Embattled Derby finance director to return to role on Monday

DERBY — The city’s Board of Aldermen & Alderwomen has reinstated Finance Director Agata Herasimowicz. But the city hasn’t exactly been in a hurry to have her resume her duties.

The board reinstated Herasimowicz June 29 during a sometimes contentious meeting. She had been on administrative leave since March over allegations she improperly spent city funds. But as late as July 6, she had no clear return date, and was emailing city officials expressing the urgent need to get back to work on the city’s finances.

“For about a week, I have been emailing about the date to report to work,” she wrote to Corporation Counsel Vincent Marino. “I understand that the Mayor and the Corporation (counsel) need to confer on this matter. I have not (heard) from the Mayor’s office yet. Is there a problem to start work at the office? I need to review the ledger and its current status, also access to GEM software. (It is) very important.”

Marino’s reply, the following day, set her return date July 11.

“Please report to the Mayor’s office at 9 a.m. to meet with me and the Mayor,” he wrote.

While Herasimowicz is now expected to return, it is not clear what kind of work relationship she will have with Mayor Rich Dziekan and Chief of Staff Walt Mayhew, who both advocated she be fired. Dziekan continued to lobby for her dismissal despite a report by accounting firm MahoneySabol that largely absolved her of wrongdoing.

The report concluded that her signing off on payment for police video equipment and the hiring of temporary workers before getting Board of Apportionment and Taxation approval, while contrary to the city charter and not in keeping with best fiscal practices, had been “reasonable” and “necessary” given the circumstances.

After reviewing the MahoneySabol report, the board voted 8-1 to reinstate her, with only Alderman Charles Sampson siding with the mayor.

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