Great to have friends in high places. Two lawyers and friends of Mayor Bill Finch have quietly emerged as key to his reelection in 2011. This is some good shit in more ways than one.
Ed Maley and Bill Beccaro, two veteran state legislative operatives, are spearheading an effort on the mayor’s behalf to shepherd a regional wastewater treatment authority between Trumbull and Monroe that could generate one-shot revenue of up to $40 million rescuing the mayor from an election-year tax increase. Both Maley and Beccaro have been working as outside legal counsel hired by City Attorney Mark Anastasi at Finch’s command. No one in-house can handle this? Maley has already earned in excess of $200,000 since Finch took office. Awaiting word on Beccaro’s fee as well, as the city lays off little people.
Beccaro recently represented the mayor’s son Pete Finch who was pinched by city cops on a citation theft charge after he picked up a wind-blown street sign from the June tornado and walked into a city bar with it. The state prosecutor in the case declared the state could not prove criminal intent and tossed out the charges.
Beccaro is also treasurer of People For Excellence In Government, a political action committee key to the mayor’s reelection effort. A “wine tasting” fundraiser from last December 2 at Épernay Bistro downtown featured a who’s who of city politicians, government officials and developers. You can review the State Elections Enforcement Commission filing here: People For Excellence In Government.
Beccaro’s PAC is not a revelation. Lots of public officials have friends fronting PACs to raise money to help finance reelection. But Beccaro has flown under the radar and his presence along with Maley at the regionalization meetings make them both critical liaisons to a deal Finch desperately wants with Trumbull and Monroe. There’s a lot of moolah in sludge and this deal could make or break Finch’s reelection.
State law allows two or more municipalities to create a regional wastewater authority, basically a mini-municipality that would purchase the assets of municipal sewage treatment systems providing a royal flush revenue source. Monroe has no sewers and wants to open up the town for development. The fastest way there is to connect into the Town of Trumbull which has sewers but no treatment plant. That’s where Bridgeport comes in. The state’s largest city becomes the mothership in the deal, already processing sludge from Trumbull sewers.
If Finch and company can pull this off–the deal would require approval of the respective water pollution control authorities, Department of Environmental Protection and presumably associated legislative bodies–the city would receive a major infusion of dough. But would it be one of those hide the sausage deals? How would it impact sewer fees as the city upgrades its antiquated treatment system?
This will play out over the next several months. Representatives of the three towns are meeting on a regular basis. Stay tuned.