As 'retired' fire chief is re-hired, RTM set to scrutinize deals tonight
Published 4:53 pm, Tuesday, July 20, 2010
A third top Westport public-safety official has been be reappointed after his recent retirement, under a two-year deal that the first selectman says will save the town more than $350,000 overall for all three police/fire administrators.
Under the arrangement, First Selectman Gordon Joseloff on Tuesday reappointed Christopher Ackley as fire chief. Ackley had retired from the post June 1.
"I am delighted that Chris has agreed to continue to serve as fire chief, thereby retaining all three experienced public safety leaders to continue to serve the people of Westport," Joseloff said in a statement.
He said Ackley, like the others, also agreed to be paid a lower salary and reduced benefits as well as waive any claims under the state's Health and Hypertension Act, as well as no further participation in the fire pension fund past the June 1 date of his retirement -- about $126,000.
Ackley, who was hired by the Fire Department in 1978, will be paid an annual salary of about $106,500. He is also eligible to contribute to a 401K plan; will get group life insurance coverage up to $107,000, and is eligible for health and dental insurance coverage, but not on the same basis as regular municipal employees.
"In light of these appointments, I hope the Representative Town Meeting (on Tuesday) will quickly dispense of the petition concerning these retirements," he said, referring to an item on the RTM agenda asking for a review of the deals.
"As the chief elected official in Westport, by state statute I am responsible for the health and safety of our residents and the authority to appoint the public safety leaders under our Town Charter rests solely with me," the first selectman said.
"As promised, there has been complete transparency in the agreed terms of their continued service and in details of the considerable savings to taxpayers.
"If the RTM wants to act, I hope someone instead would move a sense-of-the-meeting resolution thanking these men for putting their lives on the line in a combined almost 100 years service protecting our community and for their willingness to continue to serve our citizens."