Winsted town manager steps down as Glastonbury candidate

WINSTED — City Manager Josh Kelly isn’t leaving for another job. But he thought about it.

Kelly in December was a candidate for a similar position for the town of Glastonbury. If he had accepted the position, Kelly could have become closer to his family members. But in the end, Kelly said, he decided to stay at Winsted.

“I told the Board of Selectmen that I had withdrawn my name as a candidate,” he said. “I decided my best place to be was in Winsted.”

Winsted Mayor Todd Arselaschi said he was fully aware of Glastonbury’s work.

“I encouraged him to explore the best opportunities for him and his family,” Arselaschi said. “Either stay in Winchester, where we want it, or find something else. I encouraged him to branch out if that’s what he needed to do.”

The mayor also knew that Kelly had decided to stay. Arselaschi said he understands the appeal of working for a big city. “There are cities in Connecticut that are much bigger, and obviously they pay more than Winsted can,” he said. “So there are opportunities like that, coming up, and you have to at least explore those options.”

Kelly was hired by the Board of Selectmen in February 2021, replacing City Manager Robert Geiger., who retired that year. He took office in April 2021.

Prior to Winsted, Kelly was employed as a Bolton Town Administrator, as well as Bolton Lakes Sewer Administrator. He also served on the board of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns. Previously, he also served as a business analyst for the City of Windsor and did his graduate work as an assistant in the Windsor City Manager’s office.

Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wheaton College and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Connecticut. He holds a Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management from UConn. His past work in local government also includes serving on the Wetlands and Inland Conservation Commission, a representative on the Waterford Board of Directors and a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Since taking office, the new city manager has hired new staff for city hall, using city funds as well as money from the American Rescue Plan Act, which provided funds to help cities and towns recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winsted’s office of planning and community development now includes city planner and director of land use Lance Hansen, director of economic development Ted Shafer and zoning enforcement officer Michael Stankov, who joined Pam Colombia, the land use council’s land use assistant.

Kelly created a process for using ARPA funding, providing applications for businesses and nonprofits to apply for money for facade and building improvements and to create community program plans that would benefit residents. He completed Katie Vaill’s part-time position as Social Services Coordinator and appointed her Director of Social Services, a full-time job.

The City Manager works with the Board of Selectmen on all aspects of city government, including budgeting, economic development, and overseeing city employees, working with supervisors and managers.

“He suits us well,” Arcelaschi said. “He has applied for and received at least $5 million in grants for us since he started, and it has helped us move forward with a variety of projects. He has streamlined our procedures with permits online; he brought Winsted into the technological age. He just updated our city’s website. He did a great job.

“He’s an asset to the city and I’m glad he’s staying,” the mayor said.

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