Paul Hiller, forced to resign as Fairfield's chief fiscal officer earlier this summer under a cloud of controversy, is now overseeing the Shelton Finance Department, which was rocked by the recent discovery that hundreds of thousands of dollars appear to be missing from municipal accounts.
Hiller said Wednesday that he has been hired as Shelton's new finance director, although he added details of the arrangement have yet to be completed.
Mayor Mark Lauretti, however, said that, at least for now, the appointment is temporary and that Hiller is being paid on a per diem basis.
A factor in Lauretti's description of Hiller's status as filling "a temporary void" could be that Shelton still officially has a finance director -- Louis Marusic -- who was put on administrative leave by Lauretti several weeks ago.
Hiller, meanwhile, said he also plans to continue to work two days a week in Fairfield as called for in his separation agreement as the town's manager of financial services.
In Shelton, Hiller is overseeing a department where a criminal investigation has been launched into the alleged misappropriation of what is believed to be more than $300,000 by Sharon Scanlon, the former assistant finance director. She has resigned since discovery of the shortage last month.
Marusic, the city's finance director of 31 years, who said he discovered the alleged misappropriation, is not a suspect in the matter of the missing money, according to Lauretti.
When the scandal came to light in August, however, Marusic said that Lauretti has been trying to force him to retire. "He told me it would be better to do that because the result of the criminal probe would be a very bad reflection on me."
But Marusic said at the time that he planned to "stay put" and continue to cooperate with law-enforcement officials. "I am not part of the fraud. I uncovered [it] and turned it over to the auditors," he said.
Hiller said he is "working about 75 percent of the time in Shelton" these days. The majority of city offices in Shelton, including the Finance Department, are closed Mondays, he said.
Hiller also continues to collect his fiscal officer's salary from Fairfield. The town has "certain obligations under our agreement," he said.
Under Hiller's separation agreement signed by First Selectman Michael Tetreau, Fairfield will continue to pay Hiller based on his annual salary of $135,591 through December of this year, regardless of whether he has taken another job. From Jan. 1, 2013, to June 30, 2013, the town has to pay the difference between an annualized salary of $110,000 and the salary he is paid by Shelton.
Tetreau had cited an "increasing amount of concerns" over the past year that prompted his decision to replace Hiller, although he has refused to elaborate on those concerns. He put Hiller on administrative leave for two weeks in July while Hiller's departure was negotiated before issuing a press release announcing Hiller's decision to "resign."
In a later statement on the matter, Hiller's departure was no longer described as a "resignation."
Tetreau on Wednesday said, "It's good for Paul that he's exploring other options. We're just focused on making sure all the work here gets done in the meantime."
Hiller -- who has declined to comment on the circumstances of his departure -- will also receive 13 weeks of severance pay and be paid for 60 days of unused vacation. His pension from Fairfield -- he served as chief fiscal officer for 13 years -- will be based on a salary of $158,000.
During Hiller's tenure, Fairfield has maintained a AAA credit rating, the highest status accorded to government bonds.
Staff writer Anne Amato contributed to this report.