Herbst: Musto needs to be called to task

To the Editor:

Trumbull’s Finance Director Maria Pires, Accounting Manager Dan Martin and Internal Auditor, Therese Keegan, carry out their fiduciary responsibilities with the highest levels of professionalism and integrity.  

When I read Town Treasurer Anthony Musto’s recent letter to the editor, he essentially questioned the integrity of these employees and how they perform their job responsibilities. He owes these three dedicated employees an apology. A treasurer has an obligation to act morally and honestly. So, when the treasurer outright lies to the people of Trumbull and the media, he needs to be called to task.

The Town of Trumbull does have a written policy concerning expenses and expense reimbursement. It is IRS Regulation 463. This policy was implemented by former Town Treasurer John Ponzio upon his election in 2009. This policy was the direct result of misuse of an expense account and a Town issued credit card by my predecessor. Interestingly, Mr. Musto was the Town Treasurer from 2005-2009 and during that time no policy was in place nor was he reviewing expenses. If he had, he would have questioned why a plane ticket for the former State Democratic Chair to attend a political event was charged to a town credit card and why rounds of golf were paid for by Trumbull taxpayers. He also would have asked why my predecessor made no notations as to the nature of business expenses he incurred. Either he wasn’t doing his job at the time or he turned the other cheek to avoid embarrassing one of his own.

When Mr. Musto first alleged impropriety, I asked the Internal Auditor to review the Town’s policies and procedures in this regard. The auditor reports to the Board of Finance and is outside of my chain of command. The internal auditor concluded that “as a Certified Public Accountant with years of experience in tax, financial accounting and auditing, I would have approved your submissions for payment.”  

No wrongdoing. No impropriety. My expense account and all receipts associated with it are subject to the Freedom of Information Act and have been requested and examined multiple times, by town officials, the public and the media.

Instead of telling dedicated, non-political employees how to do their job, Mr. Musto should focus on doing his own. He does not come to Town Hall to do his job, going almost two weeks without picking up his mail. He has submitted reports to the Board of Finance that are wrought with error and outright incompetence. I would encourage every taxpayer to examine these reports as they do not comport with basic addition and subtraction. These reports are in fact so poor, that the Board of Finance Chair has requested the auditor review his work before each Board of Finance meeting to guarantee accuracy. After all, this is your money that Mr. Musto plays fast and loose with and his reports determine if revenues are reported accurately to properly balance the budget.

It is truly embarrassing to see Mr. Musto and members of the Trumbull Democratic Town Committee spend every week on editorial pages spreading lies and continuing their two year campaign of destruction. The very people who preach civility are entirely uncivil. If Mr. Musto spent as much time doing his job as he spends on political witch hunts, he wouldn’t need his work product reviewed and corrected by others.
Timothy M. Herbst
First Selectman