Newton On “Warpath” Over Pay Increases Approved By City Council

City Councilman Ernie Newton is on the “warpath” over a four percent pay raise the City Council approved for the Bridgeport City Supervisors Association that automatically triggers a pay bump for the mayor and non-union positions via a city ordinance.

“How do you explain that we don’t have money to take care of certain things, but we can give the mayor’s people increases?” opines Newton, even though the council approved the contract. “If we had a pot full of money that would be one thing. This is what happened under Bill Finch. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.”

The raises are two percent retroactive and two percent to start the new budget year July 1.

Newton argues the ordinance should be amended. See salary ranges of positions 2019citysalarygrid.

From Brian Lockhart CT Post:

Ganim’s and the other increases were triggered when the council in February approved a new contract for the Bridgeport City Supervisors Association. A local ordinance requires non-union positions receive the same raises as unionized supervisors.

The supervisors received a retroactive 2 percent raise. They are scheduled for another 2 percent raise in July, adding up to the 4 percent increases in Ganim’s budget, which is being reviewed by the council’s Budget Committee ahead of a May vote.

“This is the fair and equitable way to meet the standards of cost of living and have parameters in place that establish an increase for employees that don’t have a union,” said Ganim’s communications director, Rowena White.

And, technically, many on the mayor’s payroll are not earning as much as they could. The same ordinance linking their wages to the unionized supervisors also establishes salary ranges. Those ranges in March were increased to accommodate for the 2 percent retroactive pay increase, and will be adjusted again over the summer to reflect July’s 2 percent raise.

The linked pay increases were controversial when Joe Ganim returned to office after defeating Bill Finch in 2015.

In one of his final acts as mayor, Finch approved retroactive pay increases for dozens of discretionary appointees after the City Council failed to act on approving a collective bargaining agreement under the Bridgeport City Supervisors Association that also drives mayoral pay. On his final day as mayor, Nov. 30th, 2015, Finch’s  paycheck packed a direct deposited $17,079 based on his authorizing a retroactive pay raise going back to July 1, 2013.

On November 18, 2015, the attorney for the supervisor’s association Ed Gavin sent a letter to then Director of Labor Relations Larry Osborne, a Finch supporter, citing Connecticut law regarding inaction by the legislative body to act on collective bargaining agreements.

“Such requests shall be considered approved if the legislative body fails to vote to approve or reject such requests within 30 days of the end of the 14 day period for submission to said body,” Gavin wrote.

The increases were subsequently processed.

When he took office Ganim lobbied the City Council to rescind the pay raise citing an inherited $20 million budget deficit. Gavin, representing the city’s Supervisors Union, ran into court to preserve the contract. Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis sided with Gavin.

Newton says he wants the City Council to revisit the ordinance that links discretionary appointee salary ranges. Many of Ganim’s hires are at the low or mid end of the ranges, as Lockhart points out in his article.

Still, Newton persists “They don’t need it because they serve at the pleasure of the mayor. I wish I made $100,000. I would not need a raise.”

Ganim’s proposed spending plan for the budget year starting July 1 is currently in the hands of the council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee. The first public hearing is April 18. See here.

Newton asserts he’ll push for cuts to every department as leverage to amend the ordinance.

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65 comments

  1. It’s an election year for Joe,I’d bet he will use this sticky situation to benefit him(like always) and give back his $5900.00. Its Joe Ganim, there will be plenty of other opportunities for him to pick up 5X that.Spring is here, contracts are getting awarded daily $$

  2. Well, Mayor Ganim talked the Fire Department to take a 0 increase in 2016 just so he could give raises to his political whores and himself. My question to Local 834 the BFD union, when are you going to quit kissing the ass of the Mayor and do like the police union who doesn’t give back a damn thing to this Mayor or any other of the blood sucker’s that occupy the mayor’s office.

    Now I see where Councilman Newton is going to push for cuts to every department as leverage. Really, what the hell does cutting department’s money have to do with your Mayor giving raises to himself and his political whores? You should have stop this when it was 1st proposed and those cuts to department’s should have been done to finance the education of Bridgeport’s children and not as revenge for raises. Once again the education of our youth takes a backseat because of incompetence of the so called leaders that profess to love Bridgeport and care about the education of its youth.

  3. Does this mean that Steven Auerbach will get the raise he has been calling for? Lennie, forget about paying for beer and pizza at Brewport–Steven will have to take us out to Brewport and cover the bill.

  4. On the warpath with a squirtgun:
    Ernie Newton’s warpath will never see its first battle because the pay raises are supported by the charter.
    When revenge is your only tactic, failure is your likely outcome.

  5. Ernie, I did not try checking the minutes, but did you express your concern when the city council voted to approve the new contract with the Supervisor’s Union? Were you not aware that most of the unaffiliated employees follow the Supervisor’s Union salary adjustments? Was it discussed in committee? Was it discussed at the council meeting when it was approved?

    Or, was it on the consent calendar?
    Aha!
    All in favor? Aye! Motion to adjourn! All in favor? Aye!

  6. Don Day/ Tom White
    When i served on the city council 1981-85 as President. Mayor appointment served at his pleasure . Never did this kind on thing happen while I was on the council. Everyone just about makes over 6 figures. Bill Finch hurt this city when he left, by giving out Raises to all his ass-hole friend. We all have to make sacrifices. If anyone should lead it starts at the TOP! those raises came to the city council but they had already taken effect. Tom you should know that. Now I will give the Mayor his due when he came in facing a 20 million dollar hole because of finch and company. He order fur-lows and cut in pay I thing I wasn’t on the city council at that time. Timing is everything. It we have monies to give cost of living adjustment to people who are not in a union and are appointed by the mayor. Its somthing the city council should look at!

  7. Ernie,
    Did you do the math? Or are you accepting the Finch left me with $20 Million deficit?Go back toOIB articles at the time. Look at what Joe had control of. Perhaps the $20 Million story merely covered the fact that he would increase taxes? So he increased taxes, but did the entire $20 Million problem get settled in one year? If not, perhaps the story was hyped and continues to be? The constant repetition of the $20 Milllion hole points people in the direction of not looking at Ganim’s correction? Did he ever really explain how he dealt with it? Perhaps the second course he can teach is what is the difference between restructuring bonds and refunding bonds…….what was done this year? Time will tell.

    1. John
      I wasn’t on the city council at the time maybe you can share what you thought the budget deficit may have been. Listen Tom White I’m sorry you loss your job with the city council. I will always go to conferences. To learn what other cities and towns are doing that maybe will work in Bridgeport. You can’t learn anything. New sitting in Bridgeport. I’m happy to see the city council taking it job seriously. I can’t speak on past city council members I can only speak on this council>

      1. Ernie
        Did you ever try following what other cities are doing by getting on the internet?
        It amazing what you can learn and not even leave the comforts of your own home 😃

      2. When you keep repeating what the Mayor’s patter indicates, it shows that you just do not care about getting stories right. Who does care? Who does oversight on the CAFR and the Budget documents each year? As Ken Flatto has repeated this year, ” I wrote it. Of course I read it.” And if it was wrong, he’ll ignore telling us that, but he could just say: ” Hey guys I am human. I can make a mistake, too.” But he did not.
        He wears his Ganim2 t-shirt proudly: “Often wrong. Never in doubt.” Time will tell.

    2. There was NEVER a $20,000,000 deficit when Ganim took office in 2015. It was actually between 8-9,000,000. It was pure propaganda to justify the largest tax increase in Bridgeport’s history.

      1. But the City Council has a habit of listening to the Mayor’s story line, rather than spending their own dollars (in a line item decrease from four years ago), to report and tell their own “oversight” story. Does agreeing with the “story” coming from the Mayor’s office mean that the Council has practiced oversight, agrees with the data and facts presented as being the “whole picture”, and provide themselves with a grade of A+ for their work on behalf of each Committee and the community at large? Does the failure to identify their purposes and priority mean the Council is healthy and relevant to citizen needs? Time will tell.

  8. Ernie,
    My comment applied to the entire city council. You got attention by displaying your surprise at what appeared in the Connecticut Post.
    The practice, via ordinance, of documented salary ranges for ‘Officers’ and unaffiliated employees and of following the supervisors union salary adjustments goes back to the late 1990s during G1.
    City council members have time (and tax-payer funding) to go on junkets to NLC conferences and use council meetings for posing for pictures and honoring insignificant people, but there isn’t time to ask questions, research issues and check the facts.

    1. Tom
      I’m Sorry you loss your job with the city council. I like others on the council have a right to Voice our objection if we don’t like something just because you may have don’t it wrong for a long time. Do-sent mean you cant start doing it right!

  9. Ron
    Real City Coucil members by the action of one can remove items from the consent calendar.
    Mr Mayor I wold like to remove items 2 & 5 from the consent calendar for the purpose of discussion.
    The mayor grunts and moans and then says items 2 & 5 are removed. Any other items?

    1. Thanks Bob, that’s why I asked the former City Council President Ernie Newton was the actions taken about these pay increase on the consent calendar or not? Ernie didn’t answer Tom Whites questions instead he gave us a history lesson when he served on the city council 1981-85 as President.

  10. Maria
    You said the budget shortfall when Mayor Ganmin toke office was 9 million. Please share with me how you came up with those numbers. In 2017-2019 I was elected yes mayor gave us a flat budget for education and yes the City Council found dollars for Education. Let’s hope we can find ways to help our children. I see you will be speaking at the City Council on Bassick HS. Please remember to take your med”s.

    1. Ernie,

      I had high level contacts then, and I do now. You see, when you garner a reputation as someone that possesses integrity and is willing to stand up for what is right, city employees will provide you with critical information in the hopes of exposing blatant lies, dishonesty, and corruption. A good official will then research the matter to verify it.

      I had a retired police officer call me a few weeks ago to share the absolute mismanagement of the BPD under Chief Perez and how it is negatively impacting the morale of the officers.

      I was told months ago that there is currently an elected official serving in Bridgeport that does not reside in Bridgeport. I have been researching it for months and have spent over 200 hours compiling evidence to prove it. I hand delivered my complaint, my 23 page Exhibit Index, and hundreds of pages of exhibits to the SEEC in Hartford in March. In fact, when I hand-delivered it one of the employees told me it was the largest SEEC complaint that they had ever seen.

      There is significant and compelling evidence that this individual has repeatedly voted in Bridgeport without residing here which will likely result in multiple felony counts .

      In addition, I believe during my research I uncovered extensive finance/bank/ mortgage fraud that is being researched by a separate entity.

      It is so easy to complain on OIB, however my hope is that more people get off their sofa and actually do the work necessary to make a difference in Bridgeport.

      Judge Lopez taught me EVERYTHING I know about connecting the dots, conducting research, and about filing credible complaints with the proper agency. I am not going to let that go to waste.

      Ernie, I promise I will continue to take any and all prescribed medicine. In turn, please ensure you take anything you need that may have to be swallowed, snorted, inhaled, or injected.

    2. Ernie Newton, it’s been over three years the Administration has been claiming it inherited a $20 million deficit and not a single council member has or could show how they came up with those numbers.

  11. Here’s a bigger issue:
    Imagine if hundreds of illegal immigrants were dropped in Bridgeport on orders from the President as punishment for Democratic intentions towards our border policy? Some say it’s illegal but the potential is life-altering.
    Europeans are frustrated absorbing thousands of refugees into their countries. Once they arrive, they disrupt the culture and produce unwanted changes.
    President Trump is a change agent and he wouldn’t mind using Bridgeport to prove his point.
    Read the whole story here:
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/donald-trumps-proposal-to-move-migrants-into-sanctuary-cities-raises-logistical-legal-issues/ar-BBVTlp1?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=iehp

  12. Ernie, the budget cycle always has, and always will, reveal unnecessary spending while accentuating shortfalls in crucial areas of spending. I don’t have the financial understanding of JML, Bubba, Ron Mackey, Tom White, Donald Day, Frank, and others, but I remember the frustration and disappointment I felt every year I served. I was fortunate to have Bubba and John Stafstrom as council partners; they more than possessed that knowledge, yet, we were always left with a sense that more could have been done on the part of the Administration. I guess my point is that I give you credit for stepping up and trying. I’m curious to see where your colleages stand and if they will show the same interest as you.

    1. Thanks Lisa
      I served on the appropriations committee while serving as a State Rep in Hartford. This city budget is nothing compare to the states budget. I’ve been at many of the meeting although i am not a member of that committee. I’ve gone through the city budget and have question many thing in it. I just wish i could go through The Board of Education budget. Lisa as you know we have police, fire,public works and many other departments to deal with unlike the Bd of Ed. Our Three Largest departments Police, Fire, Public Works etc

      1. You can go through the proposed BOE Budget anytime you would like. It is a public document created by our CFO,,Marlene Seigel, who has a Masters Degree from Brainard University. Just know there are really big numbers in the document with lots of zeros.

        The Board of Education is not one department. What “department” has a $247,000,000 operating budget?

        We operate 42 municipal buildings, have 2,700 employees, and are directly responsible for 20,400 students a minimum of 182 days per year which is significantly greater than the city of Bridgeport.

        1. where do you get your 247 million dollar budget from City and state. I heard she only works a few days a week. One thing for sure the board of education. The city puts up 200 million dollars to pay teacher salaries etc.

          1. That is an absolute lie. The state funds 74% of the BOE’s operating budget. The city only contributes approximately $60,000,000. Every other dollar comes from the state.

            Our CFO works 4 days a week at 45 Lyon Terrace. On Friday’s she works from home in NY because she is Jewish and must be home by sunset on Fridays. Every single time I email her on a Friday she answers me promptly.

            Your OPM works at 999 Broad Streer five days a week and is dishonest, unethical and completely incompetent.

          2. Mr. newton for the third time please stop misleading people by including the state flow through as the cities contribution. Last year was a 57 million dollar contribution. The rest came from the state. Please be honest and fund our schools. Education before incarceration. First chances before second chances.

          3. Correction not 57 millionZ. Looked at wrong year about 63 but still far short of 247 million. Even Waterbury funds their schools better.

      2. The City’s budget is nothing compared to the states budget? Are you saying that you can do a better job managing the city’s budget, because you served on the legislature’s appropriation committee? I doubt you can state the major differences between the towns and state budget. The process is very different. One of the best part of the state’s budget process is the mandated independent analysis by the Office of Fiscal Analysis. As far as state budget transparency and or accuracy in the numbers, state residents can rest assured knowing the folks at fiscal analysis are keeping an eye on the numbers. Ask JML if he feels rested assured that the city’s budget numbers are on target? Ask JML to provide us with the city’s budget number as provided by the City of Bridgeport ‘s Independent Office of Fiscal Analysis.

  13. Yes Maria
    I heard what you tried to do to one of your fellow Bd Of Education members I read your complain. SEEC WOW 😮 Maria all can say is What goes around comes around. I just found out that your mate works for Juda Epstein. I guess Tony Barr was right about you.

    1. First you stated you “heard” about my complaint, then you said you “read” about my complaint. Which one is it?

      I don’t have to worry about the SEEC, the CT Secretary of State, the FBI, the State Attorney General, etc., because I am an honest, ethical, and principled elected official. I recognize this may be a difficult concept for you to comprehend and embrace.

      My significant other has been self employed for over 20 years and runs his own business which is licensed. He doesn’t work for anyone but himself.

      Juda Epstein donated $250 to Tony Barr’s 138th TC slate campaign. Feel free to check the campaign filings in the Town Clerk’s office.

      It is called doing your homework and posting FACTUAL information which should be important to everyone, but even more so if you’re an elected official.

      1. Maria
        You can slander others but when its done to you. You cry foul like i said before what goes around come around. When you point a finger at someone else remember You have four pointing back at you. Maria just like you don’t believe our numbers i don’t believe the boards number either. Looking forward to hearing your speech on Bassick HS. Monday!

        1. Whom have I “slandered?” In order to “slander” someone I would have had to assert that someone did something they did not do.

          I’ll wait.

        2. You just accused me of slander, yet someone sent me a screenshot of your Facebook page where you had the gal to post that the proposed closure of Hall School was somehow because of me

          In my ten years involved with the BOE, I have NEVER supported the closure of a single school. I had the flu, therefore I was not even present at Wednesday’s Finance Committee meeting where the closure of Hall School was proposed.

          When you were in prison, and Dr. Ramos wanted to close Dunbar School, I stood in front of Dunbar School with parents day after day educating parents and getting signatures to stop the closure. I also donated $1,000 to file a lawsuit to block the closure. The lawsuit was filed and Dr. Ramos withdrew the closure of Dunbar School.

          If Hall School is closed, which is in your district, only Mayor Ganim and the City Council, minus Eneida, Pete and Kyle, can be blamed.

          We have made $38,000,000 in cuts in the last three years. If the Mayor’s fourth consecutive ZERO increase budget is passed by YOU and your colleagues, we will have had no choice but to make $52,000,000 in devastating cuts during Mayor Ganim’s four year term in office.

          To blame ANY school board member for budget cuts we MUST make speaks directly to your character or lack thereof.

          Stop taking drugs. It is killing the few remaining brain cells you have left.

          1. Maria
            If i’m taking Drugs at less I wasn’t placed in psychiatric ward for ODing on my MEDS. Maria please take your MEDS before you speak at the council meeting tonight. We will make sure we have police officer there to give you a shot of Epinephrine. (OIB) do we have a Psycho on the Board of Education!

          2. Ernie,
            You are just all over the place with wild accusations you will never be able to substantiate.

            Our BPD officers are carrying around and administering epinephrine???

            I’ll tell you what, Ernie. I will gladly pay for both you and I to take a drug test with the understanding the results, whatever they may be, will be released to OIB .

            I have absolutely nothing to worry about. Will you agree to take a drug test I pay for on the condition the results are released to OIB?

            I will await your answer.

  14. Well that’s some pretty shit. The city is close to bankruptcy while the mayor and his henchmen receive raises. This is an issue that should be brought up on the campaign trail.

      1. Joel, really, “The “law” or more specifically the Charter is being applied and enforced?” The City has GONE OVER 11 YEARS without ENFORSING the Charter for hiring a Personnel Director instead the City has allowed David Dunn to serve as the “Acting” Personnel Director for over 11 years instead of giving a nationwide exam that is called for n the City Charter.

  15. Ernie,
    Your lack of awareness of the ordinance guideline for officers and unaffiliated employees is a sad commentary on the entire city council.
    There may be, though, a way for you to express your indignation that mayoral appointees would get salary increases.
    I suggest you sponsor a resolution (a communication to make a statement) calling on the mayor and mayoral appointees (unaffiliated employees) to forego the salary increases. Ask the council president to place it on the agenda of a council meeting for a vote of support by council members.

    I also suggest that you submit a resolution calling for a reduction in city council stipends. Given your tardy concern expressed about the cost of ordinance-stipulated increases for mayoral appointees, perhaps you can offer taxpayers some relief from their indignation of seeing city council members using stipends (one of only two municipal legislative bodies in Connecticut that receive a stipend) for questionable purposes including NLC junkets.

    In 1992, my colleagues and I reduced our stipends by 50% in a gesture to recognize the impact of budget cuts in operating departments.
    Our stipends were $500 per year and we reduced it to $250. The current city council stipend is $9,000 per year. How about a reduction to $2,500 per year, the amount paid in New Haven, the only other city that pays a stipend. That would save taxpayers $130,000 per year.

    Ernie, are you up to it?

  16. Tom
    I served on the city council 1981-85 we got a stipends of 500.00 dollars. Why would i stop the stipends. We have a right to go NLC to gain knowledge on what other City and towns are doing around the country. We are the Legislative branch of Government. Tom I understand you feel you were mistreated by those who cut your position out of the budget.

    1. Ernie, you said, “We have a right to go NLC to gain knowledge on what other City and towns are doing around the country. We are the Legislative branch of Government,” well Ernie the taxpayers of Bridgeport are paying for all of this and we receive nothing or any reports of what was discuss or what was accomplish at these meetings. The taxpayers are left in the dark about what has been gain as a plus for them with the tax dollars that they are spending.

      1. RON that’s not true i bring back everything from Our NLC so though who would like to read them and no what happening around the country. Budgets Taxes infrastructure Education criminal justice system community policing etc.

        1. Ernie, I would like to have the information from the last NLC. Ernie, do you and other City Council members make written and oral reports at council meetings are these reports made apart of the council’s records?

  17. Ernie,

    Once you agreed, I had to research local drug testing locations, type of tests, costs, payment, protocols and more.

    We will be taking our 10 Panel Drug Tests as follows:

    AFC Urgent Care
    4200 Main Street
    203-916-5151
    No appointment. Walk-in between 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
    The urination will be observed.

    We each need to bring identification and need to sign a release that the results will be emailed to Lennie Grimaldi@OnlyinBridgeport.com

    My payment information is on file with Erica, Administrative Manager. Just let the employee who checks you in know that the test is being paid for by Maria Pereira and Erica has the information.

    I am asking that we take the test by 5:00 PM tomorrow so that it narrows any opportunity to take anything that would hinder the detection of substances in our urine.

    Agreed?

    1. Maria
      How about doing it today. You got all the mouth. I’m going today so that you will see how big of an asshole you really are i’m writing down the address i will be there by 4;30 today make sure you call and tell the i’m coming Just spoke to Erica will be there at 4;30 pm. This will show how crazy you really are! Maria than i’m going to give you a taste of your own medicine. STAY TUNE!

  18. All of you miss the point. Little Joe and his henchmen received raises while the BOE doesn’t have the funds to hire more teachers or purchase text books. What is wrong with this picture?

  19. Maria
    New Flash
    I sitting at Urgent care I was tested
    For A Marijuana Cocaine Amphetamine Methamphetamine Opiates Oxycodone PCP Barbiturates. Benzodiazepines and Methadone.
    Final Result Disposition all came back NEGATIVE 👎
    Maria I will deal with you Lennie I will take a picture and send it to your phone

    1. Ernie,

      You were supposed to sign a release to have the results emailed directly to Lennie Grimaldi. What do you think you are doing? You weren’t supposed to see the results at all. You could be sending a picture of anything???

      You are just unbelievable.

      1. Maria
        You challenge me to take a drug test. I did I sent a picture to Lennie with the results. Let me say this on many of your post on OIB you have hinted about me and Drugs. Today shows the kind of sick person you really are. Don let me say this to you I don’t give a damn about what you think or how you feel about me. I wanted to set the record straight because I know I don’t use drugs or drink alcohol. Don I will never let you or anyone else. Say things about my character. Remember I am a man first and everything else comes second. Don you should have check her as a black man. Maria has never asked any White person for a drug test.

  20. Ernie and Maria, what the hell are you two doing? What’s up with this one up manship shit that you two are doing? It’s embarrassing to the City, it’s embarrassing to the BBOE, it’s embarrassing to the City Council and it’s members and it’s embarrassing to the residents of Bridgeport to see two of its representatives carry on like damn fools. You both are grown ass adults, but ask yourselves what could I possibly accomplish by continuing to excoriate the other person?

    There is absolutely nothing that you two can say or do to change the hearts and minds of each other, so what is the end game with these shenanigans other than proving to everyone else that you two are damn fools. My hope is that you two look at the person in the mirror and tell that person, I’m better than this.

  21. C’mon Ernie, as a Black man,don’t try to check me with Righteousness Indignation when you allowed a malcontent to get you to do something that isn’t none of her business. Who were you doing this for? Can’t be for you because you know whether or not you’re still using. Can’t be for your family or friends because we know that you no longer use. Can’t be for your constituents because they know your circumstance and still vote you into office time and time again. Can’t be for the posters or readers of OIB because most think it’s the most ridiculous thing we have ever heard and not one of us would submitted to the follies of a malcontent.

    As a Black man I would have never allowed Maria or anyone else subscribe to me what I am or not doing and that I need to prove to them like they are arbiters of my life. Brother you suggested that as a Black man I should have checked Maria, but as a Black man I am EQUALLY offended by the actions of white women and Black men because offensive behavior transcends race, ethnicity, gender and intellect.

  22. Ernie, you got played, you just had to take the drug test that Maria tricked you into taking to prove something to Maria? Ernie why, you don’t owe Maria anything, I know that you are clean from drugs and anybody who knows you know that you are drug free. Ernie you have given power to Maria by allowing her to make you take a drug test to prove something to Maria, the people who vote for you and who know you, the people who truly count in your life you have proven nothing to them except that Maria force you to do something that you didn’t need to do.

  23. No comments about the drug test. But I sent a detailed comment about the TWENTY MILLION deficit that CCperson Newton mentions and it did not see the light of day.

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