Job Openings Add Up for Simmons Administration in Stamford


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STAMFORD – At city hall, the number of job openings is growing.

The director of economic development, Loren Nadres, resigned last month, and the director of administration, Sandy Dennies, retired on Wednesday.

Both were members of Mayor Caroline Simmons’ cabinet.

At nearly the same level is Human Resources Director Al Cava, who will step down at the end of this month, though he may stay a few weeks longer, until the slot is filled.

“I had agreed to a four-year contract when I was hired which expires this summer,” Cava said Thursday. “I will continue in my present role until a replacement is on board.”

Fire Marshal Bud Seely, who has been with the Stamford Fire Department for about 48 years, will retire on July 5.

Val Pankosky, senior executive assistant to the mayor who has served several administrations, left the position after a 36-year career at city hall. It’s not clear what form Pankosky’s job, which paid $115,400, will take.

“Val has retired,” Cava said. “Her position is being reviewed.”

Asked Thursday whether Pankosky will be replaced, whether there are candidates yet for fire marshal or human resources director, and whether there are updates on filling the cabinet positions of director of economic development and director of administration, Simmons’ special assistant, Lauren Meyer, emailed the following statement:

“Val Pankosky, Al Cava, Bud Seely, and Sandy Dennies are all retiring after decades of individual service to the City of Stamford and we are grateful for their service. We have every intention of filling these positions in a timely manner.”

Meyer provided no other information.

Simmons, a first-time mayor elected 18 months ago, has already replaced two cabinet members. 

Director of Legal Affairs Doug Dalena left her administration in March for a general counsel position in the Office of the State Treasurer. Simmons hired Dalena, then a deputy general counsel in Gov. Ned Lamont’s office, shortly after she became mayor in December 2021.

Simmons has since replaced Dalena with Tom Cassone, who was director of legal affairs under former Mayor Dan Malloy.

Last June, Ted Jankowski, director of public safety, health and welfare, resigned. Simmons replaced him with Lou DeRubeis, who had 25 years with the Stamford Police Department.

Nadres, who earned $180,800, abruptly announced her immediate resignation in a May 20 email. “I will be moving on from my current role to explore new opportunities,” Nadres wrote.

Simmons hired Nadres from the New York City Economic Development Corporation soon after becoming mayor. Simmons said Nadres would take a global approach to attracting businesses to Stamford.

During a September gathering of the Foreign Trade Commissioners Association in New York City, Simmons and Nadres announced the launch of the Global Stamford Initiative, designed to promote Stamford as a destination for international companies looking to move or expand. 

Among Simmons’ original directors of the four city offices – administration, operations, public safety and legal affairs – only Matt Quinones, director of the Office of Operations, remains.

Some of the vacant, or soon to be vacant, positions are listed under “Current Openings” on the city’s website.

Among the educational and other requirements for the director of human resources position, which has a salary range of $146,000 to $175,000, the city is looking for a candidate with “strong technical skills in human resources management and labor relations experience in a multi-union environment.”

The director oversees benefits and labor relations for more than 1,700 city employees. The Board of Education has its own human resources department for school employees.

Cava, who earned $174,700, came to the job with 40 years in labor relations, collective bargaining and personnel management, according to an announcement from former Mayor David Martin when Cava was hired in 2019.

Fire Marshal Seely, who earns $132,300, oversees two assistant fire marshals and nine deputy fire marshals. His job is not yet listed under “Current Openings,” but the site states that the fire department is recruiting to promote firefighters to deputy fire marshal and assistant fire marshal positions.

Dennies’ director of administration slot, with a salary range of $153,600 to $184,300, is posted on the website. It says the ideal candidate “will have the experience to lead the financial and administrative functions for a diverse and complex city. The role is a key member of the mayor’s cabinet, and must ensure that Stamford’s taxpayers benefit from sound and prudent financial and administrative management.”

Dennies, who earned $184,300, also served under mayors Malloy and Martin and held similar positions in New Canaan and Wilton. Dennies has said she was retiring after a long career.

According to the 2021 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the latest available, the city and school system together are the second-largest employer in Stamford, after Stamford Hospital and its affiliates.

The city and schools that year had 3,292 employees, about 300 fewer than Stamford Health.

Last year Stamford taxpayers covered $350 million in employee salaries – or 56 percent of the total budget of $626 million.

The highest-paid employee was schools Superintendent Tamu Lucero, who was paid $427,000. 

Nearly half of city employees earned at least $100,000 last year; just under 100 employees took home more than $200,000.

The city’s jobs website lists about 30 openings, from highly-paid directorships to $30-an-hour, part-time park police officers.

Openings of note include those in the busy Office of Legal Affairs which, besides Cassone, the director, employs one deputy corporation counsel and eight assistant corporation counsels.

The deputy, Vikki Cooper, resigned after Lamont two months ago tapped her to serve as a judge of the Connecticut Superior Court, which at the time had 40 vacancies. 

Cassone’s office also is short one assistant corporation counsel, according to the job postings, leaving him with two of nine positions open – nearly a quarter of his staff.

Angela Carella

For 36 years prior to joining the Connecticut Examiner, Angela Carella was a beat reporter, investigative reporter, editor and columnist for the Stamford Advocate. Carella reports on Stamford and Fairfield County. T: 203 722 6811.