WATERTOWN — Mark A. Raimo, a long-time resident and former lieutenant in the Watertown Police Department, is the new town manager. He was officially approved by the Town Council at their September 8 meeting, following a brief executive session.
Mr. Raimo has served as a member of the Watertown Housing Authority for more than 12 years and is currently the chairman on that authority. He has also served on the Watertown Planning and Zoning Commission for three years and is currently vice-chairman.
Mr. Raimo retired from the police department in 2012, after having served 25 years. As lieutenant, he was head of the Detective Bureau. He is now a Connecticut State Marshall and owns a background check service company, Integra Chk LLC.
Mr. Raimo said that he would like to see the town develop a mission and vision statement and begin branding itself to help attract new business. “I love this town,” he said, “and I plan to work very hard for this town.”
The Town Council set a special town meeting for 7 p.m. Monday, September 21, to appropriate $110,984 from the General Fund for the Heminway Basketball Court Relocation project. The town received a grant from the state to cover the project. With funds in hand, the contractor was given the okay to begin the project and it is now underway.
In other action, the Town Council authorized the town manager to execute an amendment to the agreement with PaintCare, Inc. for the collection of non-household hazardous waste collection and waste paint management services. It waived the bid for a 2017 Ford Escape for the public works engineering department to replace a vehicle that is no longer serviceable. The bid was awarded to J&M Automotive Sales and Service LLC, not to exceed $19,293.
During public participation, Sean Butterly spoke on behalf of 173 petitioners who would like to have the opportunity to answer the question of whether the town should continue to use the town manager system or go to an elected mayor. He also criticized using the presidential election ballot to ask voters to weigh in on 11 separate questions pertaining to the ballot. He asked the Town Council to consider holding a referendum on the town manager versus mayor question, which was not included on the charter revisions recommended by the Charter Revision Committee.
Katherine Camara addressed the council with three issues, including one which she had previously emailed to the council, regarding chairman Thomas Winn’s eligibility to be a council member and chairman after he sold his property here in town. She also questioned how new councilman Ken Demirs could still serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission, now that he is also a councilman, and if Republican members of the Planning and Zoning Commission should recuse themselves from voting on matters pertaining to Republican Town Committee Chairman Erik Markiewicz.
Chairman Winn responded to Ms. Camara’s remarks by saying he would not address any legal issues but would address the concerns she directed at him. He explained that he and his wife had been planning to move to South Carolina at some point and purchased a home there for future occupancy. They also put their Watertown residence up for sale, and the house sold within four days. They have not moved out of Watertown, however, he said. With Covid at hand, he felt a responsibility to stay and continue to provide leadership.
Mr. Winn read from the Town Charter that “Each member of the Town Council shall have been a resident of the Town for at least six (6) months prior to his election, and shall be registered as a voter of the Town on or before the date of his election and throughout his term.” Nowhere does it say he has to own property, only that he be a resident, he said.
“I have worked to make our community a better place to live,” he said.