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Purchaser Knows the Buy-Ways

In his previous life, Richard Kotchko's job was to buy things for all sorts of private enterprises. Now he's wielding the power of the all-mighty dollar for Westport's benefit.

"When you are procuring something, you have to understand you have the advantage," Kotchko said as he sat comfortably in the office he has occupied only since May 26. He explained that the power lies in the hands of the buyer. The seller wants to make a deal. Kotchko's job is to find the best one.

He said the principles are pretty much the same whether you are looking at the private market or municipal government. Most of the expenses are for services and utilities. The tricks of the trade come in knowing when and where you can work a savings. "People have a tendency to go out and just pay the face value," he said.

Kotchko lives in Fairfield with his wife of 31 years. His two children are grown, out of college and both gainfully employed in Manhattan. He earned his own degree from the University of Connecticut while working.

It was the people that attracted Kotchko to Westport. He said the people running things, like Finance Director John Kondub, really seemed to care about the job. "That's always a good sign, when you have this good feeling about the other people involved," said Kotchko.

Things aren't perfect though. He has plans for down the road. There are procedures he wants to rewrite into something modern, succinct and efficient. But he doesn't want to rock the boat. "That's my goal. To do it in a manner that doesn't disrupt the flow. I want to do this in the most amicable fashion that I can."

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