BERLIN - The town manager search process was the subject of vigorous discussion at Tuesdayâ€™s Town Council meeting.
The discussion began during public comments, when resident Rich Paskiewicz said he wanted more information on the search.
â€śThe search charade has been going on for over a year, still no permanent town manager,â€ť said Paskiewicz, the Democratic challenger to Republican Mayor Mark Kaczynski this past November.
A separation agreement between former Town Manager Denise McNair and the town was accepted at a January 2017 council meeting.
Kaczynski has previously said he offered the agreement to McNair, who had held the position for several years, to bring about change.
At that January 2017 meeting, Public Works Director and Town Engineer Jack Healy was appointed temporary town manager and been filling the vacancy, with various title changes, since.
Kaczynski responded to Paskiewicz Tuesday night, saying the process to find a full-time replacement has been â€śvery transparent.â€ť
He said a search committee, made up of the previous members of the council and Human Resources Director Denise Parsons, began searching for a replacement after McNairâ€™s departure, but no one was comfortable with any of the candidates.
The committee then decided to reopen the search and found three viable candidates, but with the November elections approaching, the committee decided to wait for the new council to be seated before taking any action.
Among those three candidates is Healy, a resident of Litchfield. According to the Town Charter, the manager must live in Berlin.
Kaczynski said all candidates were sent letters notifying them of the wait. If none is still available, Kaczynski said, a search firm would be used to find candidates for a third search.
Democratic Councilor Karen Pagliaro asked the corporation counsel if the process has been legal under the charter. Attorney Jennifer Coppola declined to comment, saying she wasnâ€™t completely familiar with the subject.
Kaczynski said discussion will occur at the councilâ€™s next meeting, scheduled for March 6.