Finch To Prune Police To Close Budget Gap, Plus: Shays Hits Executive Pay

I do not recall in my 30 years covering the city, a mayor eliminating cops from the workforce, but that’s what Mayor Bill Finch announced today he’ll do to save roughly $2 million to close a growing budget deficit.

Finch said the police cuts, about 15 positions, will impact higher-ranking administrators and not patrol ranks. Finch said another 15 or so additional positions outside the police department will be eliminated. Can the police union save the jobs? We’ll see if Finch’s announcement gets them back to the bargaining table for concessions involving overtime, insurance, sick leave and future pay. The current police contract that the union negotiated three years ago apparently does not include bumping rights for employees impacted by layoffs. Maybe they thought police jobs would never be eliminated.

Finch’s announcement comes on the heels of a crazy week when Wall Street, say financial historians, took its biggest hit since The Depression, and now it’s trickle-down torture.

The Hartford Courant on Sunday ran a fascinating story about the loss impact Greenwich billionaires are having on Connecticut’s income tax revenues. All those rich folks we love to hate in Green-wich pay more state income taxes than all of the three largest cities combined. Lots of taxable income down the drain last week. I wonder what OIB friend Con Filardi thinks about that?

Finch can take heart, for what it’s worth, that he’s not alone in the financial pot of blood boiling over.

John McCain started last week saying the fundamentals of the economy are strong. He ended it by saying he wanted to fire everyone. In a snap of his fingers he went from no regulation to yes, I love regulation. And now we’re looking at Socialism because there’s just no choice. The government that Republicans want to keep out of their lives (me too) will have its biggest say yet.

This is a super close presidential race. If McCain loses it’s because of his poor temperament and disconnection from reality. He acted like a guy that’s never used the internet, never balanced a checkbook and, yes, doesn’t know how many houses he owns. This is where Barack has an opening. He acted presidential last week while McCain acted like a one-man panic squad.

The first presidential debate airs Friday night. They’re supposed to talk about international affairs. America’s economy impacts the world so I’m sure this fiscal chaos will find its way early into the debate. This race will come down to mental toughness, temperament and judgment. Whom do you trust?

News release from Christopher Shays

Shays Calls for Executive Compensation Limits in Rescue Plan

Washington , D.C. – Congressman Christopher Shays (CT-4), a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, called today for executive compensation limits for companies who will be assisted by the Department of Treasury proposal.

“The bottom line is taxpayer funds should not be used to pay executives,” said Shays. “There needs to be accountability for the investment managers and executives who made poor management decisions. Preventing golden parachutes and limiting executive compensation packages at firms that choose to participate seems like a good place to start. This package is about protecting taxpayers’ retirement funds, pension plans, college savings and other investments by ensuring continued liquidity in the marketplace, not about bailouts for the people who got us into this mess.”

“I also believe we can’t cut a $700 billion check to Treasury without strong oversight of this plan, and will be actively engaged in the debate on how to balance emergency relief with significant transparency and accountability,” Shays continued.

We Want You!

How do you attract young people to Bridgeport? You show them a side of the city they’ve never seen.

Keith Cougar Rodgerson and Daniel Comboni, displaced NEST artists, have filmed and produced a 30-second cable spot designed to woo young adults. The commercial is airing on TNT, Bravo and Comedy Central, including Coug’s favorite show The Colbert Report. The campaign is funded by a grant from One Coast, One Future with the help of the Small Business Administration, Bridgeport Regional Business Council and Business Council of Fairfield County.

“The commercial is meant to attract 22-34 year olds to Bridgeport to live, work and recreate,” according to Coug. “It features niche eateries such as Pho Saigon in the West End, the Brazilian steakhouse Pantanal Restaurant in the Hollow, the Bereket Turkish Restaurant and Micalizzis” that Italian ice institution.

The spot also highlights kayaking in Black Rock Harbor, outdoor dining at Harboview Market and the music scene downtown. Background music for the spot was provided by local band The Simple Pleasure. And Cougar even lends his lungs for the voiceover. Check it out at

Party With OIB

Okay, boys and girls, make sure you’ve placed the OIB party on your calendar this Thursday, 5:30 at Captain’s Cove. First drink on OIB, plus candidate food fights. We’ll have cardboard cutouts of Sarah and her shotgun, and McCain and Barack in drag. Plus, a photographer for blackmail photos. We’ll reminisce about the future including the first presidential debate. The Democratic Town Committee had the audacity to schedule an event that night. Not to worry, more for us.

Dollar Bill Talks Economics

Democratic candidate to discuss need for middle class tax relief

On Monday September 22nd at 5pm, Former New Jersey Senator, Presidential candidate, and NBA hall-of-famer Bill Bradley will join Democratic nominee for Congress Jim Himes in Stamford to discuss the need for middle class tax relief. The discussion will take place at the Stamford home of Jonathan and Georgina Rosenbaum, small business owners.

The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Republican State Sen. Rob Russo who is being challenged by Democrat Anthony Musto, the Trumbull town treasurer. To see a complete list of candidate endorsements go to  Press release from organization below: 

SEPTEMBER 17, 2008

CTLCV Endorses 45 Pro-Environment Candidates for Connecticut General Assembly
With just over six weeks left until Election Day on November 4, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters is pleased to endorse its bipartisan “green” slate of 45 pro-environment candidates for Connecticut General Assembly.

We believe these candidates, if elected or re-elected, will lead Connecticut toward adopting environmental policies that are smart and sustainable over the long run.

Our endorsements are based on candidates’ record of support for pro-environment policies, their responses to CTLCV’s 2008 survey, and interviews with the League’s Board.

To view individual candidate surveys and other election-related developments throughout election season, check back at



  1. Lennie, if there is to be a State of the City speech today, the Mayor’s office doesn’t know about it. The City Clerk’s office has nothing scheduled for the Council Chambers for tonight. So where is the Mayor giving the speech to update us all on the City finances?

  2. Lennie:
    I’m not too concerned about the rich people of Greenwich because they win with the market’s going up and the market’s going down. If they aren’t winning with their “shorts” and their “longs” the Feds come in to save them. To make a “long” story “short”, if the Feds don’t save them what in hell will the State do to shore up the Cities and the State Treasury? So we have to be grateful for the “bailout”.

    At the risk of sounding “sanctimonious” I can remember visiting Greenwich during the Great Depression. You would never have thought the rest of the country was living hand-to-mouth.

    What ever motivated me to move from “white” Greenwich to Bridgeport? I’ll never know. I could have spent my final years surrounded by loveliness with low taxes and and even lower insurance. Maybe Ron Mackey could recommend a good psychiatrist.

  3. Hey Blogmaster!!! Why wasn’t Solid as Barack scolded for his language re Chris Shays?

    Hope all the lemming dems read how Shays voted quite often along the same line as Obama. Hmmm, sometimes a white boy from the burbs CAN understand the urban agenda.

    Also got a kick out of the article on the 90% voting record of McCain. Seems like Obama’s record of agreeing with Bush is a far cry from zero although less than Biden or Hillary. Can we cut the nonsense of repeating what pundits and spindoctors are saying and make up our own minds based on what the candidates say?

    BTW, I’m still leaning Obama, Shays, Russo. I’d also vote to recall Dodd if anyone in H’ford had the chutzpah to start the referendum.

  4. I’ve known Chris professionally for many years and he didn’t lose his independent soul when the Clinton impeachment happened and hasn’t lost it since. Not knowing who you are I can’t say it for a fact but would venture to guess that I know Chris professionally better than you know Barack. Don’t get me wrong, I’m strongly leaning toward Obama/Biden, but will be judging the candidates with an open and independent mind and not as some party hack supporting the man because of a (D) or (R). And I don’t dislike Himes, just think Chris still has a lot to offer the 4th.

  5. Hey Lennie,
    Here is an update on Bridgeport’s finances based on the July 2008 Monthly Financial Report; one month into the new fiscal year.
    FY09 Projected Deficit (998,192)
    Note: The below listed revenues have been assumed to be received in FY 09. In the event that any of the listed revenue is not received in the fiscal year, the above projected deficit will increase accordingly.
    Debt Service Reimbursement (Steel Pt) (4,500,000)
    City Wide Union Concession Savings (1,000,000)

    Projected potential deficit (6,498,192)

    Fund balance to cover deficit 9,000,000

  6. Lennie,
    Here are a few quick points on the reduced revenues in the budget.
    Earnings on investments – down $400,000
    BHA rental PILOT payment down $ 81,235
    Wonderland of Ice various down $120,957
    Bridgeport Bluefish rent – down $150,000

    Now the most interesting thing here is not what is on the list but what is not on the list. The city still plans on collecting all tax revenues budgeted which represents a higher collection rate than last year’s budget.

    Mike Blomberg was on Meet The Press yesterday saying that they have lowered their estimated tax revenues by 9% and he was hoping that it wouldn’t get worse!

  7. Thanks Mr. Walsh for the data. I hear Mayor Finch announced 30 immediate layoffs. As a City Employee, I would be willing to take my one-week furlough, on the proviso that the council show its understanding and willingness to help by eliminating the stipends and vacant staff positions, and the Mayor cut the size of his bloated staff of high-priced neophytes. Also any office with a director and assistant should lose the assistant. Times are tough and the high-priced folk need to do a little more!

  8. IS THAT RIGHT??? Bill Finch is foreclosing on ABCD for $120,000 in questionable back taxes and he is allowing the Bluefish to use the stadium rent free???
    Didn’t one of the owners of the Bluefish host a fundraiser in the last few months to help the mayor retire his campaign / legal debts?
    Here we go again; only in Bridgeport!

  9. Lennie:
    Just noticed that you have added to today’s blog to include the fact that the mayor intends to cut 30 positions from the police department. You seem shocked at the prospect! You just didn’t live through the Great Depression. I can only say: “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet”.
    However, I do believe that the Mayor should look at his own office FIRST, and eliminate the fat there. And once again, has he called in ALL of his department heads and asked each of them to trim five or ten percent to come within the budget?

  10. Indy Soul

    I’ve known Chris for 21 years. He’s changed. He’s passive-aggressive. Look at his behavior patterns. If you dare to disagree, I did a year ago about Steal Point, with him he chastises you and tells you that you should move out of Bridgeport. If things threaten not to go his way, eg: casino issue, he threatens to move out of Bridgeport. Or he claims that if something happens against his grain, like Chris Caruso being elected, he says you won’t see him around Bridgeport as our Congressman.

    Here’s my name. Tom Kelly.

  11. While I may agree with the layoff of the top brass in the Police Department and they are top heavy, there are 100 supervisors in a Department that has approximately 418 men. If you subtract the 100 supervisors that means there are 318 street cops and detectives or 1 supervisor for every 3 cops.
    My problem with all this is that the layoffs in the city seems to be willy-nilly. There does not seem to be a plan and these layoffs are all over the map.
    Let’s take care of other cost-cutting measures first and then step back and see who or where we have to lay off.
    1. Let’s take every car that is taken home away from the peple that take them home except for the police chief, fire chief and public facilities director.
    2. Let’s direct each office or department to cut their budget 5 or 10 percent including the mayor’s office.
    3. Let’s lay off all of the people hired for the new jobs invented by the administration and stop hiring anyone else.
    4. If the people that represent Steel point can’t pay us the $4.5 million let’s rebid the property.

  12. Hey Bob:

    I couldn’t help but notice that you have provided us with a peek at the July 2008 Monthly Financial Report. It’s almost October 2008. Where is the August Report? Are they Monthly Reports or Quarterly Reports?

    “Earnings on investments – down $400,000”.
    If EOI’s were down $400,000 in July, how much more has it dropped as of last week’s market drop? Have you inquired about this, or are you waiting for the bottom to bust wide open? Can you give us some clear information about these investments — are the earnings on investments down or are the investments themselves evaporating?
    Sell, Sell, Sell, Sell…

  13. Joel,
    It takes OPM under the best of circumstances 3 weeks into the following month to close the books. So it is almost the beginning of September when they are done. Then it takes awhile for them to review everything and try to figure out what went wrong. The budget narratives apparently were printed Sept 9, 2008. The August report will be out before Thanksgiving.
    The narrative states that the decrease is due to lower interest rates. And I am sure that part is due to less funds on hand. This is an estimate for the year so hopefully this is a worst case scenario.

  14. Mayor Finch needs to cut @ the top and work his way down. All the newly created jobs and non-essential positions in his admin. can take a cut by layoffs. The council’s stipends & liaison’s office #2 positions can be cut as well. All temp. and seasonal workers can be laid off earlier this year too. Also, as was stated in a blog earlier, all dept. heads should be called in again for their personal input & ideas for cutting another 5% across the board in their depts. How about cutting back to #4-days a week work instead of #5? Last but not least, the B.O.E. needs to come up with some cost-cutting ideas on bills paid by the city-side. Finally the city should put out exploratory bids for sale on some of its city-owned properties like BRAC & the Eisenhower Center, etc. for future possibilities! Tough times call for tough measures if need be, to get the city back on its feet!

  15. Wow! What a way to run the largest city in the state. Department heads asking constituent services who is getting a pink slip and…getting the answers from that post??? Wow!


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