Any Espresso In The House? Plus: Finch Blasts BOE, And Health Clinic News

I think it’s time to break out the No Doze for area elected officials. (Make it maximum strength.) It was a long and crazy night–into the morning–for the state legislature, and another tense night for the Board of Education. Is there an espresso machine handy for all? Judging by pennies the Board of Education is scrounging to close a major hole in the budget year that begins July 1, they’d probably cut the coffee machine too.

The legislature passed a new ethics law that allows a judge to clip the pensions of corrupt public officials, but did not include State Rep. Chris Caruso’s demand for retroactivity. Caruso says he’ll bring that issue up next year. The staties also extended the real estate conveyance tax that is expected to drum up needed dollars for local communities and voted to delay an increase in the gross receipts tax that will save a few pennies per gallon of gasoline.

The Board of Education chopped another $500,000 in an effort to fully close the $10 million hole. Legal and labor relations fees, and a public relations position were snipped. A pretty good war of words has started between board members and Mayor Bill Finch, actually more like finger pointing. It’s your job, no your job. What about all those high-priced administrators the BOE has? Birdie asks. What about all of yours? the BOE responds. Birdie and BOE President Max Medina have never been best of buds, so it could get testy.

I’m still wondering, though, what’s wrong with Max’s plea to unions to accept shortening the school year by three days to save another $1.8 million?

Mayor Reacts to BOE,
Statement Below:

The Mayor would like to reiterate today that his proposed Fiscal Year 2008-2009 budget increased the Bridgeport Board of Education’s budget by 4.11 percent, or $8.8 million. The Board of Education will be receiving an increase of 3.5 percent, or $7.5 million this year. Once money is appropriated to the Board of Education, the Mayor has no say in how the Board allocates its funds. According to Connecticut State statute, “The money appropriated by any municipality for the maintenance of public schools shall be expended by and in the discretion of the Board of Education” (Sec. 10-222).

“I once again call upon the Board of Education to stop all the rhetoric and confusion they have recently conveyed to the media,” stated Mayor Finch . “It serves no purpose to the City of Bridgeport or the children of our City. I fully understand what a difficult time this is for both the City and the Board of Education, and I would prefer to work together to find real solutions during a difficult time rather than point fingers. We are in a very real budget crisis, during which we were still able to increase Board of Education funds, and this is no time to play politics with our children’s education.”

Finch Announces Health Clinic Plan,
Release Below:

Mayor Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport) today announced that School Based Health Centers in Bridgeport will continue to be funded through the end of the year through state grant funding and some city funds appropriated by the City Council at the Mayor’s recommendation. The State of Connecticut Department of Public Health will issue the Request for Proposals (RFP) and will oversee the process to select an outside operator to run the centers in the future.

“My administration has agreed to a comprehensive transition plan for the next six months of operation for the city’s School Based Health Centers,” Mayor Finch said. “During that time, the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health will conduct the RFP process to search for an outside provider to run the school based health centers.

“I am extremely pleased that we have been able to find a viable method to preserve an important city service while cutting costs to the taxpayers. With this plan, there will be a minimal loss in staff positions and continued health care service to our children. No School Based Health Center will be closed under this plan.”

The Mayor also expressed his thanks to the expert panel he had assigned to investigate the best transition to an outside provider for the centers, which he had announced in May, as well as School Based Health Center Director Kate Gredinger.

Ms. Gredinger stated, “This has been an arduous process, but we are at the point where we are working collaboratively with the Mayor’s office to ensure a very successful transition of the School Based Health Centers to a new provider as of January 1, 2009.”



  1. I think my previous posts show that I am no big Finch fan but on the school budget issue I am on his side. The Finch budget increased funding to the BOE by $7.5 Million. It was not their total request but noone ever submits a budget request thinking they are going to get it all. Comparing administrative salaries is childish. We all know the BOE is top heavy in administrators. We also know the BOE is top heavy in consultants,
    The problem here is Max Medina who is an arrogant troll. Medina has one concern and one concern only and that is Max Medina. Medina is interested in one thing and that is a federal judgeship and is trying to go that route thru the leadership on the BOE. They have too much money and not enough oversight. I say replace all of the elected BOE members, Fire Ramos and get an audit started. Let the state run the BOE until this mess can be cleared up. They can try and blame Finch but he has no control over how they spend their money.

  2. I am absolutely no fan of Ramos or Medina. I think our education system is fatally flawed and it is being managed by people who cannot restore a semblance or order and efficiency nor effectiveness.

    Much is being said about more than 100 “administrators” who are paid in excess of $100,000. I wonder how many of those 100 “administrators” are principals, vice principals etc. I don’t consider a principal earning $100,000 to be a waste. However, if there are 100 Fabrizi types running around BOE HQ, then I have a problem. A major problem.

    For God’s sake…a full 50% of our budget is earmarked for education. Every one of us taxpayers is therefore paying at least $3,000 to $4,000 a year to support a system that cannot deliver educated, trained and workforce ready graduates in sufficient numbers to contribute to the economic growth of our community and eradicate poverty conditions.


  3. Wondering
    I hope that in the future people will remember to quote what you have said here reguarding Max Medina and question how a possible (?) federal judge nominee could oversee and approve the criminal enterprise we call the BOE, (my take) I am almost certain you just sunk poor old Max – good job, thank you.
    Ramos, I too hope you get shown the door and soon.

  4. I am sure that many of the administrator salaries are for principals however the catch is that in addition to the principals we have a number of vice principals and then under them we have Deans of discipline (Ayala at Waltersville). Then under the vice principals we have department heads. I am sure many of them are not making 100K but many of them are close. It’s the administrators that are not at the schools that concern me. Just what the hell do they do and why are they paid so much. These non-school administrators are the ones that formulate what will be taught and what programs will be used. I place the largest percentage of blame on them for the 68% dropout rate.

  5. The ability to recruit and retain a well educated, fairly compensated and motivated workforce will attract businesses (large and small) to Bridgeport. A 68% dropout rate won’t.

    The correlation between high quality schools, a desirable business environment and appreciating real estate values approaches +1.0.

    Does anyone NOT understand what Bridgeport needs to fix?

  6. All this talk about BOE excesses. What about the 3 wise men that Ramos brought in from Hartford after they got booted for ruining that system … and the cars, and oh yeah, the “communication” person that Ramos says is vital. Can’t he speak for himself?

    Why aren’t all those administrators in school instead of held up at 948 Main? Are they afraid to mix with students?

    Ramos, his hatchet men, and the board have their priority … themselves and futures in other places. Wake up B’port!

  7. Black Rockin is right. When will someone step up to the plate and demand an audit of the BOE? Bob Russo is the only one we can expect this from. We aren’t hearing anything from him. If he knows something that we don’t know he should post it on this blog. Anyone else with authority seems to have a conflict of interest and consequently won’t oblige us.
    Further, it appears to me that with regard to the drop-out issue, the BOE is not totally to fault. Check out the parents that are sending their kids to school and expecting the system to do their job. Home back-up is essential to a good education. A great number of these kids come from homes of drop-outs so what can you expect? The problem seems to feed on itself.
    We are shoveling garbage against the tide and it might be best for us to turn the whole mess over to a neutral entity to determine what must be done with this system. And that would be the State.

  8. Responding to questions in previous comments:

    From an article in the Stamford Times:

    “…When asked about her key issues, Whitnum instead insulted Himes several times during an interview with The Hour. She said he offers no solutions in his campaign platform…”

    Compared to her remarks on Himes, Whitnum has far less negative things to say about Shays.

    “I don’t have a problem with Chris Shays, except that he voted for the war in Iraq and he voted for Kyl-Lieberman,” — an amendment interpreted by some Democrats as setting the stage for a war with Iran — Whitnum said. “… Other than that, I kind of like Chris Shays.”

    I think my comments about her were fair.

  9. Con Filardi

    What do I expect? I expect Finch to recognize that Ramos and Medina are not suitable resources to address the issues and inadequacies of our BOE. They must be removed and replaced with clones of Joel Klein in NYC. Bloomberg had a vision. He hired Klein. The NYC school system has been repaired. Why can’t we do the same? If Hubler were Mayor, I bet that would happen.

  10. And that was one of my points. We don’t have a Hubler as mayor. We have Finch who doesn’t have a clue and even if he did, he wouldn’t do anything for fear of stepping on some political feet.

  11. The real crooks of the boe is the principal of Harding name Carmen she is an idiot and I have heard students there hate her. Also reports were she has received or raised money for a church called Refuge Temple on Main Street … I think that’s something you should look into Lennie … where is this church getting this money from and the principal of Harding is a part of it … there should be a audit on that school and church.

  12. I wonder if the people of Bridgeport would accept a stable BOE budget at current rates IF the level of service improved by reducing our dropout rate and increasing the levels of student achievement.

    We probably need every dollar that is currently misdirected to attain that goal.

    A few years ago, NYC was importing teachers from India…remember? Nobody wanted to work in the “Blackboard Jungle”. Now, they have 5 applicants for every opening.

    It’s because they have a good manager at the helm. We could do that too if Finch wasn’t mayor.

  13. Rob Russo is an amazing specimen: I can’t think of another legislator in the whole state who is animated less by serving his constituents (the Senator from Bridgeport voting against paid sick days and a modest bump in the minimum wage? Seriously?) and more by his hatred of the opposing political party.

  14. The whole BOE issue is out of control. People should demand the resignations of that board who keeps stroking Ramos who is a total waste. I think the only real solution is to let the State take over like they did in New Haven and Hartford. We just can’t fix this thing, it’s impossible. It’s the kids who are losing out in the long run, while Ramos & his cronies fatten up their paychecks.

  15. Many of the comments here are based on a pair of false premises: that anyone in this administration or any of its predecessors actually gives a s*#t about the people who live and pay taxes in this city, and that anyone in the BOE administration the past 40 years actually cares for the kids who pass through, or more likely drop out of, the public school system. Can even City Kitty say he/she believes that with a straight face?

  16. That’s nice, Lennie. Russo wants us to “STAY TUNED” regarding a BOE audit. What’s he think this audit is going to reveal?

    We already know that Ramos is hopelessly in over his head. Does Russo think that an independent operational audit will generate a plan of action that will lead to the successful implementation of systems and procedures which will ensure an improved dropout rate and better achievement of the students. Like hell. The audit can reveal all it wants. Ramos is the operator. He just does not have the conceptual ability to recognize identified problem areas, devise a plan of remediation and implement that plan successfully.

    Who are we kidding? Save our money. Fire Ramos. Hire somebody who knows what he or she is doing. And get our education system back in gear.

  17. An audit is only part of the solution. Without a firm commitment to ACT, an audit yields nothing. No gain for the taxpayers; and no pain for those whose jobs depend on the status quo.

    Almost all underperforming organizations wil tout the value of audits. But few are willing and ready to be held accountable for change. What makes the difference, is putting the right leader in charge. Someone who’s smart…and tough enough to kick ass and take names!

    If you don’t put the right person in charge, you’re better off just saving your money.

  18. Finch cannot fire Ramos even if he wanted to. The elected members of the BOE may be able to fire him BUT they just gave him a raise and an extension on his contract so that’s out. What I think Finch Company could do but won’t is get the State Delegation togather and have them meet with the Governor and he should be there also. The groundwork could be worked on for the state to take over.
    The big question here is when we hired Ramos did we hire the best candidate or did we hire the ethnically correct person. This man seems so out of touch and so arrogant he is a reminder of Salcedo who screwed us and left.
    I firmly believe that the drop out rate could be lowered if we offered the right courses. These courses would get these kids ready for the real world.

  19. I just read that Salcedo has just lost the 4th job she has had since she left Bridgeport. Whoever is in charge of the selection process for Bridgeport Superintendents…IT’S NOT WORKING!!!

  20. Yahooy keeps mentioning Joel Klein, the savior of the NYC schools. He’s a New York Jew who resurrected a failed school system that is 94.8% black and Hispanic. Bloomberg could care less about hiring the ethnically correct and look what he has achieved.

  21. Bruce makes a point. However, with an audit I believe we will have overwhelming facts which will cry for change. Then with the public and the media backing us we will get the change we want regardless of whom is at the helm.

  22. Aboost My point exactly. Here in Bridgeport things are divided up ethnically and not necessarily by who is best qualified. Examples:
    Town Clerk: Hispanic
    City Clerk: Black
    Police Chief: Black
    Fire Chief: White
    State Reps
    East Side: 1 hispanic and 1 black
    North End: 2 white
    South end & Black Rock: Hispanic and 1 white
    This has been going on for many years and will probably go on for many more. Does it always lead to bad candidates or does it always lead to good candidates the answer to both is No. What it does in effect is possibly keep good candidates other than what is described above out of the loop and who loses? We all do. Sound racist it’s not it’s just the political way of life here in Bridgeport.

  23. Once again the masses get sucked into the totally wrong argument. Here are just some very quick numbers on the Board of Ed taken from a February 2008 City of Bridgeport Monthly Expenditure Report. Mind you, these are very quick calculations so I am not claiming complete accuracy only trying to dispel total inaccuracies.
    Total year-end projected expenses $204,235,000
    Total year-end projected revenues $171,862,000
    (These revenues do not include any city tax revenues)
    Net expenses paid by city taxes $ 32,373,000

    City Tax revenues raised by Bpt. $230,236,000

    So when people using some form of funky math to say that if Bd. of Ed is half of the city budget then half of their taxes go to the BOE you are totally wrong no matter how you cut the budget numbers up. And the revenues raised via taxes above do not include money from the state that goes directly into the city budget.

    So if you think there is wasteful spending of your tax dollars, where do you think you should be looking? At the BOE or at the city budget? This is a game the politicians play. Blame everything on the Board of Ed and deflect any criticism away from the city.

    I have always said if the city wants an audit done of the Board of Ed, then prove the audit will pay for itself. And if they can do that then use capital funds and repay the capital money through the actual savings. But the city never does this. So the city should put in writing where these savings will be that will pay for the audit and go out and bond for it. Put up or shut up. Plain and simple. And if the city can not convince bond counsel and the financial rating institutes that it will pay for itself then it is all smoke and mirrors.

  24. Bob as usual you have dazzled us with Bullshit. If you can’t look at their books how do you know exactly where the waste is? Look say what you want every year we get hit by big dollar requests from the BOE and yet we have no idea where it goes. When I hear teachers say that they have no supplies or that they buy the supplies one has to wonder.
    Are you going to tell me that there is no waste and I mean a lot of waste in the BOE budget. Are you going to tell me that hiring retired administrators at $600 a day on top of their pensions is not wrong. How does an administrator whose sole job was making sports schedules he retires and now is a construction consultant on the new schools.
    Bob could you be trying to protect the ring leader of the BOE circus and your long time friend Max Medina, Didn’t you work on his last run for mayor.
    Bob I say to you put up or shut up. Dont pee on my shoes and try to tell me it’s raining.

  25. Wondering,
    I said in my last post and I will say it again, I will support 100% the funding of the audit. And if the city financial gurus truly believe this will pay for itself out of savings then let’s have the city bond for it and let’s start tomorrow.
    But if the results of the audit point to the political patronage jobs that are in the BOE that should be the first to go, let’s not cry wolf then.
    If there is piss in your boots, it’s not coming from me.

  26. I was at loss for words, which doesn’t happen often, when I read the VERY racist comments made regarding hiring. It implies that because Bridgeport hires minorities they hire inferior people. Don’t even try to defend these comments. I contend that hiring is based on politics, not on white, black, brown or yellow. Do not imply that hiring a non-white person means that you are not hiring the best people for the job. Perhaps we should do away with elections for the present and hire a city manager to run the city? However, everyone would scream we don’t want outsiders running our town. You can’t have it both ways.

    Bridgeport has some trouble now attracting quality people and part of the problem is everyone dumps on it, perhaps there is some good reason for it. We have a lot of history to overcome and no one is willing trust ANYONE in power.

    As to the BOE in order for the City to take it over, like NYC, you must change its charter. Charter revision is a risky business, but perhaps it is the best idea. You need the City Council for that one. I don’t think anyone outside of the BOE would object to an audit if the state paid for it, which it won’t. Rob Russo can turn purple and pass out and we won’t be able to get the money from the state. (As an aside, he did vote to take One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) away from Bridgeport last night!) Mr. Musto take note. The special session could not even restore the Early Reading Success Grant, which funds our full day kindergarten. The state is being extremely short-sighted right now, because if and when they take over Bridgeport’s schools it will cost a whole lot more than if they made an investment now.

  27. Bob Walsh…you are a delirious son of a bitch. You take your voodoo take on the budget and move to another city. Actually, you should move to another country. What a miserable excuse you are.

    Now, MCAT. Nobody is being racist nor is anyone suggesting that minorities and Hispanics are less suitable.
    I said, unequivocally, that mayor Bloomberg hired a New York Jew to fix the schools because Joel Klein was the best to do the job. I and Bloomberg could care less if the best candidate might have been Jose Garcia. The point is, Bloomberg did not acquiesce to demands for political correctness. He sought out the best and that happened to be Klein. Look what happened. Bravo Bloomberg.

    Moonbeam doesn’t have the cojones to do what Bloomberg did.

    It doesn’t have to be a Jew, a Wasp, a WOP, a Hispanic or a Black. It has to be the most qualified to fix the problem. Political correctness be damned.

    I am at a loss of words by your position on this matter. I thought better of you. Maybe you should read more and eat cranberries.

  28. Yahooy, the cat got your tongue! However did you read closely? I stated that, “I contend that hiring is based on politics, not on white, black, brown or yellow.” So perhaps we are the same page regarding the politics. Shocking isn’t it? I am quite well read, from biographies to novels to newspapers. I just read, “Running with Scissors.” (A must read for anyone who thought they had a whacko family and wants to be relieved) I love cranberries, especially in salads. If you would like to whip up a batch of cranberry nut muffins, I’ll bring the espresso. Don’t worry Anna I’ll keep my paws off. So which of my other comments leaves you speechless?

  29. We are all aware that the State picks up the lion’s share of the Education budget and that is not in contention. I believe that we are residents of the State and that we all pay income tax to the State. I would suggest that the money that the State puts into the City’s Education budget is our money too. However, whether it is our money or someone else’s money is not the issue here. The issue is whether the money put into the Education budget is being spent properly. Hopefully, Bob Russo will be able to get the State to fund the audit and if not, yes, let’s put our money where our mouths are and bond the audit if necessary. But let’s have an audit.
    MCAT, don’t be so sensitive. WONDERING is courageously making a valid point. Our trying to have all ethnic groups represented in City government often sacrifices true talent for something less. That isn’t to say that ethnic choice is always the wrong path. It may be the best path.
    We had better stop thinking on this plane and pick candidates and employees by a number on an application rather than a name with ethnic background. We’re in enough trouble already.

  30. The education system in Bridgeport has many more problems than Ramos. A 68% dropout rate means you’ve got a lot more problems than one guy. You’re not gonna fire Ramos and have our problems fixed (not that I’m defending him by any means). The great thing about an audit, I think, is we can connect the dots and make changes in the right areas. We can target specifically what’s failing. If it means someone loses their job, there will be the proper evidence to back it up. Just saying fire this person or that person doesn’t do any good.

    I don’t think an audit will save us, I just think it will send us in the right direction. The education system needs an entire culture change. If you’re a Bridgeport student and you see all your friends dropping out, the school being threatened to shut down, outdated material, school programs cut, how can you have faith school is the path to your success? It’s more than problems on the BOE. We have to show kids by dropping out of school they are losing a tremendous opportunity to succeed and have a great life.

    One “little” thing that happened a few months ago, which I thought was absolutely terrific, was when Fairfield University said they would pay the full tuition of any accepted student from a low-income family in Bridgeport. That is a great idea and something I think other private institutions around Bridgeport should do. Sacred Heart should definitely consider it, and I think high schools like Fairfield Prep should consider it too. Then we are letting students in Bridgeport know there is a legitimate path for them to succeed if they stay in school. A small step but I think we need more like them to fix this problem.

  31. Yahooy:
    “For God’s sake…a full 50% of our budget is earmarked for education. Every one of us taxpayers is therefore paying at least $3,000 to $4,000 a year to support a system that cannot deliver educated, trained and workforce ready graduates” I was just pointing out that your math or your logic is all wrong. As a city taxpayer you are not paying that amount. Period. And in return I receive from you the extremely intelligent response that “you are a delirious son of a bitch.” You have left me speechless.

  32. You’re speechless. Good stay that way. Disappear. Where do you think the state gets the money to “give” to us.
    You don’t belong in politics. You are indeed a delirious son of a bitch.


  33. Con, you say courageous, I say outrageous … let’s call the whole thing off. Yes, it will take more than streamlining the administration, but it’s a start and the classrooms and textbooks aren’t the finish. We must foster the importance of education from early childhood, which is why pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten, early reading success and the like are so important. We also need schools to partner with parents to send a united message that education is the only ticket to success. We manage to have first-rate sports teams, wouldn’t it be nice to be that competitive academically. The world is waking up to the fact that educating our children is just as important to the success of the city as economic development.

  34. Sorry but Bob Walsh is actually on the “money” with this one. It is not only the BOE that is the problem. It is all the overpaid Directors, Deputy Directors, Administrators, managers, supervisors. How many managers or supervisors does one department need? Departments with a small staff have one, two, sometimes three of them. It is all over. The Whole city needs an audit. The City and BOE departments.

  35. A good principal is worth her weight in gold bullion. But there are a lot of people in school administration who have no real impact on student learning. If some of them are political appointees in cushy make-work jobs then maybe it’s time to let some of them go and focus on mission-critical positions that actually work directly with students.

  36. MCAT just because someone mentions race does not mean they are racist. What I stated was a fact of life in Bridgeport Politics. There was no mention that the positions that were listed were being occupied by incompetent people although our State Delegation does qualify as incompetent.
    Here is a part of what I wrote “Does it always lead to bad candidates or does it always lead to good candidates the answer to both is No. What it does in effect possibly keep good candidates other than what is described above out of the loop and who loses? We all do. Sound racist it’s not it’s just the political way of life”
    All ethnic groups including whites are referred to. If you think it’s racist that’s too bad because it was not the intent.

  37. Good grief, Walsh is at it again, and of course he defends his buddy Medina! Always the same predictible stuff coming out of his mouth. Walsh is speechless??? No such luck.

  38. MCAT – what’s the story with Russo and the million dollars he took away from B-port last night? I’d love to hear what happened with that. Details please.

  39. MCAT: Platitudes, platitudes! Let’s call an ace and ace and a spade a spade. That’s when we’ll get this system running in the right direction.

  40. Lennie wonders and asks:

    I’m still wondering, though, what’s wrong with Max’s plea to unions to accept shortening the school year by three days to save another $1.8 million?

    Three days less of education for students and three days more of vacation for B.O.E. Staff. Students need more class time not less. I find the $1.8 million figure kind of odd. If we save $1.8 in three (3) days, that means we spend $600,000 per day @ 180 school days =$108,000,000 for the year. Assuming we give the B.O.E. $200,000,000, Where does the other $92,000,000 Go? Does this mean that if we shut the entire education system down, we still have to budget $92,000,000 to a non-existent system. When people here ask questions of me or make comments expecting and answer from me, I give always give a response or a comment. I expect an answer and it better be a damn good one.

    The real crooks of the boe is the principal of Harding name Carmen she is an idiot and I have heard students there hate her. Also reports were she has received or raised money for a church called Refuge Temple on Main street … I think that’s something you should look into Lennie … where is this church getting this money from and the principal of Harding is a part of it … there should be a audit on that school and church.

    donj, Lennie is not a federal investigator. IF you feel your claim is true, file a complaint or a suit with the federal authorities. The situation you described sound like a violation of the Establishment clause (not criminal) or better put, a violation of the separation of Church and State. In my opinion, this clause is part of the problem with our school system. Due to this clause, School Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance are prohibited. I disagree with such rulings.

  42. “Assuming we give the B.O.E. $200,000,000, Where does the other $92,000,000 Go? … I expect an answer and it better be a damn good one.”

    Fixed overhead costs. Things like construction/physical plant, books, testing costs, technology purchasing, faculty/staff non-salary benefits (retirement / healthcare), etc.

  43. Yahooy insults Bob Walsh:

    You’re speechless. Good stay that way. Disappear. Where do you think the state gets the money to “give” to us.
    You don’t belong in politics. You are indeed a delirious son of a bitch.


    What a coward you are. This is why you decided not to go to the Cove. So you could remain the slime behind the handle. As soon as folks disagree with your silly ass, you turn to insults. It’s easy to pick on and insult older gentlemens from behind a screen isn’t it? What a brave girl you are! I’m impressed. I’d like to see you serve as a Bridgeport City Councilgirl and hear you say something like that to James Holloway. That would be a classic!

  44. I think that the Best Way for Bob Walsh to shut us all up would be for him to submit a City Council resolution calling for funds to pay for the Auditing of the board of Education. Please don’t give me any crap about “No Money Available”. If that’s going to be the excuse and I’m sure it will, then I would suggest that Bird Man takes a page from his own book and have the committee, that just resolved the School Clinic issue by approaching the State Dept. of Health, to approach the State Department of Education for the funds or grants to pay for the audit.

    I need a second. Then, we shall have a vote.

    Let me hear your opinions.

  45. The auding of the Board of Ed, finances by itself will not fix the problems facing the Education system. There are other factors that for political reasons no one dares to touch or raise. I dare! Who is going to stop me? I got a knife and it’s sharp.
    Illegal immigration. The Politcal hot button of the time and no one wants to talk about it. Along with an audit there must be some serious accounting of the cost of educating the children of illegal immigrants and Bridgeport (Not the B.O.E.) must step to the plate and address this issue. The B.O.E. does not control the Police Department. It is no secret that Bridgeport has become a safe haven for illegals. It is no secret that the illegals have a high birth rate. New haven has chosen to protect their illegals and Bridgeport has by its’ inaction has done the same. Bird man may say, that it’s the federal authorities responsibility. Well, if the Bridgeport Police Department can work with the DEA to enforce federal drug laws, why can’t The Bridgeport P.D. work with I.C.E.?
    This past February, I addressed the City Council (Finch and 7 council member were absent [no excuse you should read the minutes]) regarding all those out of state license plates on vehicle of people living in Bridgeport. The city tows and boots the vehicles of legal Bridgeport residents for not paying taxes, and refuses to go after out of state registered owners. Most of these vehicles are operated by immigrants and I dare say that they are most likely illegals. There are over 2000 Connecticut drivers licenses illegally obtained from corrupt D.M.V. employees still out there. Will the bird man do anything about it? Will he request assitance from the State and Feds?
    Bird man points his finger at the Board of Ed. But, he fails to point out that the Board was elected with his $600
    tax-break lie. One of the biggest problem about the Board of Ed. and the mayor is that they are both elected during the same election process. Did the Board of ed. candidates have a separate debate? The education isssue is always lost and ignored in the Mayoral or City Coucil elections. The Board of Education elections must be held separate in a stand alone election where only the issue of education can be addressed. It is bad enough that voters are confused during regular elections and primaries with so many candidates running for office and most of them don’t even know who is running for what.

    Should Bill Finch deal with the illegal immigration issue?
    Should Finch deal with the out of state registered vehicles?
    Should we have separate Elections for Board of Ed. members?
    I say, “yes.”
    Oh shit! I think I hit a bone, my knife is bent.
    Keep running bird, I’ll catch up with you on the above statement and your Ct. Post comments, when I straighten it out. Sunrise is coming and I must hide.

  46. Getting money out of the state for an audit is going to be difficult–they have financial problems of their own. Rob Russo deserves a lot of credit if he can get it done.

    The audit is a necessary starting point, but it is only the start. As Bruce Hubler pointed out, there needs to be a commitment to acting on it, a plan of action and a leader to make it happen. That’s no small order in a town where CONSTRUCTIVE leadership is rare.

    We also need to be recognize that there is no single cause (or scapegoat) for the drop out rate or any of the school system’s ills.

    * It is about a disfuntional Board of Education
    * It is about professional leadership that seems to be committed to nothing except the status quo.
    * It is about a Mayor and city leaders who think that education is someone else problem.
    * It is about union contracts that put teachers ahead of students; and, most importantly
    * It is about parents who tune out and expect the school system to do their job for them.

    But, John Ramos knew all of that when he took the job. He also knew that he would be judged by the success or failure of the school system. That is why he is paid almost a quater of a million dollars a year. In the final analysis the Board and Ramos (and the Mayor) are the rexsponsible officers of the government and they need to be held accountable.

  47. Lennie,

    Folks, including me, tend to complain about the lack of good people in government and politics in Bridgeport. Why don’t good people get involved? Take a look at the language and personal attacks in the prior posts. Why would anyone of quality want to subject themselves to that?

    I think that it was President Kennedy who said that “civility is not a sign of weakness and sincerity is always subject to proof”. We would do well to remember that.

  48. So, I insulted Walsh. Big deal. He insults me every time he takes his seat in the council. That obstructionist jerk has interfered with what ever reasonable progress could be made by his constant use of the word “NO”. He is a thoughtless, incompetent fool that has no business affecting the future of our city.

    As for Joel. You read the crap he posts. Does anyone seriously support this man as a genuine candidate for anything? I no longer find his drivel amusing.

    Much is being said about an audit of the BOE. At this point it would be a waste of money. Like I said before, an audit will reveal deficiencies. But, if the chief executive does not have the intellectual capacity to address the impact of the deficiencies and remediate them, then all we have done is purchase a very expensive report that basically tells us what we instinctively already know.

    I think we should fire Ramos, ask Medina to get interested in tomato gardening, identify BOE candidates that have vision and are committed to modeling our educational system after the many successful inner city programs throughout the country.

    Once a competent team is in place, then an audit will be a valuable and useful tool and perhaps the basis for the restructure that we must have.

    I assure you, however, that our BOE woes will never be fixed so long as the likes of Walsh or Joel are in positions of influence.

    I was told last evening that I have ruffled Walsh’s feathers. Mr. Walsh, you have been ruffling my feathers too. Do the city a big favor and get together with Max and start a tomato garden. You don’t belong on the council.

  49. Joel – three new words for you: go to hell! Your a raving lunatic posting your long boring stories about yourself on here in the wee hours of the morning when normal people are sleeping. Like anybody really cares, your a legend in your own mind. Take a tranquilizer or something. You need to see a shrink.

  50. Consider this example in contrasts.

    A corporate CEO heads a chronically under-performing, poorly positioned busines delivering competetively inferior products at a high cost to its customers.

    CEO fails to develop a strategy supporting a vision that will position the company for future profitable growth. CEO surrounds himself with sycophants… similarly challenged in terms of vision, creativity, leadership skills and general intellectual breadth/depth.

    CEO’s Board of Directors doesn’t like what it sees. Considers two options for immediate action: shit-can or shore him up with outside talent. Decision made within a month. Action plan and “new” leadership in place to ensure the business succeeds.

    A situation similar, but also very different, to the dilemma faced by Bridgeport (and other municipalities) in choosing the right leaders. The process of politics (and elections) complicates the issue of getting the best people INTO the key jobs. It also complicates the issue of getting them OUT, when they fail to perform.

    The implications are clear. If we want talented, principled and dedicated people running the city, the state or the nation, WE have to work harder to put them in office. The standards are ours to set.

  51. Bravo Bruce.

    We can no longer sit back and let Mario Testa decide whom shall be PLACED in leadership roles in this city. Just between you and me…..the people he chooses aren’t very good. Know what i mean?

    The time is running out. Candidates, unconnected candidates that is, need to be identified right now. They have to form their election plans which will all be centered around getting the apathetic voters out to the polls. After all, the ones who shout loudest are likely to be the ones who couldn’t make it on election day.

    If we don’t get going, then there is a good chance that we will see Keeley still in office along with Rodgerson, the shit head Gonzales, and heaven help us…Johnny Snorts.

    It’s time we butted up against the Testa crowd and put the people in office who could actually make things happen.

  52. “So marlys works for the B.O.E.”

    It’s obvious that the textbooks or the pensions or the computers cost the same no matter how much you use them.

    Hey, isn’t a school year something like 180 days? Why not have two different school years per year — kids can go on weekdays for 6 months and on weekends for the other 6 months.

    Anyway, no, I don’t work for the Board of Ed — and someone who does could probably give a dozen reasons why that’s a crap idea. But you don’t need to work for the schools to understand that there are overhead costs — you just need to work somewhere.


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