Lame Duck Brantley’s Incredible Final Junket At Taxpayer Expense, What’s The Benefit (Other Than For Herself)?

Evette Brantley
Evette Brantley

How about an ordinance prohibiting junkets for lame duck City Council members? From Keila Torres Ocasio, CT Post:

A City Council member who lost her re-election bid in September’s primary took one last taxpayer-funded trip recently–just two weeks before the end of her term.

M. Evette Brantley, D-132, was among six councilmen who attended the National League of Cities’ annual conference, held from Wednesday to Saturday last week in Seattle. She was the only one of the six whose term will expire on Nov. 30.

Full story here.



  1. Makes no sense at all. This would have benefited newly elected officials. Maybe Ms. Brantley believes she deserved this trip. She did not. This is what disgusts taxpayers. I wonder what her former constituents think?

  2. There are two possible explanations for this travesty. One is someone in the Council leadership or the administration actually approved this junket. That would be bad. The second would be there was no oversight of this kind of spending. That would be worse.
    In either case the taxpayers have a right to know what happened.

    1. Phil’s second possibility is correct. The issue is not one lame duck is spending taxpayers money, it is this group feels they deserve it. There are no controls in place. They vote themselves a $9,000 stipend. Perhaps they will share their report detailing all their activities and how taxpayers benefited from the expense. But wait, there are no reports required.

      McCarthy’s defending of the cost to taxpayers by saying Brantley’s membership on an NLC committee made her attendance mandatory is an insult and reflects his arrogance.

      McCarthy goes on to defend Lydia Martinez attending because she was elected second vice president of the Hispanic elected local officials constituency group and “she will have a voice in shaping immigration reform in the nation.” That’s a gem. That and two dollars will get you a medium coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Maybe Lydia can vote by absentee ballot rather than taxpayers paying for her mini-vacation. Besides, Lydia has her own immigration program.

      When I was on the city council, the stipend was $500 per year. We reduced it by 50% as a symbolic gesture. Is this group superior to the group I served with? I think not.

      The only other municipality that offers a stipend to its legislative body members is New Haven, which reimburses up to $2,300. What does Stamford pay? Zero.

      The current council demonstrated its incompetence with the $400,000 driveway debacle and other matters.

      Let’s hope that new council members will have the integrity to deal with issues such as accountability of their stipend expenses and not insult taxpayers.

  3. As a constituent of Brantley’s I say it does not surprise me. Why change her stripes now? It was always about her, anyway. Wait until the bill for her altercation with Cecil Young comes in. Good riddance to her.

  4. “I don’t think people question something we’re doing in the community.”

  5. This is the height of arrogance. She is a lame-duck councilwomen. There is no need for her to attend any conference much less one on the other side of the country.
    This is just another example of the incompetence of Tom McCarthy. He should not have approved this trip period.
    Let’s look at Martinez, she is on a committee of Hispanic officials that will help shape the country’s immigration policy, really TOM? Did you get that gem from Mark Anastasi? These bastards spend our money with arrogance.

  6. Andy, you said it best. This is the height of ARROGANCE! Brantley should be ashamed of herself. If she were so concerned for her “community” she should have not attended this conference in SEATTLE and earmarked the money toward the hungry and poor in her district. But no, she had to fly her fat a$$ 3,000 miles to do nothing but wine and dine on taxpayers’ money. Great job and good riddance. And Tom McCarthy, you spineless wimp. Why don’t you grow a backbone and stick up for what is right for once? Question–can Mayor Finch drink a glass of water when you talk?

  7. Keila and the CT Post have looked at this “travesty,” “arrogance” or known excess by CC before. Perhaps the report today is based on an FOI inquiry they made earlier this year.

    I initiated a similar request in July 2013 and the City Attorney’s office contacted me three months later ready to provide a portion of the info requested.

    What strikes me as “new revelations” to the public today are:
    ** Some Council members look at the fact any of this taxpayer money being taxable to them for certain types of reimbursable expenses seems unreasonable to them. While Tom White has pointed out changes in the Stipend regulations over time, as recently as last December taxability was applicable depending on whether the expense was Accountable or Non-Accountable. Paperwork on how this may have changed has not been presented as requested by me.
    ** The fact there have been reimbursements made where there are instances of more than $9,000 per fiscal year has been made public. Where is that allowed in the stipend regulations? There are seven people at least who benefited from this including Tom McCarthy. If Council persons cannot keep track of limits on spending $9,000 per year in one regard, how do we expect these “watchdogs” to provide oversight towards a goal of a balanced budget on half a billion annually? Who is the greater fool? The Council person or the taxpaying public?
    ** The fact we provide funding to Council persons at will to attend what they will, when they will in a given year at public expense is known. And you are probably aware there is no requirement to make a report on what cutting-edge ideas or info has been learned to justify the expense. And we do not limit, as for instance New Haven does, the number who attend any given conference. What is new is attendance to participate in a Conference caucus with Bridgeport taxpayer funds is advanced as a reason to attend. Pay your own way folks to be a Caucus representative. Until and unless you tell us what you are bringing back to Bridgeport of benefit relative to the expense of providing you travel and a good time among friends, pay your own way, please.
    Meanwhile, I have asked the City to provide evidence that taxable stipend reimbursements were covered by 1099 statements to the IRS. Have not seen that evidence yet. Time will tell.

    1. You can go to 915 Lafayette Blvd. and speak to the IRS, inquire and report your concern regarding the possibility of failure to report income by recipients of stipends. Let them know the City refuses or stonewalls attempts to view related public documents.

  8. At east twice a year, OIB hosts an OIB Party. It’s always a free-admission event with a free drink. Local elected officials seem to prefer events paid for by taxpayers over free events. They can learn more by reading OIB and attending the OIB parties. Lennie, when is the next OIB party?

  9. *** Let’s “assume” all reservations made in “advance,” for in-demand, much-needed air travel seats and nearby hotel rooms, also paid training classes for this NLC annual convention were “not” refundable, thus a time and financial “loss” if canceled; winning or losing the primary? *** JUST SAYING! ***

  10. Prohibiting out-of-state travel for defeated incumbents would be a good idea. A better idea would be requiring the entire Council to approve ALL conferences, out-of-state travel and similar expenditures, in advance.


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