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RTM Rejects Re-Hire Review

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff seemed a little miffed at an attempt to toss some of his privileges and powers out the window in favor of board reviews. To that end, he thought the Representative Town Meeting itself should feel a bit slighted.

“I think it is an insult, frankly,” he said to the RTM. The same petition to force his decisions to be reviewed would also remove the legislative body’s oversight on those same issues.

The petition was presented by Don Bergmann, and was focused on Joseloff’s decision to rehire the fire and police chiefs after they opted to retire to protect their benefits and pensions. Bergmann wants the Board of Finance and the Board of Selectmen to review and publicly vote on Joseloff’s decision.  If either board recommends it, the RTM would be allowed to review the board decisions.

Bergmann’s attempt at a “sense of the meeting” resolution didn’t exactly go as planned. Even those opposed to Joseloff’s actual decision were generally happy to let him make it and subsequently suffer the eventual voting repercussions if there is a backlash. One after another, RTM members pointed out that nothing illegal or in violation of the charter took place. Michael Guthman pointed out that nothing stops either board from discussing the issues anyway. “They’re big boys and girls, they can do it on their own. They don’t need us to tell them to take a look at it,” said Guthman.

Earlier in the day, Joseloff released a statement that Chief Christopher Ackley was officially back on the town payroll.  Police Chief Al Fiore and Deputy Fire Chief Jon Gottfried already resigned with the town. All are on two-year contracts with reduced pay and benefits from their original arrangements. However, the retirements with pension payouts and benefits do remain in effect.

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