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Joseloff Criticized Over $50 Million Miscalculation

Officials are calling for more accountability and an independent study following an error in participating municipal employees that's costing Westport taxpayers.

Westport officials are calling for an independent audit and accountability from the town’s highest elected official  

Other Post Employment Benefits, or “OPEB,” now is expected to cost Westport taxpayers an additional $12,500 per household, according to Michael Rea, chairman of the RTM Finance Committee and a Republican candidate for the Board of Finance. Originally reported at about $50 million due to the accounting mistake, the OPEB liability is now closer to $100 million, Rea said.

“In a corporate world, heads would roll, but we have an elected official here. He should take the appropriate actions necessary to correct this problem,” Rea told Westport Patch.

, a Democrat, could not be reached for comment.

Westport’s annual required contribution for OPEB had been thought to be about $4.1 million, but it appears to be closer to $8 million, Rea said.

Third Selectman Charles Haberstroh, a Republican, said Joseloff could do more to take responsibility.

“Basically he (Joseloff) could say ‘I’m accountable for it, I’m sorry, I want to stay in office,’ which he can do,” Haberstroh said. “Or he can say he has lost the confidence of the funding bodies and the voters and ‘I need to resign.’ Only he can decide that.”

“I think someone or some people in government made a serious mistake,” Haberstroh said.

Rea said: “There is a problem that exists in his (Joseloff’s) administration and it needs to be corrected and that’s why there should be a third party audit to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future.”

Charles Wesley Kelakos Haberstroh October 08, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Sorry for the typo. Yes, the Selectmen elections are in 2013 and, no, I am not running for anything. My comments were not meant to be partisan. I was trying to compare what would have likely happened in the corporate world to what is going on in Westport.
Stacy Prince October 08, 2011 at 09:08 PM
@carolanne -- I gather from your response that you buy into the popular meme that all Republicans are fiscal conservatives/businesspeople/good with money, and that the only reason the town (nay, the nation) is in such straits is that the Democrats are "in charge." I take a somewhat longer view, and in my own head spread the blame around pretty equally. But no matter what your affiliation or belief set, I hope you understand that my wishes are not fantasies; they are the only way I can see for creating meaningful change. Unlike most Americans, I don't think switching the party in charge makes a much of a difference in the long run. As long as we continue to label each other AS "other," we'll stay hot under the collar and waste precious time and energy pointing fingers when, in reality, our ideological differences aren't as stark as the media and certain pundits would like us to think they are. No matter what their party affiliation, most Westporters I talk to are horrified by the OPEB fiasco. Changing the players is probably a good way to start fixing things, but it's nothing more than window dressing if we can't figure out a way out of this mess together.
Charles Wesley Kelakos Haberstroh October 08, 2011 at 09:48 PM
Stacy, That's a pretty cynical view. There are obviously better managed companies than others. The objective for government should be the same: to elect the most qualified individuals to their respective offices. The difference is in government you have the ability to pick those individuals who more closely represent your views or those views which you believe are better. There is merit in changing horses if you as a voter is dissatisfied with how government is being managed. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. After the election, it is also important to hold those elected officials feet to the fire, if they are not doing their jobs properly. We are fortunate in Westport to have many high quality individuals willing to serve in essentially a volunteer position. Nevertheless, one can certainly differentiate between those who are more qualified than others.
Stacy Prince October 08, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Charlie, I do agree that some companies are managed better than others, as are some towns. Alas, "better" is in the eye of the beholder. For example, some people believe companies that maximize profits by lobbying government to let them pollute are well-managed companies. As you might surmise, I'm not one of them. What I'm looking for, hoping for, praying for on all fronts are checks and balances that protect the interests of all stakeholders, and the ability to work together when we disagree. I don't think that's naive, as carolanne suggests, or cynical, as you do. I think it's both hopeful and -- given the absurdity of trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results -- smart.
Charles Wesley Kelakos Haberstroh October 08, 2011 at 10:39 PM
Your last response sounds much less cynical than your first.

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