Mayor Banks On Legislature’s Border Change For Regional School

Bridgeport and Trumbull officials, brokered by Andrew McDonald, Governor Dannel Malloy’s chief legal counsel, have agreed to a border change to pave the way for a 1,500-student regional science magnet school. As a result of the agreement the school will be located in Bridgeport proper. The state legislature is expected to take up approval of the land use agreement in an emergency vote Wednesday. Mayor Bill Finch hopes the vote will pass so that the city can move ahead with regulatory approvals and school construction. From the mayor:

Statement from Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch re: Magnet HS Border Change proposal

“The Interdistrict Magnet School border change proposal comes up for a vote tomorrow (Wednesday, April 13) before the state Legislature, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Legislative delegation for their careful attention to this matter, which is very important for both communities.

“I also want to extend my thanks to Andrew McDonald, Governor Malloy’s counsel who has helped both parties work through the details and come to an acceptable compromise.

“Our goal from the outset has never wavered–the Fairchild-Wheeler Multi-Magnet High School will be a state-of-the-art school offering a top-notch educational opportunity to hundreds of Bridgeport students and students from around the region.

“Both Trumbull and Bridgeport derive enormous public benefit from moving forward with this much-needed high school. Both communities also stand to lose a great deal if we don’t get this done, namely over $100 million in state construction funds and hundreds of good jobs for Bridgeport and Trumbull residents. I look forward to a positive outcome by our state Legislators so we can get this project up and running.”



  1. “Hundreds of good jobs” is not definitively qualified. There will be hundreds of good jobs, some long term (teachers, maintenance including food services, etc.) and short term (building the school). So there is some silver in the lining.

  2. Unless Governor Moonstruck gets the union concessions he seeks there will be no funding for this otherwise worthwhile project. Furthermore, union concessions are so important to Moonstruck’s budget he will be unable to provide benefits to the cities. Bridgeport stands to lose $60,000,000.

    I am no fan of unions. They are nothing more than cliches that have lived long past their usefulness. You sateen jacket, baseball cap clad unionites put Moonstruck into office over an accomplished businessman with the skill and experience needed to restore financial stability. Now Moonstruck is stabbing you in the back and shoving it …

    1. yahooy, put the bitterness aside. You are a smart man who speaks foolishly. The history of the unions is rooted in the industrial revolution where profit was king & the workers were slave labor. Safety hazards & long working hours created dangerous environments from the factories to the coal mines & the sweat shops. Organized labor built America.

      To your credit, I understand the other side of this debate. Many national unions became corrupt and abused their membership as badly as their “Management” opponents. Please consider this for a moment. The UAW (United Auto Workers) lost hundreds of thousands of workers by letting Robots on the assembly line to improve productivity. A few union officials got rich, everybody else got the ax. We all know about the Teamsters under Jimmy Hoffa, the greed, the corruption, the Mob affiliations, yes it’s a sad truth. But this is how I see it today. I am sure you are aware of the pendulum effect, that motion swings to the extreme but is always returning to a concentric center. Sir Isaac Newton #3 it’s not just a good idea it’s a law.

      This has come full circle, the ebb & flow completed. From BPT to “Allentown” the factories closed & the unions ran away. Now I see labor under a vicious attack once more.

      Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin proposes to disregard collective bargaining rights that were fairly negotiated with the unions. The word negotiate means to give & take, concessions by both parties. To unilaterally reject an agreement is reprehensible. How would it be perceived if the Unions decided to go on strike and shut down Wisconsin? They would call out the National Guard just like when Reagan fired the PATCO workers. The Air Traffic Control workers were fired and we let it happen. Organized labor should have shut down this country in support. Sadly anti-labor forces have grown stronger and once again are we are under attack. This is exactly how the French Revolution started. “Let them eat cake.”

  3. Unions are a necessary evil. If corporate executives and politicians didn’t tend toward unscrupulous behavior rank-and-file laborers wouldn’t feel the need to band together.

    1. The Bridgeport Kid // Apr 13, 2011 at 11:09 am
      to your posting

      You are so right.
      The corporate greed, the political greed and the total absence of any morally guided behavior has given unions more than enough ammunition to band together. We need only look to the current political administration headed up at 999 Broad Street to give us a perfect example of why unions are what they are …
      But wait … what would happen if the books were open and the talks were honest and the actions matched the words? My guess is the unions representing City of Bridgeport employees would take a different approach than the one they’ve been forced to take.

  4. Does anyone know if Trumbull will be able to build a wastewater treatment plant on the land they are getting from Bridgeport? I certainly hope not.

  5. Explain the latest police deal Finch cut with the police union. Explain how it is in Stratford that SEVERAL newly retired town union employees are receiving thousands of dollars more a year in pensions than they earned while employed.

      1. STRATFORD — Five of six town employees who retired in January and for whom human resources officials provided pension data are earning more or nearly the same amount of money in retirement than they did while working.

        Police Cpl. Michael Reid retired Jan. 3 with an annual pension of $80,810.40 – more than 28 percent higher than his $62,831 former salary.

        Milford Mix, a former line maintenance crew leader for the Public Works Department, has a pension of $78,726, more than 18 percent higher than the $66,528.76 salary he made before retiring Jan. 10.

        Bryan Williams, a newly retired firefighter, is getting a pension of $67,148.76, up from his former salary of $62,495.61.

        The town is paying former police captains Kenneth Bakalar and Michael Fernandes pensions that are least 97 percent of their former salaries.

        Meanwhile, the town’s pension plans have fallen further behind. There is now a $109 million gap between the fund’s assets and what it owes to future retirees.

        As Mayor John A. Harkins prepares to release a budget proposal this week for fiscal year 2012, town officials face the need to increase the contributions to these retirement plans, one of the drivers of the 9.75 percent property tax increase taxpayers were hit with last year.

        In response to a Freedom of Information Act request made Jan. 31 by the Connecticut Post, the town did not provide pension data for three of nine employees who retired in the January: Asst. Fire Chief Daniel Ross, Police Lt. Patrick Freer and public works sanitation driver Isaac Hernandez. Human resources officials also did not provide earnings data for Board of Education retirees.

        The town took a step toward addressing its pension problems with the police department in January by reaching an agreement with the police union to institute 401(k)-style retirement plans instead of pensions for new hires. But the town continues to maintain obligations to its current police employees, all of whom have pensions.

        The town and the public works union ditched pensions for future employees in 1999. Yet, 12 years later, a maintenance crew leader retired with a pension that is 118 percent of his former salary.

        It will likely take many years for the town’s pension liability to see significant relief from these newer contracts.

        Meanwhile, all 97 employees of the Stratford Fire Department have a contract in which their pension is calculated from base pay, overtime and unused vacation. The fire department is the only town department operating under such a contract.

        Contract negotiations between the town and firefighters’ union are under way.

        CT POST March 14, 2011

    1. yahooy, if you think the police deal was something you should see the new fire contract. I backload that contract through 2012 and the percentage of raises over the life of the contract are slightly higher in the fire contract.
      The only thing from a taxpayer angle is the fire department gave up the escalator clause. The firefighters will be covered under the state pension fund MERS and they will use the last 3 years average for their pensions. This one is going to cost big time. Even though I benefit from this contract I am not in favor of it at this time but that doesn’t mean squat as the council passed it no questions asked.

        1. You are 100% correct, no one asked a question. It is basically the same at the budget hearings. Any questions asked are about a council person’s district, not about the impact of a certain item on the city as a whole.

  6. I’m not bitter about unions; municipal unions in specific. Trading huge lopsided contracts for promises of votes has literally destroyed the financial community. Panuzio’s 20 and out for crying out loud. Finch’s latest with the police … no raises for 2 years then the shaft really hits the taxpayers. It’s tough for any employed person to take less in pay and benefits. There is no more money to be had except in the cookie jars we all hide from Finch. The unions have to give back and the non-unions have to do so as well. We can only afford so much in salaries and benefits without tapping the taxpayers again. Besides, there hasn’t been a contribution to these pensions in 2 years now. Thanks for the lessons on the US labor movement. No more.

  7. One more thing and then I’m on my way to MJF’s rally.


    Maybe you guys and gals can get another year out of that sateen jacket with the pretty writing on it instead of buying a new one.

    1. yahooy, WTF was that?
      You are hypocrite and an asshole. You have the balls to bash unions yet you will turn around and think they should make concessions? Don’t you know unions protect their members’ interests? How would you feel if your boss said you aren’t getting any paid sick days this year even though our contract requires it? You are pseudo-intellectual with bad ideas that shift like the wind. Do us all a favor and move to Wisconsin where you can be surrounded by similar anti-labor sympathizers. Get the cheese block hat and you will blend right in.

  8. My sense of recent union history in the US has been the overall decrease in workers represented by unions in the past 50 years. The decrease of manufacturing firms with manufacturing jobs with union employees has been the overall reason for the trend. Today some 17% of workers in our economy are members of unions.

    But there has been one growth trend in that similar period that has been the focus of union organizers. They looked at public employment at local, State and Federal levels and saw the huge opportunity. What taxpaying voters did not understand was the price tag for the variety of current as well as post retirement benefits approved by their councils and legislatures over the years were never fully presented to the voters after negotiations in a form that would have spelled out the funding problems, easier to defer than to face, even in good times. No focus on price tags. No voter look-see at expenses. Good times everywhere. Elected representatives not held accountable for approval votes made years before. Closed processes. Limited transparency. Who wishes to be held accountable for past promises that let the public know the extent of obligations? Right here in Bridgeport where the incumbent is touting “no tax increase” in his re-election bid, there is a hidden liability, for retirement benefits of all kinds that is around $1 Billion.

    And if the City funds only part of the annual liability, rather than the amount suggested by consulting actuaries, it merely increases the stated liability in future years. Pay me now or pay me later (but then add the cost of use of money additional.)

    If you want to see the numbers, the ones that are not readily shared at public meetings, go to the City web site and click on the 2010 Audit report. Almost 140 pages, but there are significant nuggets of info approved by past Councils that did not understand the “big picture”. Maybe some were too focused for their future retirement benefits as City employees to wear their representative hat with full responsibility. And they did not understand how their approval of an appropriation, a transfer, or a budget number affected the financial picture for the City as a whole as the municipality moves through the years. Unfunded liabilities wound a City, increase future tax payments, and contribute to the culture of city approvals: “Hurry up.” “Don’t worry about the details.” “What do you want to know for?” “I’ll get the information for you later.”

  9. yahooy,
    Thank you for that information, it was an interesting read. Many contracts are based on your three best years salary & the individuals attempt to pad them accordingly. Your point about Mayor Panuzio is very well made, but look at the economy then and now. BPT was prosperous and thought it would always be. No one considered an escape clause for the future.

    Neither one of us is going to convert the other, a tiger will not change its stripes. It is difficult to argue with anyone when in part you agree with them. Sure, Panuzio made the deal for votes but the failure to alter it fell on all the following administrations. It all remains a dance, welcome to “Negotiations.”

  10. Ronin, another unibrow.

    I don’t have to move to Wisconsin. Wisconsin is moving into every community in this country that has been abused by reckless union contracts that destroy the financial well being of corporation and municipalities. Your union label days are over. LIVE WITH IT.

    What would I do if my boss told me that my sick days would no longer be paid? If it meant I could keep my job, I would agree to it. Unions lose sight of the fact that companies and municipalities only have so much money to distribute as wages and benefits. In the case of a municipality these “deals for votes” are based upon hopes of anticipated revenues that never materialize and much be then placed upon the backs of the taxpayers to make good on a deal they would have voted against if given the chance.


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