Norwich ice rink manager resigns as rink reopens

Norwich — Interim ice rink manager Mia Sanca resigned Wednesday night in a joint handwritten letter signed by her and rink authority leaders at a special meeting that was never announced to the public.

City Clerk Betsy Barrett said Thursday the authority did send her the notice of a special meeting to discuss personnel and a new rink manager, but she inadvertently overlooked it and did not post it.

It was unclear Thursday whether the authority must repeat the vote.

At the meeting, the authority accepted Sanca’s resignation, effective immediately, and wrote the letter for both parties to sign. It was the only action taken, authority Chairman Francois “Pete” Desaulniers said Thursday.

Sanca will be paid through March 31 and for two weeks of unused vacation time, the letter said. The authority also agreed not to challenge unemployment compensation. The letter was signed and dated by Sanca, Desaulniers and authority Vice Chairwoman Cheryl Ritacco.

Desaulniers would not say whether the authority had asked Sanca to resign. But he said Sanca’s actions on Feb. 13, when the rink cooling system failed and caused an ammonia leak in the building, were “a consideration” in her resignation. The authority’s investigation report said Sanca disregarded Desaulniers’ order that night to call the fire department and evacuate the building.

The rink was closed for a month, undergoing a $42,440 repair, and reopened Wednesday.

Sanca said Thursday she had mixed feelings about leaving the rink. She said she felt she and her family were not treated fairly by the authority. She said she never received proper training when she took over as interim rink manager last June upon the sudden resignation of her husband, Jim Sanca.

But Sanca thanked the authority for giving her the opportunity to run the rink. She said her four children, ages 13 to 17, “grew up there,” starting with learn-to-skate programs.

Sanca started as a volunteer in 2006 before being hired for paid positions and working her way up to assistant manager and interim manager.

Rink box office manager Shannon Fitzgerald will handle daily operations at the rink. Rink authority members will visit the facility daily to check on rink operations, Desaulniers said.

The authority voted last month to advertise for proposals for a new rink management firm or rink director. Norwich Human Resources Director Brigid Marks, who is writing the advertisement, will oversee the receipt of applications, Desaulniers said.

c.bessette@theday.com

 

Free skating sessions to city residents

1 to 2:20 p.m. and 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on April 5

1 to 2:20 p.m. on April 7

Skate rentals are $3. Concession stand and pro shop will be open.

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