Authority decides to keep Norwich ice rink personnel, but study operations

Norwich - Seven months into an effort to turn around the finances of the Norwich Municipal Ice Rink, the rink authority voted Thursday to retain current staff and salaries but to launch a study of all the rink's operations and positions.

The authority voted to keep rink manager Mia Sanca at her salary of $53,000 as well as part-time support staff. They include a hockey director, figure skating director and learn-to-skate director, and maintenance, concessions and pro shop staff. Salaries in the current budget total $169,000, including Sanca's salary.

Sanca was named interim rink manager in June on a six-month trial after her husband, former rink manager Jim Sanca, resigned amid the financial restructuring.

The nearly 20-year-old rink had suffered from chronic annual deficits subsidized by city contributions until last spring, when city officials restructured finances, cut staffing and approved a $696,000 budget with a projected $9,100 surplus. Authority Chairman Francois "Pete" Desaulniers said the budget surplus now is projected to be slightly better than the initial budget.

The authority appointed a subcommittee of Desaulniers, Joann Beguhl and Cheryl Ritacco to the new restructuring subcommittee, with Stephanie Davis as the alternate. Although the authority did not give a deadline for the committee to report back to the full authority, Desaulniers said after the meeting that all recommendations should be ready to be included in the 2013-14 budget this spring.

The restructuring committee will examine all operations from personnel to programs, the rink building and utilities.

"We see some holes in the organization," Desaulniers said. "We think it can be tightened up."

After the meeting, Mia Sanca said she agreed with the authority's decision to examine the entire rink structure. She said there are positions that probably can be consolidated to save money and improve efficiency.

Sanca said the authority's more hands-on role has helped improve operations, especially financial assistance from authority members.

"I think the board is definitely on track and is staying on track," Sanca said.


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