Derby’s finance director returns on Monday

DERBY — The City Board of Aldermen and Aldermen has reinstated Finance Director Agata Herasimowicz. But the city was in no rush for her to resume her duties.

The board reinstated Herasimowicz on June 29 during a sometimes contentious meeting. She has been on administrative leave since March due to allegations that she improperly spent city funds. But as late as July 6, she didn’t have a clear return date and was sending emails to city officials expressing an urgent need to return to work on city finances.

“For about a week, I’ve been emailing about a date to report to work,” she wrote to corporate counsel Vincent Marino. “I understand that the mayor and the corporation (representative) should consult on this matter. I haven’t (heard) from the mayor’s office yet. Having trouble starting a job in the office? I need to review the book and its current status as well as access to the GEM software. (It is) very important.”

In Marino’s reply, the next day, her return date is July 11.

“Please report to the mayor’s office at 9am to meet with me and the mayor,” he wrote.

Although Herasimowicz is now expected to return, it is unclear what kind of working relationship she will have with Mayor Rich Dziekan and Chief of Staff Walt Mayhew, who both pushed for her firing. Dziekan continued to lobby for her firing despite a report by accounting firm MahoneySabol that largely cleared her of wrongdoing.

The report concluded that her opting out of paying for police video equipment and hiring temporary workers before getting approval from the Appropriation and Taxation Board, while contrary to the city charter and inconsistent with best fiscal practices, was “reasonable” and “necessary” given the circumstances.

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

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