Letter: Misinformation and half-truths spread

To the Editor:

As a newcomer to the Trumbull Town Council two years ago, I expected that all of us on the Town Council would be honest with our constituents and tell the truth when discussing policy. In last week's Trumbull Times, Minority Leader Vicki Tesoro announced that she would repeal a municipal compensation plan if elected First Selectman. She alleges that the first selectman will receive a 20% salary increase and she attempts to construct a narrative that Republicans are providing salary increases for all non-union and elected officials. That is just not true.

The first selectman’s salary is not receiving a 20% increase. The salary will be adjusted over the next five years to take into consideration inflation and cost of living adjustments. The Town's chief executive should not be making $30,000 less than the people he or she supervises and certainly should not be making $30,000 less than a police officer or a teacher, whose work we value and respect. There is no increase in the first selectman’s salary until after the upcoming local elections. Mrs. Tesoro is trying to claim that Mr. Herbst gave himself a 20% raise, which is a narrative her supporters are trying to construct on social media. Has she has already conceded the election? Have they forgotten that First Selectman Herbst took a voluntary 3% pay cut upon his election, eliminated the practice of free health care for elected and non-union officials, and also refused a pension from the Town, to lead by example?

The municipal compensation ordinance is just that — an ordinance. It has no effect unless funding is in place. The ordinance provides guidance in the hiring of non-union personnel in determining appropriate ranges for salaries to effectively recruit the most capable people to work in Trumbull. The municipal compensation plan was reviewed by the Board of Finance, which is split 3-3 between the Democrats and the Republicans. In reviewing the plan and the salary adjustments, the Board of Finance unanimously approved the funding for the compensation plan. All three Democrats voted to approve the funding, including Tom Kelly, the current Chairman of the Democratic Town Committee.

First and foremost, the people of Trumbull deserve to know the truth. I hope that, as the campaign gets underway, we can all be truthful, and not spread misinformation and half-truths in the interest of winning an election. I look forward to this campaign and the debates, where Mr. Herbst will be able to directly engage Mrs. Tesoro on the issues, talk about all the positive accomplishments of these last five years, and provide a vision for Trumbull’s future.

Joe Pifko
Trumbull Town Councilman
District 4