Gomes, Stafstrom Support Government Reform Bill

As Ed Gomes and Steve Stafstrom prepare to enter the Connecticut legislature in mid session, fresh off special election wins, supporters of a government reform bill have picked up two allies in the ongoing effort to enforce the City Charter prohibiting city employees from serving on the City Council.

Gomes and Stafstrom have both pledged their support for the bill before the General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee introduced by State Rep. Jack Hennessy and State Senator Marilyn Moore. The House chair of the committee Phil Miller is a sponsor of the bill.

Seven of eight members of the city’s state legislative delegation support the bill. The one hold out is freshman State Rep. Chris Rosario, a city employee, doing the bidding of City Council President Tom McCarthy who works at the pleasure of Mayor Bill Finch as deputy director of Labor Relations.

Former state senators Andres Ayala, now commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and Anthony Musto, defeated in a Democratic primary by Moore last year, had opposed the bill on behalf of McCarthy.

Bridgeport City Attorney Mark Anastasi dubiously cites a loophole in state law as a pretext to violate the City Charter. State law prohibits public employees from serving on municipal boards of finance. The Bridgeport City Council, however, serves as a board of finance. The bill proposed seeks simply to extend state law to prohibit municipal employees from serving on any government body that has budget authority.



  1. I truly hope this bill passes. The conflicts of interest within our legislative body are very real and it is ultimately the residents of Bridgeport who pay the price.

  2. Past mayors have committed genuine crimes that resulted in jail terms. The current CC has never been accused of that.
    But here’s why I’m writing: as long as State Senator Marilyn Moore keeps putting on her red dress, I’ll keep putting on the pressure.
    And what’s up for yesterday’s winners? Answer: take the oath and get immediately humbled.
    Rep. Chris Rosario understands urban blight and he understands legislative blight, too.
    I propose a funeral for HB 5886.

  3. Thank you, Rep Hennessy! Excellent video!

    Look forward to seeing similar videos from Senators Moore and Gomes, Rep Stallworth, Rep Santiago, Rep Baker, and Rep Stafstrom.

  4. Some Bridgeport residents look for information that confirms a variety of statements in support of 5886. OIB, CT Post and comments from the legislators themselves are closely watched, for instance.

    But what happens when you talk to legislators on either side of the aisle who have more than a passing acquaintance with Bridgeport’s governance issues and ask them what they see happening from our Bridgeport delegation? Does 5886 loom as large in their minds while they are one hour away in the halls of the legislature as it does with voters? If word trickles back there is no pressure from certain new members, or opposition registered by existing members, do we take names and hold feet to the fire? What will be the cost of hypocrisy? How dedicated are the State elect to this fundamental weakness of our current City governance process relative to other towns and cities? Time will tell.

    1. Troll,
      Jennifer understands (and you do too when you don’t wish to be purposely obtuse). Some legislators from other towns as well as across the aisle observe Bridgeport delegates. They are an alternative source of info that may prove helpful.

      I can remember testifying on this matter and hearing genuine interest in how badly off the tracks Bridgeport is in terms of checks and balance structure. People find it difficult to understand how CT’s largest City has come to exhibit the type of governance we have where laws, ordinances and the Charter are ignored when difficult to certain of the elected. American freedoms? Party politics? Quality practices? Leadership excellence? Time will tell.

  5. The jury is still out on Ed Gomes and Steve Stafstrom on this bill. Ed was put in office by the unions and the Working Families Party who are backed by the unions. When I went up there and testified to the Planning and Development Committee it was perfectly obvious the unions are coming out strong against this bill and the committee co-chair, Senator Osten and others were highly sympathetic to them. Time will Tell.

  6. Think it was either Rick or Hector who made a very salient point during the debate on this issue. Stafstrom touted his support and relationships with CT House and Senate leadership. If these leaders really want this bill to go through, they could get it done. How hard will Steve push for passage with these people he touted as supporters during the election? Time will tell.

  7. What fans of HB 5886 call home rule, loopholes and city charter, I call state law, which supersedes all. This is America. If you want to defend a socialist’s vision of politics, go ahead. I’ll be on the other side of that debate.

  8. Let us see who comes out and speaks at this public hearing Jack and Marilyn are putting together.

    Monday, March 9th, 2015 5:30 p.m.
    Bridgeport Public Library
    First Floor Meeting Hall
    925 Broad Street, Bridgeport


    1. Downtown library being lead by Hennessy and Moore as the co-sponsors of the bill. Your state reps and senators will vote on this bill, not city council people.

  9. HR 5886–A BS and Purposeless bill, it’s more of an anti-union bill preventing a union member from representing the people of his or her district, if he or she should seek public office. If the voter chose one who they choose to represent them. If they want someone with a city job that is the voter’s choice. Not big brother, making laws to limit citizen rights to seek public office.

    1. “… it’s more an anti-union bill preventing a union member from representing the people of his or her district.”

      Nope–not even close, Mr. Louloudes.

      If I am a member of the Teamsters loading trucks at UPS (as I was during college), or driving a UPS truck, or even a member of a public-employee union who is employed by the town of Trumbull, CT, HB 5886 would not prohibit me from running for Bridgeport City Council.

      While you were born and raised perhaps here, do you reside in Bridgeport today? I heard you’re in the fine town of Westport, home to some of our good friends. Good for you. Can you tell me the last time someone in Westport was elected to a town committee or finance committee who was permitted to vote on their own dept budget? No? How about in any place in Connecticut other than in Bridgeport?

      While we’re at it, are you also against having an internal auditor in Bridgeport? Is that anti-union? Could be a public-employee union member, right?

      I see that Westport has one.

      And so do most municipalities in our state. Wonder why?

      Good governmental standards and practices didn’t come about in order to serve the sole interests of public-employee unions.

      As for your concerns regarding “the voter.” Here in Bridgeport, the voters approved a charter prohibiting city employees from serving on the City Council.

      1. The posting by Louloudes suggests unions are monitoring OIB, perhaps to determine ways to distort and further misrepresent HB 5886. At least he did not use a pseudonym.

        The unions are attempting to suggest the bill discriminates. State statute has prohibited municipal employees from serving on that municipality’s board of finance since 1992.

        HB 5886 clarifies this prohibition by including any body that has the role of a board of finance and oversees budgets. In Bridgeport, that body is the city council.

    2. James,
      Did you ever hear of the Hatch Act? This is a federal law that prohibits many federal employee from running in a partisan election for office at any level.
      And also, the state of Connecticut has a law banning most employees from serving in the House or Senate while employed by the state.
      So how is it your logic does not apply to them but only to local government? Isn’t it mostly local government where the highest and most frequent level of corruption occurs in this state? (See Hartford and Bridgeport for examples.) Seems like you are a self-serving union man who wants the best of all worlds.

    1. Of course he still supports this bill. Your state rep and senator should be organizing the community for support if they are supporting the bill. Have you heard from them?

  10. The city of Bridgeport I believe employs almost 3000 people, not all are residents of the city, but the ones who are residents and pay taxes to the city of Bridgeport have as much right to run for the city council as any other resident of the city. It is the voter who should decide who they want to be elected to the city Council. This bill is just a stunt to make everyone feel like something is being done to make things better in Bridgeport, it will make no difference in how the city is being run. NONE.

    1. James, the voters of Bridgeport have decided this. Voters of Bridgeport went to the polls to address a question: should city employees be allowed to serve on the City Council? The voters said no. Do you have any respect for the will of the people?

  11. Lennie, I feel it’s a bad do-nothing law. I think the people are wrong on this and no I don’t respect the will of the people on this question. The people who are on the city council now are also taxpayers in the city.

  12. I found myself in a similar situation during my second term in the Legislature. There was a bill for State takeover of the Municipal General Assistance program. I believed it would ease the financial burden of Cities and it wouldn’t affect the clients negatively. My problem with it was personal as I was employed by said General Assistance program and the City and by voting for it would in essence be voting to be removed from my job, there was no discussion of a “grandfather clause” then. Long story short, I voted for it and it was passed. If I had wanted to vote against it I believe I would have recused myself. The moral of the story being, we get elected to do the will of the people, if you are not ready to do just that, than don’t take the oath.

  13. It should be possible to propose and add an amendment to HB 5886 that would prohibit elected officials of municipalities in Connecticut from serving in economic development policy/economic development origination positions in Connecticut towns other than their own.

    As we all know, there is competition for development among Connecticut municipalities, e.g. Stamford vs. Bridgeport.

    Why do we have an elected official from Stamford serving as our economic development director?

    I suppose there’s no conflict of interest there! (I suspect this type of situation might even hurt us more than Bridgeport elected officials also serving as city employees.)

    If we’re cleaning house and protecting our interests, let’s be thorough.

    Truly, each and every department head in Bridgeport should have to be either a long-term resident and/or a property owner in the city. We have way too many high-paid carpetbaggers living off Bridgeport as they also help to subvert our long-term interests.

    Does anyone know the towns of residence of all of our department heads? I would like to see such a list, and I bet the rest of the OIB readership would probably also be interested.

    Let’s push for an amendment to address this in 5886 and also push for an appropriate Bridgeport Charter change.


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