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Matt Giglietti Resigns from Amity Finance Committee

Matt Giglietti Resigns from Amity Finance Committee

Surplus Issue was “the last straw”

Below is the transcript of Matt Giglietti announcing his resignation from the Amity Finance Committee (AFC) on 09-12-22 after serving for 20 years as the Vice-Chairman of the AFC since its inception in 2002.  Mr. Giglietti is the Chairman of the Woodbridge Board of Finance.

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlNu5PpbmFc

Matt Giglietti:

“The Amity Finance Committee was started in 2002, 20 years ago, because we had had 18 failed referendums, and the taxpayers were not allowed to approve a budget because there was so much fraud that was committed by the former Board of Education.  So, the board started the Amity Finance Committee, which was made up of the three chairmen of the town boards of finance, together with three members of the Board of Education.  And that satisfied the taxpayers and shortly thereafter, the budget passed.

I’ve noticed I’m the only one that’s been doing this since its inception.  Bethany and Orange have changed their representatives several times, always good people, like Sharon and Joe, a number of them.  But I’m still around because I always felt like doing it.  I could work with Amity and the taxpayers, for Amity.  And, hopefully, keep the one with us who make my time here meaningful.  And it’s always worked.

Except the past year and a half, I have felt that we are disregarded and not terribly important to the board because there are very, very few instances where we vote no on something.  Very few.  I think you both will agree with that?

And yet every time we vote no, it goes to a full board and they ignore our vote.  Just this past month, there was discussion about the one percent or two percent of the capital not occurring, and I said to Sharon and Joe, “Guys, don’t waste your time.  We’ve got all the surplus money now.  They’re going to go for two percent.”  But you guys voted for one percent, I abstained.  The board approved two percent.  And so, I said to myself, “What am I doing here?”  I mean, and there’s other things.  There’s the five percent increase in the health insurance.  So, I’ve been disillusioned for a while now.

But the last straw for me was the surplus issue.  Something that I always had disagreements with Mr. Leahy about, and that is the surplus, and his feeling that we should vote for a lower budget and I always said, “Look, I’m content.”  They’re first to say it’s very transparent and whatever they don’t spend, they return to the taxpayers, who gave the money in the first place.

But of course, we all know now that that’s no longer going to happen.  And I know it’s easy for the administration and the board to say, “Well, the statute is very clear.  The Board shall…”  Keep that word in mind, “shall… use any budget appropriation which has not been expended by the end of the fiscal year and reduce the net expense of the district for the following year.”

I contacted four very, very qualified attorneys I work with and I read this to them and they all chuckled that the word “shall” is being used.  I printed off this, if you all want to Google it, it’s a legal document, it’s called “Shall and Must.”

“Use ‘must,” not “shall” to impose requirements.  ‘Shall’ is ambiguous and rarely occurs in everyday conversation.  The legal community is moving to a strong preference for ‘must’ as the clearest way to express a requirement or obligation.”

“First, lawyers regularly misuse it to mean something other than ‘has a duty to.’  It has become so corrupted by misuse that it has no firm meaning.”

“Second, it breeds litigation.  There are 76 pages in Words and Phrases that summarize hundreds of cases interpreting ‘shall.’”  One of the attorneys in particular I spoke to said he would have no problem defending Amity if they decided to continue the precedent and return money to the towns because the word “shall” is not binding.

However, the board moved, based on the auditors, – who never picked it up, but they are auditors, and you can never criticize them for doing this – and a couple of attorneys who said that.

And again, the “shall” means, according to my attorneys, they can keep the money or they can return the money.  It gives them the leeway.  But they decide to keep the money.  And like I said, that is the final straw for me.  So, with that gone, again I have no reason to come to these meetings and try to pay on things, to lower until we get a surplus, and it’s not happening.  So, I decided to resign.

And I’ve been approached, there’s a large group of people out there, I hope you’re all aware of it, who are into stuff that I’m not into, this DEI, CRT.  But there was an unbelievable email that went out this week that I am not a part of and there’s going to be a lot of negative stuff coming out about Amity with this.  These people are…I mean, the roster of people here are just amazing.  I know many of them.  A couple of them are clients of mine, to be honest with you.  And so, I think there’s going to be a lot of fighting and bickering about this stuff and it doesn’t interest me.  But, however, two of the people in this have asked me to get them on board with the finance, to work with them on finance, and I’ve agreed to do it.  So, there’s where I’m going to be spending my time.

I will now be working with Jim Leahy.  How does that sound?  We’ve clashed for years and now we’ll be working together.  I’ll be working with Jim.  And I plan to try and recruit as many finance people from the three towns as I can, to join us.  Because the only thing we can do now is to be watchdogs of the budget.  The money’s going to go right back to them and they can do with it what they’d like to do.  And so, we will be looking at the budget and making recommendations.

I mean, Jim, pretty much on his own, had two budgets fail.  Now I think the third would have failed, too, because the only reason it didn’t is because our First Selectman came out with the statement that we should support the budget, something she regrets.  And I can assure you, she won’t do it again, because she’s already disappointed, too, about the surplus.

So, with that, I enjoyed being here for most of the time and I will be moving onto this next phase.  And the only other thing I’d like to say is that I hope I can get a member of our board to join us.  When I explained to them why I left, I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to join it when, again, I don’t think we really accomplish very much.  We sit here and we vote and yes and no, and all this.  And then in the end, when something important is decided, the full board just overrules us.

And so, it’s up to you.  But that’s where I’ll be and we’ll see if I can get somebody from my Woodbridge Board of Finance.  It’s going to be awhile because we’re meeting this Thursday and there’s only four of us there, so I don’t know.  It’s something we’re going to have to look into.  Because at your next meeting, you might not have somebody to replace me, if we have somebody to replace me at all.  I guess if we can’t get anybody to replace me, then that’s the end of the Finance Committee.

So, with that I will resign.  Like I said, I was planning to resign at the beginning of this meeting, but that’s not going to work.  So, at the end of this meeting, I will resign so that this meeting can continue on.

Thank you.”

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