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New human resources director starts in Groton Town

Groton — The Town of Groton has hired a new human resources director, following the resignation of previous Human Resources Director and Assistant Town Manager Robert Zagami.

Town Manager John Burt said the new director, Arnetia Green, who started on Dec. 29, brings a wealth of experience and has hit the ground running.

“I’m extremely pleased to have Ms. Green join the Town and expect great things from her,” Burt said. “I look forward to working together with her to help foster a welcoming and exciting environment for employees, that will make this the place that everyone wants to work at.”

Green held a variety of positions in HR with the City of New London from 2002 to 2014, including holding the position of chief examiner/labor assistant, followed by serving as the facility and regional human resources manager for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. She most recently worked as a senior Human Resources partner in health care and just completed her master’s degree in Human Resource Development, as well as a certificate in HR leadership, from Villanova University. Her salary is $110,190, Burt said.

“From what I’ve seen, Groton is a forward-looking municipality and I thought it would be great to return to my roots in public sector HR because I’ve served for a municipality prior,” Green said. “So I’m actually very excited to work with the HR team and the town staff, and I had a good experience during the interview process and really felt that my leadership here would be a complement to the team that existed.”

Green said her overarching goal is to continue to help drive the HR department’s partnership with town staff and other town departments and help make the employee life cycle — their whole start to finish and the different stages they go through — as successful, enriching and engaging as possible. By doing that, it helps to ensure the staff, who are in public service, give the best services both to internal and external customers.

The hiring of Green comes after Zagami, who joined the town in 2013 and had the duties of assistant town manager added to his role as human resources director in 2018, resigned in September after signing a severance agreement and general release with the town.

Zagami had been suspended with pay so the town could investigate complaints received, according to an Aug. 27 email obtained by The Day through a Freedom of Information Act request. The investigation was then paused while coming to an agreement on the severance, according to Burt.

Under the agreement, Zagami received a $15,000 severance payment and agreed to release the town from “any and all causes of actions, liabilities, obligations, suits, claims and demands” in relation to his employment or separation from employment. The agreement calls for neither party to publicize it, but it is not exempt from being released due to requests under Freedom of Information law.

Zagami told The Day that he is looking forward to the next phase of his life.

Burt told The Day that he could not comment on the nature of the complaints due to the terms of the agreement and could not comment further, since it is a personnel matter.

Zagami's annual salary at the time of his departure from the town was $119,474.98. Zagami made a request to the state Department of Labor for $17,231.94 in accrued vacation pay, which is the only type of accrued leave that he can make claim to under the town’s practice for non-union employees, according to the documents.

The town’s retirement board on Nov. 18 approved a resolution authorizing retirement benefits to be paid to Zagami.

Zagami's personnel records also include a performance improvement plan he signed in January 2019. He had signed the document but he said it was not accurate.

k.drelich@theday.com 

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