from - family and friends, Stephen E. Kinsella
was sworn in Wednesday morning as the town's new probate judge.Kinsella
, a Democrat, was elected in November, defeating - narrowly - his Republican challenger, Richard D. Carella.
...Instead, they gave the party's nomination to Kinsella, the party chairman.
At mid-morning Wednesday, he
savored the sweet fruit of his
victory.As his wife, Nancy, and sons, James and Jude, looked on, Kinsella took the oath of office from Town Clerk Bernadette Dillon.
The probate judge deals with issues involving wills and estates, as well as child custody issues and issues dealing with the mentally challenged, Kinsella
said.More recently, probate judges have also become involved in implementing new passport regulations.Kinsella
decision to run for the judge's post came about through a confluence of events.He
was serving as assistant corporation counsel for Hartford when the Democratic Town committee made its decision not to support Guliani.And then, "I had an opportunity to retire from the city," he
explained.Kinsella then went to consult former selectman Thomas W. Flood, the chairman of the Democrats' candidate selection committee, to ask about the probate judge's post.
has been active in town affairs, but recently enacted state ethics requirements have forced him to cu tback on or relinquish a number of the positions he
had held."I had to step down from the Gildersleeve Trust
, because the judge of probate appoints three of the members of their board, and I resigned from the Board of Assessment Appeals."He
also stepped down as a justice of the peace.He is the chairman of the Charter Revision Commission but has retained that position at least for now, "because the state says I don't have to step down."Kinsella
will spend the rest of this week and part of next week attending mandatory state classes for incoming probate judges.When he
begins regular office hours, he
expects to open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 2 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays."We'll see how that works out," he
most immediate concern is installing a computer system in his
office."We are one of the few offices in the state that is not computerized, if you can believe that," he
also intends to employ a clerk.For the immediate future, Kinsella said, he intends to rely on the advice and counsel of former Madison Judge of Probate Carol Lugee.