Council passes town manager contract despite opposition

The Town Council approved Mark Sciota’s contract with a $169,069 annual salary. The rookie town manager is the third highest salaried manager in the state.

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

Several motions were passed at last week’s Town Council meeting, Oct. 16, but the only one that saw any opposition was the approval of the new Town Manager contract for Mark Sciota.

The council approved an annual salary of $169,069, along with benefits and a $250 monthly vehicle allowance for the current Deputy Town Manager and Town Attorney. The contract will take effect on Feb. 1, 2018.

Councilor John Barry voiced the only opposition to the rushed signing. He pointed out concerns with the amount of the contract, as well as some concerns with a $250 per month vehicle allowance, an increase in life insurance benefits above the standard for other town employees, and automatic travel expenses for out of state conferences.

Barry made a motion to table the matter before the final vote. Councilor Chris Palmieri seconded Barry’s motion, but the motion failed, 7-2.

“I think that the salary is too high to start as a new town manager, combined with the many perks,” said Barry. “This is not fair to the taxpayers.”

Barry said that the contract does not take effect for four months. “I don’t agree with the current leadership of the town council that this needs to be acted on today, on our very last meeting of this term, for an issue that doesn’t take affect for four months. It should be the new Town Council.”

Some councilors responded. Victoria Triano commented that this is the cost of a town manager, and that is what the town has been paying current Town Manager Garry Brumback. “If you’ve done any work at all in HR, you know that you bring the most qualified person in at the level we have.”

Councilor Tom Lombardi mirrored Triano’s comments. “I am supporting the CEO of this town, and we are going to treat him professionally and I know in exchange we will get a high performing individual.”

Palmieri and councilor Dawn Miceli agreed with Barry’s vehicle allowance remarks.

The motion to approve the contract passed 8 to 1, with Barry casting the dissenting vote.

In addition, the council unanimously passed a number of items. The Board of Finance report passed on a voice vote.

The council approved a resolution for Barnes Museum Grant, requested by Brumback, for the museum roof and restoration design. This is a state grant. Brumback noted that if the grant does not come through, the project will not go forward, or they will need to find an alternative source of funding.

They approved a request by Attorney Denorfia to put a sewer equity in place at the Woodland Heights subdivision off of Loper St. for others who may want to connect to the sewer main that he and his organization have put in for the subdivision.

They approved a recommended plan for the removal of underground storage tanks. This is a budgeted item for approximately $345,000 as part of the capital program. Brumback said this is being split into two pieces. The $45,000 piece is for the removal of tanks at two fire stations in the amount of about $36,000. Because it is a potential for hazardous waste or contamination, the town requested a $9,500 contingency.

The $300,000 would be for redoing the highway garage underground tanks, removing them and consolidating them into one location (the highway garage). Brumback said this would hopefully go forward once a state budget is passed.

The tanks have an expiration date and need to be removed within six months after they are out of use. The two firehouse tanks stopped being used over the summer. The highway tanks expire in 2018.

They approved the Vac-All and temporary labor for leaf pickup bids.

They approved three bids for furnishing, fixtures and equipment at the Calendar House: $87,884 to W. B. Mason; $12,681 for Windham; and $35,374.26 for Interskape.

In new business, tax refunds were approved. Two members, Mike Fasulo and Mike DeFeo were approved 4-year terms with the Parks aand Recreation board. One Alex Ricciardone was approved to Housing Authority for a 5-year term.

The next council meeting isn’t scheduled until after the Nov. 7 election.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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