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Community Action Group Hosts Forum On Government Reform Proposal

March 17th, 2013 · 31 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Council, City Politics, Library, News and Events, State Politics

Cecil Young

Community activist Cecil Young makes a point during Saturday forum at the Bridgeport Public Library hosted by Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport. Woman in sunglasses is Lisa Parziale, former City Council president. Sitting behind Parziale, left to right Pat Fardy, her husband Andy Fardy and John Marshall Lee.

UPDATE: About 60 people attended Saturday’s forum at the Bridgeport Public Library hosted by Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport regarding the State House bill sponsored by State Representatives Jack Hennessy and Auden Grogins that if passed and signed into law will prohibit city employees from serving on the City Council. Hennessy says too many conflicts of interest exist on the legislative body such as council members voting to approve their own wages and benefits.

Lee with shovel

Fiscal watchdog John Marshall Lee, snow shovel in hand, talks to the crowd at the library. Lee is using the shovel at public forums as a symbol following the city's response to last month's blizzard that forced folks to dig their own way out. At left is David Walker, former U.S. comptroller general.

The state bill would enforce language in the Bridgeport City Charter that prohibits city employees from serving on the City Council. A loophole in state law allows it. The crowd heard from David Walker, former United States comptroller general who’s among many city activists involved with Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport trying to rally public and legislative support. The editorial board of the Connecticut Post has written editorials in support of the legislation.

The six remaining members of the city’s eight-person legislative delegation are either working against the bill or have not taken a public position. They are State House members Christina Ayala, Don Clemons, Ezequiel Santiago, and Charlie Stallworth and State Senators Anthony Musto and Andres Ayala. The proposed bill is receiving strong opposition from some municipal and state labor leaders with strong ties to the Democratic-controlled state legislature. The City Council approves labor contracts.

If you want to get involved with Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport contact Phil Blagys 203-218-1989, Dave Walker 202-679-0257, or email Citizens4betterbridgeport@gmail.com.

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31 Comments so far ↓

  • Mustang Sally

    Time to “Pony Up,” OIB bloggers …

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    I shall be there, with petitions to sign! This is the time for citizens to understand the importance of their vote!

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Bored by the slow pace of OIB news? Here is one interesting article I recommend. This should give you an idea as to why it is for the last 10 years Bridgeport elected officials have been hiding the true fiscal condition of the city:
    www .bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-15/detroit-rescue-given-to-lawyer-who-helped-save-chrysler.html

  • BridgeportBooster

    Good job Hennessy and Grogins for standing up for something important. Voters know who is really fighting for them. Sad to see only two real leaders out of a delegation triple that size. You can’t call yourself a leader and remain neutral on such important matters. Pitiful!!!

  • Dave Walker

    I’ll be there and other concerned citizens in Bridgeport should be there too. If you don’t have an effective governance system then our City government will continue to have major problems in connection with development, finances, services, etc. In addition, if the City does not put its finances in order, then all of the City’s citizens will pay the price to differing degrees over time. It’s time for action.

  • Nancy Hadley

    I am going to attend as well. I encourage all downtown residents and property owners to attend. We all need to understand the background and implications of this proposed change to state statute. Thank you to Representatives Hennessy and Grogins for taking the lead on this important issue. Why is the rest of our state delegation hanging back? I hope to see all of them tomorrow afternoon at the Library. Their absence would speak volumes.

  • Ron Mackey

    Beware the Ides of March.

  • flubadub

    Has this info been disseminated elsewhere? I mean no disrespect, but if OIB is the only avenue of alerting the public then you have severely limited your audience. I’ve seen nothing in the CT Post (how unusual). Maybe a late call into Jim Buchanan at WICC tonight?

  • Black Rockin

    Musto doesn’t seem to need us, so remember we don’t need him.

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    The information is on flyers around town, the Library Home Page and newsletter, on Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport Facebook page, News 12 Twitter account of Brendan Walker and JhVB159, a news release was sent to all local media outlets many times in the last two weeks. We had hoped more media would have broadcast or printed a notice. Thank goodness for OIB!

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    www .ctpost.com/local/article/State-considers-ban-on-city-employees-on-council-4357923.php
    The CT Post has a little blurb about the meeting at the end of the article.

  • countdown

    I read the article. How disappointing but not surprising. As an educator I would expect high ethical standards from our newly minted state senator. The appearance of a conflict is often more important than an actual conflict. It distorts confidence in the public trust. Yes he served for years in the dual capacity of city employee and council president. For him to support the bill might cast a shadow on his past performance. However I expect more from him. I expect him to look at the situation with fresh eyes and recognize the apparent conflict. I hope he changes his mind and support what State reps Hennessy and Grogins are trying to rectify. An educator should hold the highest ethical standards and set an example for his students.

  • Mojo

    *** All Bpt legislators who don’t show should be put on political notice by having a roll call before the event starts, no? *** VOTERS TAKE NOTICE ***

    • Dave Walker

      Mojo,
      Great idea for a roll call of local delegation attendees. We’ll do it.

      • Ron Mackey

        A roll call vote of almost any issue that there is a vote, the entire Bridgeport delegations must be asked how they will vote and if they don’t then the voter should take that action as the elected official doesn’t care.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Barf and others, I was at the capital testifying on another Hennessy issue today. I saw Kim Fawcett and she is 100% in support of HB-5724 and said I could post it here–she is on record on the floor supporting this!

  • Andrew C Fardy

    The newly minted senator has always been a political prostitute. He never votes for what’s right for the people, he votes for what is right for the politicians in power.
    When was the last time he took a stand on anything publicly? This go-along politician has moved up the food chain in the BOE by going along and voting for what he is told to vote for. No different now. This is a waste of a state senate seat. BTW it was said above, the family has made out with city jobs, go along get along.

  • countdown

    Are Bridgeport residents and property owners smarter than frogs? I hope so.
    www .youtube.com/watch?v=bSpOzssCGmk

    The smart ones should show up at the library at 2pm.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I attended this meeting and noted attendance is rising as the word gets out. Lot of good give and take took place.
    One interesting thing was Bridgeport is not alone with having city employees on the council. There are 24 other towns and cities in the same boat.
    Our representatives won’t support this measure other than Grogins and Hennessy. Santiago and both Ayalas work for the city. Clemons collects a city pension and Musto and Stallworth are doing what they are told. Musto and Stallworth are members of the NBA (no balls at all).

  • Chosen 1

    I am shocked and disappointed beyond belief at Ayala. He couldn’t beat the machine so he joined them.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    So how did the event go? Is it true CW4BB was so concerned about the event location being bugged they had the entire section of the library completely stripped–including the floor tiles? What Lennie wasn’t told is he has competition coming. That’s right, OIB has competition with www .cecilyoung.com. Cecil Young saw the opportunity to grab 60 OIB readers away and made sure they left with a www .cecilyoung.com business card. See you guys around, I’m going to www .cecilyoung.com

  • BPTdawg

    Love the shovel effect!

  • John Marshall Lee

    The shovel is simply a reminder to all who see it this year that this administration let people down all over the City with snow removal. And when the Mayor realized his reputation was soiled on this issue, he started blaming YAHOOS whose cars got stuck or citizens with cars stuck on streets for failure to have Snow Emergency posting when it could have produced better results.

    Finally, he held the public listening sessions to secure learning. But he has not finished a report back to the voters. And I personally expect he will pass on addressing this issue again.

    But citizens used their arms, backs and shovels in the STREETS to free their cars and break out into poorly maintained MAJOR STREETS that suffered from poor roadway management as well. And a number of streets were entirely cleared by private effort and funding AND NOT THE CITY. And those streets did not generally appear on listings of street cleared, so the list was taken down lest the citizenry learn how many voters took things into their own hands. When the Mayor failed to act and failed to communicate, people got the idea and then used their heads. They have a stored memory of having to shovel the snow personally. My snow shovel remembers the task and will keep appearing. We need to shovel a lot of stuff in this City. If enough people were upset or frustrated by the Finch flake flinch in the face of the storm, they will link it to other issues the Mayor will not or cannot discuss with Bridgeport. Time will tell.

  • yahooy

    Normally I’m critical of extensive rhetoric when fewer words could have a greater impact. But in this case you could have expounded much further on Finch’s ineptitude in the face of snowflakes.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Thanks for your critical permission!
      Mother Nature put the snow there, and in time, took almost all traces of it away in five weeks.
      Finch’s ‘ineptitude’ as you call it is an entirely different matter. It is still with us and the battlefront has moved to the BUDGET.

      Hearings for the month of April are not yet posted on the City site. Is Budget and Appropriations up to the job before them? Join Budget Oversight Bridgeport(BOB)-2013 and attend one or more hearings with taxpaying neighbors. What do you think? If you need ammunition for the Public Hearing, also unscheduled, you will hear it at these hearings. Over one dozen people have already signed up for BOB duty this year. Call 203-259-9642 to volunteer for one or two nights of civic duty. (Remember, you had to pick up your shovel and do your own work to free yourself when Mayor Finch proved unable! We have to do the same WATCHDOG function on our money.) And we need to remember these lessons when it comes to November elections. Time will tell.

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