Stonington tax collector, town engineer leaving posts

Stonington - Two veteran Town Hall department heads have announced they are leaving over the next few weeks.

Republican Tax Collector Gisela Harma, who has served 12½ years and won re-election in November, has announced she will retire at the end of March.

Meanwhile, Town Engineer Larry Sullivan informed the town this week that he will be leaving in two weeks to take a job as a utility engineer with Norwich Public Utilities. Sullivan has been with the town for 7½ years and worked on many major projects for the town.

The announcements by Harma and Sullivan follow the November departure of Public Works Director Joe Bragaw to take a similar job in East Lyme. Harma said she has decided to retire now because "it's time."

"I just have so many family things I have to do," she said, adding that her husband is retired and her mother is getting older.

"I hope I have served the public well. That's what we're elected for," she said while praising the work of her staff.

Harma has won consistent praise from the Board of Finance for her high tax collection rate. She will stay on the job through March 31. The Republican Town Committee is now in the process of selecting a replacement who will serve until the next municipal election in November 2015. Harma said she expects there will be an opportunity for her to meet with her successor to work on the transition.

Sullivan said his decision to leave was "a career move." He said working with NPU offers a chance for advancement, and he called NPU a great company to work for. He added that he has always enjoyed utility work.

First Selectman Ed Haberek did not respond to a request for comment about the departures.

j.wojtas@theday.com

Editor's note: This version corrects Gisela Harma's job title.

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