Town bank account access causes friction at council meeting

by Geoff Fox

Hancock town officials got into a heated argument after a councilman claimed the town manager created a new town account without authorization from the mayor or councilmembers.

Councilman Tim Smith said in his efforts to track the town’s accounts, interest rates for CDs and other issues, he was told the only account the councilmen have access to information about is the checking account.

Smith said he had to go through the bank president for information and likened the process to “pulling teeth.”

“If we want to check in on our CD’s, and that’s something we should be able to call in to the bank and get what interest is or what we could be eligible for,” Smith said during the October council meeting.

Mayor Ralph Salvagno disagreed.

“I don’t agree that every member of council should be calling the bank asking about interest rates,” Salvagno said.

Smith said he had a question about the checking account and went to the bank president because he couldn’t get a straight answer.

Salvagno told Smith he directed Town Manager Joe Gilbert not to put council members names on a new account.

“It’s not up to you,” Smith said of the account access issue.

“It absolutely is, Tim,” Salvagno said.

“We shouldn’t know about that when he’s transferring money over to another account?” Smith asked.

Salvagno ended the discussion with a “thank you” and moved on to the next agenda item.

Smith confirmed that the bank accounts were discussed later in a closed meeting as part of a personnel discussion, but declined to give more details.