Londregan out as New London law director, Finizio says

New London - Thomas J. Londregan, who has worked as an attorney for the city for almost two decades, will not return as the city's law director, Mayor-elect Daryl Justin Finizio said Thursday.

Finizio said he has asked Londregan not to reapply for reinstatement as the city's law director. Finizio also said that Michael J. Tranchida, the city clerk, and Dawn G. Quinn, the assistant city clerk, will not return to their positions.

Londregan, 67, was first appointed as the city's law director in 1986 on a temporary basis as then-law director Myron B. Bell recovered from quadruple-bypass surgery. Londregan then took over permanently as law director in June of 1992.

During his tenure, Londregan most notably represented the city in the Kelo v. New London eminent domain case that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Finizio said that he recently thanked Londregan for his assistance as he prepares to become the city's first elected mayor since the 1920s. Londregan did not return a phone message Thursday seeking comment.

"I mentioned to him that I think it's time for a new person or a younger person in the post to join the administration," said Finizio, who will be sworn into office Dec. 5. "He agreed. There are members of his firm that have applied and they will be reviewed on an individual basis."

Candidates from outside of Londregan's firm, Conway, Londregan, Sheehan and Monaco P.C., will also be interviewed for the law director position, Finizio said. The mayor-elect has launched a transition website where he is accepting applicants for various positions in his new administration.

City Charter revisions give the newly elected strong mayor the power to hire all department heads.

Current department heads will essentially have to reapply for their positions while Finizio's transition team also conducts interviews with external candidates. He said he planned to fill all vacancies by the time he takes office.

Finizio has filled one position: Jane Glover will serve as chief administrative officer.

Londregan recently drew the ire of some city councilors by refusing to release a retirement agreement between Police Chief Margaret Ackley and City Manager Denise Rose. The Day has filed a Freedom of Information request that argues the document is public information.

On Tuesday, Londregan also released a legal opinion in which he argued the sales contract designed to sell a portion of Riverside Park to the Coast Guard Academy had expired because the city missed a Monday deadline to close on the sale. The opinion, supported by Finizio, later became moot after a recount determined voters had turned down the sale.

City Councilor Rob Pero, who has been on the council for 16 years with Londregan as the law director, said Thursday that the city always received favorable fees from Londregan's law firm. Pero also said Londregan always looked out for the best interest of the city.

"We've fared very well under his tenure as the law director," Pero said. "I think it's his demeanor. He has a very affable demeanor. A lot of people know Tom, and he's not always a person who is controversial. He's one looking to resolve things equitably."

Finizio said the openings for city clerk and assistant city clerk will be handled by the personnel department. According to Finizio's transition website, there are seven openings in his administration: development and planning director, finance director, law director, parks and recreation director, public works director, utilities director and a Board of Tax Assessment Appeals position.

Finizio also stressed that a charter provision requires department heads to live in the city.

jeff.johnson@theday.com

Transition website:

https://sites.google.com/site/nltransition/

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