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Gov. Lamont plans to set up state oversight of how federal pandemic relief dollars are spent

Gov. Ned Lamont holds a press conference with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (left) and Maj. Gen. Francis J. Evon, Adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard, in front of a stack of boxes containing personal protective equipment, or PPEs, from China.
Cloe Poisson

Gov. Ned Lamont said he plans to set up an organization to oversee the spending of federal COVID-19 funding. The American Rescue Plan alone earmarked $3 billion for the state.

“We’re going to be naming an organization or a structure that makes sure this money goes to work, and makes sure it goes to work in the most innovative and effective way possible to make a difference in people’s lives,” Lamont said. “To make sure that the taxpayers have 100 percent confidence that the money is being well invested.”

Lamont spoke on Connecticut Public Radio’s Where We Live with Lucy Nalpathanchil on Tuesday morning.

Some of the money is being passed through the state to individual cities and towns. State officials are reviewing how municipalities have been spending the money.

Senate Republican leaders recently asked for a hearing on how the money has been used. They said they also want an investigation into the issue.

“People have a right to know how their money is being spent and should have guarantees that their tax dollars are making it where they are intended to go to help populations struggling the most in every community,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly and others wrote in a recent letter to Democratic House Speaker Matt Ritter.

The letter came after two city employees in West Haven were charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in pandemic funding.

One of those charged was a state lawmaker, Michael DiMassa. He has since resigned his seat in the House.

There were also complaints about how the city spent some of the money. West Haven officials hired a marching band and a City Council member’s towing company. They also purchased commemorative coins.

Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.

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