By SHERIDAN CYR
Carolyn Futtner has been tapped as Southington’s next Town Attorney. Unlike her predecessor, she will not need to leave her personal practice to assume the role. Going forward, Town Attorneys will be paid hourly, at the standard rate of $150 per hour, and serve as-needed.
Futtner is a founding partner at Mancini, Provenzano and Futtner, LLC. She fell short in her recent bid for a Town Council seat as a Democrat in November’s municipal election.
“Carolyn has over 12 years of continuous litigation experience from case initiation, pretrial motion arguments, and ultimately to trial in a wide variety of cases in all courts throughout the state,” said Kelly Morrisey (D) when nominating the town’s first female Town Attorney.
The decision was made at the Dec. 11 Town Council meeting, after the council officially appointed former Town Attorney Mark Sciota as Acting Town Manager. Sciota offered his letter of resignation now that he has been named as the next Town Manager. The interim role will run until his contract starts on Feb. 1.
“It is my most honorable pleasure to nominate him,” said Dawn Miceli (D) when she made the motion. It was seconded by Mike Riccio (R).
Miceli noted that Sciota is a life-long Southington resident, a lawyer, former Town Attorney and has the experience necessary. The nomination made sense as Sciota transitions into his permanent role.
As acting town manager, Sciota will be directly responsible to the council for the supervision and administration of all commissions, boards, departments, offices and agencies of the town except those elected by the people, appointed by the council or appointed by a regional, state or federal authority. The manager has full right to participate in discussions but cannot vote.
Next, Democrats appointed Futtner to fill Sciota’s former position as Town Attorney, a two-year term by an affirmative vote of a majority. Though she was unanimously voted into the position, Republicans Tom Lombardi and William Dziedzic expressed concern prior to the vote.
Lombardi referenced each of the Democrats’ candidate responses from The Observer prior to elections, pointing out that Morrissey said she has “never been handed a job.” The question asked candidates to respond to the appointment of Sciota to Town Manager, which saw some controversy in town.
“Mark Sciota may be the most qualified candidate, but now we’ll never know. I would not support holding a costly nationwide search, but a general canvas of the Northeast using a job posting would have created a process,” Morrissey said in her candidate response. “The process is important to proving transparency and in the best interests of the town.”
Lombardi challenged the appointment, saying the Dems were turning on what they expressed prior to elections. Despite his objections to the process, Lombardi said he would support Futtner in the vote and felt she would be a good fit for the position.
Dziedzic said that the nomination was the first time he was hearing about any candidates at all for Town Attorney. He protested that Sciota had already met with Futtner to go over job responsibilities and to start to bring her up to speed before the council vote.
In addition, Paul Bedard of Sheffy, Mazzaccaro, DePaolo & DeNigris, LLP was unanimously voted into the position of Assistant Town Attorney. He joined the firm in 2012 as a graduate of Central Connecticut State University and the Quinnipiac University School of Law.
The council voted on a few items at the end of the meeting. They decided unanimously to set a public hearing on Jan. 8 for South End Pump Station Bond Ordinance, and voted to push the 8-24 referral of bond ordinance to Planning and Zoning. They approved the tax refund item and appointed a number of various members to the Board of Library Directors, Police Commissioners, Ethics Board, SEED, Veterans Committee, Senior Citizen Commission and Disability Commission.
The council voted, 8-1, to table action on preferred bidder ordinance after a heated discussion. Miceli voted against tabling the matter. They will revisit at their Jan. 8 meeting.