The Town Council recently voted to hire interim Town Manager Arosha Jayawickrema for the permanent position.
“I'm ecstatic, very appreciative of the council and others recognizing what I bring to the table and appreciative of what we can do together,” Jayawickrema said.
He was hired as the interim manager in July after the resignation of Jack Healy, who took a position with the town of New Milford to be closer to family. The town charter stipulates an interim manager can only serve six months.
Mayor Mark Kaczynski said Jayawickrema has already been a consensus builder who listens to people in and out of Town Hall
“He’s a quick learner obviously,” Kaczynski said. “He’s doing great with the issues so far.”
Councilor Joann Angelico-Stetson agreed.
“In a short time he’s gained the respect and frankly admiration of everyone he’s worked with,” she said.
Jayawickrema will earn $145,000 a year, $5,000 more than his predecessor. The agreement allows Jayawickrema to maintain his residence in Andover provided he purchases a residence in Berlin within a year. The Town Charter requires that the town manager reside in town.
Both Stetson and Kaczynski said that requiring the town manager to reside in town limits the pool of applicants.
“I think probably all of us on the council would like to change that,” Kaczynski said.
Before coming to Berlin, Jayawickrema served as the vice president of finance and administration at the University of Hartford from 2007 through 2018.
Jayawickrema’s goal is to create a “24/7 town hall” by making it easier to use credit cards for payments and moving some paperwork, like permit applications, online. Streamlining town government is also a priority. He feels exploring ways to allow managers more autonomy could lead to a smaller management staff overall.
“Having fewer people reporting to me gives me time for me to focus on the broader, more important issues for the town,” Jayawickrema said.