Anastasi Wants To Be On Mark With School Board Legal Counsel

Breaking its longstanding relationship with the Bridgeport-based firm Durant, Nichols, Houston, Hodgson & Cortese-Costa, the Board of Education is crafting a request for qualifications for legal services such as personnel and labor negotiations, a large-ticket item that could represent millions of dollars over several years. City Attorney Mark Anastasi wants to be part of the process. He’s in charge of hiring outside legal counsel on city side spending. The city spends millions each year on outside legal costs, even with a City Attorney lawyer staff of a dozen or so.

Anastasi also understands the politics of hiring a law firm whose legal members can help finance various political campaigns, with Mayor Bill Finch’s reelection in 2015.

CT Post education reporter Linda Conner Lambeck has more:

“It is not just what you spend but how much you get in quality of service,” said City Attorney Mark Anastasi.

Anastasi told the board the city would like very much to be part of the process. He suggested the board should also make sure they get a firm that will charge only for work done and not require a minimum. He also recommended they build an exit clause into their contract with the firm.

“I suspect there is going to be significant competition vying for the work,” Anastasi said.

Full story here.



  1. It’s great the city Attorney wants to make sure the BOE builds an exit clause in any contract with a law firm. Why couldn’t he build an exit clause for the City in the UI lease at Seaside Park? The City can’t get out of the lease even if UI defaults under the lease. How crazy is that?

  2. I cannot believe anyone outside of the Finch/Wood wrecking crew offices at 999 Broad Street doesn’t recognize another money and power grab. A plan of outright thievery is about to be implemented if the City Attorney’s office is anywhere or anyway connected to this deal.

  3. This is unbelievable. Really, the breadth of delusion in this administration is absolutely, positively astonishing. Mark Anastasi thinks the Board of Education should defer to his position on their hire of counsel that is hired specifically to be an independent expert or voice on issues critical to the functioning of the BOE. Really? Both the Board of Education and City Council need independent representative to address the issues presented. The taxpayers are paying obscene amounts of money for outside counsel that in fact are not independent at all. Just robotic talking heads. Mark, sit down and shut up. BOE and City Council–make your hires.

  4. The WFP is hiring a new law firm for the BOE??? They did not say why but the article hints it is to save money. We will have to watch and see if this is correct.
    What are the Vegas odds the BOE’s new law firm will be Norm Pattis of Lopez v. Vallas fame? After all, this is the first major BOE contract to be awarded by the new BOE. Why not start things off with a kickback? Ohhh, I mean bang. At least this will let all the folks who fought so hard to save the elected BOE know how things are going to roll from here on out. And you guys think it is the city attorney who is going to score from this deal. ;-( Folly the money.

  5. There is a better chance of following the money and separating fact from fiction with the Excel spread sheets and other fiscal info provided on the Bridgeport Public Schools site. Looking through the Legislative “looking glass” and attempting to understand the variety of purposes to which lawyers are tasked is a little more difficult.
    For instance, there are suits (injuries on school property or worker compensation) requiring preparation for court and defense of claims from years ago; appeals by parents for individualized education plans for youth; employee grievances that have metastasized into something larger; there are union negotiations; and there are the expenses of actual settlements. I am willing to bet there are more reasons why law firms find solid employment and significant expense provided by BOE budgets. Attend BOE Finance Committee meetings and gain insight into the mechanisms. Read the minutes as an alternative. No one is forced to wear blinders. There is always more to learn.

    Did anyone promise you life would be fair? Does anyone believe they can just pay their taxes and vote and everything will work out like it does in Greenwich (perhaps)? Do you believe getting and staying informed is an exercise in governance ‘micro management’ as one taxpayer told me today? I disagreed of course. Time will tell.


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