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Funds Transfer For Police Retirements Fails In Tie

Latest proposal to appropriate funds from unused capital accounts stalls in 3-3 result

A new proposal by Mayor Daryl Finizio’s administration to fund the severance and retirement agreements for three administrators failed in a tie vote on Tuesday.

The City Council split 3-3 in a proposal to transfer $76,640 from an unused capital projects fund to go toward the agreements. The vote was taken after the council amended the initial proposal to transfer $400,000 from the fund to four different areas. The total suggested transfer included $15,000 to police overtime for special events and $10,000 to the payroll for the mayor’s executive assistant, with the remaining $298,360 going into general fund contingency.

The council unanimously voted against the police overtime transfer, approved the transfer to payroll in a 4-3 vote, and voted against the transfer to contingency 3-4.

Retirement agreements

Councilor John Maynard said he opposed voting on the request as a single item, saying the request covered several different areas. He said a single vote would also exclude Councilor Anthony Nolan, who recused himself since he is employed as a police officer, from the areas not related to the retirements.

“I have a problem with the way we lump things together for a vote,” said Maynard.

Council President Pro Tempore Wade Hyslop motioned to table the item after Maynard amended it to hold four separate votes. Hyslop’s motion failed 3-3, while Maynard’s amendment passed 5-1.

Maynard also sought to separate the issue of funding each agreement separately. Maynard has said he supports the severance agreement for former Deputy Chief Marshall Segar, but opposed the agreements for former Captains William Dittman and Michael Lacey since they had not been negotiated with the police union and were non-binding.

Council President Michael Passero said he was unsure if such further separation could take place, and Hyslop said this was the reason he had sought to table the item. Maynard’s second amendment failed 2-4.

Councilor Marie Friess-McSparran questioned whether approval of the funds would affect litigation against the city related to the retirements. Dittman has sued the city, and Todd Lynch, president of the New London Police Union, has also filed a suit charging Ackley with retaliatory acts and violations of his constitutional rights.

Passero said he was reluctant to support the agreements, but wanted to resolve the matter.

“I don’t believe any of them were ready to retire,” he said. “I don’t believe the expense should have been included in this difficult time. However, the mistake’s been made.”

Councilor Adam Sprecace questioned why the question was again appearing on the agenda. The council . Law Director Jeff Londregan said this outside the normal retirement agreements, and that this amounted to $21,000 for Segar, $36,571.31 for Dittman, and $198,069.69 for Lacey. A March 6 vote on approving an appropriation ordinance for the agreements .

Other votes

Both Hyslop and Sprecace questioned whether the transfer of funds for special events overtime was a recurring item.

Sprecace asked whether the request to transfer $10,000 to the payroll for Finizio’s executive assistant, Zak Leavy, was to give Leavy a raise. Maynard said Leavy’s salary was decreased by $10,000 as part of a in the mayor’s office, but that the funds still needed to be appropriated.

Passero said the transfer represented a one-time revenue, but felt the funds could be better used to shore up the general fund. He said the latest report from Finance Director Jeff Smith indicates the city is still facing about $3 million in revenue shortfalls for the 2012 fiscal year on top of an approximately $1.3 million deficit from the 2011 fiscal year.

The council voted 4-3 to amend the requested funds for the general fund contingency to $390,000 due to the rejection of two transfers and language in the request saying the balance of the capital projects fund not appropriated in other areas should go toward contingency. Sprecace said he felt the council would have less control over what the funds in the contingency are used for.

“I think it is our Charter responsibility to see how this money is spent, and I think we’re relinquishing a bit of that control right now,” he said.

In a separate agenda item, the council voted 6-1 to approve the remaining 2012 fiscal year budget increases. The item, which was tabled on Feb. 21, include renovations; separation agreements for the former city clerk, assistant city clerk, and assessor; consulting fees for the former city clerk; the establishment of the executive assistant to the mayor position; and the salary difference between the current and previous finance directors.

Sprecace was the sole vote against the item, and also the only supporter of an amendment he proposed to add language saying the pensions of the departed employees would not be affected if the funding was rejected.

City Council Transfer Votes

  • Motion to table transfer request (3-3): Friess-McSparran, Maynard, Sprecace opposed; Hyslop, Councilor Donald Macrino, Passero in favor; Nolan recused
  • Amendment to separate transfer request into four separate votes (5-1): Friess-McSparran, Macrino, Maynard, Passero, Sprecace in favor; Hyslop opposed; Nolan recused
  • Amendment to separate $76,640 retirement/severance agreement transfer into individual votes (2-4): Hyslop, Macrino, Passero, Sprecace against; Friess-McSparran, Maynard for; Nolan recused
  • Vote on transferring $76,640 to fund police retirements/severance (3-3): Friess-McSparran, Maynard, Sprecace opposed; Hyslop, Macrino, Passero in favor; Nolan recused
  • Vote on transferring $15,000 for special events overtime (0-6): Friess-McSparran, Hyslop, Macrino, Maynard, Passero, Sprecace opposed; Nolan recused
  • Vote on transferring $10,000 to the mayor’s payroll (4-3): Hyslop, Macrino, Maynard, and Nolan in favor; Friess-McSparran, Passero, Sprecace against
  • Vote on transferring $390,000 to general fund contingency: Friess-McSparran, Macrino, Maynard, Sprecace against; Hyslop, Nolan, Passero in favor

Clarification: The article originally reported that Londregan said Segar and Lacey have filed intent to sue letters. The city clerk has not received such letters, and Londregan said he was likely referring to the complaint and lawsuit filed by Lynch.

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Don Sussler March 21, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Apparently Maynard and McSparran should take a remedial law class to understand the cost that these lawsuits will have on the tax payers. The City will have to hire an Atty as the present firm will be witnesses in these cases, municipal insurance does not cover breach of contracts and therefore the money will come out of the tax payers pockets which can be very costly by the time the 3 suits play out. Most people who pursue a breach of contract and fraud case up the ante for the aggravation. This looks like a slam dunk for these guys and these City councilors are penny wise and pound foolish. These lawsuits will bankrupt an already impoverished city. I might even even sit in on this trial to watch the Mayor, Chief of Police, law director and personnel director all testify as witnesses to these contracts. Only in New London.
Barbara Crocker March 21, 2012 at 07:11 PM
But they voted "in good faith"....
Richie Marshall March 21, 2012 at 09:56 PM
I'm pretty sure "good faith" is an oxymoron for this group.
William Desmond March 21, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Don, You may need a remedial reading and comprehension class. You only named two of the three that voted against that item. Or perhaps you chose to single out just the two democrats on the council that voted no on it. But that is only part of what you seem to have missed. The contract that the police captains entered into with the mayor was not a valid or enforceable contract per the Charter for the City of New London. The mayor has no authority to contract funds not appropriated by the city council. The contract can be negotiated by the mayor but the contract cannot be executed until approved by the city council. That is part of the risk when two union members choose to try to get a better deal for themselves in violation of their contract with the city. The charter and case law also provide protections for taxpayers and the city council for contracts that are not legal. The mayor a lawyer knew well what he was doing and he succeeded. Those that the Chief wanted are out and it will cost the city no more than if they had just retired. These two captains knew the consequences of direct dealing since they both benefitted from the award that the police union received when the personnel director last was direct dealing and it cost the city $100K that was directly provided to the police union members by way of paying for their medical benefits for a period of time.
William Desmond March 21, 2012 at 11:29 PM
The union publicized that issue well to all the members and these two captains were senior and involved members of the union at the time of the last direct dealing. No judge or arbitrator will believe that they did not know. The only thing that the city will possibly be on the hook for is some level of enhanced retirement benefits for all members of the police department that do retire. But since the mayor and chief are driving members away at an alarming rate the retirement benefits may not be much at all for those left. Please read the charter section 59 "contracts to be supported by appropriation" and the applicable case law. There will be no award from any legal action by these captains.
Charlie Gordon March 22, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Amen Bill Desmond. Amen. Lacey and Dittman are equally to blame in this mess. Lynch's suit is a joke as well. Maybe it's time for him and Ackley to ride off into the sunset.
Chip Smith March 22, 2012 at 01:43 AM
OK Desmond, wait til it makes its way thru the court. The contract was signed, notorized and approved by the law directors office.
William Desmond March 22, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Chip, The contract still violated the charter and as such was not a legally binding contract for the taxpayers of the city. What is it about that concept that escapes you?
William Desmond March 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM
The city charter is the law of the land for New London. If you do not support following sec 59 of the charter then how can you then support and agree with the sections of the charter that give the mayor the authority he has. The document has been revised to give us the current rules to operate our city. Read this document and learn how we do business. The mayor while stumping for votes referenced the charter many times. Do you believe for one second that the mayor was not fully aware of all the charter provisions and requirements?
Rick Lushay March 22, 2012 at 12:32 PM
It is much less complicated than that: Contract law 101 * The parties involved in the execution of the contract must have legal standing and authority to negotiate and execute the contract. * The Police Union Local 724 is the sole bargaining agent for the members of Local 724 and the rank and file police officers in the city. * Captain Lacey did not have standing nor authority to bargain or negotiate any terms or conditions with the city. * Captain Dittman did not have standing nor authority to bargain or negotiate any terms or conditions with the city. * Mayor Finizio and company did have standing, but no authority to bargain or negotiate any terms and conditions with Captain Lacey or Captain Dittman as members of the police union. * Mayor Finizio and company had no authority to execute a contract without council apprpriation of funding for said contract. * The city of New London was legally bound to negotiate with the police union for any terms and conditions.
Shabadoo March 22, 2012 at 12:40 PM
For the older readers to the tune of American Pie. A long long time ago, I can still remember how New London used to make me smile. I knew if we found a mayor And he acted liked he cared Then maybe we'd be happy for a while. But his campaign really made sick With every word and dirty trick Bad news in the doorstep He's proving to be inept. I can't remember if I laughed When I read about his latest gaff Another cover up by his staff The Day and Daryl lied. So, why why did Daryl have to lie We only asked that you give it a try The good old boys can only stay home and sigh Thinking what did his payoffs buy , what did his payoffs buy. Did you write the chief her check Do you know that the deapartment is a wreck If Alan says its sooooo. Do you believe in union rights should they all have to fight Or just until the email come to light? You were a unemployed neophyte Who convinced voters you had the right And if you're high its out of sight The Day and Daryl lied. So, bye bye its Daryl good-bye Your resume and election was a big lie You and and chief really must fly Singing The Day and Daryl did liiiieeee.
Rick Lushay March 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM
In order for a contract to be enforced all the parties to the contract had to have the authority to enter into and execute the contract. Neither party had the authority to enter into or execute the contract. Any fruit of this illegal contract will be deemed invalid by a judge. Neither captain will prevail in court. They took a shot at going around their union contract and lost. Former Deputy Chief Segar has problems with his potential legal action as well. He was paid the terms of his contractual exit clause. The additional payments that were voted down had to do with other financial incentives not part of his exit clause. Although Mr. Segar had standing and authority to negotiate on his behalf the mayor did not have the legal authority to execute the contract that included funding not yet appropriated by the city council. It is unlikely that any judge will rule in favor of Mr. Segar.
Rick Lushay March 22, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Did they give the mayor's assistand a 10K raise after 100 days?
Rick Lushay March 22, 2012 at 02:39 PM
OOOOPS another GOOF..... It is spreading like a disease. Do not get too close to the mayor or you will become a GOOF ball. "Clarification: The article originally reported that Londregan said Segar and Lacey have filed intent to sue letters. The city clerk has not received such letters, and Londregan said he was likely referring to the complaint and lawsuit filed by Lynch"
Chip Smith March 22, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Apparently the union president was involved--contacted union head quarters in New Haven --all witnessed by those that were there. City lawyer said it was legal and binding. Maybe a malpractice suit is in order?

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