Letter: Herbst has completely forgotten 2009 campaign platform
To the Editor:
Anthony Musto, who was elected Trumbull Town Treasurer last November, has reportedly created a new reimbursement policy for all town expense accounts, including the expense account of the First Selectman and the Superintendent, in order to ensure proper process and oversight.
"But so far, instead of receiving cooperation, I’m getting stonewalled” said Mr. Musto in a recent article in the Trumbull Times. Our Town Charter states that all expense reimbursements and payments made on behalf of the First Selectman and the Superintendent will be made by the Town Treasurer. While the Superintendent has complied with this procedural request, the First Selectman refuses to do so. Are there receipts he’d prefer not to fully disclose; why?
I find it ironic that the First Selectman has an issue with compliance on documentation for his expense reports. When running for election in 2009, this was a major campaign issue raised by Mr. Herbst against his opponent after Mr. Baldwin’s expense receipts were FOI’d, given to the media and put out on various blogs for discussion.
In 2009, Mr. Herbst stated: "Here is what I pledge when I become your First Selectman. By executive order, I will reign in the abuse of these expense accounts. I will hold the Finance Department accountable for signing off on many of these bills without proper receipts or record keeping. I will apply the same set of standards to myself that I apply to any other employee or agent of the Town. And, I will not have someone within my chain of command signing off on these credit card statements and requests for reimbursement. My running mate, John Ponzio, will be an outstanding Treasurer for this Town. And, since John will be elected by the people and not be within my direct chain of command, I will require that the Town Treasurer (Mr. Ponzio) sign off on all of these statements and develop a policy with my office to ensure proper internal controls."
Mr. Herbst also said, "What is disturbing about this matter is the lack of proper internal controls, the lack of proper record keeping and candidly, the flagrant abuse of Town resources."
It’s been seven years and no policy exists, no accountability and no oversight.
Mr. Musto should not be condemned for trying to implement the very same policy that Mr. Herbst fiercely advocated for, ran on and promised to the taxpayers.
“Proper internal controls” should be in place.
Why must everything turn into a battle?
This is commonsense, required by the Charter and should have been implemented, as Mr. Herbst demanded, when he first took office.