October 1, 2020

Essex Selectmen Approve Additional Hours for Town Clerk’s Assistant

 ESSEX— The board of selectmen has approved funding an additional five hours per week for the town clerk’s assistant, ending a dispute that began nearly 18 months ago.

The board acted on a unanimous vote without discussion at its Oct. 6 meeting. The action, after approval from the board of finance, would restore a full 30-hour week for Dana Novorio, assistant for Town Clerk Frances Nolin.

First Selectman Phil Miller had reduced Novorio’s hours to 20 per week in March 2009 as a cost saving measure. Funding to give her a 25-hour work week was included in the curent town budget that became effective July 1.

But Nolin continued to push for a restoration of the full 30-hour week, retaining Chester lawyer John Bennet to appear with her before the board of selectmen and raising the possibility of reducing the hours of the town clerk’s office.
Nolin and Bennet had appeared before the selectmen at three meetings over the summer, and made a direct request to the board of finance for the additional funding at an Aug. 19 meeting. The finance board declined to act on an appropriation until there was a vote of approval from the board of selectmen. The additional appropriation totals $9,300.

Author Charles Stannard is a lifelong resident of Essex, and has covered various Middlesex County towns for two daily newspapers over the past 30 years.  He worked for the Middletown Press from 1979 to 1995 and the Hartford Courant from 1997 through last summer, and covered Chester, Deep River, Essex and Killingworth for the past decade.  Charlie lives in the Ivoryton section of Essex.