Stonington finance director to depart, bound for Waterford

Stonington - For the fourth time in eight months, a high-ranking Town Hall employee is leaving to take a new job, this time longtime Director of Finance Maryanna Stevens.

Stevens, who has worked here for 11½ years, informed the town earlier this week that she will step down Aug. 8 to take the job as the director of finance in Waterford on Aug. 11.

She follows Town Engineer Larry Sullivan, who left after 7½ years to take a job with Norwich Public Utilities in February, Public Works Director Joe Bragaw, who left after 13 years to take a similar position in East Lyme last November, and Tax Collector Gisela Harma, who retired in March after 12½ years. In all, they had 44½ years of experience working for the town.

In Waterford, Stevens will replace Rudie Beers, who is retiring. Before taking the job in Waterford, Beers had been the director of finance in Stonington.

"For my own personal growth and development, I believe it is time for me to consider other opportunities," Stevens said in her letter of resignation to First Selectman Ed Haberek. Among her accomplishments, she pointed to the upgrading of the town's bond rating, the refunding of older bonds to take advantage of more favorable interest rates and the establishment of a fiscally responsible fund balance policy, all of which have saved the town large sums of money when it has needed to borrow money for projects.

"It's just better for me on a personal level," she added about the move, which also puts her closer to her home in East Lyme. "I'm going to miss my staff. I've been fortunate to have a great group. The community has been very supportive and so has the Board of Finance," she said. "I love the town and the people here."

Board of Finance Chairman John O'Brien said Stevens' announcement caught him by surprise.

"She is a tremendous director of finance. She ran the office with a lot of integrity and did an excellent job," he said. "We'll miss her. We're going to be hard pressed to find someone as good as her to replace her."

Haberek did not respond to a request for comment about Stevens' tenure or how the town will go about finding a replacement.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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