After a closed-door report from its HR Committee, the CLA voted to hire current CLA Public Education Director Mark Howarth as its Executive Director. Mr. Howarth succeeds Larry Marsicano who left at the end of June to join Aquatic Ecosystem Research (AER). The search yielded 66 initial applications from all over the country. Resumes were whittled down to 16, then 8, and then 4 after a series of interviews over almost 6 months. He joined the CLA 10 years ago and has served in a variety of capacities. Mr. Howarth has been the acting director since the departure of Mr. Marsicano.
The CLA board of delegates continued an ongoing discussion regarding the Lake Patrol officers and the proper employment hiring and disciplinary procedures and the proper role of the CLA Executive Committee to conduct them. The question was whether it was the role of the Executive Committee or the Department of Energy and Environment Protection (DEEP) to administer these items and how it should be written into the proposed updates to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the CLA and DEEP.
Attorney Michael Rose presented an opinion as to what authority the CLA Executive Committee had with respect to overseeing the Lake Patrol officers. Attorney and New Fairfield CLA delegate Jack Keating had contended that DEEP overrode the CLA’s bylaws in the matter It was his opinion that the commissioner of DEEP had the authority to appoint patrol officers as well as the authority to renew or decline officers.
Attorney Rose noted that after speaking with DEEP’s attorneys, the DEEP appoints officers, but they do not employ or supervise them. In the end a motion to approve changes to the personnel section of the MOA did not receive the two-thirds majority needed to pass. Further discussion of the matter will be held at the CLA’s April 4th meeting.
In the public comment portion of the meeting, a letter from New Fairfield First Selectman Pat Del Monaco was read. In the letter Ms. Del Monaco stated, “The role of CLA’s Board of Delegates is to support the mission of the CLA and to help it as an organization to address challenges as they arise. Khris Hall and I…have asked our Delegates to work cooperatively with the CLA to protect the Lake and have asked our Delegates to work cooperatively with the CLA to achieve that goal. I am concerned that the actions and positions of two of New Fairfield’s three current Delegates have not been consistent with that objective.”
The letter went on to state, “This is Jack Keating’s last meeting as a Delegate from New Fairfield. He will be replaced next month with a Delegate who supports the mission of the CLA and will work cooperatively with the Board on all of its challenges.”
In the letter, Ms. Del Monaco also reprimanded two New Fairfield delegates, “I was dismayed to learn that John Hodge and Jack Keating both attended the last meeting of the Public Safety Committee and urged the Committee not to accept the proposed changes in the Memorandum of Agreement between the CLA and DEEP that would clarify that CLA has responsibility for the Marine Patrol. Their statements to the Committee do not reflect the views of the Town of New Fairfield.”
The next regular meeting of the CLA has been rescheduled as a special meeting and will be Wednesday, April 4 at 7:30pm at Mallory Town Hall in Sherman.
By Greg Slomba