New director quits regional group

At the end of the first meeting of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, its newly hired executive director, Craig Leiner, resigned.

“Do you believe that?” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi.

But why ?

“I don’t know, to be very honest with you,” Mr. Marconi said.

Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein, treasurer of the council, said Mr. Leiner sat through the legislative agenda meeting on Dec. 11 and then gave his notice.

She said the new director apparently came to doubt the wisdom of the state mandate that created the 18-town Western Connecticut Council of Governments, or WCCOG, from a merger of the eight-town South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) and the 10-town Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO).

After being hired in October at a salary of $135,000, Mr. Leiner had spent the next few weeks meeting with the chief elected officials of the 18 municipalities that make up WCCOG. According to Ms. Weinstein, “he said … he felt none of us were really in favor of this merger and we all had differing views. And so, he decided it’s not a good idea and so he can’t support it.”

Over the course of the last two years, most town leaders have, in fact, expressed misgivings about creating a larger regional planning group, but the changes were required by the state, and so there was little choice.

“I think the job was not as easy as he thought it would be,” Ms. Weinstein said.

The COG accepted Mr. Leiner’s resignation, effective immediately.

Ms. Weinstein said the staffs of SWRPA and HVCEO are still working to merge the administrative functions of the two groups.

“HVCEO had maybe a total of five people, four full-time,” Mr. Marconi said. “SWPRA has a much larger staff, approximately 11 or 12.”

And now the chief elected officials are involved, too, at least until another executive director can be appointed.

“We’re working it out,” Ms. Weinstein said.

The good news, she added, is that when Mr. Leiner was appointed, it was a very close decision between him and another candidate — and that other candidate is still available. She expects another director to be named at WCCOG’s Jan. 22 meeting.

“It’s working fine,” Mr. Marconi said of the regional group. “Don’t forget, this was a mandate from the state of Connecticut, so whether we wanted it or not, we’re forced to make it work. And it will work.”

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. The Ridgefield Press, 16 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, CT 06877

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress