A year ago, the city was abuzz in controversy regarding off-the-books sales of scrap metal for cash created as a sunshine fund to boost morale among Public Facilities employees. The FBI looked into the matter that fractured the relationship between department chief John Ricci and the man he tapped as his deputy, Joe Tiago who was terminated from city service for his alleged role in the matter.
The other employee fired, Recycling Manager Jose DeMoura lost his wrongful termination grievance in arbitration, according to his union lawyer Ed Gavin. DeMoura is weighing an appeal to Superior Court.
Tiago is awaiting word on his arbitration case. Ricci, who retired from city service in January, lost four week’s pay. Gavin asserts DeMoura’s termination is disproportionate to Ricci’s sanction.
The big issue is lack of accounting for upwards of $35,000, no record keeping one reason cited for the terminations.
“Mr. DeMoura’s conduct was in violation of work rules, policies, procedures and the public trust,” Chief Administrative Officer Janene Hawkins is quoted by the Connecticut Post. “The city believes that his termination was rightfully upheld and we look forward to moving on with the important business of the city.”
The Tiago firing was more complicated given his likable involvement in city politics including a relationship with the niece of Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa. Ricci blamed Tiago. Tiago replied he was a scapegoat. They had been close.
Tiago, who has a construction background and managed two Downtown restaurants, was hired during the mayoral administration of Bill Finch. He was promoted deputy by Ricci.
Unclear if the matter is still on federal radar.