Kalamarides resigns Wilton DTC leadership

John Kalamarides, who has been chairman of the Wilton Democratic Town Committee for six years, resigned his position effective immediately. Mr. Kalamarides announced he was stepping down at the committee’s meeting Tuesday, June 4.

Although it took the committee by surprise, Mr. Kalamarides said it was a move he had been thinking about.

“I was coming up on six years as chair of the DTC,” he told The Bulletin on Wednesday. “Honestly, I was beginning to think I needed a change and they needed a change as well. It was time. So I resigned as chair and the easiest way to do it was immediately. There are no hard feelings. I also resigned as a member to get out of the way of my successor.

“It’s a very time-consuming position,” he added. “My wife says it’s a minimum of three hours a day. I was just getting exhausted.”

Mr. Kalamarides’ term was not up until January 2014. Deborah McFadden is the committee’s vice chair.

Mr. Kalamarides, who has lived in town since August 1982, said he got into politics at the urging of David Borglum.

“After mass on Sunday he and I would meet at Stop & Shop and we would always talk,” Mr. Kalamarides said. “David would encourage me to come to a meeting and get involved. He’s a very subtle persuader.”

Mr. Borglum was one of three named Democrat of the Year in 2012.

Paul Burnham, a committee member who was at Tuesday night’s meeting, said Mr. Kalamarides’ announcement “very much took the committee by surprise.”

“John accomplished a great deal for the local Democratic party in his six years as chair and previous years as a committee member,” he said. “It is very difficult to imagine someone filling his shoes. We’ve got a difficult job ahead of us in that respect.

“We still very much believe in our cause and making a difference in town. We’re not defeated,” he said.

Troy Ellen Dixon echoed Mr. Burnham’s reaction.

“I was astonished by it,” she said. “I had no expectation it was coming, but I completely understood when he explained his reasons. I have no doubt he is still a completely committed Democrat.”

Of Mr. Kalamarides’ term of office Ms. Dixon said, “I think he did a masterful job in terms of leadership and taking us to the next level — locally, statewide and also nationally. I think that was important in moving us forward as a body.”

In looking back at his tenure, Mr. Kalamarides said he was “very proud that we were able to elect Peggy Reeves to the 143rd District state representative seat. Very proud that we have been able to honor some of our outstanding Democrats who really deserve some recognition.

“Very proud we’ve been able to bring outstanding people to Wilton including the governor, the president of the Connecticut Senate and the Connecticut House majority leader, and I’m very proud we’ve been able to work together as a committee in real harmony to create a presence in the community and lift the spirits of all Democrats so they know they are a vital part of Wilton government and Wilton politics.”

Outside of politics, Mr. Kalamarides is a certified financial planner and vice president for wealth management at Source Capital Group in Westport. With his newfound time he hopes to spend more time with his grandchildren “read a book and travel along with attending to some errands around the house.”

Mr. Burnham said he would look into the committee’s by-laws to determine the steps in finding Mr. Kalamarides’ successor.

“People are taking a deep breath as they process it,” Ms. Dixon said, “and we’ll go from there.

“I think John has left us in a good place. He left us suddenly but he left us in a great place.”