Confusion in the way the Mattabassett District Charter reads has led New Britain to lose the Chairman of the Board seat for the first time since it’s inception in 1961.
John Dunham of Berlin has been named the new chair and Thomas Serra of Middletown is the Vice Chairman. New Britain’s Tonilynn Collins was named secretary.
Other New Britain board members include Paul Catanzaro, Peter Centurelli, Mary Marrocco and Timothy Stewart.
The Common Council chose those five to fill the seats for the City shortly after the November election.
Some confusion came as the charter appears to call for New Britain to hold the presidency for up to 7 years. However, the wording of it, according to district members, means that only former chair William Candelori from New Britain can be chairman from New Britain for that time period.
Candelori was not chosen by the Council to be on the board.
“I didn’t think it was confusing at all. When the New Britain Council did not reappoint our current chairman, that left the position vacant. As vice chairman for 10 plus years and a board member for a better part of 15 years, a number of members approached me and asked me whether I would go for chairmanship and I said I would,” said Dunham. “I have been trusted and dedicated over there for many years. It was truly my honor to get the support of members and take over chairmanship.”
“It’s unfortunate the people who negotiated it did not do a better job of getting proper representation for New Britain,” said Timothy Stewart.
New Britain has 5 members on the district, Middletown has 4, Berlin and Cromwell each have 3.
“We did not put up a candidate for Chairman,” said Stewart.
Stewart did run for vice chairman and Serra was chosen. Since Serra is from Middletown there is more confusion as only charter members are supposed to hold leadership positions, according to Stewart.
“We went from 7 members to 5 and we use 60 percent,” said Stewart. “New Britain is at a disadvantage, but I will make sure we get our money’s worth.”
“It is a good old boy network over there,” said Mayor Erin Stewart said. “To have New Britain not be the vice chairman was a slap in the face.”
The Board of Directors meets monthly to provide guidance, oversight and financial control to the operation.
The Mattabassett District was formed by the State Legislature in 1961 to provide wastewater treatment in a more efficient and cost effective manner to its four constituent communities. The waste water treatment facility is located at 245 Main St. in Cromwell. The District has: an 8.5 mile trunk sewer, which collects all of the communities’ waste water and transports it to the treatment facility; an ash landfill; and, a state-of-the-art outfall and diffuser system in the Connecticut River. the Facility treats on average 12 to 21 million gallons per day, with past peak flows in excess of 70 million gallons per day. The district’s annual budget is $7.5 million dollars.
“It’s our largest regional asset. You better have people on that board that represent New Britain’s best interest, especially when our rates our going up,” added Mayor Stewart. “You need people on there that are watching this like a hawk.”
Candelori did not return calls from the City Journal.