BEACON FALLS — Republican Selectman Michael Krenesky demanded Monday that Democrat Selectman Peter Betkoski resign his appointed position on the Regional Water Authority’s Representative Policy Board.
First Selectman Christopher Bielik and Krenesky voted to appoint Betkoski to the position in June, ousting Tanya Gutierro from the position she had held for nine years. However, Krenesky said he was misinformed of Gutierro’s record on the board — and the fact that the position comes with a stipend — at the time of vote.
In April, Gutierro requested that she be reappointed to the position and Bielik replied in an email that he would be “glad” to reappoint her at the May Board of Selectmen meeting.
“Needless to say, I was very surprised by the turn of events,” Gutierro wrote.
According to Krenesky, Betkoski approached him around the same time, saying Gutierro should be replaced because she had missed multiple meetings and this was a very important post.
Betkoski said Monday that he was not aware at the time that the position came with a stipend of $103 per meeting.
Krenesky contacted the Regional Water Authority for Gutierro’s attendance records from April 2016 to June 2017.
“These records show that Ms. Gutierro had an excellent record attending an average of four meetings every calendar quarter,” Krenesky wrote.
He said her attendance record was over 80 percent.
In a letter to Bielik, Krenesky characterized the incident as a “miscarriage of justice perpetrated against Ms. Tanya Gutierro.”
“I think that this was an injustice done to a resident of the community who has done excellent work for the community,” Krenesky said.
Minutes from the Regional Water Authority’s Representative Policy Board from the last two years indicate that Gutierro missed seven out of 18 meetings. She also missed 11 out of 20 meetings for the Land Use Committee, of which she was a member, and six out of 12 Nominating Committee meetings.
Since he was appointed in June, Betkoski attended one out of two meetings, according to the minutes.
When Krenesky asked, Betkoski refused to step down from the position.
“Absolutely not,” Betkoski said.
“I don’t believe it looks very good for any member of the Board of Selectmen to appoint himself to a paid position,” Krenesky said.
Bielik stopped Krenesky before he could elaborate further, saying his remarks were pejorative.
Bielik said Betkoski was appointed to the water authority board because representatives from other towns include former first selectmen, sitting members of town councils and specialists in the area.
“Michael you can please stop being so political about this,” Bielik said. “I haven’t heard anything here tonight that makes me revisit that thought process at all.”
Bielik said he put the most qualified person, with the best ability to represent the town on the board.
Bielik said all the reasoning he had for appointing Betkoski to the position could be found in the June meeting minutes. The minutes from the meeting available on the town’s website state, “C. Bielik indicated that P. Betkoski did some research as to this position and found that other municipalities have a representative from the Selectmen or Town Council. P. Betkoski indicated that he would be interested in the position.”