What will the firing of Ralph Jacobs cost the city?
The ousted personnel director has filed a complaint against the Civil Service Commission in Superior Court seeking reinstatement, back pay, associated costs and anything else the court wants to throw in as a result of his termination “solely because the plaintiff had resisted the concerted efforts of the mayor of the city of Bridgeport and his subordinates to circumvent the appointment provisions of the civil service provisions of the charter of the city of Bridgeport.”
Translation: Jacobs didn’t play ball with Bill Finch to hire the mayor’s political friends. If this gets to trial it will be a doozy. Jacobs’ lawyer former Mayor Tom Bucci who specializes in labor law and employment discrimination will be questioning a bunch of folks under oath about what they knew regarding Jacobs’ resistance to accommodate Finch regarding political hires. This, Bucci alleges in the complaint, is why he was fired noting the fabrication cited by the commission–Jacobs suggesting that a lawyer for a city employee seek arbitration to resolve a labor dispute–was not just cause for termination.
And what will this cost the city in legal expenses to defend? The city has hired two law firms in connection with dumping Jacobs. Or maybe the city just settles the case? Or maybe the mayor doesn’t care what this costs, he just wants Jacobs out. Jacobs has also filed a grievance pursuant to the union collective bargaining agreement. See relevant portions of the Superior Court complaint below:
6. In carrying out his responsibilities, the plaintiff (Jacobs) has opposed the actions of certain officials of the city of Bridgeport which would violate the civil service provisions of the charter of the city of Bridgeport.
7. The plaintiff has on a number of occasions brought the contemplated unlawful conduct of the city officials to the attention of the civil service commission and the city council.
8. As a result of the communications between the plaintiff and the civil service commission and the city council, the plaintiff had been made the subject of an unauthorized investigation and spurious charges of misconduct, culminating in his wrongful discharge from his position as personnel director.
9. The misconduct ascribed to the plaintiff involved his actions in reporting, verbally and in writing, the unlawful conduct of certain municipal officials. See Exhibit 1.
10. The plaintiff participated in protected activity under the provisions of Connecticut General Statutes § 31-51m when reporting to the civil service commission and the city council.
11. On August 3, 2009, the defendant notified the plaintiff that he was being charged with “breach of your duty of loyalty.” Exhibit 2.
12. On August 21, 2009, the defendant conducted a hearing at the conclusion of which it terminated the plaintiff’s employment.
13. The defendant claimed to have terminated the plaintiff’s employment because the plaintiff “on February 18, 2009 … urged NAGE’s Regional Counsel James Tessatore to initiate legal action against the City.” Exhibit 2.
14. The defendant illegally, and over the protests of the plaintiff, met in executive session, in violation of the express provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, where it discussed and devised the false and illegitimate reason for terminating the plaintiff’s employment.
15. The defendant never discussed the reasons behind the termination of the plaintiff in open session.
16. The defendant came out of executive session, and without discussion of any kind, proceeded to take a vote on motions it had prepared in executive session, to discipline and terminate the plaintiff’s employment.
17. The Freedom of Information Act does not permit an executive session to discuss the discharge of an employee without the employee’s express consent.
18. The defendant terminated the plaintiff’s employment solely because the plaintiff had resisted the concerted efforts of the mayor of the city of Bridgeport and his subordinates to circumvent the appointment provisions of the civil service provisions of the charter of the city of Bridgeport.
19. On various occasions, the plaintiff communicated with the defendant, and the City Council regarding the efforts of the mayor of the city of Bridgeport and his subordinates to circumvent the provisions of the appointment provisions of the charter of the city of Bridgeport.
20. As a result of the plaintiff’s insistence that the mayor of the city of Bridgeport and his subordinates act lawfully in filling employment positions, the mayor and his subordinates embarked on a concerted effort to fire the plaintiff from his position as personnel director.
21. The mayor of the city of Bridgeport, without the approval of the defendant, hired the services of a private law firm to formulate a strategy and devise reasons to terminate the plaintiff’s employment.
22. The private law firm hired by the mayor drafted a memorandum, replete with misrepresentations and mischaracterizations, falsely asserting that the plaintiff had breached his duty of loyalty to the City of Bridgeport. Exhibit 1.
23. The memorandum, Exhibit 1, specifically charged the plaintiff with breaching this duty of loyalty by reporting to the civil service commission and the City Council, and various agents and officers of the city of Bridgeport, the unlawful attempts of the mayor and his subordinates to circumvent the provisions of the civil service provisions of the Charter of the City of Bridgeport.
24. At the time of the hearing on August 21, 2009, the members of the defendant, including its president, failed to exercise independent judgment and feebly succumbed to the will of the mayor of the city of Bridgeport, and his subordinates, and terminated the employment of the plaintiff without just cause.
25. The charge that the plaintiff had violated his duty of loyalty stemmed specifically from the defendant’s own action when, in January of 2009, it ruled in lawful session in favor of an employee who had filed a grievance over her layoff by the city of Bridgeport.
26. The employee had claimed in her grievance that the city of Bridgeport had ignored the seniority rights granted to her under the rules of the civil service commission of the city of Bridgeport.
27. After hearing the employee’s grievance, the arguments advanced on the employee’s behalf by the plaintiff and the opposing position advanced by the subordinates of the mayor of the city of Bridgeport, the defendant voted to sustain the employee’s grievance and rejected the arguments advanced by the subordinates of the mayor of the city of Bridgeport.
28. The mayor of the city of Bridgeport and his subordinates refused to abide by the ruling of the defendant.
29. As was his obligation under the provisions of the civil service provisions of the charter of the city of Bridgeport, the plaintiff attempted to have the ruling of the defendant implemented.
30. When his efforts at persuasion failed, because of the resistance of the mayor of the city of Bridgeport and his subordinates, the plaintiff sent a letter to legal counsel for the union which represented the employee suggesting that the matter be submitted to binding arbitration in order to have a definitive resolution to the issue in dispute.
31. The plaintiff’s actions were entirely consistent with the determination of the defendant, which had voted to sustain the grievance of the employee.
32. The plaintiff’s behavior was completely loyal to the civil service provisions of the charter of the city of Bridgeport and the official ruling of the defendant in lawful session.
33. The action of the plaintiff on which the defendant based its decision to terminate the plaintiff’s employment occurred in January of 2009.
34. The defendant was supplied with a copy of the letter which the plaintiff had sent to the union counsel in January of 2009.
35. Between January 2009 and August 2009, the defendant never raised an issue with the plaintiff’s efforts to enforce the defendant’s ruling or the letter which the plaintiff had sent to the union counsel.
36. Between January 2009 and August 2009, the defendant never reversed its position on the employee grievance which it had voted to sustain, making it the obligation of the plaintiff to enforce.
37. The termination of the plaintiff’s employment was based on fabricated reasons and was without just cause.
38. Section 223 of the charter of the city of Bridgeport provides, in relevant part, “[n]o person or employee holding a permanent office or position in the classified service shall be removed, discharged or reduced, except for just cause which shall not be political or religious.
Anyone attend the Planning & Zoning meeting Monday night? Nancy Hadley, former director of economic development, is pleased about the Master Plan update approved by the commission that started on her watch.
“This whole update started four years ago. It has to come to a conclusion so the developers and property owners know the rules of the game. The financial institutions will not make investment decisions with stuff remaining in limbo. The growth of the City’s tax base depends upon it. Kudo’s to the PZC for their unanimous decision. ”
Dems Pass New Budget
The Democratic-controlled Connecticut Legislature passed a new budget that calls for increasing the income tax on millionaires and lowering the sales tax. Will Republican Governor Jodi Rell oppose it? If she doesn’t sign it the bill becomes law after five days. From Chris Keating of The Hartford Courant:
Following approval by the House of Representatives shortly before midnight, the state Senate approved the Democratic-written budget early Tuesday morning that raises the income tax on millionaires and funds numerous social programs.
The vote marked the latest turn in the longest budget battle in state history–breaking the record that was set in 1991 during the creation of the state income tax. Connecticut has been one of only two states–along with Pennsylvania–that still did not have a budget in a summer-long soap opera that was filled with dueling press conferences and high-pitched political rhetoric on both sides.
The bill was approved, largely along party lines, by 22 to 13 shortly before 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Sen. Joan Hartley of Waterbury was the only Democrat who voted against the budget–joining all 12 Republicans. Sen. Andrew Maynard of Stonington was traveling out of the country and missed the vote.
Republicans complained that the two-year, $37 billion budget would increase spending by more than $800 million over two years, while Democrats said they had cut $3.1 billion from the “current services” budget that counts lower-than-expected increases as cuts. Those spending cuts represent 35 percent of the state’s projected $8.5 billion deficit, according to the legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal office. Despite those figures, Republicans said that the budget had “no real cuts” and simply had accounting maneuvers and money transfers.
The budget calls for cutting the sales tax from the current 6 percent to 5.5 percent in January 2010, along with increasing the state income tax to 6.5 percent on couples earning more than $1 million annually and individuals earning more than $500,000. The sales-tax cut, however, is contingent and can be repealed if the state does not meet its revenue targets.
News release from State Rep. Auden Grogins
REP. AUDEN GROGINS PROUDLY ANNOUNCES PASSAGE OF STATE BUDGET SAVING BRIDGEPORT ASSETS
Representative Auden Grogins (D-Bridgeport) proudly announced her support today for a state budget that “saves Bridgeport assets that were on Governor Rell’s chopping block and supports programs and services vital to Bridgeport families.”
Rep. Grogins worked with members of the Bridgeport legislative delegation to secure funding for the Beardsley Zoo, Discovery Museum and libraries, which had been targeted for funding elimination or significant budget reductions by Governor Rell.
Rep. Grogins also lauded the continuation of full funding for education, the decision to retain the property tax credit for homeowners and a decrease in the state sales tax that will help countless Bridgeport families.
The General Assembly’s House of Representatives passed a state budget last night, following months of budget negotiations among Democrats, Republicans and Governor Rell. The bill awaits Governor Rell’s signature.
Rep. Grogins held an informational forum in June at the Black Rock Library that was attended by over 100 Bridgeport area residents concerned about Governor Rell’s proposed cuts to libraries and tourist and educational attractions like the Beardsley Zoo.
The Beardsley Zoo attracts more than 275,000 tourists annually from around the state and nation. It features an educational center that serves more than 50,000 Connecticut residents and provides a valuable curriculum on endangered species as well as education concerning the ecosystem.
The Discovery Museum is an educational museum dedicated to science literacy. It provides over 60 educational programs to student visitors from all over the state and provides 2,500 hours of outreach education to Bridgeport public and parochial schools annually.
“I was honored to work with my colleagues in the Bridgeport delegation to ensure funding for these resources so vital to the people of Bridgeport,” Rep. Grogins said. “This is a budget for the people of Connecticut – one that will help us recover from the economic crisis but also one that protects those that already been hit hard by the recession.”
Is Sam Really The Man?
News release from GOP U.S. Senate candidate Sam Caligiuri. Sam has kicked up the rhetoric in this one. I’m still waiting for the Dodd campaign to send me its releases. Maybe OIB friend Marlys can help us with that.
What is Dodd Hiding in his Health Care Bill?
Transparency Absent in Dodd Health Plan Process
SOUTHINGTON, Conn. – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Caligiuri issued the following statement on Senator Chris Dodd still not making public his health care reform bill that the Senate Health Committee Democrats voted out of committee in July under his leadership:
Only in Washington do people believe it is okay to play with other people’s lives and not allow those people the information they need to determine for themselves what is in their best interest.
The healthcare debate in this country is critical to every citizen. Any legislation that is passed can have enormous impact on any one of us. Yet, despite the public outcry over what we know has been proposed and the requests from several colleagues in both parties, Chris Dodd still has not released the text of the marked up bill.
At the July markup, Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland said, “Giving me language on little pieces of paper on which I’m going to commit the sacred fortunes and honor of the United States for decades, this is not the way to go. We can’t do this on the backs of envelopes.”
Legislating off of little pieces of paper? Is this what Chris Dodd thinks is acceptable legislative discourse when dealing with an issue that will impact every American?
And still, there is no copy of Senator Dodd’s secret bill.
One reason I am running for the U.S. Senate is that I am tired of the games and the arrogance of Washington insiders like Chris Dodd who don’t think they need to answer to anyone. If Senator Dodd has some brilliant plan to fix health care, then clue us all in, but the days of closed door, back room deal making must stop. Chris Dodd has hurt enough people with his failings on the Senate Banking Committee. His handling of the health care bill leads me to believe this will be another historic debacle. This lack of transparency is a disgrace. His failure to disclose the text of this bill to the public is yet another reason why he is unfit to chair the Senate Health Committee, in addition to needing to finish his job on the Banking Committee.