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Former Manager, Marketer Tapped to Lead Trumbull's Stern Village

Harriet Polansky, a Trumbull resident with more than 20 years of management and marketing experience, is the acting interim executive director as of Feb. 19.

Harry Wise will wrap up a 12-year run as Stern Village's executive director on Feb. 19.

Before the Trumbull Housing Authority announced its decision Wednesday night at a special meeting, Wise said he was "comfortable" with whatever the THA decided and would help train his replacement.

That replacement, temporarily, is Harriet Polansky. The search for a permanent director will take two to four months, said acting THA Chairman Russ Friedson. Polansky can also apply for the job.

Friedson said Polansky "graciously" took the job without a guarantee that it would be permanent. Stern Village is a subsidizing housing complex whose 200 residents are seniors and/or disabled.

Polanksy addressed the 25 members of the audience, many Village residents, gathered in the Stern Village Community Room.

"I have lived in Trumbull for more than 25 years. I love Trumbull," she said.

She promised to get to know all the Stern Village residents and to listen to them. "I value your input," she said. "My door will be open and will have different get-togethers to get to know each other."

She later suggested events such as brown bag lunches.

It was also suggested a plan to handle weather and other emergencies be implemented as soon as possible after Hurricane Sandy and the recent winter storm, which dropped nearly three feet of snow.

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Meanwhile, Wise will help with the transition. One resident said Wise will be missed and Stern Village neighbor Carol Hudak said, "I would like to say thank you to Harry."

Wise also received a round of applause.

Choosing a Permanent  Replacement

Residents were receptive to Polansky, after emotions ran high over the January removal of Wise.

Stern Village was spotlighted in December 2012 when the former Trumbull Housing Authority members either resigned or were not replaced. First Selectman Tim Herbst appointed new members, leading to charges of a takeover of Stern Village.

Some of the new members also voted to fire the long time THA Attorney Anthony Musto. Next, in January, the THA voted to release Wise from his contract under a confidential deal. Town emergency officials said Wise mismanaged Stern Village before and during Hurricane Sandy.

But Friedson tried to assure residents that picking a new director would be a transparent process.

"All finalist candidates will have the opportunity to meet with [residents]," and residents can provide all the feedback they want, Friedson said. The search committee will incorporate all THA members, he added.

Aaron Leo February 15, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Stay tuned for a video of Harriet!
JR February 15, 2013 at 12:17 PM
How about a little more on her background?
Aaron Leo February 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM
As soon as I know more, I will definitely tell you. I'll be seeing her again soon.
jg February 15, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Good question. I just looked at her professional résumé on LinkedIn and it shows a between jobs marketing manager with an extensive background in that field (skills include writing website copy and running social media campaigns) but nothing about housing, facilities, seniors, etc. If Mr. Wise wasn't going to be renewed why wouldn't we have him work out the remainder of his contract while searching for a long-term replacement? Why would we pay to buy out a 15 year employee just to put in an interim manager with no relevant experience? She may be a fine person, but how did Mrs. Polansky even become a candidate and who else was considered? What am I missing?
JR February 15, 2013 at 06:32 PM
jg - Isn't it amazing what one can find on the Internet?

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