Stonington goes to court to fight highway supervisor union membership

Stonington — A New Britain Superior Court judge is scheduled today to hear the town’s appeal of a decision by the State Board of Labor Relations to allow Highway Supervisor Louis DiCesare II to join the Stonington Public Administrators Association. 

Since last June, when Di­Cesare formally requested to join the SPAA, the town has fought his attempt to join the 15-member union. Michelle Zulawski, an attorney who works for town labor attorney Michael Satti, filed the court appeal late last month saying that, based on the evidence, the labor board had made errors in its ruling. 

Zulawski argued in the appeal that DiCesare would be aware of the town’s negotiations strategy in term of wages and benefits for the Highway Department, and there would be no restrictions on his sharing that information with the SPAA union. 

She also argued that the highway supervisor would be the only nonprofessional employee among the other 15 members of the union and that the labor board was in error when it ruled there were other nonprofessional employees in the bargaining unit. 

In January, Director of Public Works Barbara Mc­Krell suspended DiCesare for five days without pay. The suspension cost DiCesare, who earns $78,800 a year, approximately $1,515. 

Among the reasons Mc­Krell cited for the suspension in a six-page document were DiCesare telling her that she doesn’t trust him, disobeying her orders and making errors that cost the town $125,000. 

But DiCesare, who has worked for the town for 11½ years, including six in his current position, disputed the charges and said he never had a single disciplinary incident during his employment with the town. 

“It is also my belief that your attitude towards me personally and professionally is in retaliation because of my petition to SPAA,” he wrote in an October memo to McKrell.

The Day filed a Freedom of Information request with the town Tuesday seeking an accounting of the money it has spent on legal fees to oppose DiCesare’s membership in the union.

j.wojtas@theday.com

Twitter: @joewojtas

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