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New Canaan Selectmen Hire Firm For Pension Review

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – A law firm will be called on to investigate the process that resulted in former New Canaan First Selectman Jeb Walker receiving a higher pension payment than he should have received.

Bishop, Jackson and Kelly, LLC, was tapped by the New Canaan Board of Selectmen on Tuesday to review town processes and actions. The vote of the town’s top board comes after more than a month of review by First Selectman Robert Mallozzi III, who wanted to bring in an independent firm to look into the town’s practices.  The firm has offices in Norwalk, Milford and Stratford.

Concerns about the pension program surfaced recently after the Board of Finance and Town Council voted in July to allow town employees with four years of service to receive pensions after they turn 65 years old. Previously, employees had to work five years to be eligible. The change allowed Walker and former Selectman Sally Hines to become eligible for pensions. Walker had been receiving a $944 monthly payment when he should have received about $373 since leaving office last October. The rate will be recalculated.

In a letter to the town, Walker requested that the town pay him at the proper rate and asked that the money he was overpaid from last December to August be put into a town account until it is recouped.

The firm will investigate several issues, including the overpayment to Walker and to see if former town Chief Financial Officer Gary Conrad had the authority to grant that payment without going before the Board of Finance, Mallozzi said.

The first selectman said he would like to have a report from Bishop, Jackson and Kelly by Oct. 16, in advance of the Board of Selectmen’s second meeting that month. Mallozzi said the scope of the firm’s work will not be as great as he initially expected because town officials, including a council general government subcommittee led by Councilman Roger Williams, have done some work already.

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