2011 Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster, considering another run for office, declares Mayor Bill Finch must take a stand to enforce the Bridgeport City Charter that prohibits city employee serving on the City Council. “The only common thread in these illogical conclusions is that the mayor wants what best serves him personally at any point in time and never mind good, responsive, open government.” Foster’s commentary:
Mayor Finch needs to get off the fence on pending legislation to enforce the City Charter’s ban on employees serving on the City Council. He is parsing his words. He is using his spokesperson and other paid city employees to make his case while he remains silent. His mouthpiece is saying that legislation to ban elected officials found guilty of corrupt practices from running again for office is a higher priority for him than dealing with a bill pending before the legislature now that the entire Bridgeport delegation is supporting (except for one city employee). Where are his priorities?
I will state clearly and unequivocally that if I were mayor I would immediately direct my City Attorney to research the issue and give an updated written legal opinion. It is my belief that since the mayor is sworn to uphold the City Charter and that the charter bans city employees from serving on the council, then his/her first priority should be to find a way to enforce the charter.
The proper action should be to ban city employees from the council and since the state law allows for banning their service on Boards of Finance and since the Bridgeport City Council serves as its Board of Finance, the charter is enforceable. The ban should and would be effective immediately.
The mayor wants the public to believe that ‘sometimes democracy doesn’t work.’ He said so when he attempted to eliminate an elected Board of Education. But he also believes that the voters can be trusted to wisely decide whether a city employee can effectively and independently serve on the council even though the charter bans it. And then again, he also believes that the voters cannot be trusted to decide if a former elected official should be elected again. The only common thread in these illogical conclusions is that the mayor wants what best serves him personally at any point in time and never mind good, responsive, open government.
The city needs leadership not gamesmanship. The city needs clear and consistent direction moving forward and not a moving target. The city needs a leader who is committed to cleaning up city government once and for all with decisive actions and not derisive press releases. I guess we will need to wait until September and November to see if democracy will work effectively this year–I’m a believer that democracy does work. In fact, I look forward to it.