BERLIN - Republican Mark Kaczynski is again the mayor in the town of Berlin. Kaczynski won the position after defeating Democrat Richard Paskiewicz, 2573 votes to 2256 votes.
“I couldn’t understand how we could lose,” said Kaczynski to his fellow Republican Town Committee members. Kaczynski is a former DEA agent for 30 years and member of planning and zoning for 16 years before running for office in 2015. He first was appointed the position in 2015 after being the high vote getter for council in that election.
The position was voted on separately from a council position as per charter changes that passed last year’s referendum, but the position still holds the same responsibilities as before. The position, which has a two year term similar to that of council seats, was previously appointed by members of the council at the first meeting after the election.
“We fought the battle but sometimes the better guys don’t win,” said Paskiewicz to a roomful of volunteers at Democratic headquarters. Paskiewicz was a superintendent of schools for four different districts, including Berlin for 10 during the late 1990s and early 2000s, after being a math teacher for 30 years in Rocky Hill. “I thought we had a chance. We’ll bounce back.”
The losing mayoral candidate was allowed to use his votes toward a seat on the council, but Paskiewicz received less votes than the lowest Democratic council candidate, JoAnne Angelico-Stetson.
Kaczynski keeps a majority with returning councilor Brenden Luddy, and newcomers Alex Giannone and Amy Maier Daniele.
Council members Peter Rosso returns from the Democratic party with newcomers Angelico-Stetson and Karen Pagliaro comprise the Democratic minority.
A major question facing the mayor and the council this term is whether to upgrade the police station or find a new location for it. The town purchased land around the train station for a new station but a $21 million plan was shot down by referendum and a $16 million plan was negated by council. The town recently sent out an RFQ seeking development ideas for a mixed-use residential and retail building.
“I’m leaning toward an upgrade a the current police station,” said Kaczynski on the police station, while adding the town will have to see what developers say is even possible for around the train station area. “There will be community involvement along the way,” he said.
Another question is the hiring of a full time town manager. Public Works Director and Town Engineer Jack Healy has been filling the position in the absence of a permanent hire, after the council accepted a separation agreement between former Town Manager Denise McNair and the town in early January.
“I think we can move forward with that now,” said Kaczynski. “We’re always looking to create more efficiencies within town government.”
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org