Setting the Record Straight
By Frank Hyde
After I read Mr. Polselli’s letter to the editor last week I felt compelled to write a letter myself and hopefully clear up some of Mr. Polselli’s confusion.
I served four terms on the Coventry Town Council. Those were, without a doubt the hardest eight years of my life.
Mr. Polselli, in your letter to the editor you said, “Remember me, because I’m not going away”. Well Richard, maybe you should offer some solutions at the town council meetings. I don’t recall you ever getting up saying anything. You’ve made it clear, you are an independent, but what you fail to understand is the Council has 35,000 people to look out for, not just you.
Your letter talked about a 60 million dollar pension deficit. This was not created overnight. Every year I was on the council I fought to put additional money into the Pension fund. The last council who was Republican-controlled made little to no effort to solve the pension problem. Why didn’t you speak up then Richard?
One thing Mr. Polselli said is correct, the Democrats were in control in Coventry for many years. True, and while the Democratic Town Councils were in control, the Self Insurance Reserve Fund/Rainy Day Fund grew to 10 million dollars and the town had an AA bond rating, one of the highest in the state. Coventry was envied for its high bond rating.
Mr. Polselli, you stated the Republican-controlled council addressed all that was wrong with the budget and tried so hard to fix things. Here’s clarification for you sir:
The Republican Council went to work finding and spending every dollar they could get their hands on.
Unprecedented millions were spent on legal fees. They hired one of the most expensive law firms in the state. Million dollar lawsuits were settled, millions of dollars bonded, legal fees included, all rolled into one long-term indebtedness package, without even a vote from the hard working families of our town. We now have debt our children will be paying. I voted NO, NO, NO. But I can count. Four Republicans to One Democrat, I wish you would have spoke up like I did.
Sure, the Republicans didn’t raise taxes. They didn’t have to because they took the money the town had saved and basically subsidized our tax bill for two years. Great short term planning. Not so good long term.
For me Richard, one of the saddest moments of my last term was when the Republican controlled council wiped out the Self Insurance Reserve Fund. The prior Democratic Town Councils had managed our money well and the fund grew to 10 million dollars.
Today the town is no longer self-insured. The former Republican council decided it’s better to dismantle the fund and pay $425,000.00 per year to an Insurer rather than be self-insured and keep millions of our dollars in our banks. The towns bond rating has been lowered twice since this was done and I blame the Republicans for raiding our funds.
Richard, I was in favor of appointing you to one of the town boards you applied for last term, when your friends, the Republicans were in control. I’m sorry to say that I was your only “yes” vote. Ray Spear, Glenn Shibley and Laura Flanagan all said, “No, we can’t put him on”. I believe in giving people a chance, even second chances.
I would like to praise Gary Cote, Kerry McGee and Ted Jendzejec for taking on, as I stated earlier the hardest job I have ever done. They deserve respect, admiration and all the help we can give them. And Tom Hoover has done a great job as our Town Manager. Thank you gentlemen. Keep up the good work.