WESTBROOK — The IRS has fined the city $83,000 for a late filing, which the city says was the result of new regulations that were overlooked.

In 2018, the city’s human resources department failed to meet a deadline to file a report proving its compliance with the Affordable Care Act, according to City Administrator Jerry Bryant.

“This is a new reporting request that was quite extensive,” Bryant said.

The city did submit the report and met all the requirements “but because of the lateness of it, the city was subject to the fine by the IRS,” he said. 

A “checks and balances” process has been put in place to ensure the mistake doesn’t happen again.

“Multiple people in human resources have been trained to file this report specifically and now we have a mechanism where the finance person has to sign off on it as well,” Bryant said. “It creates redundancies that make sure it gets done.”


City councilors who spoke at a Dec. 21 meeting said that while the $83,000 fine was costly and unfortunate, the city can “move on.” Ward 5 Councilor Elliott Storey, however, urged the council to consider the impact of the fine.

“The money used to pay this fine comes from the hardworking taxpayers of Westbrook, and I don’t know who made the mistake, how it escaped the scrutiny of upper management, but it did,” Ward 5 city councilor Elliot Storey said. “So I felt the need to get that out there. It’s not ‘it’s OK, it was a mistake, we can move on.’ It was a pretty big hit to the city and no one should be happy about it.”

Mayor Mike Foley said “we will make sure going forward we have checks and balances.”

“Stephen Fields will have this appropriate documentation filed for 2020 before he leaves and ensure it is taken care of on a regular basis,” Foley said. 

Fields, assistant city administrator and head of the human resources department, is leaving his post Jan. 4 to become the town manager in Corinth. Angela Holmes will take on the assistant administrator role on top of her role as city clerk while the city looks to fill the HR role separately.

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