WATERTOWN — Newly elected chairman Mary Ann Rosa intends to make the Town Council more accessible to the public. Under the Chair’s Comments, Ms. Rosa announced there is a new email address, email@example.com, which can be used to address any concerns or questions to the council or to voice an opinion on a topic or issue.
Following her comments, several people approached the podium under Public Participation to share their thoughts, including John Everitt and Katherine Camara.
Mr. Everitt was concerned about a zoning map change made by the Planning and Zoning Commission at its September 3, 2020 meeting, and Ms. Camara questioned the recent appointment of Mark Raimo as town manager.
Mr. Everitt had spoken out against the proposed zone map change during the Planning and Zoning Commission’s September 3 public hearing.
He owns one of the six parcels that was changed on the map from R-30 to R-12.5 that evening, in part because the R-30 designation was presented as a mistake by the applicant. There was confusion, he said, because the map said it was R-30 and the assessor’s card said R-12.5, but it was always R-30, he continued, contrary to what the applicant told the commission.
Mr. Everitt also protested he never received notification of the hearing and only learned about it the morning of the hearing. Apparently, Everitt Lane does not exist on the assessor’s map, he was told. Ms. Rosa advised Mr. Everitt to file an appeal as the council has no authority over the commission, she said.
Ms. Camara said she was concerned that the hiring of Mr. Raimo as town manager may be in conflict with town ordinance Chapter 3 – section 3-10, “Public employees/officials.”
That ordinance reads, in part, “No former public employee or public official shall appear for compensation before any municipal board or agency in which he was formerly employed or on which he formerly served at any time within a period of twelve months after termination of his service with the municipality” and “No public employee or public official shall apply for nor be granted, any employment with any municipal board or agency in which he has been employed or on which he has served at any time during the preceding twelve months.”
Mr. Raimo served on the Housing Authority and the Planning and Zoning Commission before his appointment as town manager. The town is currently negotiating a contract with Mr. Raimo, and Interim Town Manager John Gavallas continues in that position.
Under the Town Manager’s Report, Mr. Gavallas reported Town Assessor Donna Murphy submitted her resignation. He said he will be working to get the position posted as soon as possible.
In other action, the council approved a new “Town of Watertown Employee Handbook” to replace the current “Personnel Rules and Regulations,” approved a plaque designating the Steele Brook Greenway’s pedestrian bridge in honor of Korean War veterans, and named Godin Property Brokers to handle the sale of the old town hall annex, at 424 Main St., and the old town hall building, at 37 Deforest St.
At the special meeting of September 16, 2020 at which Ms. Rosa was elected chairman, Jonathan Ramsay was elected vice chair, and Robert Retallick was appointed as a member to replace Thomas Winn until a successor is elected at the next regular town election.
Prior to the start of the regular meeting, the council held a special town meeting for the purpose of appropriating $110,984 for the Heminway Park Basketball Court relocation project. The project is being funded through a grant from the state of Connecticut.
There were no public comments, and the council unanimously approved the motion to appropriate the money.