Deputy Mayor Brenden Luddy has called on Board of Finance Chairperson Sam Lomaglio to be replaced, stating that he “is using the Finance Board chairmanship in a way that is not in the best interest of Berlin.”
In a letter emailed to The Citizen on June 8, Luddy said Lomaglio has a history of attempting to strong arm the Town Council. He wrote: “I feel that Mr. Lomaglio is no longer capable of serving in his capacity as the Finance Board Chair, or of representing Berlin in these tough economic times, and should be replaced on the BOF with a new Chairman before the next budget season starts.”
Lomaglio has been critical of the council’s handling of the budget process and said Luddy’s letter is an attempt to discredit him, as he is considering a run for mayor.
Luddy denied knowing that Lomaglio was contemplating a mayoral run.
At issue is approval of $223,000 for upgrading bleachers at Sage Park which are believed to pose a fall hazard, floor repairs at the Senior Center and the renovation of a McGee Middle School classroom to accommodate incoming special education students.
The money would come from $248,000 of leftover contingency spending which otherwise would be returned to the general fund.
During the public comment portion of the June 4 Town Council meeting, Lomaglio said the finance board would not approve funding for those projects unless an allocation was made to replace two police cruisers for around $73,000 and $10,000 was set aside for the removal of tree stumps on town land.
The finance board originally sought the replacement of four police cruisers. However, the council reduced that to two during budget negotiations.
"We won't support anything unless we get the stumps and the police cruisers," Lomaglio told the council.
If the fund transfer the council was seeking was for safety issues, it should have been included in the budget the council passed on May 22, Lomaglio said.
Luddy said he could have supported the changes Lomaglio sought had they been brought to the council in the proper way. That would require having an agenda item added to the council meeting without the new proposals tied to the three items the council approved.
During the June 4 Town Council meeting, Finance Director Kevin Delaney told the council there is no substantial difference between transferring the money out of the contingency fund during this fiscal year, which ends July 1, and out of the general fund during the 2020 fiscal year.
While Lomaglio left consideration of approving the council’s appropriations off the finance board’s June 11 agenda, he said individual board members can motion to have it added to the night’s discussions and called Luddy’s denouncement premature.
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