New Milford could rescind board appointments

NEW MILFORD — Hours after receiving the keys to Town Hall on Friday, Mayor Pete Bass, a longtime Republican member of Town Council, outlined his plans for the next two years.

He explained how he intends to surmount upcoming obstacles, including a $1.7 million cut in state aid this year. Bass said he would sit down with all department heads to devise a plan to come up with the money without cutting services.

“What was kind of disappointing was that back during the budget season I raised this thought process: ‘What are we going to do?’ ” Bass said. “But now we’re six months into the budget, so now it’s kind of like we have to jump right into the fire.”

One of the new mayor’s first actions was to call for a meeting to discuss the legality of outgoing Mayor David Gronbach’s last minute appointments, which were rescinded by the Town Council Monday.

Bass also moved quickly to nominate people to fill several paid positions vacated by Gronbach appointees.

Comptroller Greg Osipow was nominated as finance director, replacing W. Lee Palmer, who resigned last week. But the council did not vote on that appointment Monday.

“Obviously we like to hire from within,” Bass said. “I think that’s a very important component of town government, giving people an opportunity to grow. (Osipow) told me he’s going to give it 100 percent.”

The council did approve Bass’ choice for town attorney. The new mayor appointed Matt Grimes, of Brookfield, to become the town attorney, replacing Rebecca Rigdon, who was hired in September. Rigdon’s term ended last week. Grimes’ appointment was approved by the council by a 6-2 vote.

Bass also said a campaign promise to create a 25-member commission to evaluate the John Pettibone Community Center will also soon be fulfilled.

Bass and other Republicans contended that a project to convert the school to a community center was undertaken without knowing the true cost and done without enough community input.

The committee will be created “so the people can understand what the costs are going to be for it, what the plan is going to be and they’ll have a voice,” Bass said. “I ran on that, and I believe that we need to fully know what the costs are going to be.”

Bass said he has yet to decide who to appoint to the committee, but that it will be a mix of officials and the public.; 203-731-3411; @bglytton