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Important Common Council vote on Monday, April 3 at 7pm

URGENT!

On Monday, April 3 at 7pm, the Common Council will be voting to fill the vacant position of Director of Planning, Conservation and Development. The mayor has (1) proposed a change to the job description of this position, and (2) appointed his Administrative Assistant, Joe Samolis, to the post. The agenda for Monday night’s Common Council meeting can be found here.

The heart of the Executive Committee’s concern is this: the mayor proposes changing the job description of the Director of Planning, Conservation and Development to drop the requirement that the Director have a degree in planning. The Director would have to be certified as a Planner within 5 years of the appointment. The proposed job description is here .

Please note that a national search for a new Director was conducted this fall, with over a dozen qualified candidates (under the old job description) applying. Joe Samolis was involved in evaluating these candidates, including participating in the interviews. The mayor then decided to hire none of the applicants, to change the job description, and to hire Mr. Samolis as the new Director.

Stephen Devoto, a longtime WRA member and the current Chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, is vehemently against this proposed change to the Director’s job description UNLESS the change also creates and funds a separate city planner position. In his opinion, and the WRA Executive Committee concurs, Middletown is too large a city to not have professional expertise in planned development. In fact, one could argue that there should have been two positions long ago: a director dedicated to administration and oversight, and a planner dedicated to long term city planning and day-to-day implementation of that plan. Middletown’s Zoning Code is in dire need of revision, and that process was started over a year ago, only to be halted during the search for a new Director. Hiring someone with no certification in planning to oversee this process is irresponsible and reckless.

Here are links to several news articles for background reading:

http://www.courant.com/community/middletown/hc-middletown-planning-director-0302-20170301-story.html

http://www.courant.com/community/middletown/hc-middletown-planning-and-zoning-quorum-0309-20170310-story.html

http://www.middletownpress.com/government-and-politics/20170312/middletown-mayors-choice-for-planning-director-moves-forward-despite-some-objections

http://www.middletownpress.com/government-and-politics/20170224/amid-pushback-middletown-mayor-nominates-former-chief-of-staff-as-planning-director

It is the opinion of the Executive Committee that Middletown needs a certified planner on staff. It may be possible that said planner isn’t the administrator Middletown requires to meets its planning, conservation and development needs, and that’s OK. But, to modify a job description to justify the hiring of someone with no planning education or experience is unwise and a poor allocation of tax dollars.

What can you do?

1. Attend Monday night’s Common Council Meeting and voice your opinion during the public comment session.

2. Call or email Common Council members before Monday’s meeting to share your opinion. A list of Council members can be found here. In particular, contact the Deputy Majority Leader Mary Bartolotta (Mary.Bartolotta@MiddletownCT.Gov) or Councilman Gerry Daley (Gerald.Daley@MiddletownCT.Gov).

3. Tell your neighbors and ask them to do #1 or #2.

Firing Range Building Committee Meets February 7 at 6pm

The Firing Range Building Committee meets tomorrow, February 7, at 6pm in the Community Room at the Middletown Police Station.

The Firing Range Building Committee was established to oversee improvements to the Dingwall-Horan Joint Firearms Training Facility at 260 Meriden Road (near Guida’s Restaurant). The Middletown Common Council has approved two $750,000 bonds: one to deal with noise abatement and one to deal with environmental mediation and the building of a bullet-entrapment system.

The members of the Building Committee are:
Carl Chisem, Chair
Robert Santangelo
Philip Pessina
Joseph Bibisi
Mike Timbro
Robert Kronenberger
Jennifer Mahr
Barbara McCauliffe

Agendas and Minutes can be found here.

Members of the public are welcome to bring their concerns or questions to the Committee’s attention, either in person during the Public Comment portions of the meetings or via written comments.

Starting in March, the Firing Range Building Committee will meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 6pm in room B-19 of the Municipal Building, unless otherwise directed. The schedule is as follows:

March 21, 2017 at 6 p.m.
April 18, 2017 at 6 p.m.
May 16, 2017 at 6 p.m.
June 20, 2017 at 6 p.m.
July 18, 2017 at 6 p.m.
August 15, 2017 at 6 p.m.
September 19, 2017 at 6 p.m.
October 17, 2017 at 6 p.m.
November 21, 2017 at 6 p.m.
December 19, 2017 at 6 p.m.
January 16, 2018 at 6 p.m.

Meet the Candidates Forum – a fantastic evening with the candidates!

Thank you to all the candidates who attended this evening’s forum. Channel 3 filmed a good portion of the evening, so perhaps we made the news! The following races were represented:

US Senate – Dan Carter and Richard Lion
US Representative District 1 – Matthew Corey
US Representative District 3  – Angel Cadena
State Senator District 9 – Paul Doyle
State Senator District 13 – Dante Bartolomeo and Len Suzio
State Representative District 33 – Joseph Serra and Linda Szynkiwicz
State Representative District 100 – Matt Lesser
Middletown Registrar of Voters – David Bauer

The audience had great questions and the candidates were well behaved. It was a great evening and a privilege to watch democracy in action. Thank you all!

Meet the Candidates Forum – Monday, October 24th

The following candidates will be attending the Meet the Candidates Forum held in the Third Congregational Church’s Fellowship Hall (94 Miner Street in Middletown). The Forum will begin at approximately 7:30pm, following the WRA’s Annual Meeting.

US Senate: Dan Carter (R) and Richard Lion (Libertarian)
US Representative District 1: Matthew Corey (R)
US Representative District 3: Angel Cadena (R)
State Senate District 9: Paul Doyle (D)
State Senate District 13: Dante Bartolomeo (R) and Len Suzio (R)
State Rep. District 33: Linda Szynkowicz (R)
State Rep. District 100: Matt Lesser (D) and Anthony Moran (R)
Middletown Registrar of Voters: David Bauer (R)