The Middletown common council approved three appointments to top-level city posts Tuesday night that fill long-term vacancies in departments.
Mayor Daniel Drew’s appointments passed easily with bipartisan council support.
Joseph Fazzino is the new director of the water and sewer department, Ashley Flynn is the new city clerk and Robert Grauer is the new deputy director of central communications.
The appointments come at a crucial time for the water and sewer and dispatch departments, which are in the midst of major projects.
Fazzino has been the acting director of the department since last year after the retirement of the previous director and deputy director Guy Russo and Bob Young. He was the department’s chief engineer for 19 years.
The water and sewer department is overseeing the construction of a more than $25 million sewer pump station that will allow Middletown to join the Mattabassett District in Cromwell for sewer treatment.
Joining New Britain, Cromwell and Berlin in the regional sewer district will allow Middletown to shut down its own obsolete sewer treatment plant on River Road and then free up valuable riverfront land for redevelopment.
Water and sewer is also involved in a federal project to bring clean water to a section of Durham with contaminated ground water. Middletown gets new customers, and Durham businesses and homes get access for the first time to a municipal water supply.
Fazzino said there is the potential to add customers in other surrounding towns in coming years.
“We’re looking forward to selling more water,” Fazzino said. “With water saving and conservation our demand has been dropping off, so with that this Durham project comes in very handy. It helps us create more revenue without putting in a big expense.”
Flynn has worked in the clerk’s office at city hall for 13 years. She was first hired as a summer employee in 2005. She told the council it has always been her goal to become the city clerk since she began working for the city.
Flynn has been the acting city clerk since the death of former Clerk Linda Bettencourt earlier this year.
“At a difficult time for the department because of that, Ashley has stepped up to the plate,” Drew said.
Drew said he has been getting compliments from residents on a nearly weekly basis about Flynn’s leadership in the department, which serves as city hall’s information hub.
Grauer has worked as a dispatcher in the city’s central communications department for about five years. He has also been a dispatcher in other departments and was a volunteer firefighter in Newtown for seven years, two of those as a lieutenant.
Director of Central Communications Wayne Bartolotta told the council that Grauer is “calm, mature and level headed” and that he has pursued multiple certifications and training programs on his own.
Middletown’s dispatch center also dispatches for Portland police and fire. It is currently in the midst of equipment upgrade projects and has begun handling 9-1-1 texting calls under a new statewide program.