Members of Fairfield's Republican party are looking for answers to many questions left in the wake of that Chief Fiscal Officer Paul Hiller will resign come Sept. 15.
The announcement followed in earlier in July and was then placed on paid administrative leave until First Selectman Michael Tetreau issued a release on the CFO's resignation.
Other than the release, the circumstances surrounding Hiller's resignation have been kept mum by town officials.
Scroll down for a breakdown of the general release and settlement agreement between the Town of Fairfield and CFO Paul Hiller.
GOP representatives and officials, feeling left in the dark, discussed the matter at Monday's Republican Town Committee (RTC) meeting.
"This is disgraceful," RTC Chair James Millington said. "People were wondering what he'd done -- to this date it appears he has done nothing."
The general release and settlement agreement signed by the Tetreau (on behalf of the town) and Hiller on July 31 does not reveal a cause for resignation. The agreement (broken down in detail below) includes information on salary and pensions, Hiller's role as "Manager of Financial Services" following his resignation as CFO and clerk of the Board of Finance, as well as his benefits package, a confidentiality clause precluding Hiller from discussing the agreement, and a non-disparagement clause between Hiller and the town.
It also includes a severance package and multiple benefits not customary in a resignation.
"Resignations don't come with severance packages. They don't come with golden parachutes," Millington said.
Additionally, the agreement came with a "glowing recommendation," as former Selectman Jim Walsh termed it," from Tetreau, extolling Hiller's accomplishments over his decades of service to the town.
"There is a glowing recommendation from Tetreau, so this is not a matter of cause," Walsh said. "This is a very costly agreement to the town of Fairfield...the taxpayers should know what they have to pay because of a personality issue."
RTC member Faith Dillon added Hiller "does not deserve to have his reputation sullied after all these years...if there is cause, he wouldn't have been offered all this."
In addition to what lead to the resignation -- whether it was a personality issue or otherwise -- questions surfaced on whether the agreement follows protocol set forth in the Town Charter.
Republican Selectman Kevin Kiley, who was appointed to replace Walsh at the beginning of July, was not made aware of any issues with Hiller until he heard from town hall employees that Hiller had been put on paid administrative leave.
Millington and other GOP members who spoke Monday believe Kiley, as well as Democratic Selectman Cristin McCarthy Vahey, should have at least been briefed in executive session by Tetreau, who left on vacation after his office announced the resignation.
Hiller's resignation also included his leave of the position of Board of Finance clerk, which he was appointed to more than 12 years ago by the Board of Finance.
Finance Board Vice Chair Rob Bellitto Jr. said that, while the charter does give the First Selectman sole authority to remove a CFO, it's under the purview of the Board of Finance to appoint or remove a clerk.
"We were stepped over a little bit," he said. The board will discuss the process of appointing another clerk at its September meeting.
As far as the budget is concerned, both Walsh and Bellitto acknowledged the monetary components of the agreement will affect both this year's and next year's budgets -- and more years to come, Walsh added, when Hiller's pension is taken into consideration.
Bellitto said that the position Hiller will take up in September -- Manager of Financial Services -- is not part of the current budget and its salary will likely have to be transferred from contingency. This means the Board of Finance will have to vote to move those funds.
"We will ask for justification," Bellitto said.
Speakers touched on Tetreau's Chief of Staff Robert Mayer's qualifications to be acting CFO, but RTM member Ed Bateson, R-3, pointed out that the process to appoint a full-time CFO has still not been made clear.
"Why aren't we doing a search for CFO?" he said. "There are people watching -- Wall Street, pension boards, health care companies -- this didn't go well for us as a municipality."
Millington concluded the discussion by reflecting on Tetreau's November campaign for transparency and bipartisanship.
"There is nothing transparent about this," he said. "It's got to end, he's got to correct this course."
Agreement Between the Town of Fairfield and Paul Hiller
- Hiller will "irrevocably" resign from his employment with the town on June 30, 2013
- He will resign from his posts as Chief Fiscal Officer and the Clerk of the Board of Finance on Sept. 15, 2012.
- He will serve as Manager of Financial Services for the Town of Fairfield following his Sept. 15 resignation until the terms of his employment end on June 30, 2013. He will work a minimum of two days per week and shall not be eligible for paid sick or vacation leave, personal leave, or paid holidays.
Salary and Pension
- From July 31, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2012, Hiller's salary will remain at $134,591. If Hiller becomes employed elsewhere and cannot continue working for the town, he will still be paid the $134,591 salary by the town until Dec. 31.
- From Jan. 1, 2013 until June 30, 2013, Hiller's salary will be reduced to $110,000 on an annual basis. Should he become employed in another public sector job, Fairfield will pay the difference between that job's salary and Hiller's initial $134,591 salary set in the agreement until June 30, 2013.
- Upon the termination of Hiller's employment with the town of Fairfield on June 30, 2013, he will be eligible for benefits set forth in the 2011 benefit summary for non-union department heads.
- His pension will be based upon a salary of $155,600.
- Hiller will be paid upon the termination of his employment with Fairfield an amount equal to 60 days of unused, accumulated vacation based upon a salary of $134,591.
- He will also receive 13 weeks of severance pay based upon a salary of $134,591.
- Prior to June 30, 2012, the town will fund the employer match into Hiller's deferred compensation plan for 2012-2013.
- In the event of Hiller's death before July 1, 2013, these payments will be made to his wife; in the event of her death, the payments will be made to Hiller's estate.
- Per the terms of the agreement, Hiller "knowingly, irrevocably, and unconditionally releases and forever discharges the town from any and all grievances, claims, demands, obligations, damages, liabilities, causes of action."
- In exchange, the town does the same for Hiller.
- The town agrees to indemnify, or insure, Hiller regarding any claims or omissions during his course of employment with the town.
- In turn, Hiller agrees to cooperate with "any lawsuits or administrative proceedings in which the town or Hiller is a party," and will be compensated at a rate of $675 per day if required to take part in such action.
- Under the terms of the agreement, Hiller is bound to confidentiality regarding the events leading up to his resignation and the agreement. Information pertaining to those events not to be disclosed to any third party, with the exception of Hiller's wife, attorney, and tax provider, and those individuals must also agree to confidentiality.
- Both parties agree they will not disparage or make negative statements about each other.