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Embattled Oak Hills Park golf course superintendent resigns

Thomas Vorio listens to the Oak Hills Park Authority meeting from the back of the community room Thursday at Norwalk City Hall.

By Nancy Guenther Chapman

NORWALK, Conn. – Oak Hills Park Golf Course Superintendent Thomas Vorio ended what had become a contentious relationship with his employer Thursday night when he resigned his position at the beginning of the Oak Hills Park Authority meeting at City Hall.

The resignation short-circuited an executive session that had been planned for the end of the meeting to discuss a personnel issue.

Vorio, who had been described in an email from authority Chairman Bob Vigulak to Norwalk Common Council members as “a disgruntled employee,” gave no reason for his resignation.

Two on-duty Norwalk Police officers were present at the start of the meeting, which drew a couple dozen people to discuss a controversial proposal to build a driving range at the golf course. One officer remained for the duration.

Vorio silently watched the public comment portion of the meeting from the back of the room, leaving before the authority discussed the driving range.

The resignation had been in the works for 12 days, authority members said.

Vorio had written to members of the Common Council on Dec. 9 to “communicate the frustration of the park maintenance department and its employees” with the Oak Hills Park Authority. His email contained several allegations and questions about the management of the course. The full text can be found in a previous story on this site.

Virgulak’s email to the Common Council was in response to Vorio’s communication.

“Tommy has asked for an exit strategy by March 1, 2013. I propose to the Board that we expedite this much sooner,”  Virgulak said in his email.

The exiting superintendent was not present when an authority member called his resignation “a loss” that the authority would get through.

The member thanked him for doing a great job and said the course looks much better this year than it used to.

Comments

4 responses to “Embattled Oak Hills Park golf course superintendent resigns”

  1. Diane C2

    Well, that was certainly the ultimate ultimatum, no? A ‘meet my terms and I’ll go away quietly, or else I speak out tonight’?
    Despite describing his own motives as “looking out for the best interest of Oak Hills Park and the City of Norwalk at large”, apparently the overriding interest was his own.
    I hope any future legal investigations into Oak Hills include a subpoena of Mr. Vorio, so that he can publicly identify the misdeeds that were so egregious as to have the Authority negotiate a termination agreement literally hours before the meeting.
    Mr. Vorio’s confirmation to me that my prior accusations about mismanagement are accurate does little to numb the sting of encouraging someone who professed to be acting for the good of the people, but ended up using others as leverage to get a better deal.
    Mr. Vorio will answer only to himself when he ponders if the end justified the means.
    For me, I don’t know what concerns me most about this young man – that upon reflection his actions will haunt him the rest of his life… or that they won’t.

  2. Oldtimer

    Diane
    Don’t be surprized if he can supply all kinds of info. Bobby Virgulak has some troubling history, going back to when he was on the 2nd taxing district commission and there was a scandal where he, and others, were arrested.

  3. Diane C2

    @Oldtimer: thanks, but I think Mr. Vorio’s termination agreement probably restricts his comments on anything confidential (wrong on so many level of “freedom of speech”).
    I’ve read the accounts a Mr. Virgulak’s criminal history, arrest and prosecution in the taxing district, but couldn’t confirm if it was the same person who now chairs Oak Hill authority. Here is one of the news archives from google online and The Hour:
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1916&dat=19840512&id=hCpJAAAAIBAJ&sjid=swYNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1358,2275572

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