MERIDEN — The city is exploring ways to replace economic development specialist Paola Mantilla, who resigned again last month to pursue a career in law enforcement.
City Manager Tim Coon said the city “is looking to fill that function,” adding he doesn’t know whether the city will hire someone into the same position or create a new one. Coon said he will have a better idea in the coming months as the city learns how many employees will participate in a recently approved retirement incentive program.
This was the second time Mantilla resigned this year to pursue a career in law enforcement. She initially resigned in January to attend the police academy, but then later changed her mind and was rehired by the city over the summer at a reduced salary — from $75,000 to $55,000 — before resigning a second-time last month.
Mantilla upon returning said leaving her post originally “was probably one of the hardest decisions I had to make," adding, “I love Meriden, and that's why I'm back here.”
Mantilla couldn’t be reached for comment.
“It's certainly a disappointment not being fully staffed again,” said Juliet Burdelski, the city’s economic development director.
At the time she was rehired, Burdelski called Mantilla an “important team member” and said it was “great having her back.”
Burdelski put forward a proposal to Coon that would amend the economic development specialist's job description to “include other (Community Development Block Grant)-funded activities,” she said in an email Wednesday.
“This would piggyback the anticipated retirements in the Planning/Housing Division and would allow us to administer important economic development activities in conjunction with established CDBG-funded programs including facade improvement and home rehab loans,” Burdelski said. “We should know more in the coming weeks if this will work based on the retirement announcements.”
Burdelski said in the meantime her office will “continue to focus on business development, brownfield redevelopment and TOD in cooperation with the Making Meriden Business Center advisors who are focusing on business recruitment and marketing.”