Mayor John Harkins' office has confirmed that the process of re-hiring the third Animal Control Officer has begun and that the same employee who was let go almost two months ago will be offered the position again and possibly start working as soon as Monday.
The mayor's Chief of Staff Marc Dillon told Stratford Patch Friday, "Yes, the same person is being called today," when asked.
Dillon noted that the process is "not as simple" as some may think, but that the mayor has instructed the town's human resources department to make the necessary arrangements and contacts to restore the position.
On May 9, five of the six Republicans on the Town Council voted, with Mayor Harkins' vote breaking a 5-5 tie, to pass a full town budget that included restoration of a third ACO position.
While the mayor had axed the position as part of his original fiscal year 2011-12 recommended budget, both the amended budget passed by the Republican-controlled Council on May 9 and a minority budget proposal put forth by the four Council Democrats earlier in May called for restoring a third ACO to the animal control division, part of the Stratford police department.
While the mayor had indicated to the Stratford Patch on May 9 that the position may not be restored until after July 1, there are other reports that at least one member of the Harkins administration was on the record saying the position would be restored much sooner.
In a Friday , Marjean O'Malley, President of S.T.A.R.S., a support and volunteer group at the Stratford Animal Shelter, complained that the town was not moving fast enough.
"Stratford Animal Control has been 'doing more with less' forever ... that is certainly evidenced in comparison with neighboring towns that have more than twice the staff and half the call and impounds," she said.
"This officer needs to be reinstated immediately in order for this department to function at the bare minimum in order to serve Stratford."
However, Dillon said Friday, "Human Resources will be calling the ACO this afternoon, and reinstatement will be effective next Monday (5/16)."