Borough hires joint human resource director

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NAUGATUCK — After months of searching, Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson announced that a selection had been made for the position of human resources director.

Ansonia resident John Lawlor was chosen for the position from a pool of more than 30 applicants.

The hiring committee of six people, which included Tindall-Gibson and Mayor Robert Mezzo, went through all of the applications before deciding on Lawlor.

Lawlor currently directs human resources for the Baldwin Technology Company in Shelton. He is also chair of the Ansonia school board. He will also serve as the director of human resources for nearly 400 employees of borough government, under an agreement with the Board of Mayor and Burgesses.

“I think he’s a fantastic individual with tremendous experience in the private sector, as well significant amount of years on a board of education,” said Mayor Robert Mezzo, a member of the hiring committee that recommended Lawlor to the school board.

According to Tindall-Gibson, Lawlor has worked in human resources his entire career and has around 20 years of experience.

When Tindall-Gibson presented the selection to the Board of Education during its regular meeting on April 12 at Prospect Street School, not all members were happy having to hire someone they had not met.

“Having not met the individual or interviewed him, I’m going to vote no because I can’t support giving a three-year contract to somebody I haven’t met,” board member Glen Connan said.

Connan felt that a contract should not be given to an employee until that employee went through a trial period and was reviewed.

Board member Diane Malone abstained from voting because she had not met Lawlor.

The remaining board members all voted in favor of appointing Lawlor to the position of human resources director.

The joint human resources position was intended to complement the agreement to share Controller Wayne McAllister, who stepped in during a budget crisis three years ago to oversee the school board’s finances as well municipal finances.

Tindall-Gibson explained that the amount of time Lawlor worked for the town and for the district was not a set number. It would depend on who needed him more at the time.

Tindall-Gibson explained that Lawlor would probably be spending more time with the Board of Education because there are twice as many employees there as there are in the borough offices. Though he works for both, Lawlor will have an office in the Tuttle building.

Lawlor’s salary will be $96,000, and he will also receive a $4,000 stipend in lieu of health benefits because he already has insurance, Mezzo said. The borough will pay part of Lawlor’s salary, but the exact breakdown has not yet been decided, Mezzo said.

The money for his salary is already in the budget and did not represent an increase for either the town or the board.

The school system has not employed a human resources director in recent years, splitting the job instead among employees in the central business office. The human resources director for municipal employees, Jeanette Deschesnes, made nearly $92,000 before retiring in January.

Lawlor has worked in human resources for Baldwin Technology since 1997, and worked in other human resources positions for nine years before that, according to his resume. He has a bachelor’s degree in human development and family relations from the University of Connecticut and is a certified school business administrator.

He has been chair of the Ansonia school board for at least five years, said Carol Merlone, the city’s superintendent of schools.

The Republican American contributed to this article.