NILES Council members to issue ultimatum to city treasurer
The part-time treasurer isn't seeking re-election.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- Several city council members plan to send a letter to the city's outgoing treasurer asking her to resign if she doesn't come to work.
Six of the seven councilmen met during a finance committee meeting Wednesday to talk about a performance audit of the city's income tax department, which is the responsibility of the treasurer.
The report released last month by state Auditor Jim Petro said that nearly 40 percent of businesses and individuals within the city didn't file income tax returns in 2000.
It also lists 20 recommendations for department improvements.
Vickie Flynn-Putnam, the city treasurer, was invited to the meeting but didn't attend. She did not seek re-election and leaves the part-time position at the end of this year. Richard Bullock is unopposed in the November election for the post. Bullock attended Wednesday's meeting.
Suggestion: Councilman Stephen G. Papalas, D-at large, questioned how often Flynn-Putnam comes to her office in City Hall. He said he talked to the treasurer's office this week and was told she next is expected at the office Nov. 16.
He asked Law Director J. Terrence Dull to send a letter to Flynn-Putnam saying "if she doesn't come to work, council requests she resign," he said. Other council members concurred with the suggestion.
Flynn-Putnam couldn't be reached after the meeting.
Papalas also criticized the press, complaining that the press didn't report about Flynn-Putnam's absence from work.
Mayor Ralph A. Infante Jr., who requested the performance review of the department, said he's been asking about the income tax department and informing council members about delinquencies for several years. Because the department falls under the treasurer's office, he doesn't have oversight authority.
"This has been a sore spot with me since 1995," he said.
Problem: Councilman Robert Marino Jr. acknowledged the mayor's cautions. He said council members asked officials from the income tax department about the filing of cases against delinquent tax payers and they were assured it was being done.
"We were getting two different stories and I have to say that the mayor was right," said Councilman Thomas Scarnecchia, D-at large.
Infante wants council to establish a governing board that would include Bullock before he takes office, to oversee the treasurer's office responsibilities.
"Then I'll show you how to collect taxes," Infante said.
Papalas was concerned that would upset the checks and balances of city government.
"Employees up there do work, but they need direction," he said.
Infante, Dull and Auditor Neil Buccino plan to contact the state auditor's office this week to determine whether a governing board may be established and its authority.