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Stonington — The Stonington Community Center announced this morning that it has appointed Beth-Ann Stewart, who has been the town's Human Services Director for the past 12 years, as its new executive director.
Stewart, who gave her two weeks notice to the town on Tuesday, replaces Jim Truscio who resigned from the community center in June. She begins work at the community center, better known as the COMO, on Nov. 5.
In a press release, COMO Board of Directors President Kathryn Nason Burchenal said that after an extensive search and an overwhelming response from applicants, the board and staff of the COMO delighted to welcome Stewart.
"Beth-Ann distinguished herself with very strong professional and academic experience, strategic leadership qualities, and a deep commitment to this community. She embodies the values and principles of the COMO and this gives us great confidence in her ability to lead this special organization," Burchenal said in a statement.
Stewart also serves on various boards and committees, and is the past president of Mystic Area Shelter and Hospitality, Inc. and is the current chairwoman of the Southeastern CT Housing Alliance. She also serves on the Adjunct Faculty at Salve Regina University.
Stewart said this afternoon she is "truly grateful for having had the opportunity to be the town's first human services director and said she appreciated how so many people and organizations and especially her team helped make the department a success.
"I'm at a point in my career where I'm ready for a change. The COMO felt like a natural fit for me," she said, calling the community center a great organization.
Stewart said she will begin her new position by listening to people who have connection with the COMO and "then take a team approach from there."
In the press release Stewart said, "The COMO has a long tradition of serving the citizens of Stonington, and I feel honored to have been selected as the new Executive Director."
First Selectmen Ed Haberek said today that he appreciated having had the opportunity to work with Stewart during his tenure as first selectmen.
"We wish her the best of luck in her new appointment," he said.
Haberek said there are no plans to immediately replace Stewart, who earned $77,200 a year plus benefits. Instead, Haberek said he and Administrative Services Director Vin Pacileo will look at the operations of the human services department as well as those of non profit agencies in town to see what services are being offered and if they are duplicating efforts.
"In this time of economic uncertainty we have to look at any type of efficiencies that we can," he said.
For now he said the department social services and youth services directors will oversee the operation.