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Newtown Announces New Finance Director



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Late Wednesday, First Selectman Jeff Capeci announced that Glenys Salas was named the new finance director for Newtown. Salas will start on April 1.

“Glenys is very qualified and is a great fit to replace Bob Tait as Newtown’s finance director when he retires in mid-April,” said Capeci. “[Salas] will start April 1 and spend her first two weeks with Bob to ensure a smooth transition. I look forward to her onboarding and the success of Newtown under her financial leadership. I wish Bob all the best in his retirement.”

Salas is the director of budget and fiscal analysis for the City of Saco, Maine.

“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to serve the Town of Newtown as finance director,” said Salas. “During my visits to Newtown, I have been charmed by its friendly population and unique combination of green suburbs, charming downtown, and recreation facilities. I was especially impressed by the culture of civic engagement and volunteerism I encountered and am excited to be a part of the next chapter for this wonderful community.”

A full story on Salas being named to the position will be published in the March 15 edition of The Newtown Bee.

The announcement comes in the wake of the town’s announcement at the March 4 Board of Selectmen meeting that it has had its AAA/Stable credit rating reaffirmed by S&P Global, as it has for the past decade. The credit rating and the 2024-25 budget will be some of Tait’s last tasks with the town.

Tait said the town was first upgraded from a AA+ to AAA rating in 2014, making the latest AAA affirmation the 10th the town has consecutively received. According to S&P’s website, only 33 of Connecticut’s 169 towns had a perfect credit rating in 2023.

S&P Global Ratings is an American credit rating agency and a division of S&P Global that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks, bonds, and commodities. It was formerly known as Standard and Poor’s.

The fact that Newtown has continued to maintain such a sterling credit rating only maintained by the top 20% of Connecticut municipalities is a testament to sound financial management by the town, Tait himself, and the town’s fiscal bodies. Newtown should be proud and happy to have such stewardship, which has come from both sides of the political aisle.

Tait said that there were “no surprises” in S&P’s report and that it was a “very nice read.”

The report states that the view of S&P is that “Newtown’s management environment remains very strong, and the town continues to adhere to its well-embedded financial policies and practices. We note that the institutional framework for Connecticut municipalities remains strong and stable as well.”

The report goes on to laud “strong budgeting practices,” the town maintaining “strong available reserves,” and reflects Newtown’s “affluence and stability,” and “strong budgetary performance ... due to strict adherence to conservative management practices and policies.”

Selectman Michelle Embree Ku called the accomplishment “good news, as it has been for many years.”

“Thank you for guiding us through that,” Embree Ku said to Tait.

The town has maintained a debt service of 7.8% of the town’s annual budget, with a cap at 10%. Tait said that the level of debt service is expected to continue to go down if the town “keeps an eye on its forecasted debt service.” Tait also noted that S&P is now looking at the debt service percentage not as a percentage of the annual budget but as a percentage of all the town’s funding, including things like the fund balance and Capital Non-Recurring Fund. Under that metric, Newtown’s debt service is only 6.6%.

While expected, it’s continued good news for the town as it keeps the town’s interest rates on its bonding low. It is part of the legacy that Tait will be leaving behind him as he looks forward to retirement next month, as the upgrade during his tenure in charge of the town’s finances. While there are many cooks in the kitchen in a town like Newtown with a Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, and Legislative Council all minding the purse strings, the accomplishment occurred with Tait’s guidance and day-to-day fiscal management.

In an announcement of Tait’s departure, Capeci said, “You all have known him for nearly 16 years as the nice guy in the corner office who is often known for using his soft British accented voice to deliver unwanted budget details. I’ve known Bob this entire time. I was on the Legislative Council when he was hired and have relied on his expertise on and off over the years as a volunteer elected official. Bob has been excellent at managing the town’s finances and will be difficult to replace. His wealth of knowledge in municipal finance along with his even temperament gave him a unique ability to explain the budget to the various boards and to get it passed usually at a single referendum year after year.”

The Bee wishes Tait well in his retirement and thanks him for his years of hard work and dedication to Newtown.

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