Wednesday, February 21, 2018 16:52

Discount Coupons and Ducks

Discount Coupons and Ducks

I’m sure some of you will disagree and there will be a hue and cry about this subject but c’est la vie.  However, this is factual and as taxpayers you deserve and should expect transparency in all facets of your local town government.

Some offices such as the town treasurer that are now elected should be appointed (IMHO) as I am being reminded by the following items. The first example of why is that at tax time all town employees received their W2 forms. Simply insert your finger and pull it open…Hmm, what’s this, a discount coupon for 20% off at H&R Block! I wonder what this is all about. In fact this situation leaves me with more questions than answers

* Were local accounting firms allowed to make bid proposals to advertise on these legal documents?

* Were they outbid by H & R Block?

* What was the bidding process?

* Was the bidding process advertised?

* Was there even a bidding process, and if not, why not?

* Did the town receive compensation for this advertising or did only the vendor profit?

* How do local accounting firms feel about this slight? Do they even know?

This is just one small example of the need for an appointed treasurers position that reports in to the newly created STRONG town administrator as a check and balance. What do most citizens and taxpayers know about our local financial situation and all the responsibilities that go along with it such as Bonds, Bans, Free Cash, Payment Schedules, Interest Rates and all manner of fiscal and financial activity and responsibility…I think that I know the answer. Not much…they’re too busy with other more important aspects of their personal lives.

And please, I don’t want to hear that old adage “My door is always open, nothing is hidden” – The average taxpayer wouldn’t know where to start to look. I’ve seen behind the curtain and it’s not the Utopia you’d want to believe it is.

QUACK…The second telling incident is with public employees who have coverage with AFLAC. (I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials with the duck) One may wonder “Why am I getting notices that my coverage is being terminated due to non-payment of premiums, I paid for this out of my paycheck?” Then another letter comes saying the policy was reinstated: Sounds to me like someone isn’t paying the bill on time. This wasn’t a one time incident…it’s happened multiple times in a row. So, what happened?

So what else is awry in our financial house?  Inquiring minds want to know. It’s beyond the time for this to become an appointed position with a policy for reporting our financial health, bond and ban transactions and balances, debt, and every other important financial detail to the taxpaying public – perhaps via the town’s underutilized website.

But I doubt this will ever happen as long as we let this stay as an elected position.  I’m really disappointed in the Board of Selectmen for not adding the article they had to the Town Meeting Warrant.

5 Responses to “Discount Coupons and Ducks”

  1. Underhanded says:

    The local CPA’s should be screaming mad that 300-400 town employees get a nice discount from an out of town business.

    I hope they remember this when they vote.

  2. Patrick McIntyre says:

    Mr. Notaro,

    When the 2010 W2’s were printed our new payroll vendor did use forms with an H&R Block ad without my knowledge/permission. I sent letters to all of the local CPA’s personally apologizing for this. I also included a letter from our payroll vendor who took full responsibility. I can furnish you with a copy of that letter if you would like to include it on your blog to go along with the W2 you already have posted.

    As for the AFLAC issue, we were being billed by AFLAC for people who had cancelled their coverage and not being billed for people who had enrolled. This prompted me to remove the broker of record from AFLAC and change over to another broker – one that would better serve the employees of Clinton. During this period I was advised to not pay the invoices until the billing issues were resolved as that would be the only leverage we had. All issues have been resolved and we are now 100% current with AFLAC.

    I have publically stated recently that I believe that over the next few years we should take the steps necessary to make both the Collector & Treasurer positions appointed as well as explore how we can merge the offices. This is partly to do with your hard work on the Charter.

    Thanks.

    Editors Note: I’m glad you’ve had an epiphany and are on board with appointed positions now Mr. McIntyre. I remember back in 2005 when many town officials were bashing the Charter. I believe you were also against it back then when you were first running for Treasurer. Why the change of heart?

    Also, it’s good that you took responsibility for W2 incident, that was the right thing to do. It was however kept out of the public eye very well…not too transparent I would say. If you report to the people as has been stated, they have every right to know what goes on in that office.

    Joe Notaro

  3. Patrick McIntyre says:

    Mr. Notaro,

    Since 2005 I have had numerous opportunities to speak with other Treasurer’s from all over the Commonwealth – mostly at the Mass. Collector & Treasurer Assoc’s school that I have attended every year, and they have brought up some legitimate reasons for making the switch. Also, the recent change to the Town Admin’s position has swayed me as well. I believe that the Town of Clinton is currently being served well by the Certified Collector and the Certified Treasurer. Let’s insure that it continues be served in that way by making those people appointed. A little further down the road let’s also explore merging the two offices – with the full input of both the Collector & Treasurer of course.

    The W2 incident was quite unfortunate and as I stated, I quickly sent letters to all of the local CPA’s to apologize for it. Had any one of them brought it to the newpapers I would have certainly taken the same approach – public apology. I was not hiding anything. I supplied copies of the letters to the Board of Selectman. If they thought that it needed to be addressed further I would have gone before them as well. It was a very unfortunate incident that WILL NOT happen again.

    Thank you Mr. Notaro.

  4. Mike Gorman says:

    Way to jump to conclusions Joe. Not sure how the treasurer would be able to have kiboshed the HR Block offer, since it was sent out without his authority.

    Be honest, you just want to get your buddy elected, who has zero fiscal experience to speak of, and in my opinion is trolling for a pension.

    • Patrick McIntyre says:

      Mike,

      Mr. Notaro and I have talked a few times since this blog was posted and we are all good. I explained to him, in great detail what transpired and he (I think) understands what happened. Ideally, it would be great for this post to be taken down but as I said to him, I am not hiding anything so if he wants to keep it up so that people see how I addressed these problems and how I corrected them then that’s fine.

      Thank you for your support Mike. I do appreciate it. Mr. Notaro is a smart man – I suspect he will make the correct decision during his time in the voting booth.

      Patrick McIntyre

      EDITORS NOTE:

      Yes, Patrick and I are good and I understand these issues from his perspective. Patrick has addressed these issues very well and shown poise under pressure!

      Joe

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