Amid growing questions concerning the legality of recent amendments to the town's pension plan, the Board of Selectmen has authorized First Selectman Rob Mallozzi to select an independent firm to investigate the situation.
"The more a lot of us look into it, the bigger the can of worms gets," said New Canaan resident George McEvoy, speaking of the amendments that lowered the vesting time needed for public pensions from five years to four years, and effectively grandfathered in two retired Board of Selectmen members, Jeb Walker and Sally Hines, who had four years of service.
Mallozzi wants to hire a firm to preform an independent review of "everything," including the administration and authority of the Defined Benefit Retirement Plan. He plans to research firms and their costs by September. Mallozzi said he wants the probe to be, "independent, clinical and dispassionate," adding that, "it would put the Board of Selectmen or the Town Council in a difficult position to do an internal report on this."
In response to the public dissatisfaction and suspicion voiced at the meeting, Selectman Beth Jones said, "I think everybody is trying to do their best. We're not experts, we're all volunteers. It doesn't have to be somebody's fault. It doesn't have to be partisan. Maybe I'm being naïve but I hope there's no criminal intention involved; I don't think there is. There's confusion and we need to straighten it out," she said, adding, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."
Mallozzi said that there is no timetable for the probe.
"I'm in no rush. I want to get the best firm."
He said he will begin the process immediately, but said it could take as little as one month or as many as six months..
The authorization passed unanimously, 2-0. Selectman Nick Williams was not in attendance.