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West Haven Mayor says she won't resign

The Governor has the final say as to whether West Haven will be under more of a microscope.

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — Residents were expected to pack the West Haven City Council Chambers tonight to put pressure on the Council as it relates to the status of Mayor Nancy Rossi, whose administration has been in the spotlight since a former city employee allegedly stole hundreds of thousands in federal COVID-19 funds last year.

Former Mayor Ed O'Brien (D-West Haven), who organized a petition drive, to garner signatures of fellow residents, and supports a change at the top, is among many residents who will attend the 7 p.m. meeting, where a proposed resolution regarding Rossi is expected to be discussed.

On April 14th, the state's Municipal Accountability Review Board (MARB) voted unanimously to move West Haven to Tier IV status meaning having the ability to approve or reject West Haven's annual budget and will have more power to review city contracts and spending.

RELATED: State board votes in favor of stricter oversight of West Haven's finances

"We would like the City Council to ask her to resign but it's (resignation resolution) also gonna be sent to the MARB before the end of the 30-day (public comment period) on the Tier IV request," said O'Brien. "And I think the Governor should weigh in and ask her to resign."

The Governor has the final say as to whether West Haven will be under more of a microscope.

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"That is not happening," Rossi said in an exclusive interview with FOX61 Monday. "I am not giving a resignation now, today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. I took this position because I wanted to make a difference."

The O'Brien-inspired resolution reads in part that Rossi has maintained a contentious and obstructionist posture toward MARB, which Rossi says is not true.

RELATED: West Haven city council votes "no confidence" in Mayor Nancy Rossi

"There were a few times that they were very rude to me and I did push back because one of the members actually swore," the third-term mayor said. 

Then, she added, O'Brien is nobody to speak about finances "considering he had a chance for four years and all he did was create a deficit, large deficits, each and every year."

During their April 14 meeting, to discuss moving West haven to Tier IV status, a member of MARB contended that, had the Rossi administration listened to their financial advice through the years, they could've avoided a former city employee, Michael DiMassa, who was also a state representative, allegedly swiping roughly $1 million in city funds.

"The theft is an absolutely disgusting situation and again I know they want to hold my feet to the fire and I am the leader of the city but at no time do I go and sign vouchers in finance. I am not the Finance Director," Rossi added.

The Governor's decision on Tier IV controls over West Haven could happen as soon as mid-May.

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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