COVENTRY — As the search for a permanent town manager drags on, the town council voted during a meeting last week to extend Ed Warzycha’s appointment to the position for another six months.
“As you know, we’ve had an interim for quite a few months, and we are actively in the process of looking for a permanent town manager,” town council president Kerry McGee said during the brief meeting last Monday.
It’s been a year and a half since Warzycha officially stepped into the role following the departure of the previous acting manager Stephen Delaney, who served after former town manager Graham Waters resigned in March of 2018. The town has been working with the search firm Community Paradigm Associates to find a replacement, but has yet to find a candidate with the proper qualifications.
According to the resolution reappointing him, Warzycha is paid a weekly stipend of $932.40 on top of his salary as head of the town’s management information systems department. That number equals the difference between Warzycha’s normal salary and that currently budgeted for the town manager position, town solicitor Nicholas Gorham said.
Concerned that there’s no formal interim town manager contract, councilor Debra Bacon cast the only vote opposing Warzycha’s reappointment.
“I like to have things, as you know, black and white, all written down,” said Bacon, who added that Delaney, for example, had an agreement that outlined his duties and salary and included perks like a mobile phone stipend.
“It’s for [Warzycha’s] benefit, also,” she continued.
Warzycha, however, seemed unconcerned, adding that he “never felt like he needed to have the protection of an agreement.”
“I was doing it for the town,” he said. “I didn’t think I needed that.”
Gorham said Warzycha, unlike most acting town managers in the past, entered the position having already been an employee of the town. And when former finance director Bob Thibeault served briefly as an interim town manager, council vice president Greg Laboissonniere added, it was at Thibeault’s request that there be a contract drawn up.
“[Warzycha] has not asked for an agreement,” Gorham said.
Councilor Gary Cote suggested the solicitor write an agreement for council approval stating that Warzycha will serve until a permanent town manager has been hired.
“That way we don’t have to keep going every six months to do a reappointment,” he said.
Still, Warzycha said that unless the council feels a contract is necessary, he’s OK without one.
“I’m an employee of this town, I’ve been an employee of this town for 15 years as the IT director,” he said. “I wasn’t looking to get my cell phone paid… I looked to step in and do what needed to be done until it was filled.”
Councilor Ann Dickson agreed that there’s no need for a written agreement.
“I think the agreement is that you will serve when we appoint you as an interim town manager for every six months,” Dickson said. “To me, it’s a very straight forward agreement that we do have.”
McGee said he, too, thinks it’s unnecessary.
“He’s doing us a huge favor,” he added. “He’s doing an excellent job.”