Recently, a political opponent alleged that an elected official in the City of West Haven could not take vacation buy back without committing a violation. Prior to requesting a vacation buyback, I consulted the Commissioner of Human Resources and the city’s corporation counsel and was assured that the practice pertained to the mayor’s position. The vacation buyback was not only legal, but had been a common practice with the prior mayor as well.
To ensure that the interpretation of the policy and General State Statues was correct, I went a step further and requested a legal opinion on the matter. The opinion, which I have attached, supports the payment. Never would I have requested a payment or any benefit that was not proper and legitimate. My reputation and integrity are too important to me.
At the public hearing on April 2, it was said that I promised if elected I would be different. Well I have been different. There are benefits that I do not take which include regularly using a city vehicle, using city fuel, or taking a vehicle allowance. The use of the vehicle is limited to approximately ten percent (10%) of the time; ninety percent (90%) of the time I drive my own car and pay for my own gas.
As mayor I do not use a city credit card nor is there a city credit card in my name. Any travel and business expenses incurred as mayor are paid by me personally. When I took office I could have taken the health insurance, because the City of West Haven is self-insured I decided to keep my less rich insurance plan as to not burden the taxpayers with medical expenses for myself and my husband. My husband was very ill this year and had several surgeries. Had I taken the city medical insurance (and again the city is self insured), it would have cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.
My average work week is more than 60 hours. I don’t mind because I love the City of West Haven and really enjoy working for the residents and would never request or accept anything that was not appropriate.
One other major development this year that reinforces that I kept my promise I would be different, West Haven’s general fund is now in the BLACK INK!
I think it is pretty obvious this is the first pitch of the political and election season.