About one year after retiring from New Canaan’s municipal government, Tom Stadler is set to return to handle some of the duties he performed while in the town administrative officer role.
Stadler had served as New Canaan’s risk manager and when he retired “we discovered that there is a piece we are missing,” according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan.
“We met with CIRMA [Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency] recently and in order to have someone work on the immediate claim of incidence, we need someone local and someone who is available and Tom always was available for that,” Moynihan said during a regular Board of Selectmen meeting, held Aug. 17 at Town Hall and via videoconference. “He is in retirement. He is doing a lot of things with various nonprofits but he is available and would like to work with us part-time. Not as a part-time employee but as a stipend employee like we have with our medical director and our emergency management director, to help the risk management process so that it’s very important if we have a tree fall on someone or something happens, that we immediately go out and investigate, document it, take photos. That’s what we need Tom for.”
The selectmen voted 3-0 to hire Stadler part-time as risk manager. He will be paid an annual stipend of $20,000, according to information obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request.
Tucker Murphy took over as administrative officer last year. She’s paid $130,733.
When Stadler retired, town CFO Lunda Asmani assumed “risk management leadership” for New Canaan, Moynihan said.
Asmani said during the meeting that he is unable to perform all of the duties associated with the role.
For example, Asmani said, “several years back there was an incident where we had a claim someone I believe drove through a stop sign or didn’t see a stop sign, and it was covered by trees and weaver and they said that we were at fault for that.”
“Well, Tom immediately went into his car and had his camera on and went through, basically reenacted the scene, and the stop sign was clear and visible. But Tom has that flexibility. I am not always available to just jump out and go look at trees and things like that.”
It wasn’t clear why the current administrative officer didn’t take over the duties.
Last year, in response to an email from NewCanaanite.com regarding Murphy’s workload in the town administrator position relative to Stadler’s, Selectman Kathleen Corbet said, in part, “Please know that your reference to the ‘word’ that Tucker ‘is doing far less in working for Kevin than Tom has’ is misinformed. As a Selectman, I do not measure the contributions to our Town and to the administration of the Board of Selectman by the source to information queries, nor by comparing one individual to another.”
Corbet said during last week’s meeting that she “couldn’t think of a better person” than Stadler for risk management.
It also wasn’t clear what Moynihan was referring to in saying that town officials “discovered that there is a piece we are missing” with respect to risk management.
According to police reports and other documents filed June 14 with the Town Clerk, at about 2:49 p.m. on the afternoon of March 2, the limb of a roadside tree in the area of Ponus Ridge and Bartling Drive crashed on top of a 2020 Toyota Sienna that a New Canaan woman was driving, causing extensive damage to the minivan. About $21,000 of a $23,000-plus total claim is related to repairs. The town posted the tree for removal the day after the limb fell. According to correspondence obtained by NewCanaanite.com, the local woman involved, a mother of three, communicated for weeks with municipal officials, including staff in Moynihan’s office, in an effort to resolve the matter. The town’s insurer on May 20 issued her a formal denial letter, which said in part: “Based on the investigation to date, this incident was as a result of an unforeseen occurrence with a tree that blew down due to high winds. The town had no notice there was any issue with the involved tree. Tree inspection remains discretionary and this is covered by governmental immunity.” Lawyers representing Allstate Insurance Company are seeking to recover more than $23,000 in damages connected to the incident, which has not yet been resolved.