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Ass’t Corporation Counsel quits Norwalk post due to ‘salary inequities’

Corporation Counsel Robert Maslan told the Norwalk Common Council on Tuesday that his assistant was resigning due to “strictly personal” reasons. (file photo)

By Nancy Guenther Chapman

NORWALK, Conn. – The “strictly personal” reasons for the resignation of a member of Norwalk’s legal department turn out to be her perceived “gross inequities” in the salary structure.

Linda Guliuzza has resigned her position as Norwalk assistant corporation counsel, effective Dec. 31. Members of the Common Council were informed of her resignation at Tuesday’s meeting by Corporation Counsel Robert Maslan, who said Guliuzza’s reasons were “strictly personal in nature.”

On Thursday, Guliuzza sent an email to council members, saying that if she had known she was on the agenda, she would have been there in person and spelling out her reason for resigning.

“Please be advised that I am leaving the City for one, and only one reason – the refusal of the City to adjust my salary,” Guliuzza said in the email.

Guliuzza was on the agenda because Mayor Richard Moccia intended to reappoint her to the position. The agenda is generally released on Friday. Maslan said during the meeting that Guliuzza had resigned, and the appointment was withdrawn. Moccia said he looked forward to interviewing candidates for the position.

It was very brief.

“If I had known that the reappointment was going to be withdrawn, I would have attended the meeting to address the Council in person,” Guliuzza said in her email. “In any event, I have been informed by people who were present at that meeting that the public was informed that I was leaving the City for ‘personal reasons.’ At least two people indicated that they were led to believe that I was leaving due to ‘family issues.’”

She continued, “My decision to leave the City should not come as a surprise to anyone, as we have all known of my concerns regarding salary issues for at least two years. I believe I have done everything in my power to resolve what I perceive as gross inequities in my salary level. It is with great sadness that I leave this position.”

Guliuzza declined to elaborate further in a phone call.

Maslan did not return an email asking for comment. Neither did Deputy Corporation Counsel Jeffry Spahr.

Guliuzza, who has been with the city for more than five years, was paid $98,030.64 in 2011, according to a list of salaries provided last February by Finance Director Thomas Hamilton. Diane Beltz-Jacobson, who, like Guliuzza, is an assistant corporation counsel, earned $107,195.66. According to personnel committee minutes, Beltz-Jacobson has been with the city for more than 20 years.

Guliuzza is an ordinance employee, according to minutes of the May 4, 2011, personnel committee meeting, which addressed the issue of raises for ordinance employees. The minutes quote Spahr as saying that the legal department provided services to the Board of Education without compensation, in an effort to reduce BOE expenses. Spahr spoke of inequity in the pay scale for city employees.

A potential pay raise for ordinance employees was authorized by the Common Council on May 24, 2011. The employees were eligible for a maximum 2.75 percent pay raise based on performance evaluations from Moccia.

Other legal department employees and their 2011 salaries (as listed in the document) are:

  • Corporation Counsel Robert Maslan, $81,270.26
  • Deputy Corporation Counsel Jeffry Spahr, $138,768.85
  • Irene Alarcon, senior legal secretary, $65,562.50
  • Nilsa Martinez, senior legal secretary, $56,153.32
  • Barbara Tiscia, legal secretary, $50,936.66

Most council members did not return a request for comment. Warren Peña (D-At Large) said he would respond in the morning.

Comments

5 responses to “Ass’t Corporation Counsel quits Norwalk post due to ‘salary inequities’”

  1. M. Jeffry Spahr

    Actually – I did respond to your email as follows:
    Fri 12/14/2012 3:42 PM
    “I was surprised to hear that she wished to leave. She has been a very effective and dedicated attorney in our office. Certainly she has saved the City a great deal of money with her thoroughness and willingness to engage the opposing side in the courtroom when she believed that such a course of action was warranted. We all wish her well and unite in the feeling that we will miss her and her hard work.”

    1. Mr. Spahr,
      You did reply. I have learned not to update a story more than six hours after it went online. I wrote a second story, which included your comment and Mr. Pena’s reply.

      Thank you,
      Nancy

      1. I might have waited for a reply before posting a story, but honestly, I didn’t expect one. Responses from City Hall have been few and far between since April 2011, when I wrote a story the mayor did not like. I appreciate your email.

  2. M. Jeffry Spahr

    Actually – when I spoke I did not point the finger at inequities. The highlight of my commentary was that there was a great deal of teamwork between the department heads and that all were, in my experience, hardworking and dedicated. Here are the Minutes:

    Jeffrey Spahr, Legal Department, stated that he concurs with all others who spoke and
    is in agreement with the desired outcome to be that of equity and fairness. He shared
    that he loves his job and the sentiment at City Hall is one where Department Heads
    display a tremendous level of teamwork, they work long hours, come in early, stay late,
    and value of dedication and commitment to the city is one that is unsurpassed in other
    municipalities. He added that this value is at a fragile point of being lost and he related
    the example of when concessions were made by other bargaining groups that resulted in
    Department Heads losing out in other areas. He stated that as Mr. Hamilton pointed out,
    the issue where subordinates will now make more than their bosses, is an unusual
    practice that should be rectified. He highlighted areas where the legal department has
    assisted the Board of Education with legal cases, and they have provided services to them
    in an effort to help reduce their expenses, without compensation. He stated that the City
    Department Heads have set an example for contract negotiations and extensions, and he
    encouraged the Committee members to closely examine the issue of being fair and
    equitable

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