MERIDEN — Economic Development Director Juliet Burdelski abruptly resigned Friday.
Burdelski submitted her letter of resignation Thursday, effective the following day.
City Manager Tim Coon said Burdelski left for personal reasons. Burdelski couldn’t be reached for comment.
“I am writing to inform you after much thought, I am resigning my position as the Director of Economic Development of the City of Meriden effective tomorrow,” Burdelski wrote. “...Thank you for the opportunity to serve in this position during your tenure.”
The resignation came as a surprise, Coon said, adding the city will look to fill the opening as soon as possible.
Burdelski was heavily involved in several downtown redevelopment projects. She was hired as grants administrator in 2006 and promoted to the director position in 2013. Her annual salary was $110,000.
“She meant a great deal to the city. Much of what you see in the downtown area and the (Meriden) Green is attributable to her work,” Coon said.
Burdelski joins at least eight other department heads who have left in the past six months or who are scheduled to retire later this year as part of a retirement incentive program.
“This was not expected, so we have to change stride going forward,” Coon said. “But in the context of all the other turmoil … it’s one more wave in the ocean.”
Coon said Burdelski leaves a “large number” of ongoing projects. Other staff familiar with the work will “carry through.”
“We’re just going to have to make do,” Coon said.
Burdelski provided Coon with a “detailed list of instructions regarding open projects and a final timesheet,” according to her letter.
Coon and Mayor Kevin Scarpati both stressed the need to fill the vacancy as soon as possible. Of the department head positions that are open and will become open, Scarpati said filling the economic development director position is “most important.”
“This is the person that helps craft an image for our city to help not only bring in new businesses, but retain existing businesses,” Scarpati said.
This is the second time Burdelski resigned from the director position. In November 2017, Burdelski submitted a resignation letter just days after reportedly being questioned by the FBI about City Manager Guy Scaife's handling of the selection of a workers' compensation administrator. Burdelski did not mention the FBI inquiry in her letter of resignation, but said in an email to city councilors that the meeting "was very upsetting to me.” At the time, Scaife said he was confident the FBI would find no evidence of wrongdoing on his part.
Burdelski later rescinded her resignation in December 2017 a few days after the City Council voted to terminate Scaife for “escalating discord” in City Hall.
"I look forward to working with all of our partners to complete the pending development projects and advance the city's economic development agenda in 2018," Burdelski said at the time.
Then-City Manager Ken Morgan allowed Burdelski to come back despite opposition from the council’s minority caucus.
“Her performance and attitude have been toxic and detrimental within City Hall and the city has a whole," Council Minority Leader Dan Brunet, a Republican, said in 2017. "This will be an ongoing personnel issue going forward, so that's about all I have to say on it."