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Mayor And Murphy, Plus: Merrick In Pol Pod

November 24th, 2009 · 26 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, Development and Zoning, Interviews, News and Events, State Politics

Mayor Bill Finch has provided additional details in the hiring of former Chief Administrative Officer Dennis Murphy on a consulting basis.

Murphy will be paid $24,000 in what is expected to be a roughly six-month assignment to enhance management-labor relations. See Finch news release below:

Mayor Finch Continues Efforts to Professionalize City Workforce

(November 23, 2009) – Mayor Bill Finch today announced that the city has hired Dennis Murphy, a city resident who most recently worked as the director of human resources for the City of Stamford, and was the Chief Administrative Officer in Bridgeport, to facilitate the creation of a Labor/Management Cooperative Committee.

Murphy’s role will be to reactivate the city’s Total Quality Management program; create an agreeable performance evaluation model to be used with all city employees and to conduct a thorough review of all city personnel policies and suggest changes where necessary.

“Dennis’ background as a mediator, and in labor and employment law will be of great help to us as we work to create an atmosphere of trust and teamwork within the various departments and unions which make up the city’s workforce,” said Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Nunn. “With his help we expect to roll out a consistent performance management tool that all department heads can utilize when reviewing employee performance as part of the rebirth of the Total Quality Management program.”

Nunn continued, “These efforts will tie directly into the Mayor’s CitiStat program and the new Q-Scend software instituted by Mayor Finch to create more transparency in government and to allow citizens to directly monitor their requests for city services on a real-time basis.”

Murphy has been a lawyer for 28 years and specializes in labor and employment law and mediation. He has his own firm, Dennis Murphy LLC, which provides mediation and arbitration services through the American Arbitration Association, and the ADR Center.

He will report to Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Nunn and Director of Labor Relations Larry Osborne and will be paid $24,000 for the project, which is expected to last six months. He also will be coordinating efforts with the city’s Benefits and Civil Service offices.

Bringing Murphy on comes as the mayor approaches the anniversary of his first two years when he became the city’s chief executive on Dec. 1, 2007 following a contentious 270-vote Democratic primary victory over State Rep. Chris Caruso, and then trouncing his underfunded Republican opponent Mike Garrett and three independent candidacies.

Two years is a good time to take inventory and to assess the mayor’s battle cry: Together we are making Bridgeport the cleanest, greenest, safest most affordable city, with schools and neighborhoods that improve each year.

An OIB poll conducted by Merriman River Associates several weeks ago showed Finch bunched with Caruso and former Mayor John Fabrizi. Look for Caruso to once again challenge Finch in 2011 while Fabrizi is giving it some thought. Expect others to jump in. Finch recognizes that the next year is critical to setting himself up for reelection. Earlier this month may have been a wake-up call for him when he saw Democrat chief executives in Trumbull, Monroe and Stratford go down.

Finch can improve his standing with the electorate by marketing the city as both a destination point for the region and a place that makes business sense for outside investors scalped by New York and lower Fairfield County costs, improving relations with city employees, along with building bridges with state and federal legislative delegations to aid his next budget.

Merrick’s Mission

Life on the campaign trail is no walk in the park, and recently Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Merrick Alpert, who’s challenging Chris Dodd in an expected August 2010 primary, walked more than 100 miles to bring attention to the war in Afghanistan. He’d rather get us out of there and invest money domestically.

While Dodd political operatives have been exchanging blows with Republican surrogates of heavily financed candidates Linda McMahon, Rob Simmons and Tom Foley (who may switch his bid and run for governor just as State Senator Sam Caligiuri switched to run for Congress in Connecticut’s 5th District), Alpert has been moving around the state trying to persuade Democrats to give him a look. Taking out an incumbent in your own party with a lot of dough is tough work, especially if your pockets aren’t nearly as deep. Dodd is hurting among unaffiliated voters. Not as much with Democrats. As 2009 turns into 2010 and voters focus on the election Merrick is hoping his message of throwing out a career politician sinks in with Dems.

Alpert’s new book Morning Sun chronicles his quest “to find himself, and his journey across America to track down the father who abandoned him and his siblings thirty years earlier.” Check out www.lyonspress.com.

Merrick attended the University of Connecticut and is a graduate of Trinity College and Georgetown University Law Center. He worked as an advance staffer for Vice President Al Gore and and served as a United States peacekeeper in Bosnia. For more see www.merrickforachange.com.

We talked about his campaign, the challenges of overcoming Dodd and drawing a contrast. He does not hold back as he describes Dodd as coming from a culture of political corruption in Washington. Grab an espresso and listen to the Pol Pod here. {running time: 14:48}

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Feeling The Vibe

News release from Gathering of the Vibes

Gathering of the Vibes Reveals Dates & Venue for 15th Anniversary

Festival Teams up with Local Area Hotels to Offer $60 Rooms

BRIDGEPORT, CT – The Gathering of the Vibes music and camping festival will return to Bridgeport’s 370-acre Seaside Park in 2010 to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary. The four-day event is slated to run July 29 through August 1. This marks the sixth time the festival will be held at Seaside Park – and the fourth consecutive year here – making Seaside Park the venue hosting more Vibes than any other location.

“Seaside Park really is home for us,” Hays said. “The park is magnificent, and the city has always welcomed us here. And with the beachfront and plentiful camping areas – this is just a great place to hold a festival.”

Gathering of the Vibes caters to weekend attendees, campers, and single-day guests alike; while featuring nationally renowned performers, and talented up-and-coming bands to the 15-25,000 people who attend. This venue also allows access to Seaside Park’s shaded groves, manicured fields and over a mile of Long Island Sound beachfront.

A very limited number of Early-bird weekend passes are set for sale on “Tie-Dye Friday” (Black Friday) November 27th, for $135. Tickets will be available at www.GoVibes.com, in time for a distinctive Holiday gift.

REDUCED HOTEL RATES

The Gathering of the Vibes also teams up in 2010 with the Ramada Inn of Stratford to offer rooms with one king-sized bed or two double beds for $60 per night. Regular shuttle bus service will be provided between the hotel and the festival all weekend. This offer is exclusively for festival attendees.

“People who’ve come to Vibes for years are telling me they just can’t camp any more,” Hays said. “They love Gathering of the Vibes – but face it, we were younger when we thought sleeping in the lots at Grateful Dead shows was a good idea.”

Gathering of the Vibes 2010 returns to Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The four-day music and camping festival will take place July 29, 30, 31 and August 1.

A limited number of $135 Early Bird Tickets go on sale November 27, exclusively through www.goVibes.com or at 203.908.3030.

All rooms at the Ramada Inn of Stratford are available to Vibes’ attendees for $60 per night.

Includes shuttles to and from the festival

Indoor Heated Pool at the hotel

Free Wi-Fi Internet connection

Free Continental Breakfast

Exercise Room and Facilities

Free Parking

HISTORY

Gathering of the Vibes began in 1996 as a celebration of the life of Jerry Garcia, who died the previous summer. Initially named Deadhead Heaven, the festival provides an annual forum for fans from across the country to remember the counterculture icon. In each of its past fourteen years, Gathering of the Vibes has paired legendary artists with emerging acts to appeal to a wide cross-section of live music fans.

From Paul Timpanelli, CEO of Bridgeport Regional Business Council

Last month I spoke about the new function that the Business Council is taking, which until June 30, 2009, was fulfilled by the Bridgeport Economic Resource Center. The Business Council has established the “Center for Business Growth”, which will provide business recruitment and retention services in partnership with the City of Bridgeport’s Office of Planning and Economic Development.

As of November 1st, the Business Council has added Jeff Bishop as a member of our business support team. Many of you know Jeff from his years spent as the business retention and recruitment professional with BERC. Jeff will be housed at the Business Council offices and will provide support services to small businesses. He will be working closely with us and the City to:

•provide business relocation assistance;

•obtain financial assistance for small businesses;

•facilitate supplemental service programs such as the enterprise zone credits;

•working on site selection, recruitment and retention activities;

•working to provide information and guidance to potential investors; and

•marketing and technical assistance to small businesses.

A “Center for Business Growth” Advisory Board has been established consisting of Business Council member representatives, as well as representatives from the City of Bridgeport OPED. The Board will work closely with Jeff on developing goals and objectives for the program of work and guiding the achievement of those goals and objectives.

This critical function will enable the Business Council to be a go-to agency for questions by businesses wanting to move into the City, expand in the City, or solve issues with the City. It is clearly in keeping with our adopted mission of expanding jobs and tax base in the communities that we service. The end result will be to grow the local economy, which clearly is in the best interests of our member companies.

Also, beginning in 2010, the Business Council will be unveiling a number of new initiatives as another piece of our “Center for Business Growth” activities. A series of new initiatives will be unveiled next month that will better serve our small business members. So, stay tuned.

Sincerely,

Paul S. Timpanelli

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26 Comments so far ↓

  • yahooy

    “Murphy’s role will be to reactivate the city’s Total Quality Management program; create an agreeable performance evaluation model to be used with all city employees and to conduct a thorough review of all city personnel policies and suggest changes where necessary.”

    Really??

    • Opinionated

      TQM’s … didn’t increase employee morale the first time, and will not this time. Particularly now that there are no raises and more losses in insurance benefits to look forward to. Not to mention all the work and man-hours that employees put into these previous TQM reports, not many were instituted, and when they were, a new admin comes in and knocks them out … waste of time. Long-termers know this. Efficient government is dependent upon long-term knowledgeable employees, whether each new administration knows this or not. Imagine a city hall restaffed anew each 4 years. Chaos. It is getting dangerously close to that. Change can be good if done properly, but not haphazardly. It seems this admin is grasping at straws of the past to save themselves. Reinventing the wheel? Covering our tracks?

  • town committee

    I can’t believe that Finch is still spouting that clean and green BS. Bill, get out of your office and take a ride around the city. It is dirtier now than I can remember. Bill you don’t have to go far from home, go to East Main St between Alpine St and Louisiana Ave and look at the trash in the roadway. Go to Main St between North Ave and Beechmont Ave. Get the Mad vacs out there once a week or more and pick up this trash.
    On a positive note the leaf pick up this year is the best I have seen. They are doing my neighborhood now and I am impressed with the effort and with the cleaning of the leaves from the roadways and curbs. To the employees of PF thanks for a great job. To the administration put this kind of great effort into removing trash from the streets and you will truly have a clean city. BTW open the dumping station for longer periods of time, 1/2 day on Saturday is BS.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      The parking lot behind the Black Rock Bank & Trust building, a city-owned property, is a filthy mess. There’s a dumpster with a padlock. Probably hasn’t been emptied since Joe “Snake Oil, Anyone?” Celli was unlawfully occupying the building. Now the trash is swarming, forming itself into a pack of mongrel items while awaiting its turn at heavy rotation on MTV. The lot entrance on the Wilson street side is covered with empty beer cans and liquor bottles, food packages, human DNA captured for posterity by the miracle of modern synthetic nonporous elastic prophylactics. If a City Councilman were to refer the matter to his local DTC District Leader, the parking lot would be cleaned up and the alderman would be able to score some big points with the voters that were duped into electing him. Or her. Or it.

  • Grin Ripper

    While the Gathering of The Vibrators were kicking off the press conference about next year at Klein, vendors were busted plying their trade in the Klein parking lot before Dark Star Orchestra. Cops busted lots and gave out drug traffic tickets. It’s déjà vu all over again. In anticipation of next year’s event, no Adrianna Huffington will be allowed. It’s a gas!

  • Bridgeport Now

    “Bridgeport Now” Tue on Ch 88 at 8pm
    No cablevision: On the net at soundviewtv.org

    Special guest: Local published writer and UB professor, Eric Lehman to discuss his wonderful book: “Bridgegport, Tales from The Park City”.

    After reading this book, I never realized there were so many ‘firsts’ in Bridgeport. Tune in to find out why. He will be on at 8:30pm. Such visionaries, inventors and entrepreneurs and few know the story! It’s available here on Amazon: amazon.com/Bridgeport-Tales-Eric-D-Lehman/dp/159629616X

    Also on the program, local news discussion including the Ellsworth Park bathroom controversy.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      All this speculation about who is going to run for mayor of Park Land is a bit premature. We know at least a couple of candidates: Finch and Caruso. More than a few folks’ll be voting for Caruso, from what I’ve been hearing on the street.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Anyone read the article in Sunday’s Connecticut Post re the City Council’s apparent apathy toward the concerns of city residents? Not all council members, mind you. More than half, at least. Some of the regular public speakers noted in the story, well, let’s just say one or two of ‘em have the potential to be dreadfully boring. But their concerns are real, and ought to be treated with every respect.

  • yahooy

    Whomever the stupid son of a bitch is who green-lighted the “Vibes” for next year is a real good contender for Philistine of the Year.

  • Mojo

    *** Many public speakers are on the speaking list @ least once a month, mostly concerned with their “own” personal issues. They never bother to try & get in contact with their own district council persons but feel that addressing the entire body will help! They’ll start their speech by talking about some neighborhood problem, then slowly add their personal problems to the mix, perfect example, Mr. Young. Now not everyone is guilty of this type of public speaking, but nevertheless the public should be given the respect of some type of audience being there. This is the responsibility of the council president to make sure that members are present more than not! Wait ’til you see the next group of council members by this coming June, after they’re a bit more comfortable in general & during public hearings time! (GHOST) However, the voters of the city of Bpt. have looked at & studied each council & B.O.E. member and made their democratic choice to vote for them during the past elections. So there should be “no” complaints about the cream of the bunch in general, on their overall performance, should there? Lay down with dogs, wake up with fleas! *** By the way, who sings “you can’t always get what you want”? *** T.R.S. ***

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      I was trying to avoid noting Mr. Young’s regular-as-a-lunar-calendar attendance. Bridgeport, like a few other cities, has its share of gadflies and self-appointed “neighborhood activists” that think there’s a big conspiracy to deprive their “followers” of rights and opportunities. Mr. Young and Lyle Hassan Jones fall into the latter category. Both would have you believe that the biggest problem facing their community is racial oppression and discrimination. Well no, you guys got it wrong. The biggest problems facing the entire Bridgeport community are poverty, ignorance, and the culture of dependency that is created by subsidized housing, reliance on food stamps for one’s daily bread, and not knowing how to present oneself in a job interview.

      And let’s not forget anger. There are more than a few people in the ‘Port that are pissed off that they are living in a city regarded with such glaring apathy by the officials elected to represent the residents. They’re pissed off that they want to get the fuck out of this God-forsaken place, move somewhere else and start all over again. But there are no jobs available because the self-important assholes that control the city’s political establishment are more interested in the game and the power then actually doing something for the greater good, the common good.

      Who gives a damn about a zoo or a museum when the only currency available is an EBT card?

  • Fed Up

    Is there anything freakin’ positive in this lousy city? Hiring outside consultants to teach relations between a toxic city hall and its unhappy employees? Anything connected with this administration has to be handled by hazmat.

    And now I read the Board of Education has a publicity home run with a woman who can run the operations of the schools? They could care less that it’s a good thing, they only give a damn about their own lousy out-of-touch agendas. A woman’s touch for the schools, with a legal background LMFAO they are too stupid to know a good thing if it flew up their tight buttholes.
    Whatever happened to all the positive stuff downtown John Fabrizi was doing? AAAW so he was human and he had faults, these idiots would vote for a convicted thief coming out of jail and not for the best showman Bridgeport ever had since Barnum. Say what you want about Fabrizi but he bleeds Bridgeport.

    Period.

  • town committee

    The politicians in charge do not give a damn about the people in Bridgeport. Why is that? Because they know that no matter what they do they will win reelection if they don’t get caught in a compromising position or have a problem with the law.
    There is no doubt that when the union contracts come due in a year or so and the administration has to raise taxes they will blame the unions and their greedy employees.
    Chances are that these incompetents will all be reelected by the people of Bridgeport solely because they are on the Democratic ticket.
    Has anyone including our daily rag of a newspaper questioned where all the money is coming from to hire all of these new people? NO!!! Isn’t it surprising that the unions have kept silent? The police union did speak when they voted in new officers to run the union. The rest of the unions should be giving dues refunds to their membership as they have done nothing to question what is going on with all this hiring of consultants and politically connected people while they take it in the neck.

  • city hall smoker

    Murphy is going to “review employees performance.” Does that include the inept supervisors?

  • Fed Up

    Are these the same supervisors who allowed a heroin addict or an alcoholic to use city vehicles with no consequences? Same supervisors who hand OT to their puppets and stick it to the other workers? Maybe their hands are tied, sell your souls.

  • Fed Up

    You know how to make employees respect their bosses? Treat everyone equal. Stories I read and hear. The names change but the treatment stays the same. Morale at a all-time low? Damn freakin’ right. Obama promises change? Who is gonna change Bridgeport? The employees have no hope, nothing to look forward to. Unless you like it in the ass, then you enjoy going to work. Don’t hire a consultant to make things better, don’t piss down our necks and tell us it’s raining. We might not have degrees but we all aren’t stupid. Board of Education is gonna hire a connected crony, we all know it. Finch ain’t changin’ shit and we all know it. Our assholes are puckered from pain so we can feed our families.

  • Mojo

    *** Review employee’s performance? The dept. head or immediate supervisor, who’s there & works 5 days a week dealing with workers can’t review their own employee’s performances? However, it’s much easier to get an outsider, pay them $24,000. for 6 month’s work to reprimand or fire dead weight or possibly individuals on the admins. “hit list”! Things like this can’t be made up or written for a soap opera just out the blue, it’s too wasteful during these economic times. Yet it is Bpt. and a good percentage of its registered voters are getting exactly what they voted for & the rest could care less one way or another! ***

  • BARF

    This is just another added way to subvert Civil Service rule. Never mind testing scores, that will all mean nothing. Supervisors will now be able to “disqualify” a candidate for anything they can think of … like “DIS-loyalty!” Watch out for the abuse when this is done!

  • BARF

    You’ll remember … David Dunn was quoted when first appointed as acting personnel director … his goal was to solidify the “efficiency ratings,” and establish the “rule of three!’ It is so obvious … the blatant disregard for Civil Service. Thing is, who’s gonna stop ‘em?

  • independent soul

    Naming a woman to head up operations at the BOE is one thing, but hiring the wife of an employee is something else. Whatever happened to conflict of interest? She would sign off on his overtime? Could his supervisor ever discipline him? This wouldn’t be a publicity feat of accomplishment for the BOE but another example of playing politics (probably). I for one hope all the bloggers who claim to have the inside word are wrong.

    • Chosen 1

      Take it from a woman who knows:

      If my husband were a few rungs under me he would have to work twice as hard and be ten times cleaner than anyone else not to embarrass me and my department.

      She also wouldn’t be signing off on his overtime as the union states all overtime is spread equally between the members.

      Hiring this woman would not be politics as usual but outside the box and fresh thinking.

      (you go girl!)

  • Chosen 1

    Is it also true that the interim boss holding down the fort is his brother’s supervisor? I don’t know if this is a fact but I’ve heard it is.

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