Stonington will not release $15,000 study of town operations

Stonington — The town will not release a $15,000 study it commissioned last year to analyze how town departments operate, saying it is still in draft form.

First Selectman Rob Simmons said Wednesday he received the 20-page draft in January and the consultant who crafted the report has been paid. Simmons added that he has begun to implement some of its 50 recommendations.

But he said he and fellow Board of Selectmen members Mike Spellman and Kate Rotella have not had time to review and finalize the document because they are busy dealing with the proposed 2017-18 budget, more than $2 million in state aid cuts and other issues.

The Day, meanwhile, filed a state Freedom of Information request for the report on Wednesday. The town now has four business days to respond.

State freedom of information law states that preliminary drafts or notes can be exempt from public disclosure “provided the public agency has determined that the public interest in withholding such documents clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

The consultant, former Newington town manager Keith Chapman, began work in August of 2016. The town said at the time he would complete a draft of his report in September 2016 and then submit his final report in January 2017.

Simmons said Chapman, who examined the town’s operational policies and procedures and made recommendations for improvement, interviewed town staff and officials about issues such as leadership, communication, collaboration and management of assets.

Simmons said that with the town losing some experienced staff members in recent years, he wanted a “fresh set of eyeballs” to look at the town’s operations.

“I wanted to know, ‘Are we up to date? Are we doing things the way we always have or are they in accordance with contemporary standards?'” he said.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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