2007-01-11 / Front Page

Former town administrator under scrutiny in Conn.

By Donna K. Drago

 Mark Haddad, who served as Jamestown's town administrator from Dec. 2004 until his resignation in June 2005, was recently hired as the chief administrative officer in Stratford, Conn.

The Connecticut Post reported Monday that the Stratford Town Council blasted Mayor James R. Miron for hiring Haddad without performing a professional background check. At the time of Haddad's hiring as CAO, Miron apparently stopped a background check being conducted by the Stratford Police Department at the request of the town's human resource department, and decided to conduct it himself, according to the news story in the Post.

At the Stratford Town Council meeting Monday, Mayor Miron defended his decision to conduct the background check himself, saying his check "revealed nothing to keep me from selecting him from among 80 applicants and a dozen finalists" for the $90,000 position, according to the Post.

About half a dozen residents of Stratford blasted the mayor at Monday's meeting for hiring Haddad "amid allegations of harassment and fiscal mismanagement in Massachusetts and Rhode Island," the Post story said.

Residents were aware of alleged sexual harassment charges against Haddad, while he was the administrator in Cohasset, Mass. James Feehan, Stratford's Town Council chairman, said he also talked to "a female employee in Jamestown who told him she was "threatened and harassed" by Haddad and that she also witnessed his sexual intimidation of other women," the Post reported on Jan. 8.

Former Jamestown Town Councilman Guy Settipane was quoted in the Post as saying, "Haddad also threatened both him and a female employee when they challenged him about certain aspects of the budget." Haddad said he would "come after us both personally and politically," Settipane told the Post.

"That's when I knew he lacked the character and integrity to be an administrator," Settipane added.

Jamestown Town Council President David Long told the Post a different story.

According to Mayor Miron, Long wrote him an e-mail defending Haddad. The Post quoted from the e-mail: "Quite simply, Mark did an excellent job. He came up to speed with the details and personalities of the position rapidly and effectively."

Long's e-mail continued, "Mark presented the most comprehensive, clearly stated and forwardthinking budget I had ever worked with."

The Post said that Haddad promised a statement by Monday night's council meeting in Stratford, but one had not been received by press time.

When Haddad resigned from his Jamestown post after just six months on the job, he told the council he was leaving to take a position with a Connecticut company in the private sector. The company had sought him out. "The offer was unexpected," Haddad said at the time.

Stratford Town Council President Feehan called for an executive session to further discuss Haddad's employment with the town, the Post reported.

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