Bridgeport’s City Charter prohibits city employees from serving on the City Council. Then why have so many city employees throughout the years served on the legislative body? Because state law allows it. State Rep. Jack Hennessy wants to change that. He’s submitted legislation that would “prohibit municipal employees from serving on certain municipal legislative bodies,” an effort he says would eliminate conflicts of interest.
How can City Council members vote on city budgets that benefit their wages and benefits as city employees? About one-third of the 20-member City Council is on the city payroll.
Hennessy, who primarily represents the city’s North End, knows this will not be an easy sell in the state legislature. Too many sacred cows to protect. But the legislation would not be retroactive. That, he says, might sell. Hennessy, a political maverick in the city’s eight-member legislative delegation in Hartford, says he will lobby his peers for support in the coming weeks. His legislative language follows (Proposed Bill No. 5724):
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
That subsection (e) of section 7-421 of the general statutes be amended to prohibit municipal employees from serving on the legislative body of a municipality if such legislative body has the responsibilities and authority of a board of finance and if such prohibition is set forth in the municipality’s charter.
Statement of Purpose:
To extend an existing provision that prohibits municipal employees from serving on a municipal board of finance except where permitted by charter or home rule ordinance.