Embattled Derby finance director to return to function on Monday

DERBY — The town’s Board of Aldermen & Alderwomen has reinstated Finance Director Agata Herasimowicz. However the metropolis hasn’t precisely been in a rush to have her resume her duties.

The board reinstated Herasimowicz June 29 throughout a typically contentious assembly. She had been on administrative go away since March over allegations she improperly spent metropolis funds. However as late as July 6, she had no clear return date, and was emailing metropolis officers expressing the pressing have to get again to work on the town’s funds.

“For a couple of week, I’ve been emailing concerning the date to report back to work,” she wrote to Company Counsel Vincent Marino. “I perceive that the Mayor and the Company (counsel) have to confer on this matter. I’ve not (heard) from the Mayor’s workplace but. Is there an issue to begin work on the workplace? I have to assessment the ledger and its present standing, additionally entry to GEM software program. (It’s) essential.”

Marino’s reply, the next day, set her return date July 11.

“Please report back to the Mayor’s workplace at 9 a.m. to fulfill with me and the Mayor,” he wrote.

Whereas Herasimowicz is now anticipated to return, it’s not clear what sort of work relationship she can have with Mayor Wealthy Dziekan and Chief of Workers Walt Mayhew, who each advocated she be fired. Dziekan continued to foyer for her dismissal regardless of a report by accounting agency MahoneySabol that largely absolved her of wrongdoing.

The report concluded that her signing off on fee for police video tools and the hiring of short-term staff earlier than getting Board of Apportionment and Taxation approval, whereas opposite to the town constitution and never in step with greatest fiscal practices, had been “affordable” and “vital” given the circumstances.

After reviewing the MahoneySabol report, the board voted 8-1 to reinstate her, with solely Alderman Charles Sampson siding with the mayor.

Although Herasimowicz could also be again, it appears clear that her job efficiency shall be carefully watched. In his electronic mail notifying her of her return to work, Marino additionally wrote that he, Dziekan and Herasimowicz would use the Monday assembly to “assessment the duties and tasks of the Finance Director beneath the Constitution and Ordinances, tackle any questions you will have regarding these duties and tasks, and make clear expectations for compliance.”

He continued that the assembly would tackle “areas of enchancment and priorities and objectives for you and the Finance Division, together with for creating and implementing monetary insurance policies, procedures and inside controls to make sure compliance with the Metropolis’s Constitution and Ordinances and promote greatest practices within the Metropolis’s monetary operations.”

Alderwoman and former Derby Mayor Anita Dugatto, one in every of Herasimowicz’s extra vocal defenders through the reinstatement assembly, expressed gratitude that she can be remaining within the metropolis and cited her {qualifications}.

“I believe Agata is the perfect factor that Derby’s had,” Dugatto wrote in an electronic mail Thursday. “She has the credentials to qualify because the Chief Fiscal Officer for the Metropolis of Derby, I belief her to information Derby Funds with transparency and understanding.”

With out a full-time finance director, the town had a rocky price range season, with metropolis officers noting errors in Derby’s 2022-23 price range proposal.

Mayhew, who had taken over a lot of Herasimowicz’s job tasks throughout her go away, stated on the time that the price range in query was a draft and never a last model.

Mayhew didn’t reply to requests for remark about Herasimowicz’s return.

Dziekan, requested through textual content message concerning the working relationship between him and Herasimowicz, replied solely that “I shall be having a gathering together with her Monday with company counsel.”

Alderwoman Sarah Widomski stated she was excited for Herasimowicz’s return.

“I’m wanting ahead to getting the finance workplace again on observe after greater than 4 months with no finance director,” she stated. “I’m assured that working collectively, the insurance policies and procedures which were missing and lengthy overdue in our metropolis shall be applied. The (board) is dedicated that that is accomplished in a clear method. Politics have to be saved out of the finance workplace.”

Sampson, the lone alderman to vote in opposition to Herasimowicz’s reinstatement, stated he was detached to her return.

“I’ve no emotions come what may,” he stated. “As I acknowledged through the assembly, she was introduced there to repair the problems that she was discovered mistaken of, to not proceed these practices as they’re incorrect in monetary apply and in opposition to the town’s constitution.”

However he’s hoping she succeeds in enhancing the town’s funds.

“I hope that she continues to maneuver the town’s finance division within the right path, not proceed the established order that has led to many compounded points over the many years,” Sampson stated.

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