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Stories Differ After Incident At Town Hall

WINSTED — Next Tuesday night’s Civil Service Commission meeting promises to be the event of the week if the group’s president, Porter "Skip" Griffin, has anything to do with it. Griffin said Wednesday that he wants to set the record straight regarding an alleged Town Hall altercation and subsequent complaint.

Griffin said news of a Sept. 7 disagreement between him and Town Manager Owen Quinn was incorrectly reported this week, largely due to an erroneous report made by David Villa, the temporary chief examiner for the Civil Service Commission. Villa claimed in an official report that the argument was about the appointment of a new commissioner and therefore constituted inappropriate behavior on Griffin’s part.

"I observed Mr. Griffin gesturing with his right hand with a finger extended in extremely close proximity to [Quinn’s] face," Villa reported. "Mr. Griffin demanded that [Quinn] immediately appoint a particular party to the Civil Service Commission."

Griffin strongly denied the accusation Wednesday, saying he was blindsided by Villa’s report.

"David Villa, without the authority of the commission, chose to make and file a report in which the great majority was untrue," he said. "Mr. Villa didn’t even have the courtesy to send me a copy prior to releasing it to the press...I feel that my integrity has been impuned."

But that doesn’t mean Griffin didn’t have an argument with the town manager.

"I used bad language in my confrontation," he said, acknowledging that the dispute surrounded the scheduling of Civil Service Commission meetings. "Villa accused me of swearing at the town manager, but the report also said he saw me give the town manager the finger, and I did not give him the finger."

Asked about the confrontation this week, Quinn said it did happen but that he had no comment about it.

Griffin said he has been actively trying to get the town manager to appoint a new member to the Civil Service Commission since the resignation of Tim Fetzer on July 19. He said he has consistently recommended to Quinn that local attorney Judy Dixon be appointed to the commissioner’s position, and this was addressed on the date in question. He also pointed out that due to a lack of a quorum the previous two months, a Civil Service meeting had not been held and the appointment had been delayed. The conversation became heated between Griffin and Quinn when the town manager pressed for a special meeting to address the appointment.

"I am absolutely certain that there has been political interference and influence with this appointment to the Civil Service Commission," said Griffin.

Griffin said he intends to set the record straight regarding his confrontation with the town manager, Villa’s letter and the appointment of a new commissioner at Tuesday’s meeting.

"I will respond to the accusation," he said.

The Civil Service Commission meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at 27 Elm Street in the Civil Service Office behind Center Firehouse.

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