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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Housing authority cuts maintenance supervisor position

As published in the Record Journal, Saturday September 3, 2011

By Robert Cyr
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2224


The Wallingford Housing Authority board voted Friday to cut its maintenance supervisor position effective immediately, but denied the decision was spurred by allegations brought against the current supervisor by his staff, who said they were instructed to handle and dispose of asbestos.

The position held by Paul Inserra was cut completely and his duties will be taken up by remaining maintenance staff, said housing board Chairman Michael Misiti. Inserra was not a member of a union and the board’s attorney will be looking at possible severance packages for him, Misiti said. Inserra was told by housing officials that his last day of work was Friday.

“We just decided as a board we need to move in a direction to try and make it run differently,” he said. Misiti said the board’s decision was not a reflection of Inserra’s job performance.

Inserra had no contract and served at the will of the commission, Misiti said. Board members and Director Stephen Nere said they did not immediately know how much the position paid.

Inserra was not available for comment.

Misiti denied the decision was tied in any way to the recent testimony of three maintenance workers who claimed Inserra told them to remove and dispose of asbestos debris and floor mastic in 2009, shortly before and during state inspection of the maintenance garage.

“This was being talked about well before that got brought to the newspapers,” he said. “We are not investigating any further.”\

While state environmental health officials received and investigated complaints of the asbestos removal, no charges were ever filed for the alleged illegal removal and disposal of the carcinogen. State health officials said nothing more was done about the issue because they were satisfied with the removal of the material by an abatement firm in September that year.

Nere said he was not in favor of the decision, and that Inserra had worked at the authority for 10 years.

“We’re not really going to get into all the ramifications, but I really don’t think it was the appropriate thing to do. The board is moving in a different direction and they felt it was best for the authority,” he said.

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