August 6, 2019
Over two years ago, I requested our Police Department conduct an investigation into issues regarding the “fill pile” at Richard White Way. The Town of Fairfield also initiated a civil action against Julian Development, the company hired to manage and reduce the size of the pile. The Town is seeking damages following the discovery of hazardous waste brought to the site.
As the investigation has been ongoing, I have recently received disturbing information that includes allegations against two Department of Public Works supervisory personnel. Therefore, in addition to placing Superintendent Scott Bartlett on administrative leave last week, I have also placed Joe Michelangelo, Director of Public Works, on administrative leave.
Messrs. Michelangelo and Bartlett have subsequently been arrested and we also understand that a principal of Julian Development has been arrested.
The action I have taken to place Messrs. Michelangelo and Bartlett on administrative leave should not be interpreted as a judgement about the allegations which have been made. However, given the facts that have come to light, and the need to ensure that our Department of Public Works can continue to serve the citizens of Fairfield with the quality of services they have come to expect, this is the right step for Fairfield’s residents and for our Public Works employees.
On an interim basis, I have assigned the day-to-day management of the Public Works operations to Fairfield’s Director of Conservation, Brian Carey. Additionally, I have assigned all supervisory engineering responsibilities and oversight to Bill Hurley, the Town’s Engineering Manager.
Mr. Carey’s previous experience supervising a municipal public works department, together with Mr. Hurley’s almost 20 years as the Town’s Engineering Manager, will ensure that the Department maintains a high level of efficiency and experiences a smooth transition during this interim leadership period. All permanent management decisions will be considered at a later date.
In my capacity as First Selectman since 2011, I have strived to emphasize integrity in all that we do for the residents of Fairfield. This goes for our employees as well as those companies with which we contract to support the Town and its needs and we must have zero tolerance for any suggestion of impropriety.
The Town will continue to vigorously pursue its civil claim against Julian Development for costs and damages associated with that company’s management of the site. At present, that claim is in arbitration.
Let me be clear – the employees of the Town of Fairfield are as talented, committed and professional as any you will find in municipal government. We will not let this episode tarnish the reputation of our town and all the great men and women who work tirelessly to make Fairfield the outstanding place that it is to live and work.
–First Selectman Mike Tetreau