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All Tax Delinquent Trumbull Employees Probed; No One Targeted

First Selectman Tim Herbst says the procedure is routine. But the Teachers Union president said teachers were upset.

First Selectman Tim Herbst has assured all Trumbull teachers and school officials who live in town that they are not being targeted in a delinquent tax probe of town employees.

He spoke in response to a letter from the Teachers Union president. He said he had not been contacted before the letter.

Herbst said town employees from police officers to public works staff are being scrutinized to ensure their taxes are up-to-date.

"We started at Town Hall," Herbst said Tuesday night. "Teachers are not being targeted."

Tammy Baillargeon, president of the Trumbull Education Association, said, "I had a lot of teachers that were really upset" because of the probe.

Any employee found owing will go through the normal collection process for any taxpayer, Herbst said.

In a Sept. 29 email to Herbst, Trumbull High School Teacher and Town Council Candidate Gregg Basbagill wrote:

"I guess the reason why it is difficult and confusing is because no one I have spoken to can remember a request of this kind in the past. Also, given Trumbull's very high rate of tax capture, it seems somewhat of an odd request. Why, for example would it matter who the employers of tax delinquents are? If anything, I would think that members of the town's various unions have relatively stable paychecks and are probably among the most reliable tax payers."

Bill Holden, the republican registrar and an experienced town official, replied, "I don't recall something as specific as this having been done before."

But, he added:

"The town used to publish lists of delinquent taxpayers and those lists were routinely published in newspapers. The list did NOT include someone who may have forgotten to pay a bill or were a little behind. They were more like someone who was more than a year behind in paying taxes. I do remember public officials appearing on the delinquent list and am not sure about town employees, as most of their names were unfamiliar to me," he said.

Kathleen McGannon October 05, 2011 at 01:48 AM
Mr. Herbst claims this is "routine." Yet Mr. Holden, who has so much history stored in his head, does not remember this kind of request ever being made before. Hmmm....something smells fishy here. Why would he need to go to the school for their "contact information?" The tax collector's office has their information. What statement is Mr. Herbst trying to make the teachers who reside in Trumbull?
Joan October 05, 2011 at 02:17 AM
It seems like this would be much less of an issue (a) if the request really was routine, which it apparently is not and (b) if Herbst did not have such a history of antagonism towards the Board of Ed.
Stargazer October 05, 2011 at 02:21 AM
Joan Very interesting and objective comment, it's to be expected that although the request was not routine, people who had problems paying their taxes would be concerned. My husband remembers when the list of taxpayers would be published in the paper. Stargazer
TrumbullProgressive October 05, 2011 at 02:29 AM
So as long as we intimidate all town employees that makes it okay? It still doesn't make sense that TH would need to request information from a taxpayer's employer when they already have all the information they need on file.
Bill Holden October 05, 2011 at 02:30 AM
Kathy, I view this as just another way of making sure officials and/or employees keep current in their taxes. The story did say that school personnel are not being singled out and that this is being done for all town employees. I think it is reasonable to expect that those who make a living working for the town and live in town pay their fair share of taxes in a timely fashion. As I stated, there were past officials who were delinquent and may have been employees also. However, I did not know and still do not know the names of most of the town employees. I think that this information would be useful to the Town in collecting over due taxes.
Bill Holden October 05, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Any employee of the Town who has nothing to hide would not be concerned about this.
Richard W. White October 05, 2011 at 02:42 AM
A list of the top ten delinquent taxpayers was published here on Patch last April. Mainly commercial properties and LLCs that represent half of the uncollected amount that is pushing 99% (of value, not count). How many properties are delinquent? How many of those are residential? How many of those have incorrect name / address information? Normal methods to track down property owners failed? How many of those who remain are town employees? Were the non-BoE unions informed of this new search?
Afreedman2011 October 05, 2011 at 02:45 AM
That is ridiculous logic mr Holden every employee should have an expectation of privacy until he is determined to be delinquent and then there are well defined processes for releasing that information. It is not th chief executive's job to start intimidating investigations of town employees
Richard W. White October 05, 2011 at 02:47 AM
Maybe the town's two Registrar's of Voters should request this data as well and make certain all town employees are registered to vote. I think it is reasonable to expect that those who make a living working for the town and live in town VOTE.
Afreedman2011 October 05, 2011 at 02:47 AM
For a member of the party that believes in limited government, that is some incredibly over broad statement of governmental authority.
tom October 05, 2011 at 03:27 AM
Very interesting indeed,you can bet Tim knows something(perhaps a democratic candidate who is behind on their taxes??)..Tim has a track record of being sneaky like this...
Lisa Labella October 05, 2011 at 11:43 AM
That's quite an innuendo to make. The thing is, the tax collector's office already knows who is behind on their taxes, and if it was any candidate, that would be easy to cross reference without going to the school Superintendent and requesting first the phone numbers, and then the complete addresses of the Trumbull Public School employees who live in town (almost 200 of them). Are there really that many people - plus, supposedly, all the other town employees - who are behind on their taxes (and, as Mr. Holden said, these would be people WAY behind, not just a little). It's very odd, and hardly "routine".
TrumbullSr October 05, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Invasion of privacy, more political posturing, intimidation, This petty tyrant has to go!
M Shapiro October 05, 2011 at 01:14 PM
I can't believe Bill Holden's comment "Any employee of the Town who has nothing to hide would not be concerned about this.". Allow me to translate it to true American speak, "you don't need those constitutional protections as we (Trumbull republicans) know what's best for you and we will use any means or information at our disposal to make sure you do what we've approved". These people can't be trusted as this episode again indicates.
louis October 05, 2011 at 01:37 PM
Looks like bull#### to me....folks, just take the taxes directly out of salaries
Tony Silber October 05, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Because this is admittedly not routine, and because it's a month away from an election, it's hard not to wonder about the agenda. The best thing you can say is that it's unfortunate that the current administration doesn't have the sense to recognize that this plays directly into a growing public image of a vindictive, hot-headed, impulsive, Nixonian executive.
Tiredof October 05, 2011 at 07:02 PM
The only issue here is that Tim didn't make this request public...the Unions did...we have no idea what the ...the demcrats are making this public. So expalin how it matters that is it a month away if Herbst didn't realease any info?
Thomas Tesoro October 07, 2011 at 06:08 PM
I think you are all wrong. This kind of stuff was done in the past...by Nixon.

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