Stonington replaces attorney on DiCesare case

Stonington — The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday replaced labor attorney Mike Satti, who has been handling the case of fired Highway Supervisor Louis DiCesare II.

In its vote, the town appointed labor attorney Meredith Diette, who has been handling all labor issues for the town for the past 18 months to include handling issues such as employee suspensions and terminations.

After the vote, First Selectman Rob Simmons confirmed that Satti no longer would be handling the DiCesare matter.

“It’s always good to have a new set of eyes on an old problem,” Simmons said about Diette's appointment.

“I’ve been frustrated by this issue since my first day in office,” he added. “We inherited this problem from a previous administration. It’s time to move forward.”

As of last September, the town had spent $210,000 fighting the grievances, much of it paid to Satti. Last week The Day requested an updated accounting of how much the town has spent in legal fees on the three union grievances and one federal lawsuit DiCesare has filed against the town.

Two weeks ago, an arbitrator overturned the town’s decision to suspend DiCesare for five days, which was the subject of the first grievance. Arbitrator Peter Adomeit said the town improperly prohibited DiCesare from having union representation at a disciplinary hearing. He ordered the town to repay him about $1,500 in pay and remove the suspension from his record.

Adomeit’s decision states that before DiCesare’s hearing with Public Works Director Barbara McKrell, a police officer told DiCesare’s union representative that if she did not leave, she would be arrested. Satti had recommended to town officials that they now allow DiCesare to have union representation at the hearing.

Adomeit still has to rule on two more union grievances while DiCesare’s civil rights lawsuit against the town is pending in federal court.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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