Waterbury mayor reverses campaign pension promise, saying he can't support his family on his $119,000 salary.
The mayor of Waterbury has broken his campaign promise to suspend his $91,000 police pension and is taking some heat from some taxpayers because of it.
Neil O'Leary earns a $119,000 annual salary and said he is now collecting his pension because of some unexpected financial obligations, including financially supporting an elderly relative who is ill.
"I feel very badly that I had to do, make this decision, but quite frankly, my family comes first. And sometimes you have to do what you have to do," O'Leary said. "I have no intention of living off the pension and the salary. What I have to do is take care of the family issues first, and then what I’ll do is take the rest of that money and be very generous to the charities I have supported in the past as well."
Reaction from residents is mixed.
“They shouldn’t give him his pension back. I don’t think he deserves it. He should stick by his word. If that’s what got him into office, he needs to stick by his word,” Gretchen Piper said.
“This is wrong. Why would he say at the beginning of the election ‘I don’t need (a) pension?’ When he sits in the chair of the Mayor, now he needs pension. This is cheating the people, my friend,” Al Janiby said.
O’Leary said he did earned pension after 30 years with police department and contributed to it for 30 years.
Others supported O’Leary’s decision to take his pension back and said he’s been doing a good job with the city, so they don’t understand what the big deal is.
“He earned his pension through the police department and he’s an elected official. It’s not like he took another city job. He has the right to his pension and he’s doing a really good job as Mayor,” Paul Pastore said.