Stonington zoning officer takes Ledyard post

Stonington - Longtime Zoning Officer Joe Larkin, who has been involved in a number of high profile controversies over the years and recently served a two-week suspension for an undisclosed reason, has been hired by the Town of Ledyard to be its full-time zoning and wetlands enforcement officer.

The news surprised town officials Monday, who said Larkin had not submitted a letter of resignation or informed them of his new job even though Ledyard Mayor John Rodolico said Monday he expects Larkin to begin his full-time duties within the next week. Larkin has taken several sick days recently, including Monday, and was unavailable to comment. First Selectmen Ed Haberek was also unavailable to comment Monday.

Rodolico said Ledyard has employed a string of part-time zoning and wetlands officers in recent years but has found it very difficult to hire a full-time person to handle both jobs. Larkin, whose job in Stonington was reduced to part-time two years ago, has been working as Ledyard's part-time zoning enforcement officer for the past four months.

Rodolico said Larkin is a highly trained enforcement officer who comes highly recommended by his fellow zoning officers. In addition, Rodolico said he has had an opportunity to witness Larkin's work and his approach to enforcement over the past four months.

Rodolico said he was not concerned over the various zoning controversies Larkin has been embroiled in, saying zoning officers have to make tough calls on regulations that are subject to interpretation.

"Sometimes your opinion is not shared by the town administration of the (zoning) commission," he said.

Rodolico added he was also not troubled by Larkin's suspension last month, saying he and Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Mike Cherry discussed the situation with Larkin.

Larkin, who has worked for 20 years in Stonington, will earn $47,000 in his new job compared to the $32,098 he was earning in his part-time position in Stonington.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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