A group of about 50 Stern Village residents applauded Acting Interim Director Harriet Polansky after her first tea gathering Tuesday morning.
After fielding some complaints ranging from snow removal to Charter Cable, a resident spoke up and urged the crowd to "give her a chance." The whole room then clapped for her.
"I have your best interests at heart," she told them.
Most of the issues addressed to her dealt with incidents before her appointment.
When residents said they were snowed in for days after the recent blizzard, Polansky said, "That won't happen again."
She said Stern Village, a public housing complex for seniors and the disabled, has retained a contractor for snow removal.
Other residents suggested generators for buildings because the apartments have electric heat. Polansky suggested backing up the meeting area and make it an emergency command center, a goal that she is pursuing. Generators were recommended in a 2011 safety report.
Finally, residents said they wanted a new television service but were tied to Charter for 10 years per an agreement many contend they were forced to sign.
"I have a lot of things to talk to Charter about," she said.
Polansky had some ideas of her own.
She suggested capital improvements including energy-efficient washers and dryers, better lighting on walkways, a neighborhood watch, a security and facilities audit and new signs, in addition to finding ways to get residents into town and take part in activities.
"I want to see this room filled with people and activities," Polansky said.
She also called on the residents to recognize each other's accomplishments.
The Trumbull Housing Authority, which hired Polansky for the temporary position, has come under fire since appointing her. So has First Selectman Tim Herbst.
Critics charge she was given the job because she knows the Herbst family. They also say the THA subjectively chose her without using a transparent process or a job description or advertising the job, adding that she may not be qualified.
Polansky has said she is a former marketer and manager who has experience in dealing with seniors. She will be able to apply for the permanent job and residents will be able to vet the director candidates.
Herbst said Tuesday that former director Harry Wise also did not have a job description when he was hired 12 years ago. A seach process will begin once the THA creates a director's job description, said acting THA Chairman Russ Friedson.
A search could take two to four months.