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General Lee Issues Ganim Report Card To City Council

September 7th, 2016 · 22 Comments · City Council, News and Events

Tuesday night citizen fiscal watchdog John Marshall Lee told the City Council “September marks the 9th month of Joe Ganim’s “second chance” Mayordom. Nine months in human terms might suggest a healthy delivery, but with Mayoral terms we need a change of perspective.”

Lee’s full commentary:

Who is Joe Ganim and how is he doing as our leader? What is his plan and where are his priorities? First, there is a Joe Ganim we remember from the campaign. Among other things he called for:
· open government,
· improving public schools,
· reducing property taxes and
· growing the economy and public safety.

How did those work out for taxpayers, voters and parents of school-age youth?

Second there is the Joe Ganim of July 5th who sat and listened to the discontent of hundreds of taxpayers when Tom McCarthy did not suspend Council rules to extend time for speakers and adjourned after a limited City Council meeting. Ganim stayed and listened that evening. But where is a commentary on the distressed balance sheet and deficit handed to him? Where are his comments on genuine City direction based from his listening?

Third there is the Joe Ganim of his official Biography on the Bridgeport site. It tells us when he stepped into office the first time, there was a five-year budget projection showing a $250 Million looming deficit. Where is a five-year budget projection for 2021? What does it look like now, Mayor?

In your first hundred days you initiated a process for transition. Lots of good people spent time brainstorming and laying out paths to our future. You listened to good ideas. Why not return to the Transition Report and identify which you will advance and be accountable for? How many in this room including the Council have read it through and know its potential?

For that matter, where is an honest budget currently, especially of the Police Department? It has about 350 personnel, not 478 as the budget said were “filled.” One hundred million dollars to be spent based on a phony budget?

Why not post the actual employee total for the City currently and keep it up to date on the City site? The Transition Report states the Mayor “vowed to govern in an accountable and open manner to foster a better government to represent best interests of citizens.” How does that fit with phony budgeting? Perhaps this is time for a re-do that better indicates actual retires, new officers, and use of overtime.

Returning to the Mayor’s bio, we read: “After serving as Mayor, Joe Ganim worked as a successful private sector consultant for five years …” and so on. This statement fails to provide some critical history. No mention of Federal inquiry, indictments, trial on multiple counts, seven years of prison time, loss of law license and failure to secure it once again. Joe, find a dozen voters in the last election who don’t know most of the story. It’s not a secret. Why was it left out of your official “bio,” especially your special visit to an East Side church where some type of repentance or forgiveness ‘ceremony’ was said to happen? The “second chance” reference says it was for the City and for the Mayor. You asked for trust. Citizens look for truth. We need to verify.

The transition report suggested regular meetings with citizens out in the Districts of the Council. Have any of you scheduled such get-togethers? It’s an idea for the City, not necessarily dependent on the Mayor. An open conversation at a local school or church allows you to listen to constituents and to share your perspective as a representative. What do you have to lose? Failure to listen and to act towards priorities will sink us deeper in poor governance and fiscal mud. Genuine conversations fight hopelessness.

The Mayor’s bio finishes with his education, family and residence. It says the Mayor lives in Bridgeport, as termed in the Charter, but where exactly? Many people observe him with family in Easton. Others have suggested he may be residing in the Mobile Command Center, really? And locations like Cartright Street or a condo in Black Rock, where you have been reported delivering towels and fixing WiFi while on your day job are mentioned, but? Will the Mayor share where the IRS, the DMV and USPS have his residence listed?

Biographies and budgets should not be bogus. Mayor in your run for office you said: Open, Accountable, Transparent and Honest. I agree these are good governance values. Happy to talk and listen together any time. Time will tell.

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22 Comments so far ↓

  • Bob Walsh

    Wow. Talk about losing momentum.

    About two dozen members and supporters of Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport spearheaded a protest to bring awareness to increased taxes and other issues like safety, schools, and jobs during the public comment portion of the Bridgeport City Council meeting at City Hall in Bridgeport CT on Tuesday Sept. 6, 2016.

    • Lisa Parziale

      Bubba, I don’t understand your comment. Really. I thought JML was right on with the five minutes he had to speak, the chambers were full, not overflowing, but full. You and I worked together for years on the Council to change Ganim’s evil ways, we made some progress in that I believe our challenges eventually caught the attention of someone who knew the Feds or they were working on his machinations while we were. We had an in, we were respected elected officials, and he still managed to put up roadblocks even we couldn’t overcome. I hope you’re kidding because you do have an unusual sense of humor, and I love it, but give these folks credit for trying. If it doesn’t take off it’s because more City residents are too lazy to put in the time and effort it takes to keep their elected officials in line. Talk is cheap!!!

      • Lisa Parziale

        Bubba, as much as I genuinely care about you, proceed with caution. I’m the one who’s been leaving my comfy life to get back out there and do what I can to help. I made a mistake, and I’m trying to fix it. So when you get cranky with your remarks you’re talking about me also. After what I saw last night I’m so pissed off, please don’t be the one to unleash my anger.

    • Mary Filo

      Bob, I looked for you through the 100-plus crowd of people last night, but I couldn’t see you. To your benefit, I don’t stand much higher than a grasshopper. So maybe I just couldn’t see you? Lennie told me to keep this ditty set aside for you. I think today is a good day for it. It’s a catchy little tune my kids like to sing. I tell them, “Don’t be this guy!”
      youtu.be/FvcJqcUlYTo

  • Frank Gyure

    Bob Walsh. First of all, there were more than two dozen people. It may have been closer to 50 to 75. Were you there? Any expectations that 400 people would show up at every City Council meeting is completely unreasonable and shows poor political calculation and any thought that Ganim&Co would meet with this specific group also shows poor political calculation. Why are you so disparaging of people who are trying to initiate change in Bridgeport? You regularly come here and disparage Ganim and the City Council. I previously commented this would need time and the ultimate meeting place is not City Council chambers but it will be in the voting booth. That is the only way change will happen in Bridgeport. Is there any guarantee organized opposition to Ganim, the City Council will develop to a point that change will happen? Of course not. In the end,if the people of Bridgeport fail to stand up and be counted at the voting booths, then the people of Bridgeport will get what they deserve.

  • Bob Walsh

    Lisa,
    The CT Post reported there were two dozen people at the meeting last night. From hundreds to two dozen. That is not good.
    As I posted the other day, they need a victory and now they need one fast. JML talking about OATS just doesn’t hack it.
    And now that the CT court has ruled the state funding for education is NOT illegal, there will be no quick, significant infusion of state funding. The focus will quickly shift from taxes in Black Rock to the public school system.
    That is what I am taking about.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Bob,
      It’s not about Concerned Citizens Working for Bridgeport as you and sometimes Ron Mackey wish to make it. (Look at the longer trend over recent years where an average of fewer than 10 are routinely present for public presentations except for the weeks when a McCarthy “feel-good presentation” will follow. There were at least 100 people listening to the public speaking session.) Bob, do you feel bigger when you disparage the honest efforts of others and when you refuse to join a new effort by sharing your expertise?

      It’s not about white folks with residences subject to high valuations who live in Black Rock as Ganim’s office has tried to suggest and as the DTC has been successful in using to keep people with common cause from working together for years.

      It is about the DTC systematic offering of candidates who are loyal to the party rather than the people and taking rewards of various kinds for their loyalty. Too many elected close their eyes to written truth and their ears and hearts to those who are sharing their misery publicly. And they fail to use their voice to state their mission, objectives and accomplishments for their constituents.

      The record will show I appeared at each of the public hearings and made the school system a focus each time. The record will show I have used the words OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT for more than five years and added HONEST last year. They are good values. Why dis them? Rather live up to them. Ganim used them for campaign purposes but does not use the values to govern.

      As for school funding, let me suggest once again monthly financial reports be distributed electronically so all can see them. My copy from the City Clerk office for July 2016 has some startling news. The Tax Collectors Department has a line item for Municipal Share of Sales Taxes Fund. The CC set their initial expectation at $9,874,826 but someone just increased the year-end projection to $15,874,826. What was the basis for this estimate and revised projection? Are the facts as credible as any other projection of revenue in the budget? Where will the money be spent? Does the City Council feel the need to turn to the public school system at this moment? Time will tell.

      • Ron Mackey

        JML, if you guys can walk and chew gum at the same time then you can run slates for the DTC in your district and other like-minded people in other districts and put up your own candidates. And you can still do your protest. Giving a lecture to the City Council and the mayor and hoping for change, well, time will tell.

        • Frank Gyure

          RON MACKEY, WHERE ARE YOU WHEN BRIDGEPORT NEEDS YOU?

          • Ron Mackey

            Frank, I dance to a different drummer, my involvement in anything is to gather the facts, to know the lay of the land, what are the goals and objectives of the mission and do I have the equipment to accomplish the mission. What is a short-term goal and victory, an in-between goal and victory and a long-term goal, and how to make adjustments.

          • Frank Gyure

            Okay, that’s a good strategy. I LIKE IT.

        • John Marshall Lee

          Ron,
          With all respect, I have read your advice about DTC previously. Within me hope resides but it is combined with activity. You are attempting to be a coach, but will not even sit down with the team you are coaching. Isn’t that kind of a strange relationship? It is one it is difficult to trust, in a fashion, don’t you think?
          And as a person who can walk, chew gum, and handle a few other matters also at the same time, I find your comments disrespectful but slough it off, because you do not know me well enough. What a curious time when neither Mayor Ganim nor Ron Mackey will sit down for a serious discussion of matters affecting the city. Time will tell.

          • Lisa Parziale

            JML, every role is important. Ron is a man who goes back as far as I, and what I mean by that is he has remembrance, experience and someone who’s available when some of us just need to talk with a trusted friend. He doesn’t have to sit down with the Mayor “not that that would ever happen” to give opinions and suggestions to the ones who are going to carry the ball. His role is important and shouldn’t be questioned, he’s as valuable a resource as you. There’s a popular TV series called “The Voice,” the intent is to listen to talent without knowing who the performer is. Therefore, no bias, no visual judgement, just what the judges hear. Just an analogy, close our eyes and listen.

    • Mary Filo

      Bob, the Post didn’t “report” anything. They put a picture in with two sentences. Far from reporting. There is more “reporting” in the comments on this blog post. The wording you are referring to is, “about two dozen members and supporters of CW4BB HOLD UP SIGNS.” I’m saving it for my scrapbook.

  • Greg Einig

    Turnout looked to be around 100; maybe the CT Post caption meant two dozen were holding signs.

  • Jeff Kohut

    It is a big election year. It would seem if Bridgeporters want their story/dilemma to be heard and possibly addressed, it should be taken to all the candidates running for office (who will be representing Bridgeport interests in Hartford/DC) and presented, clearly, loudly and peacefully at candidate appearances, forums, meetings and press conferences. The higher the office being sought, the more bang for the buck from showing up and presenting Bridgeport’s story at candidate functions.

    If Bridgeport’s messaging is confined to City Hall, it will stay there and die there. If it is addressed to our own impotent leadership, it will be forgotten, misfiled, and otherwise mishandled per the long-time modus operandi of Bridgeport municipal government.

    All the federal Fourth District races, as well as the presidential contest in Connecticut, need to garner massive Bridgeport votes in order to win the Congressional offices being sought, as well as the state’s overall vote (in regard to the national candidates).

    Bridgeport’s concerns need to be given the visibility and attention afforded by this Presidential/Congressional election year. Contests will be close and Bridgeport votes will matter more than ever. Those seeking attention for the gamut of Bridgeport’s needs/problems would do well to use the exposure/momentum provided by this election year. Sometimes it takes an outside view and approach to address internal difficulties, like when “families” need outside intervention to address their turmoil and dysfunction.

    Politically and economically, Bridgeport is a very distressed family that is not likely to be able address its problems without some outside intervention..

    This is the year to get attention and promises for Bridgeport from high places.

    City Hall is an echo chamber with generally bad acoustics. We shouldn’t waste too much time and energy seeking attention or solutions there. Time to take the show on the road.

  • Tom White

    I agree with John Lee’s assessment of Ron Mackey’s role. Mackey is a commentator, yet he has no background to suggest expertise or knowledge. He is like the callers to ‘sports talk’ shows who share their opinions on teams or players in spite of their lack of experience. JML does his homework. He may overwhelm the city council members with facts they have no interest in, but his contributions have substance.

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