Page 48 - Southington Magazine Holiday 2020 Issue 42
P. 48

Hardly a Rookie After Three Years
By Art Secondo
After a mere three years at the head of Southington’s government, 57-year-old Mark Sciota relishes his position knowing he is only the third town manager in 54 years. And he was recently granted a four-year extension on his contract by the town council. He was selected in December, 2017. Sciota is a lifelong Southington resident.
The late John Weichsel, a New
York native, was hired in 1966
when town leaders scrapped the
Representative Town Meeting form
of governing in favor of the Town
Manager/Town Council model. Weichsel served an unprecedented 44 years before Gary Brumback was hired in 2011. Brumback resigned in early 2017 to move to Treasure City, Florida to be closer to his family. Sciota was three years old when Weichsel was selected, but he ended up working with Weichsel for more than 25 years.
What are your opinions and thoughts of the late John Weichsel?
“We all miss John. He was like a celebrity, a rock star among his peers,” said Sciota. Sciota served as assistant to Weischel – who is credited with guiding Southington from a small suburban town to a community with a dozen municipal departments and guardian to more than 30,000 residents at that time. “John had several offers from other communities but he truly wanted to remain here. Many will say he had a very forward way about him but you always knew where he stood on an issue. Truthfully, it’s hard to imagine this town without the influence of John Weichsel.”
What makes Southington a good place to reside?
“I strongly believe, like many residents, that there is no better place to live. I grew up in Plantsville and like so many, know the town very well. I feel the town is among the best when it comes to volunteers for all kinds of reasons. Volunteers are always ready and available and that makes the town so blessed. We have a nostalgic town center and it still reflects a small town
feel,” he said. “Residents are proud of our history,” adding, “we just cannot operate like a small town.”
What are the differences between a town manager and mayor?
Sciota was hired by, and answers to, nine elected volunteer town councilors. He doesn’t cut ceremonial ribbons, does not need to have press conferences or release public comments. He controls 12 departments and is responsible for the annual town budget. A town manager does not rely on an election and has a technical background, rather than a political one. “Mayors
campaign and rely on votes from the citizens and it can be difficult to stay in office. I answer to nine who have been elected by the citizens and a chairperson who handles the public relations,” noted Sciota. “I am responsible to the public and our system works well,” he claims. Southington is among only a handful of communities governed by volunteer members of both parties who are not paid or reimbursed. “I have enjoyed a very good relationship with different councils. There are few surprises,” Sciota chuckled.
When did you receive your first municipal town check?
“It was November, 1989, I was 26,” he says. “After agreeing to assist then-town attorney Bob Izzo, I officially served until 1993.” Mark was then selected as assistant town attorney in 1996, and in 2003, town attorney. In 2006, Mark was named assistant town manager. Sciota was then a leading candidate for town manager after Gary Brumback resigned.
What are your responsibilities as town manager?
“I oversee 12 department heads and employees at town hall, and I must present a reasonable municipal budget to maintain, add or cut where necessary. We have more than 200 miles of roads and provide services for residents. I report the status of town operations and any updates at every town council meeting,” informed Sciota. He also oversees all departments except police and fire as well as the public library. Besides town
Southington Magazine — Holiday 2020
Town Manager Mark Sciota

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