For the first time, aside from one Town Clerk, the Town of Waterford will have a lawyer on the payroll.
Tuesday was Adrienne DeLucca’s first day as the town’s human resources director, where she is responsible for all municipal and board of education employees, which totals more than 600 people. DeLucca is a practicing labor attorney, the only attorney on the town’s payroll.
“She will give us guidance,” said First Selectman Dan Steward, who along with Superintendent Jerome Belair was the key person in hiring DeLucca. “This guidance is coming from a level that we haven’t seen before. It is a benefit to the town to do this, or else I wouldn’t have done it.”
Delucca will be paid roughly $120,000 annually, up from former human director Barbara Aube’s $108,000 salary, Steward said. However that additional $12,000 should be made up by the town saving money on legal fees, Belair said.
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“Before when we needed legal guidance, we would have to call an outside attorney, and the meter was running so to speak,” Belair said. "So we are hoping to avoid incurring some of those costs."
Legal Fees And Government
In the world of municipal government, that require a lawyer, Steward said. By having a labor attorney on staff, the town will have better guidance to avoid expensive union grievances, and if there is a problem, DeLucca will be able to handle some of those in-house, he said.
The Waterford Board of Finance agreed. The board unanimously approved an increase in the salary line item to pay for DeLucca and her expertise.
“Since I’m told she has extensive labor law experience, we won’t have to go to the labor attorney for as many things,” Board of Finance member J.W. “Bill” Sheehan said. “She is a lawyer, and she’ll be able to handle much of that stuff.”
Citing one example, recently after originally replacing some of the workforce with an outside company. The state labor board ruled union employees had to do the job and it couldn’t be outsourced, and perhaps that could have been avoided if the town had a labor attorney giving them guidance, Sheehan said.
Both Steward and Belair were complimentary of DeLucca, saying she came with a strong recommendation and will make a good fit for the town. It is something new for the town, and while there might be an adjustment period it should work out, Steward said.
“We’ve never had this before,” he said. “We know there is going to be some bumps here and there, but I think in the long run it will be a benefit for the town.”