The Board of Selectmen voted to appoint Joan Archer to succeed John Hodge as delegate to the Candlewood Lake Authority. In proposing the appointment, First Selectman Pat Del Monaco thanked John Hodge for his years of service to the CLA, but stated she felt that it was time for a change and “a different set of experiences and new ideas, new eyes on the Authority.”
Selectman Khris Hall also thanked Mr. Hodge for his service, saying, “He made a change to CLA…he improved CLA as an organization. There were some questions about CLA organization and their finances. John kept on that until that was changed…but I also agree that it’s time for some fresh blood, for some new experiences.”
In her nomination, Ms. Del Monaco outlined Ms. Archer’s qualifications stating, “Joan has been a longtime member of our Inland Wetlands Commission; she has been on the Candlewood Isle Board of Directors, and she is also an attorney, so I think she brings a great mix of experience.”
In discussing the appointment, Selectman Kim Hanson voiced his opposition to the change saying, “I’m really concerned. The SMP as currently submitted absolutely gives them [FirstLight] full-fledged rights to raise the fees on our residents any time they want. John has been on the SMP committee, he was instrumental in the SMP, probably knows it better than anyone on the CLA or any of the town boards of the 5 surrounding towns.”
After some further brief discussion, the Board voted to appoint Ms. Archer as a delegate to the CLA by a vote of 2 to 1, with Mr. Hanson voting against.
The Board discussed the possibility of combining the Town Treasurer and Finance Director into a single, appointed position. Currently, Finance Director Ed Sbordone is also acting Treasurer following the death of Phil Cammarano, who served the Town as Treasurer for 21 years.
In opening the matter for discussion, Ms. Del Monaco noted that currently there is an elected Treasurer position and a hired/appointed Finance Director position. She said that after discussion with the Town’s attorney, Treasurer is an elected position that can, by a change of town ordinance, be changed to an appointed position. She said she felt that combining the positions into an appointed position would ensure continuing the stability enjoyed by the Town during Mr. Cammarano’s tenure in office, and that the skillset needed for the position might not be provided by someone who was elected, and that the position might become a political position rather than filled by someone with the proper financial background. She also noted that towns are moving away from elected treasurers and that 73 of the 169 towns in Connecticut that 73 of the 169 towns in Connecticut have appointed treasurers.
Mr. Hanson disagreed. While being very clear that the present Finance Director and Board of Selectmen were not the target of his concern, he felt that combining the positions into a single, appointed position would have fewer checks and balances in place which could open the door for corruption sometime in the future. He was also against taking the voting choice away from the people.
Ms. Hall said that although she was leaning toward a combined, appointed position, she did have concerns as to how the process would work. She felt that more research should be done to see how towns with appointed treasurers operate and that information presented at a public hearing to get input on the matter. She also stated she felt that it would be a way of consolidating things to a degree. She said she felt it would be an unusual circumstance to have the treasurer and selectman colluding to defraud the town.
Ms. Del Monaco suggested setting a date for a public hearing on Tuesday, April 30 to get public input and present more research.
The New Fairfield Community Service Club presented its first New Fairfield Town Hero Award. David Sosa was named for his work serving the community after the May 15 storm with clean up and support.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen is scheduled for Thursday, April 11 at 7:30pm.
By Greg Slomba