June 29, 2022

Essex Selectmen Move Toward Single Monthly Meeting-New Animal Control Officer

ESSEX— The board of selectmen Wednesday moved toward a change to a single monthly meeting, while also appointing Ivoryton resident Belden Libby as the town’s new animal control officer. Libby, a lifelong resident who is the husband of Democratic Selectwoman Stacia Libby, replaces Joseph Heller in the part-time position.

First Selectman Norman Needleman said Libby began working as animal control officer last week. Heller, who has served in the position since December 1994, announced his plans to retire earlier this spring. Libby was selected from five applicants for the position. Three applicants were interviewed by a panel that included Todd Curry, a state Department of Agriculture official who supervises municipal animal control officers around the state.

Needleman said the duties of the position include maintaining the town’s dog pound, and responding to calls for issues involving dogs or other animals. Libby will receive an annual stipend of $13,000, and use of a town vehicle while responding to calls for service.

While holding off a formal vote, the selectmen moved further toward changing the board’s meeting schedule to a single monthly meeting, rather the schedule of twice-monthly meetings that has been followed for decades. The board began discussing a possible change to the meeting schedule last month, with Needleman suggesting the schedule could be changed to a single monthly meeting with special meetings when necessary.The board currently meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m. and on the third Wednesday at 7 p.m.

With no residents objecting to the proposed change at Wednesday’s meeting, the selectmen agreed to vote on the change at it’s July 3 afternoon meeting The plan is to retain the 7 p.m. meeting on the third Wednesday of each month and eliminate the afternoon meeting on the first Wednesday. The board also agreed to cancel the meeting scheduled for July 17. The once-a-month meeting schedule would begin in August with a meeting on Wednesday Aug. 21.