Comptroller resigns 'under duress'
Published 5:32 pm, Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The longtime controller of New Milford resigned his position Friday, Jan. 6, leveling charges of financial improprieties at the finance director.
His charges prompted verbal sparring and necessitated a police escort out of the building.
His letter indicated, with accumulated vacation and personal time, Jan. 27 would be the effective date of resignation.
At age 65, his subsequent eligibility for retirement will be July 6.
"I am being forced to resign under the duress of being pressured to violate Connecticut General Statutes ... along with accounting principles and practices accepted as necessary to the proper administration of budgeting and other government fund resources supplied by taxpayers," Mr. Galante wrote in his letter.
A Monday message left at Mr. Galante's New Fairfield home was not returned.
Mr. Jankowski also did not return a message left at his office Monday.
Mr. Galante's charges relate to the manner he was requested to pay for equipment for a new police department emergency dispatch center, he said in the letter.
He said he was ordered to make payment orders on amounts for less than their actual cost, without proper purchase orders.
"After accepting the duty of safeguarding the assets of the taxpayers of the town of New Milford," Mr. Galante wrote, "I cannot compromise that service by the obvious and deliberate violation of all accounting and financial standards learned from educational and experiential training, especially the laws intended to do just that."
"There is no incentive to perform the job for which I was hired when I am told that if I will not break the law," his letter continued, "you (Mr. Jankowski) will get somebody else to do it... such actions contribute and foster a culture of deceit in the financial administration of the town assets."
Town Attorney Randy DiBella ruled Monday, after examining the situation, no improprieties had been requested or conducted.
The delivery of the letter sparked a disturbance which included Mr. Galante allowing his wife improper access to his computer, Mayor Murphy said.
She called the police, she said, after asking Mr. Galante's wife to refrain from further use of the computer.
When police arrived, Mr. Galante started yelling at the officer, according to the mayor, and the couple was escorted out of the building.
No arrests were made, police spokesman Lt. Larry Ash said.
Mayor Murphy forwarded the letter containing Mr. Galante's allegations to Mr. DiBella.
Mr. DiBella then offered a written opinion, based on his research of state law, the financing of the $530,000 emergency dispatch center, including a $194,000 state grant, followed proper appropriation protocols.
The town attorney said he determined the payments requested were proper and the police command staff actually employed greater scrutiny over the costs than is required.
"It is my opinion that, based upon factual investigations and legal research conducted, no illegality exists as alleged," Mr. DiBella wrote.