Mansfield superintendent reimbursed nearly $50,000 in gas - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Mansfield superintendent reimbursed nearly $50,000 in gas mileage

Some town officials are questioning why Superintendent Fred Baruzzi was paid nearly $50,000 in gas reimbursements. Some town officials are questioning why Superintendent Fred Baruzzi was paid nearly $50,000 in gas reimbursements.

Officials in Mansfield raised questions last week about gas reimbursement for the town's superintendent.

Some town councilors said Fred Baruzzi received nearly $50,000 in gas mileage costs in addition to his $151,000 salary.

"One is the sheer amount of mileage accumulated here," said councilwoman Virginia Raymond.

Officials said Baruzzi drove his own car across the state for district business and was reimbursed for the mileage.

"Every week it's 2,000 to 2,400 miles," Raymond said. "$1,300 a week reimbursed for mileage. Any citizen should rightfully ask 'what's the value here?'"

According to town officials' reports, the Connecticut State Board of Education paid Baruzzi the money from July of 2012 through April 2014. The $50,000 was at the IRS mileage reimbursement rate of 56 1/2 cents.

Crunching the numbers, it works out to be about 88,000 miles driven.

"What's the value? What's the educational benefit from all these meetings?" asked Raymond. "There's no agenda. What is he gleaming from all these meetings?"

Baruzzi's contract states that the Board of Education can reimburse him for driving outside of the Mansfield School District.

Eyewitness News went to Baruzzi's home to ask him about it.

"The Board of Education will have a meeting next month to review policy and procedure effects," Baruzzi said.

Baruzzi said he made trips to Fairfield University, the Department of Education and other locations.

"All of them have significant educational purpose with groups," Baruzzi said. "Some were formal meetings we're required to go to for information. All of them have some impact on the school district eventually."

The superintendent's supporters said the trips were for the good of the district.

The Board of Education Chairman Mark LaPlaca responded to Eyewitness News on Monday.

"The board will be reviewing the mileage reimbursement costs as well as the superintendent's contract in the coming weeks," he said. "I would say that there is no suspicion of anything inappropriate taking place. The board is very interested in determining if there is a way to reduce these expenses."

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