New Southwick planner picked

SOUTHWICK – Alan D. Slessler accepted the position of town planner this week.
Slessler, of Southwick, was hired by the Board of Selectmen on the recommendation of the Planning Board.
“He seems to be the most qualified of all the applicants,” said Planning Board Chairman Douglas Moglin. “He has a wealth of experience in engineering and planning, which is right in line with what we’re looking for.”
Slessler will replace former Town Planner Marcus Phelps who retired in July.
The board formed a subcommittee for a planner search and reviewed applications, selecting two candidates to interview.
“It was clear he was the best candidate,” said Moglin. “He is a good fit.”
Moglin said one of Slessler’s first tasks will be dealing with a request for property on Lake View Street, formerly the Anchor Inn.
“Someone wants to redevelop that property and there are all kinds of issues,” said Moglin. “It is mostly an engineering and legal concern rather than a long-range planning issue.”
Slessler will work 14 hours per week and his salary will be determined by the select board and planning chairman.
“This is a non-benefitted position,” noted Chief Administrative Officer Karl Stinehart.
Slessler is retired from the town of Avon, Conn. where he was the town engineer. Although Slessler’s primary function was engineering, he said he became very familiar with a variety of town departments.
“I had to oversee everything being built in town, so I worked with the planning board, zoning board, conservation commission – almost every department,” he said.
Slessler said his background is very technical, which he said will be helpful in his first task working with the former Anchor Inn property.
After retiring, Slessler did surveying work for his son-in-law’s construction company, which he said is another experience he brings to the table.
Slessler has lived in Southwick for 23 years and said when he saw the part-time town planner position advertised, he felt it was a good fit.
“I’m hoping my experience will be of help to the town of Southwick,” he said. “And, I really enjoy working with the public.”
Slessler’s first day on the job is Thursday and he said he will “mirror” Planning Board Assistant Ruth Preston while he gets to know the position.

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