No. Branford town manager takes Darien post

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

NORTH BRANFORD – Town Manager Karl Kilduff is resigning to take a position in the town government of Darien.

Kilduff said Thursday he has given the Town Council 60 days notice, and his last day on the job will be Jan. 4. He plans to start his new job as town administrator in Darien on Jan. 7.

The new position will be a “career advancement move,” he said, offering new challenges and professional development.

“It’s a unique opportunity that really stands separate and distinct from what goes on in North Branford,” he said. “There’s downtown revitalization projects, which are important to the community. … It gets back to dealing with some of the center city issues that I dealt with previously in my career, so there’s a different array of issues to deal with.”

With a population of about 20,000, Darien has about 6,000 more residents than North Branford, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The lower Fairfield County town is one of the most affluent communities in the nation.

Kilduff, 36, has been town manager for six years. Before that, he was the city manager in Johnstown, Pa. He makes about $104,700 a year.

The manager’s duties involve the daily administration of the town, including overseeing economic development and human resources, implementing the policies passed by the Town Council, supervising staff in all departments except the Police and Fire departments, and developing and implementing the budget.

Kilduff said that he plans to continue to live in North Branford.

“It was certainly not an easy decision to come to. I’ve really enjoyed working for North Branford and I like this community,” he said. “The town is very lucky to have a very good and dedicated staff inside the Town Hall, which would be an asset to any town manager.”

Kilduff sent his letter of resignation to Town Council members Tuesday, but he called the timing of the move on Election Day “coincidental.” T

The hiring process for the Darien position began in September. The Darien Board of Selectmen approved his contract Monday, he said.

Mayor-elect Michael Doody, who has been on the Town Council four years, said that Kilduff “has done a great job.”

Some of the town’s achievements during Kilduff’s tenure have included the purchase of several tracts for open space and the start of expansion of two libraries and North Branford Intermediate School, Doody and council member Andrew Esposito said.

“Karl was a good leader for the employees that worked underneath him and he worked very well with the council,” Esposito said. “He possesses a great leadership ability for all the department heads, and regretfully (we have) to see him go.”

Esposito said he expects the council to discuss the issue at its regular meeting Tuesday. He said the town will do an extensive search for a replacement, and he does not think a permanent manager will be in place by January. If that is the case, the town will hire an interim manager.

The new manager should be “duplicative of what we have now,” Esposito added.

“We want somebody that will work closely with the Town Council and somebody that’s basically looking to help with the economic development for the town,” he said.

Doody said he thinks some of the skills necessary for the position are a familiarity with grant writing and overseeing major building projects, like those at the intermediate school and the libraries.

Kilduff said he will start working to make sure the transition goes as smoothly as possible.

“There’s an awful lot of projects that are good and important for the future of this community that are teed up,” he said. “I’m going to be working with the staff here and the council to pass the baton, as it were, so that we can continue to be making the good progress that we have so far.”

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