UPDATE: Legislation introduced by State Rep. Jack Hennessy that seeks to “prohibit municipal employees from serving on any governmental body charged with preparing the municipal budget except when authorized by charter or home rule ordinance” received a thumbs-up today by the state legislature’s Planning and Development Committee. If the bill becomes law it would validate language in Bridgeport’s City Charter that bars city employees from serving on the City Council. Hennessy’s trying to close a loophole in state law that allows it. Supporters of the bill say this will go a long way toward eliminating conflicts of interests such as City Council members approving their own wages and benefits. Shortly after the vote early this afternoon Hennessy told OIB the bill is now in the hands of Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey for further direction.
Hennessy’s bill is co-sponsored by Democratic State Rep. Auden Grogins, as well as suburban Republican members of the State House, Tony Hwang, Brenda Kupchick and Terrie Wood. The bill still faces strong opposition for passage, particularly from local and state labor leaders leaning on Democratic members of the legislature to vote it down. Many Democrats rely on union support for reelection. The City Council approves municipal collective bargaining contracts.
If passed, the bill would not impact employees of the Board of Education. Five of the city’s 20-member legislative body are on the municipal payroll.
Bill language here.
Committee agenda here.