NORWALK, Conn. – Unlike the chief executive officer of a private corporation, Norwalk’s mayor does not have the ability to evaluate department heads and act accordingly.
So said Mayor Harry Rilling at the recent West Norwalk Mayor’s Night Out in response to questions from Farhan Memon.
Memon criticized the lack of diversity among Norwalk’s department heads and asked if there could be an evaluation process that could be made public.
“We’re asking our teachers to undergo these types of rigorous and data-intensive evaluations. I don’t see why perhaps it shouldn’t be extended to other areas of public services as well,” Memon said.
Rilling said the city’s leadership was not his doing, and he had only been mayor for three months.
“When you have certain conditions that exist and certain people are in place, well, it takes time before you have an opportunity to fill a position,” Rilling said.
“As far as evaluations go, there are certain department heads that can be evaluated and will be,” he said. “There are others who can’t simply because they’re members of a union and their bargaining agreement doesn’t call for it. So that can present a problem. I think we know of several circumstances where it would be nice to be able to evaluate somebody but it’s not in keeping with their bargaining agreement. You can’t just implement arbitrarily and capriciously because that’s against the bargaining agreement. So, there are people who can be evaluated, will be evaluated, and once we get the human resources director in place, which hopefully will be within the next month, we’ll be able to look at implementing an evaluation program for those that can be evaluated.”
He said the new HR director will work with Human Relations director Adam Bovilsky to “make sure that our affirmative action plan is up and running and in place and in keeping with the needs of the city.”
The next Mayor’s Night Out is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 27 at Columbus Elementary School.