By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
BEACON FALLS — In a divided decision, the Board of Selectmen has called for Board of Assessment Appeals Chairman Gary Komarowsky to resign after complaints filed by a town resident and employee.
At its Oct. 5 meeting, the Board of Selectmen voted, 2-1, to draft a letter to ask Komarowsky to step down after what officials called inappropriate behavior.
First Selectman Gerard Smith drafted a letter dated Oct. 8 formally requesting Komarowsky, a Democrat, to resign from the elected position.
Komarowsky, who has served on the board for 17 years and 16 as chairman, said he had not received the letter as of Oct. 14. He said last week he did not plan to resign.
Two incidents in September are at the heart of the matter.
Following a Board of Assessment Appeals meeting Sept. 14, Komarowsky walked to a woman’s home at about 10:15 p.m. The woman, who was at the meeting, filed an appeal and won.
Komarowsky said he walked over to congratulate the woman, and he had a cigar and a glass of gin and tonic at the time.
“I was really happy for her,” Komarowsky said. “I just wanted to convey good news to her.”
Smith said the woman complained to him about Komarowsky’s actions the next day. Smith said he advised the woman to speak with police.
Beacon Falls Resident State Trooper Humberto Henriques said the woman filed a police complaint. He said the woman reported that she was alarmed and unsure of Komarowsky’s intentions. Henriques said the woman stayed at a friend’s house that evening.
Henriques said there wasn’t anything criminal about the incident and no charges were filed. Henriques said police advised Komarowsky not to contact the woman, which he agreed to do.
Komarowsky said he takes full responsibility for what he did that night.
The second complaint was filed by Tax Collector Jennifer Bilsky.
Smith said Komarowsky was in the tax office the morning of Sept. 15 when Bilsky arrived for work, and didn’t say anything for some time until identifying himself.
Bilsky said she filed a complaint with the town’s human resources firm, McInnis Inc., regarding the incident.
“It was a very uncomfortable situation,” Bilsky said.
Smith referred a reporter to McInnis Inc. for a copy of the complaint. The firm didn’t respond to a request for the complaint.
Komarowsky, who doesn’t have a car, said he got a ride to Town Hall at about 8:15 a.m. The building opens at 9 a.m. As a board chairman, Komarowsky has keys to the building.
Komarowsky said he was in the office waiting for Assessor June Chadderton to arrive so he could notify her of the decisions made by the board the night before.
“As chairman, it’s necessary for me to sign off on final documentation and notify the assessor of the final determination,” he said.
Since Komarowsky is an elected official, the Board of Selectmen can’t simply force him to resign. His term runs until November 2021.
“We don’t have the right to fire,” Smith said. “We have the right to protect the citizens.”
Smith said there is what he described as a long-winded process, which involves petitioning the state, to remove Komarowsky, but he felt it was better to ask for his resignation.
Smith, who is unaffiliated, and Selectman Michael Krenesky, Republican, voted to ask Komarowsky to resign. Selectman Christopher Bielik, a Democrat, voted against it.
Bielik said during the meeting that Komarowsky has dedicated a lot of time to the town and what he did wasn’t criminal.
“Even our investigating officer and the resident trooper himself did not find that there was malicious intent behind anything that Mr. Komarowsky did,” Bielik said. “If he had good news and he wanted to share it with somebody that was his neighbor, so he knocked on the door and he was oblivious to the time of day.”
Bielik did agree that the behavior was inappropriate.
Smith said the board has a responsibility to make sure residents and employees feel safe, especially when dealing with elected officials.
“We are the leadership of the town. So, like it or not, he’s part of our administration. So, he’s reflecting the three of us sitting at this table,” Smith said.