With the Board of Selectmen's vote on the pact Wednesday, the debate on the agreement between First Selectman Michael Tetreau and former Chief Fiscal Officer Paul Hiller is over -- for now.
Tetreau and Selectman Cristin McCarthy Vahey voted to uphold the pact, while Selectman Kevin Kiley voted against it. The question was called before going to public comment.
The vote was placed on the agenda at the board's Sept. 19 meeting at the behest of Kiley, though Town Attorney Stanton Lesser cautioned a vote would likely have little sway over the validity of the pact.
"The time and effort we put into this is well worth it," Kiley said before the vote.
The board publicly picked apart the price tag on the agreement, which Tetreau released prior to Tuesday's Board of Finance meeting.
The general release and settlement agreement for Hiller to retire earlier than he originally planned costs the town $127,768, and Tetreau clarified that the salary portion is at or below what was already budgeted for the current fiscal year.
The $127,768 is comprised of:
- An estimated $10,000 in legal fees;
- $52,090 in pension payments based on the salary adjustment made to Hiller's salary in the agreement (bumped from $134,591 to $155,600 to compensate for retiring early). The pension payouts will not affect the current year's budget, Tetreau said, and are spread out against future budgets.
- $33,632 for a severance payout;
- $31,046 for 60 days of unused vacation;
- $1,000 for a deferred compensation payout.
Kiley also asked Tetreau who introduced the non-disparagement clause included in the contract.
According to Tetreau, the clause was "represented as a standard clause for this type of agreement," and was included in the draft agreed upon by both side's attorneys.
The First Selectman maintained that the bottom line with the situation surrounding Hiller's resignation is that the Finance Department's work will get done, a notion McCarthy Vahey echoed.
The town remaining financially protected and the work getting done is "really important to us, and to all the boards" in Fairfield, McCarthy Vahey said.