Stewart-Proposed High-Level Bureaucrat and Department Head Residency Requirement At Issue

Press Pool Story

Republican Mayor Erin Stewart will ask the Republican-dominated City Council to approve her choice to lead the “Human Resources Department”. The new high-level bureaucratic position was created when the Council approved Stewart’s proposal to increase the number of city departments to fifteen, including the creation of the Human Resources Department.

January 11, 2017 resolution to approve Stewart’s choice for Human Resources Director.

Who her choice is for the position was not made public as of the publication of the Council agenda. While the resolution proposed to the Council left the name of the nominee blank, the resolution also states that “The Mayor has selected a candidate”, indicating that the space is not left blank because Stewart was still deciding between candidates.

October 12, 2016 Stewart-Republican decision to exempt the Human Resources Director position from the city residency requirement.

Last October 12th, the Human Resources Director position was made exempt from the city ordinance that otherwise requires city department heads to live in New Britain. It was a controversial move, with the motion to approve it made by Republican Ald. Jamie Giantonio (R-1) and Council Republican leader Ald. Daniel Salerno (R-AL) and the motion opposed by Council Democratic leader Ald. Carlo Carlozzi (D-5) and Democratic Ald. Manny Sanchez (D-3).

But the decision to make the position exempt from the residency requirement was approved by the Council a full month before Council approved the city reorganization plan that actually created the new Human Resources Department. It appears that the decision to exempt the Human Resources Director position from the residency requirement that applies to department heads was made before the position was actually a department head position covered by this requirement. However, the October 12th decision has the effect of allowing Stewart’s choice for the new department-head level position to be exempt from the New Britain-resident requirement.

January 11, 2017 proposal to exempt all city department heads, except three, from the residency requirement.

The Council will take up a resolution to approve Stewart’s Human Resources department head appointment on January 11th. At the meeting, the Council will also take up a proposal to further change the department head residency requirement.

While that resolution is titled, “Proposed Amendment to the Code of Ordinances Regarding the Residency Requirements for Fire Chief, Police Chief and Any Successor for the Director of Public Works”, it actually proposes the opposite of what the title indicates. Rather than concerning a residency requirement for Fire Chief, Police Chief and Public Works Director, it actually removes the residency requirements for all city department heads except for those three positions.

The current Public Works Director is exempt from the residency requirement because he is a member of the city’s management union, but the Public Works Director position, itself is already currently included in the requirement that department heads live in New Britain. The city’s Fire and Police Chiefs are both residents of New Britain.

The change made by the new proposal would be to exempt all department head positions other than these three from the city residency requirement.