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Ganim Seeks State Approval To Borrow To Pay Off Unfunded Pension Liability

March 22nd, 2017 · 36 Comments · City Budget, News and Events

Ganim addresses legislative committee. At right State Rep. Steve Stafstrom.

Ganim addresses legislative committee. At right State Rep. Steve Stafstrom.

With city Bond Counsel John Stafstrom at his side and a nod to his nephew State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, a member of the legislature’s Planning and Development Committee, Mayor Joe Ganim on Wednesday urged passage of a proposal to allow municipalities to bond the unfunded pension liability for the Municipal Employees Retirement System that Ganim says would save millions in debt service payments. In Ganim’s prepared remarks that follow he shares background on the issue, with financial restructuring recommendations backed by state leaders.

John Stafstrom

City Bond Counsel John Stafstrom.

I am here today to testify in support of House Bill 7296 2017 AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE FUNDING OF UNFUNDED ACCRUED MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM LIABILITIES BY MUNICIPALITIES

I have John Stafstrom–our bond counsel–joining me today just in case anyone has technical questions about this bill.

John is probably also well known to many in this building and may even be related to someone on this committee but you never know, that could be fake news.

Let me give you a broad sketch of what we are trying to achieve with this bill and why Bridgeport and potentially other municipalities are in a position to benefit from the new authority contained in it.

In a nutshell, House Bill 7296 would grant Bridgeport and other municipalities legal authority to issue bonds to pay off current remaining unfunded pension liability due to the CT-MERS (Municipal Employees Retirement System) pension plan.

We think by doing so we could simultaneously eliminate a major unfunded pension liability for the city and save taxpayers more than $68 million in debt service payments over the next 26 years.

I am here today to ask your support in passing this legislation–with a couple of small technical adjustments contained in revised language for this bill that I have attached to my written statement that I submitted to you today.

Let me give you a little bit of Background as to why we are in a position to ask for this new bonding authority:

The City of Bridgeport moved Police and Fire Employees into the CT-MERS pension plan in 2013.

A later actuarial analysis showed that the city did not transfer enough assets to cover the cost of these employees and retirees.

In fact, that analysis said we were short about $83 Million dollars of what Bridgeport needed to transfer into the MERS system to cover these employees and retirees.

To cover the cost of this major shortfall, Bridgeport is now required to make annual amortization payments of $7.5 million dollars over the next 28 years–at an interest rate of 8%.

Though the state agreed to defer the start of these payments for a couple of years, it started in the 2016 Fiscal year and represents a staggering cost to the taxpayers of our city.

In fact, when I took office a little more than a year ago my team informed me that the city was confronting a $20 million deficit halfway through the fiscal year.

If you do the math, these MERS Amortization payments represented nearly half of that deficit.

With great appreciation, the legislature and Governor Malloy last year agreed to let the city of Bridgeport have some modest relief from some of those payments for the next two years so we could stabilize our finances and get our house in order.

And that was a real bipartisan effort, by the way. We got tremendous help from Democratic and Republican leadership in getting that Bridgeport pension relief bill through the House and Senate at the end of the 2016 session.

And I thank you all very much on behalf of the city. It made a major difference in allowing us to balance our budget.

With this action and other difficult budget cuts, cost savings measures, and some additional revenue from land sales and debt restructuring, we were able to close that deficit, even ending the fiscal year with a small surplus.

This hard work–and it was very hard–was rewarded a few months later by three major Wall Street bond rating agencies.

Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch looked at our budget in balance with another projected surplus for the current fiscal year.

They held Bridgeport at an A rating and two out of three of them even improved our outlook from negative to stable.

Given the fiscal conditions in our state, for Bridgeport to hold firm in our credit rating is a very strong endorsement of my administration’s efforts to get the city’s finances in order.

But one of the questions consistently asked by these rating agencies in our conversation was–what are you doing about your unfunded pension liability?

These MERS amortized payments are a big chunk of Bridgeport’s unfunded pension liability.

So, my team looked at this and we came up with an innovative solution.

With our strong credit rating recently endorsed by the Wall Street agencies, we are in a unique position to go to the bond market and borrow money to pay off this MERS unfunded liability.

We would pay it back over the next 26 years, following the exact amortization schedule we currently have for the MERS payments.

We think this would be a major improvement for the city of Bridgeport for the following reasons:

We estimate that the interest rate on the taxable bonds we want to issue to pay off our unfunded pension liability will be in the 3.5% – 4.5% range–a major difference from the 8% we are currently paying on the unfunded liability.

We have had actuarial analysis done on our proposal and the estimated savings on this are substantial.

Our actuaries estimate the savings Bridgeport taxpayers will realize by taking this step will be approximately $2.8 Million dollars per year, for the next 26 years.

This is real savings that as a city we could use to shore up our other unfunded pension liabilities.

We are confident this would absolutely help future credit ratings for the city of Bridgeport.

By doing this, Bridgeport would also make the municipal employee retirement fund whole and eliminate any unfunded pension liability in one lump sum.

This is why we have the won backing for our proposal from the State Comptroller’s office. We also have the support for this proposal from the Office of Policy and Management, which has reviewed our plan thoroughly.

In addition to making sense for the Municipal employee retirement fund and the city of Bridgeport’s budget and credit rating, you should also know that Bridgeport is in a good fiscal position to take out these new pension obligation bonds.

That’s because Bridgeport’s debt service burden is scheduled to decline dramatically in the next five years, and decline even further another 10 years after that.

HB 7296 gives us the legal authority to issue pension bonds to cover unfunded liability for MERS. And, it is not limited to the city of Bridgeport.

Any municipality that currently has unfunded pension liability for MERS could conceivably take advantage of this bill if it becomes law.

I also want to stress that this legislation DOES NOT TOUCH Bridgeport’s current obligation to pay into MERS for our current employees and retirees.

Bridgeport currently pays approximately $32 Million annually to cover the pensions of present and future retirees and those base payments would not be impacted by this legislation.

In fact, we are statutorily and contractually obligated to fully fund our commitment to MERS, and we will continue to do so.

In closing, I want to thank you for your time in hearing me about this legislative proposal.

I urge you to support this bill–it is straightforward, and it makes a lot of sense, and it can really help cities like Bridgeport become more financially stable.

I also want to point out that we have consulted with our state Treasurer Denise Nappier’s office on this, as well as the leadership of both Republican and Democratic legislative caucuses in the Senate and the House.

All those we have consulted with agree with our approach and we very much appreciate your attention and consideration of our proposal.

So thank you again, and I am here to answer any questions you might have.

I also have with me our city’s bond counsel to answer any specific or technical questions if there are any.

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36 Comments so far ↓

  • Dave Walker

    Mayor Ganim evidently has a very poor memory. He borrowed about $300 million to fund the pension plan in his first tenure as Mayor and the market subsequently dropped dramatically. We are still paying for that mistake. The City needs to dramatically reform its retiree health care plan and eliminate the abuses in its pension plans. Only after doing that should he think about additional contributions to the plan. It is hard to believe that bond counsel is testifying on this matter. Bond counsel has a fundamental conflict of interest in connection with this matter. What happened to professional ethics? No surprise, it’s Bridgeport! Obviously bond counsel and investment bankers will be for this. However, the City Council and taxpayers should be against it. Joe, don’t make the same mistake twice!!!! If you do, you will be held accountable.

    • Ron Mackey

      Dave Walker, speaking of health benefits are you assisting President Trump and House Leader Paul Ryan with their health bill, Trump Care?

      • Dave Walker

        Not at this time.

        • Ron Mackey

          Dave, thanks for your reply. Dave, base on what you know now of the new health plan that is to replace the ACA, will this new plan help Bridgeport and the state?

          • Dave Walker

            Ron,
            It is too early to predict. The current bill would hurt but it may not pass the House and will not pass the Senate in its present form. Candidly, we need to have a different debate. What level of universal health care is appropriate, affordable and sustainable. We have yet to have that debate.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Look Dave, Joe Ganim does not have a clue. He signed a police and fire pension contract that allowed police and firefighters (medic) to retire with an average of their three highest years. This includes outside overtime. Here is an example. Let’s say a cop’s salary is $60,000 a year and with overtime his salary climbs to $100 K per year he then decides to retire with 25 years service. Under the old contract this person would retire at $43K per year under the new contract he retires at $50K so the more he makes the more pension he makes.
    Is there a way to limit these amounts? Yes just eliminate the use of off-duty cops at construction sites and allow the use of civilians properly trained. In fact there is such a program so why not train city residents and put cops back where they belong?
    John Stafstrom is there because the RFP is written to favor a certain firm (his) and their track record leaves something to wonder about, just look at the money borrowed for the pension plan A people and where the money went.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Why does Joe Ganim go to Hartford in 2017 for permission to borrow money? Look at all the people who DO NOT LIVE AND PAY TAXES IN BRIDGEPORT that he says are on board with his idea. Are you impressed? Frankly I am not, because almost without exception they are the ones who have been responsible for guiding our State to the pension problem we sit with today.

    On Public Safety Pension A, Ganim’s initial experiment in borrowing (2000) to plug a hole in pension funding, he committed the City to a minimum of $900 Million of taxpayer funding over 30 years at $30 Million annually. That is what it was to cost to repay $350 Million borrowed. Was that a good deal? While the bond repayments have been made every year, how about the actual necessary pension funding? City and State, what is our funding record?

    Today that sucks $16 Million from the Police Department Operations budget and $14 Million from the Fire Department and it will through 2029. How is that working, Joe? How much is left in 2017 from the borrowing to which we are still paying out about $30 Million per year to the retirees or their surviving spouses? Yes, market losses have had their effect, significantly. Was that mentioned in 2000 on your initial gambit? Try “bridging” my questions with an explanation, please. After all you knew how to “bridge” your own retirement account when the Feds sent you away for seven years and connect it with your current term 12 years later. Isn’t that a really long bridge? And didn’t you actually cause the destruction of some of the segments of such an imaginary structure when you were a guest of the government?

    Regarding the Finch administration “negotiating” the transfer from Pension Plan B Police and Fire, certainly not in the style of The Art of The Deal, overtime earnings began to be covered and Finch never turned around to the B&A with an explanation. He did turn to the State on several occasions for compassion and mercy and relief. But never stood in front of his taxpayers and explained what he was doing and its expense.

    We know what the Police Department got, the right to double or more their basic 25-year 50% pension, if they worked ONLY 2/3 of the three highest employment years on overtime of their 25-year career to earn OT at 150%. Who knew??? And the WIN for the taxpayers was what??? Can’t hear you.

    So maybe in this budget season, rather than do any more borrowing, we should begin to attack the Overtime with REAL NEGOTIATIONS, and this time get a WIN for the taxpayers? Want to hear my idea?

    Other than a 40-year Ordinance and some Labor Relations agreement that has never been shared with the public to see how they think, perhaps we should eliminate the $5 Million of planned and scheduled OT for flag duty for Police Officers on street duty at road cuts and the like. Is it real Public Safety work?

    I know, the PD won’t like this. But how many of them are voters or taxpayers in the City? What can they show us has been beneficial to City taxpayers, all of us? Current earnings of $100,000 or more and retirement earnings of twice base pay in retirement after 25 years?? How does that compare to City resident earnings? Or to City taxpayer incomes, retirement or otherwise?

    Where is the Finance Department of 5 or 7 skilled, experienced, Bridgeport residents, with integrity that comes of no primary self-interest or conflict who can discuss best financial moves on a bi-partisan basis?? Wouldn’t you rather have Joe run his story by them before taking the show to Hartford? And John Stafstrom is a smart guy, but where has he shown his face and borrowing story in recent years? Did we miss an Op-Ed in the CT Post? Or a press release from the Mayor’s Office?

    Has Ganim2 talked about Charter reform? Heck, no. He cannot even appoint enough people to eliminate vacancies on Boards and Commissions around the City. He does not care. He has no priorities other than what is in his own mind. And it is not about the people, black, brown, yellow, white, pink, green or purple. What about coming to the people, all of us, no matter what District in which we reside and lay out the plan? If you have one. You had seven years to reflect and advise on Pension Plan A investments. Did you ever write a note of advice to Bill Finch? Would you have Bill Finch manage your money today? While I never heard of any communication from you to the managers of Plan A while in attendance at their meetings, what directions would you give for a different type of “second chance” in 2017?

    Why aren’t you letting people know that the investment assumptions in City plans are too high for the likely net earnings currently and in most years ahead? So why don’t you tell the people you can’t announce that because the under funding would become even more revealed and show increasingly our negative RED BOOTS posture?? Isn’t it so much easier to go to Hartford, where you talk to other politicos who do not really challenge your “poor and incomplete advice” than hang around Council chambers to listen and talk with your voters and taxpayers?

    Joe, you are giving a bad rap to “second chances” in this City and adding to your own weak reputation as Manager and fiscal administrator. Imagine what you are doing to the Ganim brand locally. Time will tell.

  • Frank Gyure

    Succinctly, I look suspiciously upon bonding to repair and plug municipal budgeting woes. Bonding has been traditionally used for “bricks and mortar” work; infrastructure, roads, etc., etc. This bill that goes before the General Assembly begins the process of undermining municipalities being “honest” with their budgets. We have already seen some cooking of the books regarding funding MERS in the last General assembly. Next time I bump into State Rep Steve Stafstrom, I will certainly raise my concerns in the direction that this legislation may be leading us into.

  • Tom White

    Borrowing to cover pension costs is a red flag. It means something is very wrong. Most would agree the fire and police pension plans have historically been unsustainable. The MERS has been more stable as long as a municipality makes its required contributions.

    How much has the City’s obligations to MERS increased with the inclusion of Fire and Police? How much of the increase is due to the Police overtime inclusion in pension calculations?

    Is Mayor Ganim and the Bridgeport delegation supporting the bill calling for the exclusion of overtime from pension calculations? A report on that would be helpful.

  • Robert Teixeira

    Dave, what data are you talking about? It’s comical listening to this debate. Once you come to the viewpoint having health care is not a privilege based on one’s financial means, but a fundamental right ensured by this country’s government, the data is simple.

    Dave, heath insurance companies make money, yet they don’t do anything in the health care field. They collect money from people for their health care needs and pay their health care bills when they receive them. (Maybe.)

    In order for them to make the hundreds probably thousands of billions, which they do, they have to take in more money than they pay out. The one and only way this is possible is for the government, taxpayers, to socialize the real health care expenses, when it comes to health care needs. They don’t want the poor because they have no money, at any age. They don’t want the sick, and they don’t want the elderly. They want the least people who have health care needs, and they want the healthy, hence Medicaid for the poor and Medicare for the elderly and sick, paid by taxpayers.

    I love the “Republicans” concept of word manipulation on ‘we are going to give everyone affordable access to health care. Everybody has access to buy a Lamborghini but everyone is not going to be able to buy one.

    I also love when they say health care insurance competition will bring down the cost of health care. If there are 1 or 100 health care companies to choose from, the bill from the doctor or hospital is going to be the same. Most doctors are not taking Medicaid patients because it has a low reimbursement, right, because the government can’t pay them for their services based on the amount of poor people needing health care. So how is choosing among many insurance companies going to drive down the cost?

    At some point when the government comes to the viewpoint health care is not a privilege but a right ensured by this government, they are going to have to take the billions the health care insurance companies are making, stop this who gets decent medical care and who gets substandard medical care. How, when, or what forces will force these changes, TWT.

    When it does, and it will, some type of universal health care will be in place. Businesses will benefit for not have to pay for employee’s health care, and those who can’t afford to pay employee’s health care will benefit by being able to attract employees to work for them, the government will benefit with its unfunded liabilities related to health insurance. (I can only assume they pay some insurance company until Medicare kicks in.)

    Sure there will be some losers, the health care insurance businesses will only supply some type of supplement hearth care insurance, and the hospitals and doctors will be reined in for their behavior. That’s what government is for, right?

    PS Did you hear about that terrorist attack in London?

  • Robert Teixeira

    I can’t see how this is anything but favorable for the city.

    Am I missing something?

    The city owes $83 million to MERS that is being paid off at 8%.

    Joe wants to bond $83 million at 4% and pay off MERS. The city will still owe $83 million but be paying it off at 4% instead of 8%.

    Isn’t that just refinancing the $83 million at a lower rate or is there something I’m missing?

    • Frank Gyure

      Robert Teixeira, get a lawyer or a Wall Street financial analyst. This is way beyond us.

      • Frank Gyure

        I think it’s time to take a slight overdose of my sleeping pills. Even considering any words from Joe Ganim means I am feeling the effects of extreme insomnia. Good Night. Good Morning.

    • Dave Walker

      Robert,
      If you are a politician, work for the bond counsel, are an investment banker, or are covered by the plan you will like the proposal. However, if you understandthe City has way over promised in connection with its retirement obligations, especially retiree health care, and needs to restructure the related plans to make them affordable, sustainable, secure and avoid bankruptcy over time, you would not be for this. It is myopic, reduces leverage for restructuring, and is full of conflicts of interest. It is a conflict and an ethical breach for members of the bond counsel firm to be testifying or voting on this matter. I continue to be shocked regarding the poor and ethically challenged leadership we have in this state and city. Eventually a majority of the people will wake up and elect competent and ethical leaders who will make the tough choices needed to create a better future.

      • Robert Teixeira

        You didn’t answer my question, Dave.

        I’m not saying city employees or its leadership are not taking advantage of taxpayers vie pension packages or other means, the need for the city to restructure its policies or increase revenue.

        It’s no difference than the health care insurance companies making thousands of billions dollars by taking people’s money that is meant for their health care, but is not going to anything related to their health care needs. While the government (taxpayers) pay for the real health care cost in this country, wouldn’t those billions the health care insurance companies are keeping for themselves be better used if they were apply to the actual health care needs in this country? Wouldn’t the taxpayer taxes go down and the cost of health care be driven down if those thousands of billions were applied to the actual health care needs in this country and not CEO, executives, and stockholders getting rich off of the taxpayers by privatizing the profits and socializing the actual cost and expanse of health care?

        Common math, the city saves on lowering its loan rate.

        The bond holder’s gain on an $83 million loan at 4% MERS loses by retiring the $83 million loans at 8%. Wouldn’t you consider lowering this unfunded liabilities restructuring and better utilizing taxpayer money?

        Like everything else Dave, it’s who’s side you sit on. Those who will lose an $83 million loan at 8% or those who will gain from an $83 million loan at 4% but from a city taxpayer standpoint. They will save on the lower rate. How the city got here is not the question. How the city moves forward, that’s another question.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Actually Bob, you are coming closer to this approach than I did, because of the Mayor’s history on this subject. We have a liability. It has a present value and using 8% interest factor we can borrow cheaper today because of market conditions.

      What is not being said is this is the situation at the moment and in my opinion has chances of getting worse as the differences between our investment earnings assumptions (7-8.5 % annually) are undercut by actual earnings (1%-5%) which then causes further notice of underfunding.

      When Ganim and Finch go to Hartford, rather than tell the taxpayers in good detail what is going on, I can clearly state there is a problem. Say it simply for all to understand, Joe.
      ** We understood you when you stickered STOP RAISING TAXES
      ** We understood when you said 100 more Police recruits (but did not say how long that would take or when it would solve the OT problem)
      ** You have left people believing you support the education of youth (but you have turned your back on finding dollars to solve BOE issues)
      ** And you ignore appointing the necessary taxpayer-residents to Boards and Commissions where vacancies and serving expired terms are the RULE and NOT THE EXCEPTION. Good governance?

      When will you supply a full answer to the people on the pension issues facing the City? Time will tell.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Bob,
      I do not believe you have it correct. Why don’t you and I ask Ken Flatto to show us the numbers behind the Mayor’s address in Hartford and where the savings will come from? Believe me, it is not the difference between 8% crediting rate (that we will be paying) and a 4% borrowing rate (that we will also be paying).

      If Joe Ganim is so intent on dealing with our retiree unfunded obligations, what has he ever said about OPEB, the lifetime healthcare benefits that are twice as large as our pension shortfalls. Before the Council signs off on this, don’t we want to be sure just how there was a mistake in the original numbers and why Bridgeport needs to pay more now? Does it have anything to do with the Police OT payable with the State plan that was not part of the definition in the City Police Plan B? You know how to reach me. Keep growling, just re-direct your bared teeth to the parties doing real damage to the body politic, those we elected. Time will tell.

      • Robert Teixeira

        Those are the question that have to be asked. What the $2.8 million is going to be used for? From common math, if the new bonds at 4% are going to retire an 8% loan is the starting point. Let’s say this move wasn’t done. Has anything really changed? Not saying shuffling money to run a city is not the best way to run government.

        Universal health care takes that card off the table in government union negotiations, which I find ironic.

  • Frank Gyure

    What time is it??? 2:26am and I am thinking about the City of Bridgeport???

  • Tom White

    Robert, your comments are often refreshing, even when they are too long and punctuated with links to YouTube videos.
    For this posting, you need to take notice of what Dave Walker and JML are saying. They are sharing real concerns with borrowing to cover future obligations.
    No, Bernie Sanders is not President and health care is not a fundamental right ensured by government. There is a goal to make it available to all. The Obamacare approach is to have more people on Medicaid. Whatever the final product, it will not be fair in everyone’s view.

  • Robert Teixeira

    Dave, a political hack.

    JML follows the numbers.

    You are “anything but Joe” or against whomever not on the side or your view point is.

    The Declaration of Independence. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (Humans) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Life (Health Care), Liberty (Military,freedom), and the Pursue of Happiness (free will-”ish”). One person’s happiness can’t be others’ suffering).

    Frank, Joe asking to refinance a city (unfunded liability) $83 million dollar loan at 8% created by a mayor (Finch), whom you supported against Joe, to a new $83 million dollar loan at 4%. Do you think Joe is taking action against real concerns this city is facing and its future obligation?

    Note taken.

    • Robert Teixeira

      Sorry Frank, I thought that was from you.

      Tom, you’re racist and WINNER and by WINNER I mean a LOSER.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Folks, I listened to Ken Flatto relate the Ganim message on borrowing. Flatto has had the actuaries in to share their stories with him, but the Budget and Appropriations has not.

      When Ken related the various back and forth of the past four year operating budgets and the effect that moving money to Hartford for Police and Fire that was inadequate and still is and what effect the Police OT has had, can anyone claim they have a full view?? And taking care of an 8% liability by borrowing at a guaranteed 4% is a smart thing when put into a BINARY question, however, when you begin to understand that bonds get paid while pension payments can be routinely modified in Hartford by politicos. And Ganim2 has never made our overall pension quandary clear, nor is his Labor Relations Department. More questions? Time will tell.

    • Dave Walker

      Robert,
      You are full of insults, one-dimensional analysis and diversions. If you think I am a political hack you don’t know me or anything about my background. My many years of experience have led me to believe those who debate by insulting others tend to be less informed and insecure. Don’t let yourself fall into that trap.

      • Robert Teixeira

        Dave:
        “Political hack” is a negative term ascribed to a person who is part of the political party apparatus, but whose intentions are more aligned with victory than personal conviction.

        I will just work with this thread.

        1. You jumped right in with an attack on Joe about his past. This thread is about Joe asking the state to let the city bond $83 million at a lower interest rate to save the city money, to try to fix something done by the prior administration.

        2. Ron asked you about the current health care bill and you told him “What level of universal health care is appropriate, affordable and sustainable. We have yet to have that debate.” I addressed you on this matter. Obviously you have problem with Ganim’s past and the misuse of millions of taxpayers’ dollars. Yet you turned a blind eye to the thousands of Billions of dollars the Health Care Companies are skimming off the top while leaving the real health care cost up to the government (taxpayers) because it doesn’t conform to your political party.

        Think about your statement to Ron. “What level of universal health care is appropriate, affordable and sustainable? We have yet to have that debate.” What does that truly mean? How much “universal health care is appropriate, affordable and sustainable.” How much can the government (taxpayers) pay before it get too burdensome. Or How much money can the Insurance make before it gets too burdensome on the taxpayers, who truly pay for the health care cost in this country, which was the heart to my reply to you and your statement to Ron.

        3. You told Andy, “Abuses need to be addressed and conflicts need to be eliminated.” Yet you say nothing about the thousands of billions of dollars Health Insurance companies make yearly. Because the taxpayers are paying the true cost of health care in this country that I addressed to you. Obviously you don’t find the need to eliminate these abuses on the taxpayers.

        4. Finally you told me, “If you are a politician, work for the bond counsel, are an investment banker, or are covered by the plan you will like the proposal.” Are you not a politician wannabe? Did you seek political office? Do you like this proposal? That is why I called you a political hack.

        It was not an insult. An insult would be calling you an ASSHOLE, but calling you an ASSHOLE would be an insult to Andy. BAM.

        • Dave Walker

          Robert,
          You are hopeless. I answered comments that related to the subject of the article. I do not have time to address unrelated subjects or your insults. I’ve checked your bio. It’s not worth my time to engage with you.

          • Robert Teixeira

            Dave:
            1. You insulted Ganim on his poor memory.

            2. You went off-topic and addressed an unrelated subject from the actual thread and addressed Joe’s past. The thread subject was how Joe was trying to save money by trying to lower a loan rate.

            3. Although you had no problem answering Ron’s questions that were not related to the article in any form, which I commented you on your comment to Ron.

            4. You said I know nothing about you. I asked you if I was correct on what I do know.

            5. I didn’t insult you. If I did it was no more of an insult you did to Joe in your initial comment about his past and his memory.

            PS when you have that debate about, “What level of universal health care is appropriate, affordable and sustainable,” I hope you bring up the fact that the insurance companies are making thousands of billions of dollars yet they don’t actually do anything to help any sick person, and the only way this is possible is for the Government (taxpayers) to actually pay for the true health care costs and needs in this country. I guess that will depend on what political party you identify with when you have this debate.

      • Robert Teixeira

        Dave, the reason I said calling you an asshole would be an insult to Andy is because he is genuine in being an asshole. You’re not even genuine to a political party affiliation. Correct me if I’m wrong. You were a Democrat who turned Republican who turned Independent who turned back to Republican to run for Lieutenant Governor. I probably should have self-serving in front of political hack. Sorry about that.
        www .youtube.com/watch?v=vYyx3CBSO_0

        • Jennifer Buchanan

          Robert, I have been paid to work on more than a few campaigns. I have been behind closed doors and know what candidates are really like. One thing Dave Walker is NOT is self-serving. His goal is always to work on solutions that are fair and equitable to both taxpayers and those who benefit from tax dollars. Dave believes in universal healthcare for all. He believes in protecting and helping those who are most vulnerable, that we have a moral obligation to protect and help the most vulnerable. He also believes everyone is obligated to contribute their fair share. He is one of the few people I have worked for who absolutely is a man of his word. I believe the saying from the ’80s was, if you weren’t a Democrat before the age of 30, you don’t have a heart, and if you aren’t a Republican after the age of 30, you don’t have a brain. For whatever reason Dave seems to have rubbed you the wrong way, and that’s regrettable. And you do make valid points about insurance companies. What is your take on the American drug companies? As to the bond to pay retirement obligations, what will the city do with the $2.8 million savings per year? What financial plan does the city have to meet future retirement obligations?

          • Robert Teixeira

            1. Self-Serving in his political convictions.

            2. He didn’t rub me the wrong way. I called him a political hack. He took it as an insult. Since you say he believes in universal health care, and he is currently a Republican, the terminology fits. Maybe that’s why he stayed silent on the matter.

            3. Something’s wrong when a pill in Canada is a fraction of the price in the US. Also I believe it’s illegal to try to buy drugs from Canada, and when advanced treatments take 20, 30 years for the FDA to approve and kept in trials something’s wrong with that also.

            4. I don’t know what was said in the ’80s nor care what they say in 2020s because when it comes to politics and parties it’s always the same. Take the people need to pay their fair share. Has that ever changed in the Democrat party or smaller government coming from the Republicans? It also matters what government does with the shares they receive. Again what Joe does with the $2.8 million he is asking the state he wants to try to save the city was the topic, but another question? Whatever he does with the $2.8 million, I will guarantee the city will benefit more from it than giving it to MERS on an 8% loan. No one in the world can deny that, not even Dave. If he bought one city employee a cup of coffee and burned the rest, the city gains a cup of coffee.

            Ask those questions regarding the city’s future. The merit of reducing an 8% loan to 4% to save the city $2.8 million was not warranted if you truly care about the city and abuse.

            You talked about people paying their fair share. Isn’t the mil rate the same for all Bridgeporters? Why is Dave upset about paying his fair share? Was it fair for people who were paying taxes on their home that was really worth half the amount they were paying taxes on?

            Joe, how are you planning to use the $2.8 million to move the city forward? TWT, until then nothing to see here. FAKE NEWS BAM I’M OUT.

            It’s not that I’m smart, I’m not, it’s just that you are a one-sided, self-serving liar. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. I’m just pointing out the correct time on your one-sided, self-serving lying ass broken clock, Dave. Now that’s an insult. BAM I’m out. :)

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Well there are only a few of Ganim’s robber barons who have yet to raise their heads. When we get Marsilio and Murphy back we will have the whole group minus Pinto back in play. Hold on to your wallets.

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