Officials Approve $44,000 in Contracts To Reconfigure Finance Department at Town Hall


Officials last week approved approximately $44,000 in contracts to reconfigure the Finance Department’s area at Town Hall in a way that makes it more welcoming and also creates space for two more bodies.

The department is “the central service agency” of the town and “people need to feel that they can come in and ask any questions” of the staff there, according to interim Finance Director Sandra Dennies.

Yet “right now, when you walk in, you walk into a big gray hall,” she told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting, held Sept. 12 at Town Hall.

“It is not user friendly. It is also dark in there. I think that the additional space is going to be well used, because even if the building has staff, we’ve got a place for the treasurer who has asked for space and an auditor who can come and sit in the finance department. So with reducing the height of the cubicle walls, increasing the light and increasing the space for workers I think we will be making a major difference in the welcoming and usable finance department by the rest of the town.”

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectman Beth Jones voted 2-0 in favor of three contracts: $21,300 plus $1,065 contingency for Steeves Office Systems for new office systems; $13,800 plus $2,760 contingency for Darien Electric for electrical work; and $3,944 plus $788 contingency for F&M Electrical Supply for light fixtures and supplies. Selectman Nick Williams was not in attendance.

Though no capital funds had been approved for the current fiscal year for Town Hall, the $43,657 total is coming from funds still in the account for Main Street building’s major renovation and expansion, completed in 2015, officials said.

The new personnel to get space in the Finance Department—treasurer and auditor—do not represent additional town employees, they said.

Mallozzi said that Bill Oestmann, buildings superintendent in the Department of Public Works, took over the office that had been occupied by New Canaan’s former budget director, so the town controller moved into the Finance Department and that contributed to the need for a reconfiguration.

“It’s a tight fit and to your point, it is not the most inviting atmosphere,” Mallozzi said.

In the two-plus years that Town Hall has been reoccupied, officials have made “tweaks” in order to make the building “more operationally efficient” and to create a “more inviting environment,” Mallozzi said.

With respect to the way the Finance Department had been set up, he said: “It is unfortunate but the configuration we all decided on isn’t as good as it could be.”

Oestmann said the work would be done after-hours and on weekends.

“We are not going to disrupt the Finance Department,” he said.

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