NAUGATUCK — Wayne McAllister, the man widely credited with resolving the financial woes of the borough and its schools, will retire June 30 from his dual position as borough controller and the Board of Education’s business manager.
“It has been an honor and a humbling experience to serve my adopted hometown,” McAllister wrote in an email Saturday to local officials.
McAllister, 60, lives in the borough and began working for the local government in 1989 as the assessor.
He was made controller in 1995, and served in that position for two years before becoming the school business manager.
After three years, he became controller again and stayed in that role while taking over the school system’s finances amid a 2010 budget crisis.
McAllister said he chose to retire because he has reached the appropriate age and has served for 24 years. He will remain active on the committee overseeing the renovation of Naugatuck High School.
Mayor Robert Mezzo said he regretfully accepted McAllister’s retirement.
“While I wish he would remain with us for many years, we all knew this day would come,” Mezzo said. “I think he’s brought fiscal responsibility to a community that had some really structural financial flaws. … He led through a very quiet but classy dignity that made people want to follow.”
In the early-1990s, when McAllister started as controller, the borough had a negative fund balance and no rainy day fund, Mezzo said.
McAllister built the reserve fund to between 8 and 9 percent of the budget, earning the borough a high bond rating and lower interest rates.
McAllister also plugged a $2 million school budget gap three years ago by stepping in to improve bookkeeping practices and reorganize the business office.
He taught his employees and officials to budget conservatively while making long-term investments in sustainable resources, Mezzo said.
“He brought that professionalism first to that staff, second to that finance board,” Mezzo said. “They started to get it.”
Mezzo said he wants to hire one person to replace McAllister as a combination controller and business manager, if the school board agrees. He wants to fill the position quickly, and McAllister said he will help train his replacement.
McAllister made about $89,000 as borough controller and a $20,000 stipend as school business manager. His pension will be calculated according to the borough supervisors’ union contract.