SOUTHINGTON — Town Manager Mark Sciota’s budget proposal includes a $10,000 stipend for a deputy town manager who can fill in for him if he’s absent.
The $10,000 would come from an account used to pay the town attorney. Proposed duties for the deputy town manager include some of Sciota’s as well as tasks currently handled by Town Attorney Carolyn Futtner.
Sciota said the stipend position would be posted “for current, non-union department heads.” The job description includes assisting in the day-to-day operations of the town. Since funding is moved from another account, Sciota said the stipend wouldn’t increase spending overall.
The proposal drew criticism from Jack Perry, a former Town Council candidate, during Monday’s budget hearing. He said additional tasks could be delegated to department leaders at no additional cost.
“I don’t think we need to give a department head $10,000 to help the town manger out,” he said.
William Dziedzic, a Republican town councilor, said the idea of a designated deputy town manager made sense.
“I think it’s prudent for a town our size, organizationally, to have a deputy town manager or at least (someone to) execute the duties in the town manager’s absence,” he said. “You wouldn’t run a corporate organization with no successor, no backup.”
John Barry, a Democratic councilor, said he hasn’t made up his mind about the request but wants to move “cautiously, conservatively” with spending in light of the state’s financial situation.
“We have to be very concerned to protect the local taxpayers,” Barry said. “My emphasis is to put the taxpayers first.”
Sciota was appointed by the council to the town manager’s position after the departure of Garry Brumback. Sciota had held the position of deputy town manager and town attorney under Brumback and the previous town manager, John Weichsel.
After Sciota’s appointment, the town attorney role was made an hourly job rather than a full-time town employee. The deputy town manager role was not filled.
The council votes on the budget next month.
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