Letter: Resident raises question about Beacon Falls board member

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To the editor,

I believe Beacon Falls Board of Finance member Lawrence Hutvagner should resign from the board because of multiple instances of what I feel are incompetence and questionable behavior.

First of all, conditions around Hutvagner’s recent retirement as the chief financial officer in Middlebury are suspect and makes me question whether the taxpayers should trust him to make financial decisions for the town.

Hutvagner abruptly retired from Middlebury in 2019. Retirement is normally planned. According to an article by the Republican American (“Middlebury CFO’s abrupt retirement leaves staff surprised,” Aug. 7, 2019), a Middlebury police officer helped Hutvagner carry some of his personal belongings out to his car on his last day. Was Hutvagner’s surprise retirement an actual decision he made or was it initiated by misconduct or negligence?

Prior to Middlebury, Hutvagner worked as the controller for the town of Redding. A background check conducted by Middlebury police before his employment in the town included a letter “Notes from the April 24, 2008 meeting at Town Hall.” In the letter, Redding Board of Finance Chairman Bill Alvarez states Hutvagner reported revenues that were off by $1 million in 2007. The letter also stated Redding Board of Finance members have commented “we can’t rely on anything from Larry.”

Furthermore, I have attended several Board of Finance meetings where Hutvagner references the way Middlebury has managed its finances, “in Middlebury, we did ….” That’s great for Middlebury, but not Beacon Falls. Business, population, town employment and schools are some of the factors which contribute to the distinctive difference in mill rate between the towns. Hutvagner is trying to compare apples to apples in a situation where it’s inaccurate.

Finally, Hutvagner serves as the treasurer for the Beacon Falls Democratic Town Committee and managed finances for the 2019 Beacon Falls election. After reviewing the committee’s campaign finances, I decided to file a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement against Hutvagner due to what I feel is negligence of failing to report all campaign finances.

People might know Hutvagner from around town and he might seem like a nice guy. Between the alleged campaign finance violations, Redding finance issues and the abrupt retirement from Middlebury, I don’t trust Hutvagner to make financial decisions for Beacon Falls.

Shawn Styfco

Beacon Falls