First Selectman Candidate Martha Jankovic-Mark, a democrat, started this year's municipal election volley with an FOI request for First Selectman Tim Herbst's cell phone records and town credit card spending.
On Aug. 22, Town Attorney Ed Walsh returned with a letter asking her to clarify her request because of "the fact that your requests ... are clearly overbroad."
"In the spirit of good faith and cooperation, I would respectfully ask that you revise your FOIA requests so that they are in conformity with the requirements of FOIA," he said.
Mark, an attorney, said Friday she would formulate a response after reviewing the reply more closely.
But she noted that Herbst requested Ray Baldwin Jr.'s records during his first election campaign in 2009. Herbst denied he filed the FOI request. Baldwin, a democrat, lost the election in 2009.
Mark asked for "detailed cell phone records (including invoices and evidence of payment) for any and all cell phones assigned to him and/or used by him, including any and all text messages."
She also requested any records of any calls paid for by the town through Herbst's expense account and of calls "attributable to the first selectman but paid through the telephone account of any other person."
"She Needs to Be More Specific"
Herbst reiterated that he would comply with the request, but Mark "needs to be more specific."
He added that text messages are difficult to obtain if they have been erased. There is a legal avenue but it is complicated, he said.
On Wednesday, Herbst accused Mark of spending more time attacking him than outlining the democratic platform. He also accused Mark and several other democratic candidates, all former republicans, of "pursuing vendettas."
Herbst reiterated the steps he says cut expenses on the townside, including stopping "free healthcare" for town employees.
He added that he increased pension payments to maintain the town's bond rating.
On Aug. 17, Moody's Investor Service kept Trumbull's bond rating at Aa2, according to its Website. That was partly because Trumbull reached its actuarial recommended pension contribution, Herbst said.
Herbst said he also:
- Did not object when his expense account was cut to $3,500 of a year from $6,000;
- Chose not participate in the town's pension plan;
- Took a 3 percent paycut.
Democrats have accused Herbst of increasing townside spending and excessively bonding items, particularly those that they feel should be in the operating budget.
They also say Herbst's comments on the pension plans, which were underfunded when he took office, are simplified. The plans still need work, according to democrats.