Special to the Press
SOUTHINGTON - While many items were addressed at the Town Council meeting Monday, there seemed to be one clear issue of transparency.
After allegations of an illegal meeting to get enough votes to appoint Mark Sciota town manager, to replace Garry Brumback, who is retiring early next year; and the hurried change of the date of this month’s meetings, many people, including councilors, were upset.
In regards to changing the meeting from Aug. 14 to Aug. 21 without asking the availability of the other councilors, Councilor Chris Palmieri stated, “Changing the date really does seem to indicate back room dealings with only people who share the same opinion as you and that’s not good government nor is it good leadership.”
Councilor Cheryl Lounsbury jumped in as well, stating, “I think this community needs transparency on all of its issues because that’s true democracy.”
Yet, the issues of changing around council meetings and supposed illegal meetings were not the only charges raised against the Town Council at their meeting.
Jack Perry, a third party candidate, running as an Independent for the council accused the Southington Apple Harvest Festival Committee of treating him unfairly in the process of securing a booth at the nationally recognized festival.
Perry stated that his application was pushed to the back burner, and even when the committee promised that his application would be the first considered on the waitlist, six other applications were processed before his.
The actions forced him to have to pay $2,500 instead of the $750 nonprofit rate that Republican and Democratic candidates usually pay each year.
“Transparency has gotta be there,” said Perry when he addressed the council. “I feel like I’m being censored from the Southington people because I’m a third party candidate and that’s not right.” While he eventually did get a booth, Perry felt the whole run-around process was very partisan and not democratic.
Local citizens were very concerned as well, as they felt the council was not catering to the people that they served.
Southington resident John Campbell told the council, “You’re morally and ethically wrong. The illegal meeting bypassed the Southington community and you are not putting the town’s interest first, but instead care more about your political interests.”
Although Councilor Mike Ricco denied any illegal meetings, citizens still felt that there needed to be a specific process in appointing a town manager.
“The infighting that’s going on in this council is almost as bad as Washington D.C. Even though I personally approve of Mark Sciota, there has to be a set process to appoint a town manager. Do the process - the process is the solution.”