BERLIN – After over a year without a permanent town manager, some officials are questioning the search process.
“We need to have a permanent solution,” said Town Council member Karen Pagliaro, a Democrat, on Thursday. “Personally I don’t think I’ve seen a timeline or an end in sight.”
Others also questioned the process during a recent Town Council meeting.
“We’ve used almost every word in the dictionary to describe temporary,” said Board of Finance Chairman Sam Lomaglio, a Republican. “This should not be a (partisan) issue, it should be a Berlin issue.”
Public Works Director and Town Engineer Jack Healy, a Litchfield resident, was appointed the temporary town manager in February 2017 after the council agreed to a separation agreement with Town Manager Denise McNair in January 2017.
After 90 days, Healy was made interim town manager. When the interim status expired after 180 days, Healy went back to being the temporary manager. In November 2017, the council agreed to appoint Healy as acting manager when histemporary title expired.
A search committee was established last year consisting of all members of the Town Council and Denise Parsons, human resources director.
Parsons did not immediately return a request for comments on the search.
Since it was formed, according to town records, the search committee has met three times in closed-door executive sessions.
“We do have a town manager, in place for over a year, I understand he’s acting but he’s doing a fine job,” said Mayor Mark Kaczynski at the Tuesday council meeting. “It’s actually on our agenda tonight in executive session to bring our new council members up to speed.”
Republican councilor Alex Giannone said Friday the committee discussed the town manager search in executive session.
“I’m not trying to play politics, I’m trying to do what’s best for the town,” he said.
He said one of his long-term goals is to revise the Town Charter requirement that the manager live in Berlin. A previous attempt to change the town manager residency requirement failed at referendum.
Kaczynski said a couple candidates are still interested in the position.
“We’ve always had a plan,” he said. “The last council decided they didn’t want to spend money on a search firm.”
Healy’s acting status expires on April 25.
When asked if a permanent town manager could be in place by then, Kaczynski said “it’s always a possibility.”
Healy is in the running for the permanent position as well as two other candidates.