By: Maria Moore
Rista Malanca Appointed Interim Zoning Officer
Rista Malanca, the Assistant in the town’s Land Use Office has been appointed as the Interim Zoning Enforcement Officer, Rista confirmed to our reporter this afternoon, Thursday, April 15. Â Rista was appointed by the Commission during the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission Special Meeting on Wednesday, April 6. Â At that meeting the Commission members had at first set aside the appointment in order to seek legal counsel; however, after receiving the input of First Selectman Dan Jerram, the Commission members appointed Rista.
With this appointment Rista will be performing both the Zoning and Inland Wetlands enforcement in the town’s Land Use Office on an interim basis while Karl Nilsen, the town’s Zoning and Inland Wetlands Enforcement Officer, has been Â suspended without pay while allegations of irregularities in his time cards are being investigated; see the News Update below.
It is unclear as yet how Rista will be paid for the work she will perform as both the Zoning Enforcement Officer and the Inland Wetlands Officer, and this was likely the focus of the discussion at Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, when the Selectmen held a an executive session with the Chairman of the Board of Finance to discuss the Interim Land Use Administrator. Â Rista’s predecessor, Lynn Charest also performed some of the Zoning Officer’s duties and, in her case, we understand that she was asked to record separately the time she put in for inspections and the time she worked as an assistant in the office.
Rista is currently employed by the town as the Land Use Administrative Assistant at an annual salary of $28,319. Â Rista is also employed by Barkhamsted as its part-time Zoning Officer. In her interim duties as Zoning and Inland Wetlands Officer Rista will be performing the duties of the town’s Zoning Officer whose salary for the current fiscal year is $61,516 per year. Â Both positions are union positions; however, the Administrative Assistant position is due to be eliminated in the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2010-2011. Â This budget is due to be brought to a town referendum on May 4.
Time Card Documents Released To The Press
Documents related to the ongoing investigation of alleged time card fraud by the town’s Zoning Officer, Karl Nilsen have been released to the press following a Freedom of Information request. The Register Citizen today published 20 pages of documents they obtained including New Hartford’s accounting firm’s report to the town’s labor attorney on the discrepancies the accounting firm identified in the times card. To review the documents released, see the Register Citizen’s report published today, April 15.
After the investigation of the Zoning Officer was originally announced on March 30 (see our News Update: Zoning Officer Suspended…), our reporter spoke with Christine Hayward, the First Selectman’s Assistant about the time cards and she was told that they were documents related to an on-going investigation and so not available to the press.
NewHartfordPlus will not be publishing copies of the released documents, believing their release to be premature. We will provide a news update when the results of the official investigation are released.