Saying the new town planner has hustled to get up to speed quickly on a number of complex issues that he’s handling well, officials this week moved him to full-time status.
The Board of Selectmen during its regular meeting Tuesday voted 3-0 to advance Town Planner Steve Palmer to full-time status.
“He has been a real pleasure to work with,” First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.
“He has brought himself up to speed very quickly, and I must say [Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman] John Goodwin has been very good with him as well, as a chairman, has really brought him along very well and has not been afraid to give advice as to past philosophies and that kind of thing.”
Hired in November, Palmer came directly from the municipal government of Westport, where he served in the same role, and since arriving in New Canaan has worked with P&Z, applicants and neighbors on a number of divisive land use matters. They include the sober house on West Road, which appears to be headed toward a compromise, the proposed redevelopment of the Roger Sherman Inn, which P&Z denied, Grace Farms, which is ongoing and Merritt Village, including emotionally charged discussions around the cemetery there.
“He had a little bit of a baptism by fire,” Selectman Beth Jones said.
Jones, Mallozzi and Selectman Nick Williams voted in favor of moving Palmer to full-time status, as proposed by town Human Resources Director Cheryl Pickering-Jones. Palmer succeeded Steve Kleppin as town planner after the latter took the same job in Norwalk.
“If he [Palmer] can survive the last few months, he can survive anything,” Williams said.
“Steve has a way of being able deliver news that maybe somebody does not want to hear, in a nice way. He’s been a really great addition.”