SOUTHINGTON - The Town Council approved Mark Sciotaâ€™s contract to become the next town manager Monday, with Democratic Councilor John Barry as the sole dissenting vote.
The vote was previously tabled after a discussion in executive session during the Sept. 25 meeting. However, it was carried out under new business at the end of Mondayâ€™s meeting.
The contract will provide Sciota with a $169,000 annual salary and a $250-a-month vehicle allowance in lieu of providing him with a vehicle. This is identical to the contract for Garry Brumback, who is retiring as town manager in February.
â€śThere was no discussion yet about the deputy town manager and town attorney positions (which Sciota currently serves in) at this meeting,â€ť said Brumback. â€śThese talks will be led by Mark Sciota in conjunction with the Town Council and Board of Finance when they occur.â€ť
Brumback has previously stated that he believes Sciota to be the â€śperfectâ€ť successor and that he â€ścould not possibly imagineâ€ť finding someone more qualified for the job.
Barry said he also opposed the same contract for Brumback eight years ago.
â€śAt that time, I believed the contract was generous,â€ť said Barry. â€śThis time, this contract before us today, in my humble opinion, is even more generous. This contract is not built on a solid foundation of accountability, this contract is not the start of a new era for Southington, and this contract does not reflect the tough, difficult ugly choices of challenging times we are faced with.â€ť
Barry argued that the contract does not reflect â€śtodayâ€™s economy.â€ť
â€śWith the lack of a state budget and threatened state reduction to Southington, we know money is tight,â€ť he said. â€śI believe by approving this contract it sends a bad message that money is no object and the interests of taxpayers are secondary.â€ť
Barry went on to say he believes taxpayers should not automatically give car allowances to anyone.
He also opposed the â€śadditional perkâ€ť of $100,000 in life insurance, arguing that if the town provides life insurance it should be the same for every town employee.
He went on to say that taxpayers should not pay for â€śextensive trips for out-of-state conferences of national and regional organizations and associationsâ€ť for the town managerâ€™s professional development.
Finally, he argued that the $169,000 salary was â€śtoo high to start as a new town managerâ€ť and that combined with the perks it was â€śnot fair to taxpayers.â€ť
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.