Following the resignation of Selectman Gavin Anderson, the Republican Town Committee will form a nominating committee to identify a potential successor to the Republican, who stepped down this week because of health reasons.

Under the town charter, Anderson's successor cannot be a Democrat because the panel's two other members -- First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and Selectwoman Shelly Kassen -- are Democrats, and no political party is allowed to control all three seats.

The Democratic selectmen, however, are not bound to accept the RTC recommendation. The appointee could be another Republican who they favor over the town committee's choice, or an unaffiliated voter.

The nominating committee, composed of RTC members and other local Republicans, will interview a "wide variety" of candidates, according to RTC Chairman Bob Zappi. The committee will recommend a candidate to the full RTC, which will subsequently vote to recommend a candidate to the Board of Selectmen. Zappi added that he expects the RTC to recommend a successor to the Democratic selectmen within the next 45 days.

In his letter of resignation, Anderson paid tribute to Westport as a "wonderful, contributing community." He also stressed the need for vigorous, yet respectful debate in the public forum.

"We may not always have been in agreement, but the ability to debate civilly, and to move projects forward that better our town, has always been a joint objective. As times change, and as our demographics change as well, it will always be my hope that this style of debate and settlement of issues will remain."

Town Republicans interested in being considered by the RTC as a potential successor to Anderson can contact Zappi at 203-454-3168.