NEW BRITAIN - The Democratic majority on the Common Council failed Wednesday to override Mayor Erin Stewart’s recent veto of the city’s residency requirement for all department heads.
On Aug. 8, the council voted 8-4 to reinstate the requirement for all department heads. The move extended it to the directors of support services; recreation and community services; finance; economic development; health and building services; community development and human resources. The requirement also included the successor to the public works director.
Previously, only the police and fire chiefs needed to live in the city. The ordinance includes a probationary period of two years, meaning applicants were required to move to the city within two years of accepting the job.
Stewart vetoed the resolution, saying the residency requirement has made it difficult to find candidates for certain positions in the city.
By a vote of 8-6 on Wednesday, the council’s override attempt failed. The council’s Democratic majority of nine needed 10 votes for the override to succeed.
Before the vote, Democratic Alderman Carlo Carlozzi spoke about how, when he was young, people who worked in the city lived in the city. He also referred to numerous past amendments to the ordinance in the past 17 years, and said it seemed that previous moves had been made without thinking about the long term.
“I think it’s high time to go back to what we had. If the city of New Britain is where you want to work, making six figures … I don’t think it’s too much to ask them to work in our city,” Carlozzi said. “If they’re going to take our tax dollars, and they’re a department head, they should live in our city.”
Republican Alderman Jamie Giantonio said that, in his experience with hiring people, a broader candidate pool makes filling jobs easier while ensuring the best candidates have a chance to apply.
For example, Giantonio said, the finance director job was posted three times before the city received qualified candidates.
“Let’s go out and hire the best people for New Britain. I have a feeling that they’ll come here and they’ll spend their money here. They’ll still do all the stuff that we want them to do, and they might just surprise us and move here on their own,” Giantonio said.
In other action Wednesday, the Common Council:
nApproved a standing purchase order for sand to be used on the roadways this winter. Public Works Director Mark Moriarty recommended the purchase order for this winter’s sand be awarded to Herb Holden Trucking Inc.
Of the five companies that submitted bids, Holden has the lowest bid while providing all information requested. Holden said it could provide sand for $15.50 per cubic yard for delivery to city yard and/or $9.95 per cubic yard for pickup.
nApproved a $16,645 purchase order for 300 trash containers to replace broken ones. According to the resolution, an average of 30 trash bins a month need to be replaced. The repair of trash and recycling containers due to broken lids, broken wheels and other issues is a daily work for Public Works crews, the resolution says.
nApproved a $154,000 purchase order for a new driver training simulator package for the Police Department. Funding was available for this purchase in the Police Department’s budget account.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.