Members of the Candlewood Lake Authority (CLA) recognized the contributions of outgoing delegate Bruce Kemble at its July 12 meeting. Mr. Kemble, a New Fairfield delegate since 1994, will continue to serve the CLA as an advisor to the Equipment/Facilities Committee.
CLA Chairman Phyllis Schaer introduced new delegate Jeff Main. He is conservation program administrator for the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and an adjunct professor at Westchester Community College SUNY/Purchase, and Norwalk Community College. He also served for ten years on both the New Fairfield Inland Wetlands Commission and the New Fairfield Land Trust. Mr. Main brings a scientific background to the CLA.
The meeting then moved to public comment. Several members of the public spoke in support of the CLA’s process to search for and select a new executive director. Former director Larry Marsicano resigned from his position effective June 30 after 14 years in the position.
The CLA has tasked a Human Resources Committee to begin a search process to find a new executive director, following the process outlined in its bylaws. However, there has been disagreement voiced by a small number of delegates as to how the process should work. They feel that the search process should be turned over to the CEOs of the five towns that border the lake; Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman, and New Milford.
Comments from the public at the meeting disagreed with this. Candlewood Voices founding member and lake advocate John McCartney stated that doing so would “usurp the legitimate authority of the CLA by having the CEOs appoint the CLA executive director. That approach is not supported by the CLA bylaws, nor the ordinances or charters of the towns. This approach would not be consistent with past practices and procedures and we feel would not be in the best interest of the lake.”
After public comment, Ms. Schaer noted that since Bruce Kemble’s term had expired, his place on the HR Committee would be taken by Jeff Main. She then went on to outline the updated HR Committee roster: Mark Toussaint, New Milford; Bill Lohan, Brookfield; Dan Rosemark, Danbury; Doug Cushnie, Sherman; and Jeff Main, New Fairfield. Phyllis Schaer will serve as an ex officio committee member.
Ms. Schaer then asked that Mark Toussaint be named HR Committee Chairman. The Board approved the appointment.
After the vote, Ms. Schaer stated that the committee would include all CLA delegates and town CEOs in the process. She noted that the Committee is preparing a survey to go out to them. She stressed that the CLA is operating within the CLA bylaws and State statutes in conducting its search, according to legal opinion that she has received.
At a New Fairfield Board of Selectmen meeting the following day, First Selectman Susan Chapman said, “The Board of Selectmen has not had any communication with the CLA regarding their Executive Director search. The only thing I did was send them an email to let them know we had appointed a new delegate and the person that had been appointed to the committee was no longer a delegate.”
In his Vice Chairman’s report, Mark Toussaint noted that residents have reported seeing visible effects on milfoil from the grass carp. The weeds also seem to be less dense this year and stated that last year’s drawdown was effective and that FirstLight should be urged to replicate the earlier timing of the drawdowns in the future.
In his report, Treasurer Bill Lohan noted that payments from the towns for the new fiscal year have started to come in. He reported that so far, New Fairfield and Sherman have paid in full. Danbury has made a quarterly payment, Brookfield will be mailing its payment shortly, and FirstLight Power has made its annual contribution.
By Greg Slomba