standing Stonington Town Hall

STONINGTON — The town is moving forward with efforts to fill vacancies within the town's engineering and planning departments.

Stonington posted a call for candidates on its websites and in various media approximately two weeks ago to find someone to fill the position of town engineer, a position that was left vacant when Scot Deledda resigned in late December to pursue new opportunities. First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough said officials are also working to finalize a new title and job description for director of economic and community development and intends to post that job in the coming weeks as well.

Responsibilities for both positions are currently being handled by Town Planner Keith Byrnes.

"We hope to receive applications from well-qualified candidates (for town engineer) and have a goal to close out the request for applications within a month, then we will narrow down the candidates and conduct interviews in the month following that," Chesebrough said.

The engineer position is a top priority, she said, and if the first job posting does not lead the town to receive applications from the right candidates, the Board of Finance has already approved money to be used to hire a headhunter or recruitment specialist. She said the town does not want to spend on a recruiter, however, and will actively seek to fill the position through internal efforts first.

According to a description on the town's website, the new engineer would be expected to perform reviews for land use commissions and provide technical support for various boards, departments and town officials. They would also be responsible for assisting the Public Works Department with any facility issues.

The position pays between $76,600 and $88,677 per year plus benefits.

The new position, which would replace the director of planning role that has remained vacant since Jason Vincent resigned in mid-October ahead of an anticipated turnover in leadership during the previous election, will incorporate many of the responsibilities Vincent had with a focus on the changing role that such an employee would have in the community, Chesebrough said.

"There are a lot priority projects across town and we are seeking to update the description and title to better reflect the role and community needs," she said. "It will be a lot of the same work, but we are trying to capture the essence of what the public wants to see and find someone who is equipped to provide the services that will best support existing staff and town efforts."

Selectwoman June Strunk said the position changes have not come before the other members of the Board of Selectmen yet, but that board members support efforts to make the goals of the job clear and to put a focus on community.

She said she expects the board to review a finalized description during a Board of Selectmen meeting.

"To be clear, we aren't just looking for someone knowledgeable with zoning regulations, but who will be able to identify the needs in a growing community," Strunk said.

Chesebrough said she hopes that the job description will be finalized and the position posted within the next month.

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