City Council Approves McCarthy’s Severance Deal, No Public Discussion

The City Council heard details in private but had no public discussion.
The City Council heard details in private but had no public discussion.

The ground hog calls for an early spring. How about the Bridgeport City Council demanding the sunlight of scrutiny in public? Following an executive session behind closed doors, the City Council Monday night approved a severance package for City Council President Tom McCarthy in his role as deputy director of Labor Relations that sources say is roughly $35,000 and 18 months of health benefits.

It’s unclear when McCarthy’s last official day on the city payroll will be. Calling the agreement a “fair deal” he says a final date will be determined shortly after some routine language about his departure is worked out between former Mayor Tom Bucci, his labor lawyer, and the City Attorney’s Office.

Several council members say they felt uncomfortable approving a financial package that benefited their leader who earned a six-figure salary. City Attorney R. Christopher Meyer says the council vote was required because the dollar figure surpassed $20,000.

The council agenda item for McCarthy was listed on the so-called parliamentary “consent calendar” that includes matters grouped together with no discussion providing one vote to approve all. The council voted to move “litigation” items on the agenda for discussion behind closed doors. When they emerged from the caucus after discussing McCarthy and a few other items for more than an hour, McCarthy’s severance package was approved. Michelle Lyons was the one no vote. McCarthy abstained from his vote. He also did not participate in the closed-door conversation about his employment exit.

Last Monday, under the cover of litigation, the Miscellaneous Matters Committee entered into executive session outside of public view to hear details of a negotiated severance package hammered out chiefly by Associate City Attorney Mark Anastasi and Bucci. The full council approved the committee vote with Anastasi providing details during the executive session.

The genesis of the agreement is a campaign pledge by Mayor Joe Ganim to reduce conflicts such as city employees serving on the City Council.

McCarthy will continue his role as City Council president. McCarthy has a law degree and presumably will look for employment in the legal/labor field.

CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart has more on this and other council matters from Monday night such as a tax agreement with developer Sal DiNardo for the city to take property next to the proposed East Side train station here.

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24 comments

  1. Why bother having a City Council?
    I hope the public remembers these votes the next time these Council Members’ names appear on a ballot.
    First, they didn’t even have the guts to take these items off the consent calendar and vote on them one by one.
    Secondly, by doing so they also hid behind executive session, Mayor Joe Ganim included, and would not discuss the matter in public. I guess they are all afraid of the public knowing what they actually think.
    And finally like little followers and not leaders, they did what they were told to do by the Mayor.
    Thank you Michelle Lyons BUT all you had to do is ask that those three items be removed from the consent calendar and maybe you would have fixed one or two other representatives to vote their conscience.

    1. Harvey,
      Tiago will have to work for the city for 100 years to get close to DiNardo’s $10 million ripoff.
      And that is just one deal. He has cost us millions more.
      Yes we need to go after the Tiagos in this city but we need state legislation to deal with tax cheats like Sal to take care of the big cheats.

      1. “We could keep fighting in court for years or come to an agreement which allows us to take ownership of the land,” said David Kooris.

        No Mr.Kooris, that was a flucking lie, and you knew it!
        This deal cost this city Millions of taxpayer dollars, if and when this train stop ever gets built, just the cost to clean this site will be in the Millions! This City council should hang their heads, you had DiNardo by the nuts and you let him go!
        Now go out and find our $20 million shortfall! Assholes!

  2. I take it David Walker didn’t get a chance to speak to the City Council last night because the council voted in favor of the deal for McCarthy, otherwise he was going to scare the council into voting against the package for McCarthy. Please!!!

    1. Ron,
      I was there and did not speak since the allocated slots had already been taken. If I had spoken, it would have been about the McCarthy deal. That is small potatoes. You need better intel sources.

  3. All these closed-door deals are a bunch of crap. These assholes were elected to represent the people of Bridgeport. These people are a bunch of gutless shitheads.

  4. Michele Lyons’ ‘no’ vote for the consent calendar meant nothing. She could have requested the items of concern be voted on separately, forcing each council member to publicly state their position.

  5. $10,000,000 tax forgiveness for Sal DiNardo.
    When will this end?
    Obviously getting Finch out and Ganim in solved nothing.
    It is bad enough he gets away with it AGAIN BUT HE GOT TO KEEP SOME OF THE PROPERTY.
    My prediction is in another couple of years the city will realize we need that parcel and give Sal more money for selling it to us.
    Watch it happen.

  6. For sure flub; even if it isn’t it will become important.
    And then all the council members will cry “We didn’t know,” “Nobody told us” or “We believed what the mayor or city attorney or economic development director told us. Why would they lie?”

  7. This is from the New Haven Independent:
    Mayor Toni Harp used her annual “State of the City” and pointed to the city’s improved financial outlook under her administration, which includes the elimination of its $14 million debt and a rainy day fund that went from non-existent two years ago to $1.6 million.

  8. *** Basically, you can’t just fire a guy because he was a city employee and on the city council, plus not a Ganim supporter during the elections, no? *** GOOD LUCK TOM, NOW YOU KNOW WHO REALLY WERE YOUR FRIENDS AND WHO WERE JUST POLITICAL ACQUAINTANCES ALONG FOR THE RIDE! ***

  9. I can just picture the executive session. Joe, Kooris, Myers all defending the items they have before them telling the council they must approve them as they are worded. NO CHANGES. NO AMENDMENTS. They will all fall apart if you try changing them now since all parties bargained in good faith. And the little lambs nodding their heads in approval.
    Of course none of them can intelligently connect the dots and ask Joe how come the same doesn’t hold for Union Contracts. How come Joe begs them to reject the Supervisors agreement and the AFSCME agreement. Unions bad. Friends of Ganim good. Tax forgiveness good. Corporate welfare good.

  10. The practice of the City Council making key decisions in a non-public caucus or executive session and without public discussion and debate is disgraceful and unacceptable.

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