Four reappointed to Norwich Ice Rink Authority

Norwich - The City Council reappointed four Ice Rink Authority members Monday, including one who was recently the subject of two sexual harassment complaints by rink employees.

The council reappointed Alderman and council President Pro Tempore Francois "Pete" Desaulniers, Michael Goldblatt, Joann Beguhl and Stephanie Davis to terms expiring April 1, 2015. Two rink employees recently complained that they had felt uncomfortable with Davis, saying she had touched them on the shoulder at times.

City Human Resources Director Brigid Marks and Desaulniers, as authority chairman, met with one employee to discuss the complaints. Desaulniers and Beguhl then met with Davis over the issue.

The council Monday briefly discussed whether the reappointed members should have been interviewed before the vote - deciding only new appointments needed interviews - but aldermen did not raise the issue of the recent complaints. Alderman Charles Jaskiewicz voted against the reappointments, preferring to interview the nominees first.

Desaulniers supported all the reappointments, saying the group was very much involved and "extremely helpful in organizing and reorganizing the rink." Desaulniers was appointed by the council nearly a year ago to oversee a financial turnaround for the rink that had lost money for years and needed city subsidies - now cut off.

The authority was on its way to a profit this year until a Feb. 13 cooling system failure forced the rink to close for a month. Repairs cost $74,209, not including lost revenue during the shutdown.

Personnel turmoil has continued, with the resignation in March of former interim rink Manager Mia Sanca, who attempted to rescind her decision a week later. Two other employees resigned April 2, citing a hostile work environment, difficulties with the authority and management uncertainties. The authority also has two new vacancies, with resignations of Patrice Jaskiewicz, the alderman's wife, and member Michael Meakem. Nominees to replace those members will be interviewed by the council.


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