Derby reinstates embattled metropolis finance director

DERBY — The town’s finance director, Agata Herasimowicz, can have her job again – if she needs it.

Herasimowicz was reinstated to her place on Wednesday following a typically tense Board of Aldermen & Alderwomen assembly. The board voted 8-1 to reinstate her, over the objection of Mayor Wealthy Dziekan, who really useful she be fired. Solely Charles Sampson sided with the mayor.

Her reinstatement places to an finish months of discussions and controversy over her being positioned on administrative go away over allegations she improperly used metropolis funds.

Herasimowicz didn’t attend the assembly however addressed the board in an e mail despatched shortly earlier than the assembly and browse aloud by Alderwoman Anita Dugatto.

“I nonetheless imagine I may make a constructive influence for this metropolis. However you’re the decide,” she wrote. “I perceive that adjustments and challenges are often painful. However the outcomes are very enriching. Sincerely, Agata.”

Herasimowicz, Dziekan and Chief of Workers Walt Mayhew didn’t return messages requesting remark Thursday.

Herasimowicz was employed by the town in Could 2021, initially to assist the town reorganize its funds. She carried out her job with out concern till shortly after Mayhew was employed in December to succeed Andrew Baklik.

Herasimowicz was positioned on administrative go away in early March for undisclosed causes, with Mayhew taking on her job obligations. A report launched earlier this month, ready by MahoneySabol, an accounting and consulting agency, indicated the suspension was over allegations she improperly spent metropolis cash on a number of events.

Nevertheless, the report didn’t conclude she did something improper. Whereas she was discovered to have authorised fee for police video tools with out authorization from the Board of Apportionment and Taxation, which the corporate mentioned shouldn’t be sound budgetary observe and never in accordance with the town constitution, MahoneySabol deemed that act “affordable” as a result of the bought was mandated by the state and essential to adjust to contractual obligations. As well as, BOAT had already licensed Dziekan to enter right into a contract for the tools.

The corporate additionally deemed Herasimowicz’s hiring of short-term employees for the finance division and tax workplace “vital and affordable” because of vacant positions in these workplaces and a subsequent backlog of labor.

The report additionally said the town usually licensed purchases after the purchases had been made and the seller bill obtained, departments didn’t all the time submit vendor invoices in a well timed method, and funds weren’t all the time reviewed for budgetary compliance earlier than being authorised. MahoneySabol concluded that Herasimowicz’s overpayments had been a minimum of partly the results of a scarcity of outlined monetary procedures.

Dugatto identified that Herasimowicz had been engaged on drafting such insurance policies, and that the town wanted her to come back again.

Herasimowicz had different defenders on the board, who identified her efficiency had been praised by the state’s Municipal Finance Advisory Fee.

“I feel the totality of the circumstances, the data we had been offered, what she defined to us … she ought to have a chance to proceed in employment right here,” mentioned First Ward Alderwoman Barbara DeGennaro.

Resident Tom Lionetti agreed, saying he couldn’t perceive the town’s actions.

“She does an incredible job,” he mentioned. “Once I converse to her, I really feel like I’m speaking to an informed particular person in finance.”

Ought to Herasimowicz settle for her job again, she is going to report on to the mayor. As of Thursday, that’s nonetheless unsure.

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