SOUTHINGTON — The water department assistant superintendent is the subject of police complaint after the water department board was split over whether or not to suspend him.
The board took a party-line vote on Jan. 20 whether to suspend Albert Fiorillo for two weeks without pay, according to minutes from the meeting posted on the town website. The vote failed with three Democrats supporting it and three Republicans opposing it.
Water board officials didn’t comment Friday on the exact reason they were considering discipline for Fiorillo, but water board vice president Erika Pocock referenced complaints from a local business owner and “possible negligent invoices.”
Multiple attempts to reach Fiorillo were unsuccessful on Friday.
On Thursday, Pocock met with police about the complaints against Fiorillo, she said. Police Lt. Keith Egan confirmed Friday that an investigation is ongoing but couldn’t divulge any other details.
Pocock along with other Republicans opposed the suspension saying there needed to be a police investigation and termination instead.
Bob Berkmoes, water board president, said it was a personnel matter and that he had no comment.
Pocock is a Republican and Berkmoes is a Democrat.
Pocock said the board has discussed the situation partially in executive session, barring the public and press, although Fiorillo’s name has been mentioned in open session, as reflected in meeting minutes. The board first heard complaints two weeks ago.
“We had an internal complaint on him and we had a small business owner complain about him and a possible negligent invoice,” she said.
While Fiorillo is still employed, he’s not to come to work until the board can come to a decision, according to Pocock. He was not in the office on Friday.
The board has a special meeting planned for Monday when Pocock hopes the group can come to an agreement about discipline.
Minutes from the Jan. 20 meeting indicate that after the motion to suspend Fiorillo without pay failed, a motion to adjourn the meeting failed and a motion to table the matter failed. The board then “further discussed the severity of the discipline” before returning to executive session. The board returned to public session after about 10 minutes and adjourned the meeting.
“We felt two weeks (suspension) was inadequate and not enough punishment for what happened,” Pocock said. “It’s a slap in the face to the ratepayers.”
Thomas Murphy, a Democrat and water board member, declined to talk about the issue.
“I do not comment on personnel matters,” he said Friday.
Bill Casarella was the former water department superintendent and stepped down last year. He’s continued with the department in a part-time role.
On Thursday, he submitted his resignation effective in 30 days. Pocock said he disagreed with the handling of Fiorillo’s case.
Casarella didn’t return a call for comment Friday.