Bethel City Council Strips City Manager Of Power, Begins Looking For Replacement Immediately

Aug 27, 2020

Bethel City Council voted on Aug. 26 to strip City Manager Vincenzo "Vinny" Corazza of his powers, effective immediately, and start looking for a replacement.
Credit Greg Kim / KYUK

As of Aug. 26, Vincenzo “Vinny” Corazza no longer holds any authority as Bethel’s City Manager. The city council relieved him of any duty for the remainder of his employment, and also voted to hire attorneys and accountants to investigate how personnel and finance matters have been handled by the city administration. 

When Corazza submitted his resignation on Aug. 18, he originally planned to stay in his position until Oct. 9. However, a week after his resignation, he went on personal leave, a move earlier approved by the city council. That would have put Corazza back in charge for a while after he returned. Council member Hugh Dyment said that schedule would not be in the best interest of the city.

“I think the idea of the city manager being on leave and then coming back for three weeks is nonsensical,” Dyment said.

The council voted to take Corazza’s powers away, effective immediately. He will be placed on paid administrative leave following his personal leave so that he remains a city employee until his chosen end date of Oct. 9. That way, he hits 6 months of service with the city, and he only has to pay back 75% of his $20,000 relocation bonus, rather than all of it.

Aside from consideration for the departing city manager, Dyment said that he was thinking about Bethel residents.

“I think it's, I think it actually does protect the citizens of Bethel the best and reduces chances of litigation, and it allows us to get someone in place really immediately,” Dyment said.

City Clerk Lori Strickler is currently performing the city manager’s immediate duties, with the plan being to find a longer-term replacement soon. Council members chose to advertise the position for three weeks, after which they’ll choose an Acting City Manager. At the same time, the city will rehire executive search firm GovHR to find a permanent replacement. Council members went this route because it often takes months to find a permanent city manager. It took almost a year to find Corazza.

The council concluded the meeting with an action to hire attorneys and accountants to look into the city administration’s handling of personnel matters, general finance, and the management of its CARES Act funding. The idea is to also use CARES Act money to pay for the investigation.