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Trumbull Stern Village Rep: 'We Look Forward'

The residents of Stern Village are trying to put the past couple of months behind them. But many were upset Tuesday that they were not allowed to ask questions, especially about the fate of Executive Director Harry Wise.

Normally, Stern Village, a subsidized housing complex for seniors and the disabled, hums along quietly.

But after its recent stretch in the limelight, residents want their peace and quiet back.

"We have had our peaceful and tranquil village unnecessarily disrupted. There were statements made and reports filed that were less than true," said resident Paul Littlefield, who said he spoke for Stern residents. A tenants association is being formed, he said.

"It will take time for the wounds to heal, but heal they will. Our people are made of tough stuff. As a people, we look forward, we don't live in the past," he added.

The shakeup at the complex started with reports from town emergency officials criticizing Executive Director Harry Wise's handling of Hurricane Sandy. It ultimately led to the replacement of the entire Trumbull Housing Authority board by First Selectman Tim Herbst, who appoints its members.

In December, the new board replaced the previous board's attorney of 12 years and is seeking a replacement for Wise. Wise and the board reached a confidential contract agreement Tuesday night. His contract expires in June, and he remains in his position.

Littlefield has declined to comment on the decision on Wise.

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Littlefield and other residents praised him and the old board members.

The board met Tuesday at Stern Village before a large crowd of residents and officials from the boards of education and finance and the Town Council and the Senior Commission.

During the public comment section in the beginning of the meeting, comments to the authority were positive. It was also announced that residents would have a liaison on the board after a policy was established to select one.

"This is a wonderful place to live. It really is. But we've got to keep it this way or make it better," said one resident.

But after the authority went into executive session to discuss Wise's contract, several residents said they were concerned that there were problems mixing seniors with the mentally ill and/or disabled.

After announcing the contract decision, the board adjourned the meeting, but residents were upset they did not get to ask questions or provide input on Wise.

Finally, Littlefield told the board the Tenants' Association is recruiting and coffee and tea social is scheduled for Feb. 15.

"I invite you to come back, in the day time, and take a tour of the lovely grounds and buildings. May and June are especially beautiful, with the trees and shrubs in bloom and the lovely gardens, maintained by the tenants," Littlefield said.

JR February 01, 2013 at 11:56 AM
What about the 800 pound gorilla in the room?
Thomas Tesoro February 02, 2013 at 10:59 PM
The Chair, at the outset of the meeting, made it very clear that comments about the disruption at Stern Village were not for that meeting. Seniors left that meeting angry and confused after the almost comical ending of the meeting. The politicuans need to get out of Stern Village. This Commission needs to to the right thing and resign. Owens Shine and Nicola need to do the right thing and resign. If the Tenants want them they can invite them back. Let the Tenant's Association decide for themselves and let them return tranquility to Stern Village.. Let the Seniors at Stern Village clean up this Republican inspired fiasco. Politicians OUT of Stern Village!

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