Ad seeking ZEO ruffles feathers

BEACON FALLS — An ad looking for a zoning enforcement officer has left some upset in town.

Building Inspector James Tucciarone served as the town’s zoning enforcement officer on an interim basis until he was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 30. Officials have declined to discuss the reason Tucciarone was placed on leave. As of Tuesday, an independent investigator was still reviewing the matter and the town was waiting for the report.

With Tucciarone on leave, the Building Department is being covered by building officials from other towns. The town placed an ad in the Waterbury Republican-American on Sept. 4 seeking a zoning enforcement officer to fill that part-time position.

However, not everyone in town knew the position was going to be advertised.

“I had no knowledge so I look like a fool when people ask me about my zoning enforcement officer,” Planning and Zoning Chairman Kevin McDuffie told the Board of Selectmen during its meeting on Sept. 12.

McDuffie said Tucciarone has done a good job serving as the town’s zoning enforcement officer. He was upset that the job was being advertised and that he had not been informed of the decision to advertise the job in the first place.

“I am not irritated, I am pissed,” McDuffie said. “I didn’t want to get this angry but it should have been brought to the Planning and Zoning chairman and we should have worked this out. Whatever is going on we could have worked this out.”

First Selectman Christopher Bielik didn’t address the matter during the meeting.

In a subsequent interview, Bielik said all town jobs are posted through the First Selectman’s Office.

“It doesn’t matter what job it is, it is posted through the First Selectman’s Office,” Bielik said. “The last time this position was advertised was a little over a year ago. It was handled the same way.”

Bielik said the zoning enforcement officer position was advertised as a direct result of Tucciarone being placed on leave.

“He couldn’t continue those duties, so he was terminated from that position,” Bielik said.

Tucciarone, who has worked in the Building Department for approximately two and a half years, also is the town’s blight officer. Only the zoning enforcement officer position had been advertised as of this week.

Bielik said the town is looking for someone who is already certified as a zoning enforcement officer, but is willing to hire someone that isn’t certified as long as that person is able to obtain certification within a year.

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