A man whom Naugatuck officials and residents alike call an invaluable resource to the borough has announced he is retiring at the end of the June.
Wayne McAllister, 60, the man in charge of the borough’s more than $100 million annual budget, is calling it a career after nearly 24 years.
“Wayne has not only brought a tremendous amount of expertise to many positions, but he brings the quality of someone who cares deeply about the community,” Mayor Bob Mezzo said. “For him, this has been less of a job than a passion. He has worked with people from all different political and ideological backgrounds, and all agree he’s been a tremendous asset to the community.”
McAllister was first hired as assessor in 1989 after serving for 15 years on several volunteer boards and commissions, including the first charter revision commission. He has since served as school business manager, borough controller and most recently, both the borough controller and school business manager.
In 2009, McAllister, who was then serving as borough controller, was brought in to oversee the educational finances, too, after a series of costly blunders caused by people who used to work in that office. McAllister, who receives a stipend for his Board of Education work, has largely been credited with getting the school system’s financial house in order with limited negative impact on educational services.
McAllister, a married father and grandfather, said his goal has been only to “do things better for the town.”
Board of Finance Chairwoman Diane Scinto said there is an old phrase that everybody is replaceable. “Wayne is not one of those people,” she said.
“He knows what has happened financially in the past, and he is also very good about when we’re planning future acquisitions because he always finds the best way to finance them,” she said.
Burgess Bob Neth, a former finance board chair, said most people don't realize how many hours McAllister works.
"He might work 16, 17 hours a day on a finance project, and the average person thinks he's just a 9-5 guy," Neth said. "That is absolutely not the case. He works as much as he needs to get the job done right. It's going to be difficult to find someone as dedicated as Wayne McAllister. And losing his knowlege on both ends of the spectrum is doing to be difficult."
McAllister will continue to serve on the Naugatuck High School Renovation Commission that is planning an $80 million renovation of the school.
Meanwhile, Naugatuck officials must seek a replacement.
Mezzo said he hopes to have someone serve in duel roles as controller and school business manager.
“I think that relationship has been very good between the Board of Ed. and the borough,” he said. “I think more communities are starting to look at that model. …I think if we can continue working smarter and better, we should try to do that. It’s a service to the taxpayers and it’s a service to the students because it frees up money for the classroom.”