Derby mum on why CFO is on administrative leave

DERBY — The city’s new chief financial officer was placed on administrative leave earlier this month and city officials still don’t know why.

Agata Herasimowicz was hired last May as part of an effort by the mayor’s office to professionalize the post, which had previously been a political appointment. Mayor Richard Dziekan confirmed that Herasimowicz had been furloughed, but declined to comment further.

Days after Herasimowicz was furloughed, deputy finance director Angela Gencarelli resigned — just as the city prepares to set its annual budget this spring.

In a letter obtained by the Independent Valley Sentinel Through the Freedom of Information Act, Chief of Staff Walt Mayhew informed Herasimowicz on March 1 that she was placed on leave “pending investigation of possible policy violations and city ​​procedures in your role as CFO”.

The letter does not mention the policies or procedures in question.

Hearst Connecticut Media’s own FOIA request, submitted on March 16, has yet to receive a response.

Herasimowicz, a University of Connecticut alumnus, was previously the chief financial officer of Tolland, Killingly and Rocky Hill. She was awarded the Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation in 2016 by a professional organization based on her performance in managing Tolland’s budget.

Gencarelli, meanwhile, also started her role quite recently – earlier this year, according to the Valley Independent Sentinel.

And Mayhew is also a new recruitreplacing former chief of staff Andrew Baklik in January.

Herasimowicz’s name came up briefly during a meeting of the council of aldermen Thursday when Sarah Widomski, an alderman representing the 1st Ward, said she tried to speak to Herasimowicz after fellow alderman Charlie Sampson said that Herasimowicz was in favor of hiring a grants writer for the city at a previous meeting.

But Widomski said she couldn’t.

“A few days later I tried to have a conversation with her, but I couldn’t,” Widomski said.

Other city officials contacted by Hearst Connecticut Media declined to comment on the investigation or the reasons for the administrative leave.