Months after officials from the city of New London said they terminated public works employees over safety violations at the city transfer station, they have reached out to clarify that the director of public works played an integral role in the investigation that led to the firing of two of his employees and the suspension of another.
The orginal news release city officials released in May said the public works director was fired, but that was not the case.
“I want to clarify that Mr. (Tim) Hanser was not terminated for cause or for any violation of safety procedures. Upon rereading the original press release as well as the article that appeared in The Day, I realize that the wording suggests that he was. I am issuing this correction and apologize for any confusion the initial release may have caused,” Mayor Justin Finizio said in a news release.
City officials did not elaborate on the violations, but said the city personnel director and risk manager uncovered them during an investigation.
"We have a zero-tolerance policy for safety violations at the Solid Waste Transfer Station," Mayor said in the original statement. "Fortunately, no one was hurt as a result of these recent violations, but when our safety protocols are violated despite repeated training and prior discipline, employees must be held accountable."
Employees Tom Ryan and Okoi Tucker were fired in May, the mayor's office said. One other employee was suspended.
The statement from the city said Director Hanser worked closely with the City’s Risk Manager, Paul Gills, to investigate claims of unsafe actions by members of the Solid Waste Division.
"As a part of that investigation, Mr. Hanser and Mr. Gills concluded that three members of the division were in violation of established safety protocols, even after recent retraining had taken place to address similar issues. Upon Mr. Hanser’s recommendation, one of those employees was suspended, while the other two were terminated," the statement says.
“I want to thank Director Hanser for his service and dedication to the City. Under his leadership the Public Works Department improved its financial oversight, made significant improvements to workplace safety, and implemented policies and procedures to better monitor performance,” Mayor Finizio said in a statement.
Editor's note: Officials from the city of New London issued a correction on Tuesday, Oct. 20 and this article has been edited to reflect the new information.