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Connecticut oversight board approves state takeover of West Haven finances

West Haven City Hall
Pedro Xing
Wikimedia Commons
West Haven City Hall

A Connecticut oversight board has voted to support a full state takeover of the city finances in West Haven. It comes in the wake of the city’s misuse of $900,000 in federal COVID relief funds.

A full state takeover of West Haven’s finances should help turn around the troubled city that’s been under state oversight for years, said Jefferey Beckham, Governor Ned Lamont’s budget director who heads the Municipal Accounting Review Board.

“I am hopeful that we can get to a positive result for the city and its taxpayers and for the state taxpayers as well in fairly short order. And I will be committing the resources of my agency to that effort at the direction of the board.” Beckham said.

“I understand that I would be on the short end of the stick because I know how to count votes and I get that. But I have to do what I believe is right and what’s right for West Haven,” said West Haven’s embattled Mayor Nancy Rossi, who doesn't support the move.

She suffered a no confidence vote from West Haven's City Council on Monday.

West Haven’s latest financial troubles started last October. That's when Michael DeMassa, a former state representative and city employee, was arrested along with his wife and two others. They were charged with allegedly stealing the federal COVID relief money.

The oversight board will submit its decision to the governor for approval after a 30-day comment period. Lamont has said he supports the move.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.