During the meeting, we learned that the Town will have to cover additional projected costs incurred in arbitration-related expenses due to with both the Fire and Police Unions; first time in New Canaan’s history. When the actual numbers relating to the Fire Department were requested by the Fire Commission, we were told that would not make these available due to the nature of the subject matter. At the May 18 Town Council meeting, Councilman Paul Foley stated that these additional costs and lost savings could be over $400,000 and that the town has spent close to $90,000 on legal bills for these negotiations in the past 14 months.
One of the candidates for the Republican nomination for First Selectman, Paul Giusti, sits on the Union Negotiating Committee (appointed by Jeb Walker) and has been the primary conduit in the unsuccessful negotiations with our Public Safety employees. Mr. Walker unilaterally appointed this committee without approval and also excluded the Fire Commission and Police Commission from participation on the Committee.
Last month the , including Mr. Giusti, approved $2.6 million to be taken from the General Fund to lower the tax increase to 2%, depleting the General Fund below the minimum 10% of our total budget, the lowest level in over 15 years since this policy was instituted. The Capital Non-Recurring Fund is also down to $75,000 after paying a $650,000 damage award to a contractor as confirmed by the Town’s CFO at a Special Meeting of the Town Council recently.
The week the Union contracts were voted down by the Town Council we learned that the Town had a surplus of $3 million dollars in the General Fund. Mr. Giusti recommended in a Board of Finance meeting that the BOF consider a one-time tax credit for all residents. Now there is no surplus. So how does Mr. Giusti explain where all the money has gone?
The Town’s General Fund and Capital Non-Recurring Fund are now decimated and present an extraordinary challenge for the incoming First Selectman to maintain services and control taxes. Is this the experience and vision of a well trained financial person?
I think not.
Vote for Rob Mallozzi, a leader you can trust. And in the interest of “real” transparency, I am proud to serve as Co-Chair of Rob’s campaign.
(The author is the Chairman of the Fire Commission.)