Republican Gov. Jodi Rell and Democratic legislators thought they reached a compromise to revoke future pensions of public officials caught in scandalous acts, but Republican leaders don’t believe the bill is tough enough. The bill would not apply retroactively. So the pensions of John Rowland and former State Sen. Ernie Newton would be safe.
Details of the bill were still being worked out this afternoon with a possible vote tonight. State Rep. Chris Caruso had been on a one-man Jihad the past few days for the bill to be made retroactive, but constitutional issues created concerns for a number of lawmakers. The U.S. Constitution states you cannot pass a law to punish someone retroactively. The bill, as currently drafted, would give a superior court judge the power to revoke pensions.
In a statement today Rell said, “This is a victory for clean government and really, a victory for our citizens. This bill represents the hard work of both chambers and I appreciate the leadership of the lawmakers involved in forging this compromise. Our government works best and accomplishes the most when it leaves partisan rancor behind and listens instead to the will of the people. These are reforms that the people of Connecticut have long awaited and rightfully demand. These are common-sense measures that will apply to all. They represent the finest tradition of public service doing what is right, for the right reasons.”
Why do I get the feeling that Caruso will have a different point of view?
Slammin’ traffic day on OIB Tuesday. With more than 1,500 page views it was the second highest passenger day eclipsed only by the night Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa won back his old job last month.
By the way, I just learned that OIB won the Fairfield County Weekly’s “Best Of” in the blog category. Thank you, everyone. I’m open to suggestions for our next party. How about Captain’s Cove in early May? First round on me!
Okay, so what’s going on today? A little thing called a public hearing for a big thing called the Bridgeport municipal budget that takes a Doberman’s bite out of library staff, school-based health clinics and your wallet. I wonder how many different groups will show up at the city council chambers at 6 p.m.?
Mayor Bill Finch’s first budget isn’t making anyone happy and in fairness to him he was put in a tough spot by the budget he inherited from his predecessor Johnny Fabs. Bridgeport school officials are not happy with the proposed budget, but that goes with the territory. Board of Education President Max Medina is an OIB reader so I hope he’ll share his insight about the difficulties of this budget-making process.
City council members, knowing they must face voters next year, (mayor enjoys a four-year term, council a two year) will be listening tonight and examining the budget to see what they can replace, save and cut. Just how many lock votes Finch has for the budget is unclear. The mayor does have veto power over the budget, but that will not come, if Finch decides to use it, until much later in the budget process.
The relationship between the mayor and council appears reasonable but hardly cozy, and the difficulty of this budget is weighing heavily on the minds of council members contemplating higher office. Council member Rich Paoletto announced on Tuesday that he will not be challenging State Rep. Chris Caruso in an August primary. City Council President Tom McCarthy wants to challenge Republican State Sen. Rob Russo in November, but it looks like Big Mac is leaning against it in part because this budget is a beast. And even if Big Mac jumps into the race he might be facing a primary from Trumbull Town Treasurer Anthony Musto who is expressing a desire to run.
After the way Russo croaked Tom Mulligan in the special election for state senate in March there is a sense among some Trumbull pols to pick one of their own. Mario Testa will have a say in this, but he’ll need a strong candidate in Bridgeport to take out Russo.