Finch Hires Lawyer To Supervise City Attorney’s Office

Molree Williams-Lendor
Molree Williams-Lendor

Mayor Bill Finch on Thursday announced the hiring of Molree Williams-Lendor as the new Deputy Chief Administrative Officer “responsible for supervising and managing the city attorney’s office, among other duties.” This is a fascinating $95,123 hire by Finch to supervise the office overseen by long-time City Attorney Mark Anastasi. How does Mark feel about someone looking over his shoulder? Why not just name her City Attorney? The short answer is the mayor likes Anastasi’s loyalty, his handling of City Council and school board issues, but not his management of the office.

When it comes to mayors, Anastasi is a loyal soldier, but managing personnel that includes a dozen in-house lawyers, additional staff support and outside legal fees for hundreds of cases is not an associated strength. The mayor has taken some heat in the past year for some dubious decisions coming out of the City Attorney’s Office including the legal handling involving the $500,000 airport land deal that Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe ruled city taxpayers were under no obligation to pay. Radcliffe also rebuked city lawyers’ judgment in the case that led to the firing of Airport Manager John Ricci for not disclosing his relationship with developer Manny Moutinho who was paid to improve his own property. Ricci and his supporters say he was scapegoated by the city for decisions made by city lawyers. And the judge himself had indicated maybe the city fired the wrong guy.

This hiring could raise some questions, internally at least, about how this impacts Anastasi’s City Charter-related duties. Anastasi, as city attorney, works at the pleasure of the mayor. But Mark being Mark he’ll probably just say, good you manage the staff, I’ll deal with the other stuff.

CT Post scribe Brian Lockhart first reported about this here.

News release from the mayor’s office:

As the City of Bridgeport seeks out ways to be even more efficient while continuing to do right by taxpayers, Mayor Bill Finch is announcing that Molree Williams-Lendor–a seasoned attorney, manager, and Bridgeport resident–will serve as the new Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Legal Services.

In this role, she will be responsible for supervising and managing the city attorney’s office, among other duties.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring another top-talent onto our staff, in a role aimed at bolstering government efficiency,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “We’ll expect a lot out of Molree, but with her experience and top-notch credentials–in addition to being a Bridgeport resident–we know she’s up to the challenge. I’m certain that she’ll work hard to ensure we’re doing right by taxpayers, and that she’ll do her part every single day to make Bridgeport a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

In order fill a necessary position that is intended to help save taxpayers money, the hiring process consisted of a wide-ranging public, national search that netted more than 75 applicants. After a thorough vetting process, Molree Williams-Lendor was chosen.

Most recently, Molree Williams-Lendor served in the New York City Office of the General Counsel, managing both a large caseload and a team of personnel. Previously, she worked as an associate attorney for the firm Carmody & Torrance, as an attorney and paralegal for Koors & Jednak, and as a social worker and therapist for various organizations in New York. Her educational background includes a law degree from St. Johns University in New York, a masters degree in social work from Columbia University in New York, and a bachelors degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a great honor to be working for the City of Bridgeport and Mayor Finch,” said Molree Williams-Lendor. “My experience as an attorney and manager–having a first-hand understanding of legal work from pre-trial to the courtroom, as well as a first-hand understanding of looking for efficiencies and cost-savings–should serve as an asset to the City of Bridgeport and its taxpayers. I look forward to working alongside the talented staff here, helping to make for a better Bridgeport.”

Molree Williams-Lendor resides in Bridgeport’s North End neighborhood. Her salary, commensurate with experience, is $95,123 annually.



  1. So much for the Charter. How’s that feel, Mark Anastasi?
    As Forrest Gump might say, “Don’t let the door hit you in the buttocks on the way out!”

  2. Ka-ching, ka-ching. Money, money, money everywhere except for education. I have an idea. Let’s raise taxes again! Think of the hires Finch could make then–jobs for everybody!

  3. More of our tax dollars wasted, now we are hiring supervisors to watch the supervisor. Let’s do the same thing for the mayor’s position, but this time let’s require the new mayor has a brain.

  4. Follow the bouncing ball …
    1. Finch: We did “a wide-ranging public, national search that netted more than 75 applicants.” (source below*)
    2. Early April: Finch unveiled a 2014-15 budget that increased taxes by $122 for homeowners and $300 for businesses. At the time, the mayor said the only new jobs budgeted were in the city’s police and fire departments.*
    3. Subsequently, the Budget Committee worked to whittle down Finch’s tax hike to the eventually approved $54 per household and $135 for commercial properties.*
    4. Budget Committee members asked the administration for a list of vacancies.*
    5. Williams-Lendor’s new position did not appear on the list, despite the fact the job description circulated during a national search described the opening as having been vacant for years.*
    6. Finch budget chief, Tom Sherwood, also said last week the position was not in Finch’s budget.*
    7. “[Finch spokesperson] Broesder said Thursday [May 15] that Williams-Lendor would be paid through money saved by a legal secretary vacancy–even though none was on the vacancy list–and also through money made available by the recent resignation of an assistant city attorney. He said the overall effect would be a net savings.”*

    *Source: www

    … so Finch hid this job opening and hire until after budget review and passage … in order to create a “net savings.”

    Again, if you’re stupid enough to believe Finch, then you deserve to have him as your mayor. If you’re not that stupid, then do something.

    1. Well done, Pete. This is exactly how the people of Bridgeport should see what’s going on with this corrupt administration. The trouble is when the average person just sees a press release here, a blurb in the CT Post there, it’s hard to connect the dots and truly see how Finch & Co. are absolutely robbing us!!! Why can’t the CT Post print a timeline like Pete did? Oh, never mind, I think we all know that answer. Crooks, every freakin’ one of them!

  5. Based on her credentials, she is underpaid. Mark Anastasi should have a huge reduction in pay. I wish Molree Williams-Lendor success. That smile alone is worth $95,000!

      1. Andy, you do not think she has a $95,000 job or when Finch is no longer Mayor you do not agree she is an employee worth keeping? In the past week we got a tax increase and two known hires at $180,000, a housing project approved for Main St downtown Bridgeport a PERSON TO DO Mark Anastasi’s job, another economic development director to do Kooris’ job, etc. etc. and still Finch does not have any opposition … YET.

        1. Steve, I don’t think she should have been hired at all. We don’t need any more high-priced employees. Steve, if I could I would fire all Finch appointees and I mean all. My first to go would be Tiago, second would be this recently hired attorney plus all the rest who are hidden in various departments. I for one am tired of being an employment agency for the incompetent and the money hungry.

    1. Seriously, Steven? Then why don’t you pay for half her salary out of your pocket, and with that will come a nice 8×10 glossy of Ms. Williams-Lendor to hang on your fridge so you can see that smile ’til your heart’s content (and wallet is empty).

      1. Hey Porchetta, your assault is misguided. I didn’t hire her. She does have a beautiful smile. Porkie, if you have something to sa, put your name on it and make your grievance known. This is an anti-Finch blog and nobody is listening.

        1. Steve, I wish I could put my name on my posts, but I have loved ones who work in City Hall and we all know how vindictive this administration can and will be. Besides, I think “Pork City” is a much more apt moniker for our beloved Park City. As long you’re anti-Finch I’m on your side!

          1. Pork City, I am many things; being anti-Finch would not be one of my characteristics.

  6. So can anyone explain what exactly is the “New York City Office of the General Counsel”? I work in New York City government and I couldn’t tell you what it is. Just saying.

  7. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this. Another cook in the kitchen can lead to interesting dynamics. Will she be allowed to do her job? if not, what will happen? Will she and Anastasi and others clash heads? What will happen if they do? Will they shy information from her? Trying to create more protocols and maximize efficiency is threatening to people so this will likely lead to weird dynamics.

    On the other hand if they were really concerned about efficiency I am wondering why didn’t they just hire more front-line staff. Or if they were serious about this kind of thing maybe hire an IO consultant.

    In the end someone does not survive multiple administrations by being efficient (Anastasi), but this is her task. I see potential for a clash.

    1. You already know what will come of this. If she does the job as presented, she’ll be looking for a new job very soon, and a little help removing the knives from her back. Have you already forgotten how CitiStat started and what it turned into?

  8. Mayor Finch screwed the council again for the 1,000th time. When are you people going to learn you can’t trust Finch or his staff and for good measure throw in Brannelly and McCarthy? Ask Finch to show the advertisement he used to attract 75 candidates, I will bet that is total bullshit.

  9. “To be honest with you […] the City Attorney’s Office saves us money day in and day out. They do a tremendous job,” Brannelly said. “But I think the office could be run much better.”

    Sue! Seriously? How about the $100k Mark cost us by not filing the intervenor status on the access road? Anybody seen Lisa T lately?

  10. Sue Brannelly stated the following. “Brannelly said the administration had no legal obligation to share its plans regarding Williams-Lendor, and probably did not want to be micromanaged.”
    Does Sue Brannelly think the administration didn’t need to let the B & A Committee where the funds were coming from in fact Sue thought it was okay the unfilled positions the mayor claimed the salaries came from were not on the unfilled positions list the mayor’s office office provided the council. It is just a scenario where the mayor lied to the council and the council smiled and said nothing.

  11. When someone says “to be honest with you” I automatically pay closer attention. It often indicates what I am about to hear is less accurate or truthful than what has been said before (but very important to the person making the statement). I don’t see Sue Brannelly as someone who is efficient in her work, for starters, but this issue is not about Sue.

    How did the Chief Administrative Office get a deputy to supervise the City Attorney’s Office? Lots of answers possible. But look at the Mayor’s proposed budget and go to CAO Pages 105-09. Is there a listing there showing a NEW Deputy CAO? NO!
    In early April what positions listed in the Budget document were VACANT? There were two: Seasonal Intern .50 Full Time Equivalent with no benefits at $20,000 and Assistant Special Project Manager at $58,750 with a Health Benefit Allowance of $17,597. NO VACANT DEPUTY CAO at that point when the City was advertising for a position.
    Where else might the City Council or public reasonably get a clue about the need for a new position (and therefore an employee) in City governance? I am glad you asked.

    Does anybody read the Department GOALS (2014-15) or FY 2013-14 GOAL STATUS for a Department like CAO? Well if you focus on either, nowhere is there any mention of problems, issues, or concerns about legal “efficiencies” listed. (Perhaps there are none). But it does lead me to ask what Service Indicators will Chief Nunn use to measure the work of the new office and employee? And if the Chief were asked today to see the evaluation mechanism going forward (or the problems encountered leading to the new position) would he keep repeating his own name? NUNN, NUNN, NONE, NUNN, NONE.

    And the CAO reviews and supervises Small Business Enterprise and does not call for current and accurate Service Indicators from them? And in all the planning there is nothing said about City Attorney? Must be very secret, private and confidential? But you are using taxpayer funds!! Does it matter to you?

    Of course the City Attorney’s office has specific representation responsibilities as well as broad interpretive duties. Perhaps a review of each of the Assistant City Attorneys’ case loads, cases cleared, settlements and judgments, etc. might be produced and considered. Is there a hierarchy of efficiency revealed? Is a $52,000 payment yielding similar City representation? Why not? A position is not meant to be a retirement income.

    Let’s see if this appointment ends with a challenge to the byzantine jobs system we have in Bridgeport with Charter, Civil Service, Labor Relations, and Human Resource inputs, territories, authorities, etc. Time will tell.

  12. The council should be asking the following:
    1. Where was this job advertised?
    2. What dates were in the advertisement?
    3. How many applications were submitted?
    4. Who sat on the selection committee?
    5. Why was this position hidden from the B & A committee?
    6. Provide invoice showing job was advertised.
    These are just a few questions for the mayor the council should ask.

  13. It will be interesting to see if Anastasi comes up with excuses for Finch on this, or if he sits back and lets Finch deal with this on his own.


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