Emergency official still on the job after investigation

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Walter “Fran” Dambowsky

NAUGATUCK — Walter “Fran” Dambowsky remains in place as Naugatuck’s emergency management director following an investigation into his connection to a federal campaign finance probe.

“We are treating this as a personnel matter between the borough and Mr. Dambowsky,” John Lawlor, the borough’s human resources director, said Monday.

Lawlor declined to go into further detail regarding the borough’s investigation, citing the personnel nature of the investigation. Lawlor only confirmed the borough had made an inquiry in Dambowsky’s connection to the probe and said at this time Dambowsky continues in his role as emergency management director.

“We will continue to monitor the situation,” Lawlor said.

Finance reports released earlier this month revealed political action committees run by Republicans in the state House of Representatives returned $3,000 in donations made by Dambowsky, a Naugatuck resident.

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr. (R-142) said in May the PACs were returning money that could have come from federal agents working to uncover an alleged plot to conceal the source of tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions.

“What’s been printed raises serious concerns, which we would further investigate through HR,” said Mayor Robert Mezzo prior to the investigation.

Mezzo could not be reached for comment as of this post.

Dambowsky earns $5,000 a year as the borough’s emergency management director, a position required under state law to coordinate local disaster response. The same statutes allow the chief executive of any municipality to remove its emergency management director “for cause.”

Dambowsky makes more than $51,000 a year as an investigator for the Division of Public Defenders Services in Bantam Superior Court. Earlier this month Human Resources Director Nancy Roberts confirmed he is still employed with the state public defender’s office but would not say whether he is being investigated or placed on leave. He has not been charged in connection with the federal investigation.

Another Naugatuck resident, Harry Raymond Soucy, a longtime union leader and former prison guard manager with the state Department of Correction, pleaded guilty last week to one count of devising a scheme to bribe a public official and one count of conspiring to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission.

The charges stem from a federal investigation involving contributions to House Speaker Christopher Donovan’s campaign for a congressional seat in the state’s 5th District.

Soucy was the middleman who helped organize a scheme in which fake donors were used as conduits for tens of thousands of dollars in donations from tobacco interests to Donovan’s campaign in an attempt to thwart legislation that would implement new taxes on so called roll-your-own cigarette shops.

Soucy, who cooperated with federal authorities, is the only person to be convicted in connection with the case so far and is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

The Republican American contributed to this article.