Is The Mayor Giving Up Enough To Sway Unions?–Another Shooting–Give Us Some Good News

Now three months into the budget year that began July 1, Mayor Bill Finch is trying to close an $8 million budget hole. He’s asking city unions to step up. Several of the unions, particularly the larger bargaining units, say they’ve given enough. A few of the smaller unions have agreed to concessions, but the city will need givebacks from the larger unions to avoid layoffs. The mayor announced Wednesday he’s giving back three days, plus increasing his healthcare premium. This announcement represents roughly 40 city employees (waiting on a firm number from the mayor’s office). From the mayor:

Mayor Finch Announces Unaffiliated Employee Givebacks

Employees giving up 3 days, healthcare co-payment moves up to 25%

Mayor Bill Finch today announced that the City’s unaffiliated employees, including the Mayor, will give back three days via furloughs and increase their healthcare premium cost-share co-payment to 25 percent – nearly two years ahead of schedule – in order to meet their budget concession obligation. In addition, three vacancies will remain unfilled during the 2010-2011 budget year. The total cost savings for all three actions totals $344,686, which is $25,269 more than the targeted amount for concessions.

The City Council approved the $469,371,315 2010-2011 budget with an $8 million dollar shortfall. The City notified all 12 of its unions last spring that concessions would be necessary to close the budget gap, assigning each union a dollar amount that could be reached through a combination of furloughs or salary freezes for a total of $6.8 million. The remaining $1.2 million would result from benefits-related cost reductions associated with salaries such as pension and other fringe benefits.

“Unaffiliated, appointed and elected employees must shoulder their share of the budget shortfall. Since I’ve taken office we have frozen positions and salaries, consolidated jobs, taken pay cuts and furloughs and decreased spending in order to close budget gaps,” said Mayor Finch. “And, in just a couple of years, we will have gone from nearly 100 take-home cars to only three take-home vehicles – the Police Chief, the Fire Chief, and my car – for additional savings in the budget.”

Unaffiliated employees will take three furlough days to meet their obligation. The premium cost-share co-payment will increase to 25 percent as of January 1, 2011, nearly two years ahead of schedule.

“We’ve sacrificed in the past, and I’m sure we’ll be called upon to do so again in the future,” said Mayor Finch. “We’re all in this together, and I will do whatever it takes to not increase taxes for our already overburdened taxpayers.”

Another Shooting, From CT Post:

Give Us Some Good News, Will Ya?

From HUD:


Third round of NSP grants to build on efforts to confront abandonment and blight

BRIDGEPORT – U.S. Housing and Urban Development New England Regional Administrator Richard Walega will make a major funding announcement to help stabilize neighborhoods in Bridgeport and throughout Connecticut hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis.

Regional Administrator Walega, Congressman Jim Himes, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Joan McDonald, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and other state and local leaders will host a news conference at the Bridgeport home of a family assisted through HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program Announcement at 574 Birmingham Street:

When: Thursday, September 9, 2010, 11:30 a.m.

Where: 574 Birmingham Street, Bridgeport, CT

Who: HUD New England Regional Administrator Richard A. Walega

Congressman Jim Himes

Commissioner Joan McDonald, CT Depart. of Economic and Community Dev.

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch

Party With The Big Wave

The ROMA CLUB Bus Trip To:
The Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy, NYC

Saturday, September 18, 2010

$30 per person – members
$35 per person – non-members

Bus leaves from Hawley Lane commuter parking lot, Trumbull, Connecticut at 2:30 p.m. sharp. On return trip, passengers will meet at 8:30 at a designated spot. Bus will depart NYC at 9:00 p.m.

For information and reservations call:

Chris Caruso at 203-374-1655

Reservations must be made by September 11, 2010
Space is limited!
Come join the fun!!



  1. There’s a hole in the budget, dear William, dear William, there’s a hole in the budget and it’ll bring you down!!!
    We got a problem here in River City … and it’s spelled P-O-O-L!!! Or so said The Music Man; but here in Bridgeport where things are not so tuneful these days, the Conductor (Mayor Finch) is asking the Choir (Union employees) to change what has previously been negotiated, while holding recently hired Soloists from like-kind hardship.

    Finch says “we’re all in this together” … but he hasn’t understood the singers in the Choir can see the Soloists who are not ” … all in this together …”

    Nothing new in the above … but interesting about 3 furlough days and 25% of healthcare expense (not co-payment benefit). Let’s get specific and find out what happens at ground Zero. Three furlough days, assuming a 250-day work year might equal 1.25% of pay based on a nine-month year left. But 25% of a negotiated healthcare plan with a monthly expense of $1500 might mean something more dear, especially to older employees with dependents. Of course healthcare specifics are not shared generally so maybe this is inaccurate. Maybe opening up the info to the public in terms of an average employee, in an average union, has an average salary (and paid sick, personal, vacation days where you are not working) and average medical expense monthly.
    We would find where “the music” will lead us and I do not expect a triumphal march in this case. It may be that the hole in the bucket is more apt … and the water is gone, as is the bait, and we caught nothing …

  2. I am not a big fan of Mayor Finch but this announcement is a step in the right direction. The one question I have is what happened to the 4% pay raise scheduled for these unaffiliated and appointed employees?
    I guess you can say better late than never but why wasn’t this done months ago? Did the realization the unions were not going to give back anything finally register with the administration?
    If I were the mayor I would be extremely pissed with the council’s budget committee for not cutting a single budget request. In fact I would look into reviewing each department’s budget and cut it by a certain percentage thus negating employee givebacks. Sooner or later this will need to be done as you can’t keep making up for budget shortfalls with employee givebacks.

    1. TC, here is my problem. Why negotiate a binding contract and then attempt to change that contract mid-stream?

      All the people who “gave concessions” this week make $100,000 a year. If I made $100,000 a year, then we could talk. We make a base salary of $56,000 a year as cops and look at what we are asked to do. Did you read the paper yesterday? Those are the things we deal with for $56,000 a year. We held off on raises for 2 years in order to help BPT back on their feet. WE DID IT!!!
      The problem is the same morons are mishandling the money and now they are crying for help again.
      Well sorry to say, but FU PAY ME!!! It’s amazing BPT VOTERS don’t wise up and go with someone different, who is NOT part of “THE MACHINE” …

  3. Everything the mayor does from here on in is being done for re-election. The dog and pony show, the streets will be cleaner, the grass will be greener, all because of re-election.

    I’m taxed up my ying-yang and will not forget the last three years when I go to the polls next year.

    1. If the people vote for Finch again, then they deserve what they get!!!

      Give Johnny Gomes a chance, he can’t do any worse than the administration is doing now!

      Where is Johnny Fabs? He is BPT! However if he is smart, he will stay at Board of Ed making his $125k a year, stress free …

      1. FRANK CUCCARO // Sep 9, 2010 at 6:18 pm
        In response to your posting

        I am one of those already convinced it’s not a case of “doing no worse” than it is a case of Gomes doing a “whole lot better.” And this is what Bridgeport’s citizens will realize is a benefit to everyone … as opposed to the Finch-Testa favored few getting theirs every day …

        I think most people in Bridgeport understand we have a dysfunctional, unhealthy City government. Who is the remedy?

  4. Finch and Company should have been more open and honest with the employees and the unions. Lay it out in black and white. The average employee in fact most all employees do not know the cost of their benefits. They do not know what the health care costs are per employee. They do not know what the pensions are costing (payments into the funds). If need be take these costs to the citizens and explain what and why you are doing what you are doing. Be open and be honest, now I know that would be a new concept for Bridgeport politicians but try it.
    Like I said earlier re-review this year’s budget requests. You can’t tell me every department came in with exactly what they need. You can’t tell me none of the department heads did not inflate their request anticipating there would be cuts. Try it Bill you may find the money you are looking for.

    1. How about doing this before you pass the budget … HELLO … TC, Finch is reactive, not proactive! He and Tom Sherwood and company had 2 YEARS to get the budget in order. 2 YEARS of no wage increases! I am not an accountant but I know how to use a calculator … COME ON!

  5. *** Inquiring minds would like to know? *** Does the 3 days & benefits increase equal the 4.5% increase given to the chosen few as of July 1st? Also whatever happened to the $25 million given to the city to help buyers buy foreclosed city properties & get them back on the current tax roles? Also how many Bpt residents have actually qualified and have taken advantage of the program? Any new economic development actually going on in Bpt lately? And how’s the new community civilian policing & take back our neighborhoods P/R program going? B.O.E. infighting, kids running the halls with possible guns & school’s just getting started. And of course let’s think green for our bright clean green futures, no? *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

    1. *** Just what the city needs, HUD money for blight, etc. to mismanage & do what? Let’s make a video about all the upcoming neighborhood folk this program will help, no? Slowly they turn, step by step, inch by inch, ’til …? *** Time to wake up voters, & not just complain. ***

  6. TC, “Finch and Company” and the words “open and honest” are two phrases that never go together. Finch, Wood and the rest are scrambling to find any gimmick or PR tactic that will help pull them up out of their giant black hole. I think they have been sucked in too deep and they don’t have a prayer of pulling themselves out.

  7. What the mayor has now successfully done is barred any layoffs of his appointed unaffiliated employees and friends. And I might add it has come to them very cheaply. Now all of them have guaranteed jobs, salaries, benefits and whatever else they have been promised. The rest of the City’s employees will take the brunt of this mess. And, I read this group follows the supervisory union group–was this deal ever proposed to the Union supervisors???

    1. junkyard, they follow the supervisors’ union only when it benefits them. They follow the step and wage increases but did they take 10 unpaid furlough days last time like the supervisors? NO. Now the supervisors are being asked to give 3 WEEKS and the unaffiliated take 3 DAYS. Bullshit. They take 4 – 4.5% increases, give back 1% and think they’re doing everyone a favor. Then they’ll smugly sit back and watch the real workers get laid off.

      BTW, take another inventory of the take-home cars. ALL of them including the ones with non-municipal license plates. You’ll find more lies. More Finch bullshit.

      1. city hall smoker // Sep 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm
        In response to your posting …


        Can we take a moment to think now and ask … Who WOULD take those cars out of circulation?
        September 13, 2011 … the day that changes Bridgeport …

  8. Well the BOE has done it again. They are going to lease the old Bodine Building to consolidate their operations into 1 building. They are going to pay for the remodeling and they are going to pay $6.6 million in rent over 10 years. Are you kidding me???
    One thing I don’t understand. The paper states after 3 years the owners of the building stop paying property tax of $50k a year. Why is that? They are making a tremendous profit on this lease plus they will be saving over $400K in property taxes. Guess who assumes that $400K in taxes we will lose? You guessed it we do and in all probability the employees of the city will if there are any left on the payroll.
    Mr. Barnes from the BOE states this site will be more accessible than the Main St site. Explain how occupying a building on the Fairfield town line is more accessible. That is pure and utter Bullshit. It will take away business from the downtown eateries and bring that business to Fairfield. Great Job!!!
    Just because the BOE employee work downtown why do we and why are we picking up the parking fees for them? They sure as hell make enough to pay their own parking.
    Here is the difference in the private sector and the public sector. In the private sector the employees pay for their own parking as I did when I worked in Hartford.
    I have one final question. Who is in the background on this LLC whom we don’t know about? Mr. Crossin do you know? Never mind don’t answer you will only lie.

    1. Dots to be connected.

      Barnes was hired for his diploma, worked with Murphy in Stamford for Malloy, Bellinger was put in as BOE pres by Stafstrom, Murphy’s husband. BOE will give Barnes what he wants.

      Dots connected.

    2. town committee // Sep 9, 2010 at 8:40 am
      To your posting above …

      If this were in any way an honest deal, then perhaps the reactivation of the Bodine Building on that corner would be a tremendous boost to the neighborhood as well as to a major avenue of entry into the City.

      Also I understand there was money paid by Interstate Battery for some portion of this building in May, 2010. Do those dollars paid have any relevancy to the money BOE wants to pay? Is BOE paying the same, less or far more?

      There is no doubt that a proactive Mayor would be all over this situation … given the palace is not for the kids, is it?

  9. They might be anticipating the immense amount of workers who won’t be able to afford living in Bridgeport and will be able to get off at the new Fairfield train stop.

      1. TC
        There is a third-rail station that will open in Fairfield in mid-2011. It is very close to the Black Rock Turnpike interchange and has access to the Black Rock Turnpike–Brewster Street corridor as it borders the Rooster River–Ash Creek wetlands. The platforms and station are almost ready, but the parking lot is not yet ready, and the State is deciding whether the Fairfield Parking Commission or others will administer the new 1200 spaces. If you are interested in getting on the Fairfield waiting list, you can enter your name currently. Residence in Fairfield is not a requirement.

      2. Town my comment was “tongue in cheek.” I was trying to shed a little light on the fact most of our board of ed. employees and a good amount of our city employees live outside the city.

    1. The Annex wasn’t good enough for those overpaid out-of-town BOE employees. They are much more comfortable on the Fairfield border. Their BMW’s are safer.

  10. The Mayor should give back the rest of his term to allow a person with at least half a brain to take his place! What a joke! Does he really think people are going to swallow all his bullshit???

      1. The rest are unmarked non-municipal plates. On the givebacks, the mayor and unaffiliates should give back just as much as the unions do, if not more. Givebacks should be according to salary.

  11. This whole deal for the Bodine property reeks. To accept this deal goes to show anyone associated with city of Bpt and BOE is failing in math as it it is taught in Bpt school system. You are only leasing property not buying although for this price you might as well buy it and pay it off in 30 years instead of leasing for 10 years plus lose taxes. If you’re not going to collect taxes you might as well own it city of Bpt.

  12. CHS-
    I doubt the supervisors will give 3 weeks of furlough days–my god that is 15 days!!! And the unaffiiliated gave up 3 days. Where are they coming from? I’m sure the layoffs will now begin. This is all just going along as planned. The mayor announces his concessions so that the unions either take it or leave it. Leave it being mass layoffs. I still cannot figure the numbers unless it includes police and fire personnel. Maybe it does. He probably figures the public stigma of the deaths of the two firemen has passed and gee whiz there hasn’t been a murder in at least a week. I don’t know how this is all going to end up–but I know it will be of no benefit to anyone least of all the city’s employees. I don’t even want to discuss the BOE move–it is not worth my effort.

  13. If the city has done away with all those cars, when is the auction or are they going sell them off in bulk? I know of a few dealers who would bid on vehicles with clean (regularly serviced) histories. An auction affords the opportunity to recoup some $$$ and sell to our own citizens (they should have a day or two for Bridgeport residents before opening up the bidding to out-of-towners).


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