Report by Paula Antolini, August 19, 2019, 11:43AM EDT
Over the weekend it has come to our attention that something has happened regarding Bethel Public Works Director Douglas Arndt’s position.
This morning this fact has been confirmed by First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker, who would only say, “Mr. Arndt is currently on administrative leave, and I cannot comment any further.”
We have no further information at this time as to why he was put on administrative leave or for how long, or who is replacing him in his absence.
There is a past history of controversy with Mr. Arndt. Read full article here. In 2015 it was discovered that Bethel Public Works Director Douglas Arndt apparently never got approval to authorize the a town energy study with Earth Core Energy Services costing $39,000, which was to see if installing LED bulbs in municipal buildings would save the town money. There is no written agreement with Earth Core Energy Services. Arndt claims he was just trying to save the town money.
However First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker said he knew about the study and thinks the town should pay the bill, according to a report by the News Times. Even though First Selectman Knickerbocker said the town has no agreement with Energy Core Services, he feels that the town’s Energy Conservation Committee should approve the invoice after the energy savings are realized, so the town has no extra cost, the News Times reports. Knickerbocker said, “The town has no obligation to pay it….but it’s the right thing to do. The company did work that will benefit the town of Bethel.” Read full article here.
We are now left to wonder what happened to now jeopardize Mr. Arndt’s position as Bethel Public Works Director. There is no information as to who might be handling his position presently.
We will update this story as more information is received.
UPDATE August 19, 2019, 7:24PM:
It has been confirmed by First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker that Highway Superintendent/Asst. Director of Public Works Robert Dibble will be acting Director of Public Works in the absence of Doug Arnst.
The Public Works Department is responsible for the upkeep of the infrastructure of the town. It is the organization responsible for the snow plowing and removal in the winter, road and street repair and new sidewalk construction in the summer. This office also maintains and oversees the water and sewer systems for the residents and businesses located within the town’s borders. It also oversees all building maintenance for the municipal structures. It works with the State and Federal Governments to coordinate and implement the major bridge replacement projects around town. It oversees the engineering aspects of all new construction within the town and ensures that these projects conform to local and state regulations. The Public Works Office is located in the north wing of the Clifford J. Hurgin Municipal Center on the second floor next to the Health Department and across from Planning and Zoning and the Building Departments.
The Public Works Department is composed of the following offices:
Director of Public Works: Douglas Arndt
Highway Superintendent/Asst. Director of Public Works: Robert Dibble
Transfer Station: Mike Flanagan
Tree Warden: Rolf Brandt
Utility Department: Kelly Curtis
Phone: (203) 794-8549
Fax: (203) 794-8767
Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm