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Longtime Westporter Seeks Spot on Finance Board

WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport resident John Pincavage may be running for his first term on the board of finance, but this Republican candidate is no rookie in the finance world.

Pincavage, a 34-year Westport resident, has 40 years of financial experience, both locally and on Wall Street. Throughout his career, he's worked in investment banking, securities analysis and even as a chief financial officer. He's also founded several asset leasing companies.

A father of two Stapes High School graduates, Pincavage has also served on boards of directors for public and private companies, and educational and nonprofit organizations. His wife, Tammy, is a former second selectman. He recently took the time to answer some questions about the upcoming election. The following are his responses.

Question: What do you think the best course of action is to correct the current Other-Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) predicament the town is faced with?

Answer: Short-term, bring non-union plans into alignment with today's realities and best practices; keep a hiring freeze for non-essential employees in place for as long as possible; hire a new finance director with skills required to oversee a $175 million enterprise and bring financial discipline to the town's financial management; hire a new actuary with municipal experience; and hire a personnel director with experience in labor negotiations.

Longer-term, as current labor contracts become negotiable, bring them into alignment with the post-recession realties of defined contributions versus defined benefits, and have them mirror what the taxpayers in their business/professional lives have, and restructure departments functionally to improve workflow and productivity.

Q: Beyond seeking consolidation between town and school services, how would you propose the town reduce its costs while still maintaining the quality of life Westporters have come to expect?

A: The goal of both the short- and longer-term proposals is not to reduce the quality of today's services, but to improve the value to the taxpayer. Productivity of existing departments must be improved so that more is accomplished with the same assets. Outsourcing of activities where possible must be explored as must regional and state purchasing combines.

Q: Excluding OPEB, what to you are the biggest financial issues facing the town?

A: The town has been very generous to its employees in the past when there were few financial constraints, which has made Westport have more expensive costs than comparable towns for a variety of services. We must do a better job of controlling costs in future contract negotiations and bring them into line with today's realities.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: I have 40 years of financial experience in a variety of roles ranging from securities analysis, investment banking, asset leasing, treasurer to CFO. I have been a founder of a number of companies, and a member of private and public company, and nonprofit boards. All of this experience has given me the skills required to be a successful member of the board of finance. In addition, I'm not afraid to make difficult decisions.

Q: What would your goals be as a board member?

Work to make a board of dinance that is envisioned by the town charter that holds managers and their expenditures accountable to not only budgets, but also our long-range capital forecast, and stop the constant financial blindsiding, which forces reaction after the fact to major financial events. Second, to represent and balance the interests of all groups of taxpayers, from young families to seniors, and maximize the value they receive for the taxes they pay.

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