[Editor's Note: The headline and the lead have been changed. The Town Council can reduce the budget but cannot increase it beyond the First Selectman's budget recommendation.]
Trumbull will no longer have a recycling coordinator.
First Selectman Tim Herbst recommended in his budget proposal to stop funding the position, a move that narrowly passed through the Board of Finance Wednesday night. Robin Bennett has the job today.
Board member Andy Palo opened the discussion.
"A year ago, we made a commitment to recycling in this town. [Bennett] hasn't even been in the job a year," Palo said.
According to Palo, Herbst and Public Works Director John Marsilio disagreed on whether to keep the position. Herbst did not want to keep it, and Marsilio did. But Herbst usually follows most other suggestions from Marsilio, Palo said.
Palo asked for $75,829 to be added to the budget proposal, but that failed 3-3. The vote was split along party lines, and Palo is a democrat.
His colleague, Democrat Tom Tesoro, asked for a revote, but that motion was denied.
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Republican member Paul Lavoie moved to add $25,000 and create a deputy Public Works director, a position removed when Bennett's job was created.
He also asked to promote the town's civil engineer to assistant town engineer.
Tesoro said the change was the opposite of last year's budget season, when the deputy Public Works director was removed in favor of the Recycling Coordinator.
Tesoro said the board was trying to "backdoor" the deputy position.
Republican David Rutigliano said the coordinator's job can be folded into a current position.
But Tesoro thought otherwise. "I disagree with this entire scenario," he said, adding that it was "odd" that Herbst did not agree with Marsilio.
Herbst has the power as the elected head of the town to recommend what positions to fund, Rutigliano countered.
Democrat Steve Lupien worried that the town would lack a recycling director.
Said Republican Alternate Cindy Penkoff, "The recycling coordinator is a failed experiment. I think Mr. Marsilio put some fabulous plans in place that are working very well."
The board voted 3-2 with one abstention to approve Lavoie's motion.
The Town Council begins its budget review March 20 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.