miller-Driscoll PTA and has two children who attend Wilton schools.
“I’m running for position on Board of Finance because I want to be useful to our town by using my accounting and finance skillset. I’m eager to contribute to the town’s success, support town development and the educational goals of our school district for a brighter future”.
David Tatkow has lived in Wilton with his wife and two children since 2014, and has served as an investment advisor to several multi-billion dollar public and private pension funds since 2010. He graduated with an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2007. Both of David’s chil-dren have attended Wilton public schools since kindergarten, and they will be attending Cider Mill in the 2023-24 academic year.
“I’m running to ensure that our town’s schools receive the resources they need to remain the best in the state, all while providing fiscal oversight to minimize the financial burden on our residents”.
Ruth DeLuca (incumbent)
Ruth DeLuca (Incumbent) was elected to the Board of Education in 2019 and is currently serving as chair. Ruth has a strong policy and legal background and is practiced in the principles of collaboration, cooperation, and communication. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Northeastern, a master’s in philosophy and social policy from George Washington University and a JD from Brooklyn Law School. Ruth represented biotech healthcare companies on issues of science and regulatory affairs. Her pro bono work included assistance to individuals navigating the healthcare and insurance system. Ruth and her husband are proud products of public schools and are committed to the mission of public education. They moved to Wilton in 2016 for its excellent schools and small, caring community. They have three children making their way through the Wilton Public Schools.
“Our schools are the heart of our community. With a rich legacy of excellence, WPS has always strived for the best. As current Chair of the Board of Education, I am deeply proud to play a role in this legacy. We must continue to cherish, strengthen, and adapt our school system to meet today’s challenges and those ahead. Together, we can ensure that every student is inspired and prepared to make a meaningful contribution in our global society”.
Patrick Pearson is Vice President, Open Banking Partnership Sales for Mastercard. He was awarded Mastercard’s 2022 CEO Award. A graduate of Fordham University, he is a volunteer with the First Tee of Connecticut and formerly Board Chair of FISH of Greater New Haven. He chairs the Mastercard employee golf tournament that raises funds for First Tee of CT, Ronald McDonald House of NY, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He and his wife Jessica have lived in Wilton for two years. Their two daughters attend Miller-Driscoll School and Children’s Day School.
“Our schools are the most important asset that Wilton has and I want to ensure that we continue to invest in and protect that asset so that our children and our community continue to benefit from it well into the future”.
Mark Ahasic is an appointed member of the P&Z Commission. As President of Ahasic Aviation Advisors, he has worked in the aviation industry as a consultant to airlines, airports, terminal operators, infrastructure funds, and government agencies worldwide for 25 years, including several years of leading planning initiatives at JetBlue and Ove Arup & Partners. He has an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering and Management Science from Northwestern University. He has lived in Wilton with his wife Amy and their two children since 2018.
“I’m running to continue my role on our Planning & Zoning Commission because engineering and master planning have always been passions of mine, and I have long looked for a way to translate this within our community. The role will give me the chance to combine my skills with my desire to serve Wilton. Ultimately, my goal is to ensure that Wilton offers what is most meaningful to young families and citizens of all kinds”.
Bob Zsunkan (incumbent)
Robert Zsunkan (incumbent) is chair of the Board of Assessment Appeals, on which he has served since 2020. Zsunkan is the former Vice President and Audit Manager for Partner Reinsurance Group, an international company offering life, casualty and property insurance. He is now retired after a 50-year career in the reinsurance industry. Zsunkan earned a bachelor’s degree in business and an MBA from Adelphi University. He and his wife Alison have two grown sons who were educated in the Wilton school system
“I hope to bring my years of business experience and work on the Board of Assessment Appeals to continue bringing fairness and transparency to the whole community”.
Bo Mitchell (incumbent)
Bo Mitchell (Incumbent) was Wilton Police Commissioner from 1985 to 2001, and thereafter founder of 911 Consulting, which manages corporate emergency and crisis planning, management. He has lived in Wilton since 1970 and served as a constable since leaving the Police Commission two decades ago. He helped develop Wilton’s Community Emergency Response Team.
Meet the Candidates!
Ernest Ricco (incumbent)
Ernie Ricco (Incumbent), has owned a property, construction and management firm since 1988 and has for 25 years coached football at the collegiate and high school level. He has been married 35 years to Brenda Scott Ricco. They have six children ranging in age from 18 to 32, all of whom graduated from Wilton public schools. Ricco is a three-term Constable. He has served 38 years in municipal, state and national elected and appointed positions including councilman at age 22.
Jane Rinard is a retired financial consultant who has lived with her husband Damon in Wilton for eight years following a 40-year career, most recently as a consultant to tech start-up companies. She earned a BA in Accounting from the University of Illinois and an MBA from San Diego State University. A former competitive cyclist, Jane has been active in local politics with the Democratic Town Committee.