Some of them weren’t crazy about driving down to the state’s largest city, but when Lowell Weicker was governor he ordered his commissioners to conduct meetings at the governor’s Bridgeport office on Middle Street. Some commissioners were actually required to conduct working days touring the city. A Bridgeport office was among a number of Weicker initiatives to help the city. Gee, commissioners meeting in Bridgeport. There’s a novel approach. Why can’t Dannel Malloy do the same?
He could, if he wants. The governor’s Bridgeport office is no longer among the living, courtesy of budget cuts, but the governor could conduct a meeting of commissioners in any number of state buildings in the city, including Housatonic Community College. Or what about the Margaret Morton Government Center? Mayor Bill Finch would be the first one at the door greeting the governor and commissioners. Yes, cup in hand, but could you blame the mayor?
In fact why not meet for breakfast, lunch and dinner? We promise not to sic Bridgeport’s fiscal watchdog John Marshall Lee on the commissioners. (That lecture you just heard was JML saying Lennie, you don’t speak for me.) But the point is Bridgeport isn’t some hick upstate borough. It’s the state’s largest city. The better the city does the better the state does.
Maybe, just maybe, Malloy encouraging his commissioners to conduct meetings in the city three or four time a year will provide a perspective unavailable in the Venus Flytrap world of state government.
Tom Dudchik, who served as Weicker’s deputy chief of staff and now runs the mighty www.ctcapitolreport.com says Bridgeport was a required study:
“You bet. Lowell dragged all of us down to Bridgeport. Everyone had to go, his scheduler, his administrative assistant, me, his chief of staff, everyone. Front and center in Bridgeport. He made his commissioners work out of that office each week, held commissioner meetings down there. He wanted all of us working in Bridgeport, eating lunch in Bridgeport, knowing Bridgeport. We all tried to avoid the hassle of driving to Bridgeport and then back to Hartford, but he would have none of it. He wanted us all down there. He made it clear that it was to be a ‘working office’ not political window dressing, or some cheap PR stunt. He meant it.”
Come on down, boys and girls. A list of government agencies is here.