To the Editor:
Several issues ago in the Stratford Star it was reported that a State Superior Court Judge ruled that Mayor John Harkins illegally hired a new emergency medical services director in 2011. The court ruled that the mayor was in violation of the town charter for hiring Phillip Onofrio without Town Council approval. The town will now seek to appeal the ruling, which could take a full year according to town attorney Tim Bishop. In the mean time I wonder how this affects the morale of the employees within the EMS Department. This situation appears very frustrating and awkward for everyone involved.
Nevertheless, I’m still trying to understand why the mayor would hire another director at a $100,000 dollar salary when there was a director already employed at $82,000. When you do the math we are now paying $182,000 for the same overall services. Was the incumbent director not doing her job and if not, did the mayor offer employment development to improve her performance. If she was not doing the job after development efforts why not address a job performance issue rather than spending money on two salaries and additional attorney fees.
This obviously appears to be a very expensive approach to managing a town already plagued with revenue shortfalls and a need to better control expenses. Seeking guidance and approval from the Town Council on this new hire may have avoided the current situation.