Vernon names new town planner, building official

Jul. 22—VERNON — The town has named both a new town planner and a new building official, both of whom have worked in Vernon before.

Ashley Stephens will serve as town planner beginning on Aug. 1, and Steve Prattson will serve as building official beginning on Aug. 8. The Town Council unanimously approved both during their meeting on Tuesday

Stephens will earn an annual salary of $104,458.16, and Prattson will earn an annual salary of $110,747.29, Town Administrator Michael Purcaro said.

Stephens, who lives in Manchester, previously served as sustainability intern for the town in 2019 and played a key role in achieving the top silver-level rating for the town from Sustainable CT, Purcaro said Wednesday.

"I am pleased to welcome Ashley back to Vernon," Purcaro said.

Stephens served as the department head of land use in Woodstock and both the Assistant land use agent and zoning enforcement agent in Willington before coming to Vernon, Purcaro added.

Stephens will take over the position from acting Town Planner Shaun Gately, who was named economic development coordinator earlier this month.

Prattson, who lives in Tolland, served as Vernon's building official but left on March 1 to serve the same position in Coventry. Now though, he is returning to Vernon, Purcaro said.

Purcaro attributed Prattson's return as the result of a "fiercely competitive workforce environment unlike anything I've ever seen," that has created competition between neighboring municipalities. He also added that Vernon has become a leader in offering not only competitive pay and traditional benefits, but also quality of life benefits including shorter workweeks.

Purcaro said Prattson has a "distinguished history in Vernon," having served as a police officer and detective for Vernon Police, and working as a licensed electrician for Vernon public schools.

Ben covers Vernon and Stafford for the Journal Inquirer.