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A Shin And A Cock? Plus: Mayor, Union Budget Squeeze, And Herrmann Drops Out

June 16th, 2010 · 29 Comments · City Budget, Development and Zoning, State Politics

This has got to be a bite in the butt for Connecticut native American tribes, including one local, that tried for decades to achieve federal recognition. And also not great news for the state’s two existing casinos. Shinnecocks, across the pond, win federal recognition. From the Hartford Courant:

The federal government officially recognized the Shinnecock Indian Nation of eastern Long Island as an Indian tribe, all but guaranteeing more competition for Connecticut’s two tribal casinos.

In a statement issued, the Department of the Interior affirmed its preliminary proposal for recognition, made last December, saying the 1,292-member tribe met all mandatory criteria.

The Shinnecocks, of Southampton, N.Y., plan to open a casino, but have not picked a site yet. The tribe tried and failed to open a casino in 2003.

A new casino anywhere on Long Island or in eastern New York State would put further pressure on Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, Connecticut’s two Indian casinos and the dominant casinos in the region for more than 15 years. Foxwoods is the largest casino in North America.

But New York state has been expanding gambling opportunities, and Massachusetts and Rhode Island are on the verge of authorizing resort-style casinos that would undoubtedly eat into the Connecticut casinos’ business.

But, hey, maybe this is good news for the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson ferry. Cruise across the pond for one hour to Long Island and head over to Shinnecock country just 15 miles or so away. And maybe the Shinnecocks can cut a local sister-city deal with the Golden Hill tribe. We’ll turn over City Hall on Golden Hill to the Shinnecocks and make it a gambling annex. Call Steve Wynn, call Bob Zeff, call The Donald! (Jesus, maybe I should call The Donald.)

Mayor, Union Heat

Man, it’s getting noisy out there. When the city builds a budget with a multi-million dollar hole based on union concessions, it’s just a matter of time before the teeth-gnashing begins. With a new budget year beginning in two weeks, unions in both the police and fire departments are feeling the squeeze. Mayor Bill Finch wants major givebacks. Unions don’t want to give. Haven’t we given enough? The city is threatening layoffs of uniformed services. Let’s see who blinks.

Herrmann Drops Congressional Bid

Dogged by faulty petition signatures, Easton First Selectman Tom Herrmann has dropped his primary challenge against GOP-endorsed Dan Debicella in Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District. Herrmann statement:

Despite the hard work of dedicated volunteers and other staff throughout the district, it appears that we will not be able to satisfy the procedural requirements to be on the Republican primary ballot.

Although we collected well over the 1988 signatures required from qualified Republican voters, we do not believe enough will be validated to meet the threshold. As a business leader and elected official, I have always been committed to addressing issues practically. Contesting matters further would not serve the Republican Party or the citizens of the 4th Congressional District well.

I am deeply grateful for the outpouring of support I’ve received from volunteers, donors, and voters. Although I am disappointed to have to discontinue the campaign, I am gratified by the public’s positive response to our message of fiscal responsibility and small government. I look forward to continuing this work in other ways. I remain committed to seeing Jim Himes defeated this fall and bringing a new direction to Washington.

From Debicella:

Following Easton First Selectman Tom Herrmann’s decision to exit the race for Congress in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, Dan Debicella had the following statement:

“Tom Herrmann has always done a great job as First Selectman of Easton, and he has run a strong campaign in the past few months. His continued commitment to small government and pro-growth policies are important not only to the Republican Party, but the people of Fairfield County.

I will remain focused on giving the voters of Fairfield County a real choice this Fall– between Jim Himes’ rubber-stamp support of more spending and government expansion, and my vision of a government that actually supports small business and job creation.”

From Dan Malloy:

MALLOY/WYMAN LAY OUT STRATEGY FOR JOB GROWTH

Call for bold new ideas in R&D to create tens of thousands of new jobs

June 15, 2010 – Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman, the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, today visited a CTWorks Center in Danbury to share their plans for growing jobs in Connecticut and revitalizing the state’s stagnant economy. Saying that job creation will be the “single highest priority” in his administration, Malloy pointed to his experience in turning around one of Connecticut’s largest cities as proof of “what’s possible with a real economic strategy – something Connecticut has been lacking for too long.”

“It’s true that Connecticut is facing unprecedented economic challenges, challenges that Government can’t fix by itself,” said Malloy. “However what government can do is help put in place an economic development strategy that makes sense for the 21st century economy, instead of holding onto strategies that were designed for the last century. It can partner with small business, partner with new industries, and partner with the men and women who work every day to turn the wheels of our economy.”

Wyman said what the state needs is strong, innovative leadership. “There will be no economic recovery without job creation, and there will be no job creation without a new Governor with a vision for Connecticut. We need a real plan to attract new business to the state, and to support those businesses that are already here. I truly believe that working together, Dan and I can help get Connecticut back on the right track,” Wyman said.

Malloy’s plans include a 12-point “roadmap” for economic development. Some concepts the roadmap focuses on include:

• A huge investment in research and development with the potential to generate 30,000 direct jobs and 75,000 spin-off jobs

• Investing in high-tech industry while working to revitalize the state’s manufacturing industry

• A hands-on business recruitment effort, based on Malloy’s experience over 14 years bringing outside businesses and their jobs to the City of Stamford

• An investment in women and minority-owned businesses

• Reducing health care and energy costs to make the state more business friendly

• Statewide improvements in infrastructure and transportation

Details on the full plan can be viewed at www.danmalloy.com/policy/jobs_and_economy.

“What will matter most in the years ahead is leadership,” concluded Malloy. “What Connecticut deserves from its next Governor is experience, vision, and the ability to listen and lead. As the Mayor of Stamford, I worked day and night to help create jobs and revitalize the Stamford economy with these values as my guide. The results speak for themselves. I know I can help lead the way at the state level if I’m given the chance.”

As the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for Governor, Malloy has traveled the state sharing his ideas for moving Connecticut forward. To date, his campaign has been endorsed by more than 50 Democratic Town Committees, more than 50 DTC Chairs, more than 100 elected officials and community leaders, and numerous labor organizations which combined represent tens of thousands of active and retired workers throughout the state. The campaign also has the support of more than 4,000 individual contributors who helped Malloy become the first gubernatorial candidate to qualify for the Citizens’ Elections Program, giving him access to up to $8.5M for his campaign.

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29 Comments so far ↓

  • Grin Ripper

    A Shin And A Cock? It must be a well-hung Tribe!

  • harley76

    I got this information 2nd hand but through a reliable source. The unions are not agreeing to concessions because they have presented some serious questions to labor relations which they have so far not answered. In addition, when Mayor Finch met with the unions back in April he made some promises he is yet to live up to.

    Mayor Finch said he would get concessions from the unions who did not give last year BEFORE he came back a 2nd time to the unions who already gave. (As we all know, teachers and education administrators have refused to give back AGAIN and they are the big moneymakers)

    Mayor Finch promised everyone would give back equally including the union and non-union employees. (The non-union employees have not given back and, in fact, have budgeted increases for themselves.)

    The unions have some good reasonable questions. First and foremost is a request for labor relations to explain the formula for concessions. Each union was given a dollar figure. This equaled to 5 furlough days for some and 20 furlough days for others. Why the inequity? The question is what is the justification behind this formula? One union likened it to “a closely guarded secret like the recipe for coca cola.”

    What’s up with the take-home cars? If the city was in such a deficit, why weren’t the cars returned last year? Will the city return them, sell them, auction them or put non-municipal plates on them and disguise them like last year?

    Why were so many people, friends of Mayor Finch and Adam Woods, hired during the freeze? What is the total number in terms of people and salaries and health benefits? Shouldn’t these people be eliminated before career employees are laid off?

    These are just a few of the questions asked by the unions. As long as labor relations refuses to come forward with the answers, there will be no serious concession conversations. According to my sources.

  • Up On Bridgeport

    harley76–You know the reason is they are a bunch of HOGS. Pigs get Fat. Hogs go to slaughter. 2011 is going to be a Slaughterhouse 5 for Finch and his gang green.

  • town committee

    It seems to me the Finch administration is playing with 2 sets of rules. One set is for the unions and blackmailing them into givebacks. The other set of rules are for the Finch hires and the Democratic district leaders.
    Finch gets major concessions or givebacks from the unions last year all on the premise that the city is in financial trouble. Concessions are given by the unions and Finch then goes on a hiring binge. We hire back Murphy, Winterbottom as consultants. We fire Riccio, Minopoli and Jacobs and Abate and the head of the Health Department. Three out of four receive large payouts. We give Minopoli’s replacement a big raise, we give Warren Blount a big raise, we hire a temporary head of the health department. We hire a city council member to work at the airport and the list goes on. We hire female constituent of Ralph Ford at a $60k salary. We hire another worker in the mayors office. All the while the city employees try to rearrange their household budgets to handle the loss of a week’s pay.
    Now we are again asking these employees for givebacks all the while giving Finch appointees a 4% raise. Yeah I know some will say they are not taking the raise just like they claimed the appointees don’t take home city vehicles anymore.
    All this is being done right under the council’s nose and with their tacit approval.

  • johnb

    Good points harley76. Also why are Finch appointees getting 4% increases while asking unions for concessions? Did Finch scream Fabrizi’s budget was full of gimmicks and one-shot revenue deals? If he’s basing a budget that is dependent on people taking cuts, I’d say that was a gimmick and one-shot deal. He is doing what he screamed at Fabrizi for doing, going for the lowest increase or cut in the budget to get re-elected. There must be something in the water in the Mayor’s office, but it seems that office turns whoever is there into corrupt, power-hungry politicians. Instead of sticking to his “freeze,” he hires dozens of friends and makes politically expedient hires all the way up to a do-nothing head of economic development. Then he fires people for speaking up against the problems in the office. Finch has turned into puppet who only responds to the wrong strings. His irrational UB phobia screwed up what could have been a good partnership with the City. I can see Wood getting red and flustered lecturing him on why he needed to go to the last event. Instead of trying to do the best thing for the city he is running around getting bought off by politicians to save his political ass. It’s sad for the City to have a leader focusing more on his personal exit strategy than the health of the City. Bridgeport needs someone who will be willing to serve, clean up the mess and not care whether they serve a second term. Who knows maybe doing the right things will lead to wild political success.

  • enlightened

    Based on the logic presented here, it appears the Finch administration can win reelection by starving the unions and feeding his supporters. What’s wrong with that?

    • Up On Bridgeport

      Part of Finch’s problem is like the unions, his peeps don’t live or vote in town. However, most of the union members peeps live in and pay taxes to Bridgeport. Can’t Wait ‘Til Next Year will be the taxingdermy man’s cry in 2011. Voters are preparing to tell Finch to “Get Stuffed!”

  • town committee

    Enlightened: You may be right. The unions no longer have the political power to be a threat during primaries or general elections. With the majority of its membership living out of town the mayor can afford to tell them to go screw and there is really nothing they can do about it. The only thing politicians understand is votes.

  • Hector A. Diaz

    Too bad they couldn’t institute “a work here, LIVE here” policy similar to Mayor Mandinici’s. Though you can’t discriminate because someone wants to live elsewhere … you can reward those who choose to live in Bridgeport.

  • Frustrated Bridgeport Democrat

    In Bridgeport, Connecticut and Federal, the workers are far better paid than private sector with benefits and pensions that are absolutely unequaled.

    Let’s be honest, do we really think these public-sector union workers are being overworked? … From the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen and heard about Bpt workers, sick time and workman’s comp abuses are unbelievable … Yet no mayor or department heads address the issue.

    For example, why do the teachers who are working a 10-month job and after eight years or so are making approx $60 – $70K, get reimbursed for over a year’s pay (at the highest rate) for unused sick time when they retire?

    Incredibly bad management on current and previous mayors’ parts. These contracts should never have been signed.

    From a management standpoint, heads have to roll–managers and workers alike.

    • Justice

      You are incorrect, example teachers in other cities/towns get paid more, and so do police and many more. Most of the employees abusing the system are the ones who were put there by politicians.

  • Grin Ripper

    Herrmann to become a Hermit! Says he’s no Henry VIII. Can’t you hear his heartbeat?

  • enlightened

    Before everyone gets too nostalgic, Mandy and Paoletta fought the unions on the residency issue. The unions didn’t want to give up.

    Some labor negotiator under the Bucci administration decided to give them what they wanted, and let them get out of town.

    Some guy named … David … umm … you must forgive me. I am getting old and senile. Perhaps the board can enlighten me.

  • town committee

    From strictly a political point of view giving the unions the right to move out of town was a great move. Politically it removed a voting block that a mayor previously had to deal with.
    When Republican Panuzzio got elected it was the police and fire unions and their family members that got him elected. They worked the election, ran soft sheets and got 3600 friends and family members out to vote. Their reward was a 20 years and out pension and fully paid medical benefits.
    From a union point of view they won the right to move out of town which a majority of their members did. What they lost and to this day I am not sure they understand what they lost was the power to influence primaries and in some case general elections. Does anyone think this giveback blackmail the administration is now engaged in would be taking place if the unions still were a voting block? BTW it was David Dunn and I think you know that.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Lennie, remember the Park Police Division that was eliminated by the City of Bridgeport last year? I heard the Park Police officers won in arbitration. I understand some (three I believe) are back on the job and they all got back pay. I think two have since been hired as Police Officers elsewhere. Is this true? Pry Open the Juicy Stuff, Lennie!

    • Joel Gonzalez

      “From strictly a political point of view giving the unions the right to move out of town was a great move.”

      What has ever stopped any City Employee from using a Bridgeport address as their residence? You think only Board members, Commission members and City Elected Officials are the only ones who can figure out how to circumvent the system?

      • harley76

        Joel, many members of the DTC who were delegates to the state convention do not live in Bpt. Didn’t stop Mario Testa from making them delegates did it? This is the problem with Bpt. The city is run by an uneducated little Italian man who pulls all the strings. Never did understand that.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Lennie, I thought it was spelled: Shine a Cock.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Breaking News: Lennie Grimaldi has joined Facebook. Maybe Joe Ganim will request him as a friend.

  • enlightened

    TC:
    I think your evaluation of the union-political situation is spot-on. And yes, I couldn’t help being a smart-ass about David Dunn. I should be ashamed of myself! (Curiously, I’m not.)

    Anyway Joel, you might be surprised at the number of people in the old days who were “suckers” and followed the residency rule because that was the rule. When let go of it, they did move.
    So, yeah, you’re right. People did finagle a way around it. But a lot more did what they were supposed to do. I hate to admit it. It’s tough being completely cynical all the time. There are a lot of good guys around. The stinkers get all the attention. Damn news media.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    This is one verdict worth paying attention to. In the case of a not guilty verdict, a drug dealer who is tipped off on an investigation, can return the money to the buyer and get his drugs back.

    www .ctpost.com/news/article/Prosecutor-Hartford-mayor-lied-about-corruption-525746.php

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Paging donj!!!

    This is the former Republican (Jamaican) Candidate for Secretary of State. Too bad he wasn’t able to get your support–Lennie’s either–or consideration. Notice Lennie did put up a link for Susan Bysiewicz and left out this one:

    www .coreybrinson.com

  • harley76

    Glad to see my morning post stirred up some interesting commentary while I was hard at work. One comment on the residency rule. I believe the state legislators ruled residency requirements illegal. You can require emergency workers live within so many miles of the town. You cannot, however, require non-emergency workers to live in the town in which they work. At least that’s how I recall it.

    Another comment regarding city employees. Those I know are hard-working, professional and qualified. It is unfair to paint them all as abusers of sick time and workers comp. A few, sure, but that’s the case anywhere. The problem in Bpt as I see it is the unusual number of political appointees and their relatives who are put in key positions. That’s what has dragged this city down for many years. Not the unions.

    The police are giving a no-confidence vote against Chief Gaudett. The vote against Finch is not far behind. Watch as the other unions follow suit. Finch and his negotiators are in over their heads. Their strategy is about to backfire. Better find another way to balance the budget, boys.

  • city hall smoker

    Tom Sherwood must be slipping. In years past he could have easily closed this budget gap. Increase the revenue projections, decrease the police OT, slap on a few one-time revenues and call it a day.

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