Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Council asked to reconsider social services director appointment

By Suzanne Carlson
Journal Inquirer
Published: Friday, March 11, 2011 12:20 PM EST

VERNON — Though the Town Council voted to approve the appointment of a new social services director on March 1, one council member who supported the measure has requested the issue be reopened for discussion.

Democrat Michael Winkler has asked that the matter be added to the council’s March 15 agenda, saying there are “questions and answers that I believe the Town Council was not privy to during the discussion of the appointment.”

Former Assistant Town Planner and Economic Development Coordinator Marina Rodriguez was appointed as social services director at the council’s most recent meeting, at the recommendation of Mayor Jason L. McCoy.

Council members asked for supporting documentation regarding the appointment, but McCoy provided them with only a one-line motion.

He instructed Assistant Town Administrator Peter Graczykowski to make copies of Rodriguez’s original resume from when she first was hired in the Planning Department to show that she has an educational background in social work, but declined to provide any other paperwork.

Council members were not even given copies of Rodriguez’s application for the social services position.

Graczykowski said the town interviewed six candidates from a pool of 29, but that list of applicants was “not deemed acceptable.”

It is unclear whether Rodriguez was among the original 29 applicants for the job.

In his formal request for a motion to reconsider Rodriguez’s appointment, Winkler asked Town Administrator John D. Ward to provide several documents. They include the job description for the social services director, the collective bargaining agreement used to bypass the town charter’s procedural rules, and a stamped, signed copy of Rodriguez’s application.

In addition, Winkler asked for copies of any agreements between the town and Rodriguez relative to her “emergency” assignment in the Social Services Department since former Director Paula Claydon retired nine months ago.

He also asked that Rodriguez and members of the town’s interview committee be present at the March 15 meeting to answer questions.

McCoy has refused to answer questions relative to Rodriguez’s appointment, saying only that he is looking forward to finding a replacement for her in the Planning Department.

Though Rodriguez held two positions, McCoy said he would have the new employee focus mainly on attracting business to town to grow the commercial tax base and reduce residential property taxes.

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