Political Profiteers Prevail, Government Reform Bill Dies In Legislative Committee

Cathy Osten
Cathy Osten, bill killer, prevails.

Eastern Connecticut State Senator Cathy Osten promised to kill a government reform bill on behalf of her union cronies and so far she has prevailed. The General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee did not meet the deadline to vote on conflict-of-interest legislation to enforce the Bridgeport City Charter prohibiting city employee councilors. As a result the bill is dead unless supporters can attach it to an existing piece of legislation.

The legislation was introduced by State Senator Marilyn Moore and State Rep. Jack Hennessy with bi-partisan support. Committee leaders carry a lot of clout and Osten as co-chair of the Planning and Development Committee blocked a vote.

Lori Pelletier
Labor chief Lori Pelletier, another proud bill killer.

Tom McCarthy, president of the City Council, works as deputy director of Labor Relations in violation of the City Charter. Osten is politically aligned with bill-killer Lori Pelletier, head of the state AFL-CIO. Pelletier wants a cozy relationship with McCarthy because he serves a dual role approving labor contracts as head of the legislative branch that he also negotiates as a municipal employee at a six-figure salary. His office also hears labor grievances. So not only does McCarthy negotiate labor agreements, approves labor agreements, his office also hears labor grievances.

It’s illegal for state employees to serve in the Connecticut legislature. The Bridgeport City Charter prohibits city employee councilors, but City Attorney Mark Anastasi crafted legal cover years ago to protect the politically connected citing a loophole in state law. State law prohibits municipal employees from serving on boards of finance. The proposed legislation seeks simply to extend state law to include all municipal bodies that serve as a board of finance such as the Bridgeport City Council.

Supporters of the bill argue the bill would prevent conflicts of interests such as city employees approving their own wages and benefits. McCarthy’s salary, according to city budget books, has jumped from $91,169 in the 2009-10 year to a current $114,748. He even had one earning year of roughly $125,000 in 2012 while serving as acting department head.

Opponents of the bill take the public position that the legislation cuts union members out of the electoral process. Supporters say that’s a fallacy. They can run for public office, they can hold a city job, they just can’t do both.



  1. Maybe we can find someone willing to take Anastasi and his bullshit ruling to court. Maybe the court will interpret the charter in the way it should be used.
    Pelletier and the senator are union whores.

    1. Put me down for $200 on a court challenge. If we can get enough people to underwrite this, along with filibustering the City Council meetings until the bastards are removed!

      Oust the City Council bastards and the Finchettes!

  2. Sad day for Bridgeport. Can hardly wait for the mayor to tell us how this makes Bridgeport better every day. Or maybe McCarthy will come out and explain it to us.

    Let’s hope there is some decency in Hartford and this bill gets attached to something else.

    1. And to “some decency,” I’d hope for some effectiveness and leadership.

      Those of you who know or were active campaigners/fundraisers for him should ask Governor Malloy to step in and provide some leadership here.

  3. Lennie, you wrote, “City Attorney Mark Anastasi crafted a legal decision years ago to protect the politically connected citing a loophole in state law.” Lennie, Hamilton Burger wrote an opinion, not a decision.

    1. Yes Ron, good catch. I’ve changed “decision” to legal “cover.” Maybe someday a judge will reverse that decision/cover. Or perhaps a mayor who will follow the City Charter. Or could Tom McCarthy actually do the right thing and make a choice?

  4. Lennie, stop smoking that funny stuff. McCarthy do the right thing? Yeah right. Mayor Finch follow the charter? Yeah right.
    Does anyone know where the written opinion of Anastasi is or is it a verbal opinion that allows him to add more bullshit if necessary?
    I would bet if this went to court Anastasi’s opinion would be thrown out of court.

  5. Hey Lennie,
    I don’t claim to know everything, I just act like I do at times. You mention adding this onto another bill as an amendment. Can you explain the process by which this can be done?

  6. Maybe it’s time for the attorney general to look into this mess. There is a very real possibility Anastasi’s ruling violates the state law. This also shows our delegation has no juice in Hartford.

  7. The folks down-county and their lackeys in Hartford like Bridgeport just the way it is, thank you!

    It is not in the best interest of maintaining the status quo for them–which is tops on their overall agenda–to have an improved economy or functional political system in Bridgeport.

    The only way things will change for us is by first recognizing the source of our difficulties and then initiating appropriate, radical political response in our city.

    Sen. Frantz of Greenwich thinks passing and implementing a fair motor-vehicle tax law in Connecticut would be socialism. Sen. Bouchet thinks state school aid for distressed cities is also socialism and contraindicated as such. These a-holes would bring back indentured servitude or slavery if they could!

    Well, I guess Connecticut needs a strong dose of Socialism. Yes indeed, it does! As does this country.

    In terms of Bridgeport, first we need to get rid of the pseudo liberals at the top–Dan Malloy, et al.; we work our way down until there isn’t any support for the goon-lackeys who do the bidding of the folks from Frantz country in Bridgeport.

    Then we can begin to restore Bridgeport to economic vitality and self-respect.

    The very first step we need to take is educate the people of Bridgeport about how we are being exploited and how our present city leadership is complicit in that exploitation.

    We need to point out to people how we host the power plants and handle all of the garbage from the region because no other municipality would allow it. We have to share the long list of exploitative situations to which Bridgeport is being subjected. Then we might be able to get people to get out and vote–and vote the right way.

  8. The good news is this is BAD news for Finch/Wood. The court of public perception will rule the foundation for this bill’s demise was laid by Hizzoner and Wood. Now let’s see how long it takes Finch to jump on his white horse and try to save the city from the ungodly legislature. This tinny ploy will resonate with no one. We are ready for it.

    There are many adjectives suitable to describe our current Mayor. Hero, however, does not come to mind.

  9. The people who represent Connecticut are for the most part people from the suburbs who don’t know squat about the city or cities in Connecticut. What these hayseeds from the suburbs know about the cities is that is where you send your garbage, you send your drug-addicted kids to get clean. They know it’s where you send your elderly when they can’t live in their house. They know it’s where you send your sick because that’s where the hospitals are. What these dumb-ass hicks don’t know is we would like to govern our city by the charter that was voted for by the people of Bridgeport. We don’t want to be governed by the half-assed opinion of some puppet with a law degree.
    The union people mentioned here are worthless and don’t understand squat. This union posturing is pure and simple bullshit. The only people working full time in the unionized jobs are the union officers. To the unions, stay out of our business, why aren’t you fighting the state rule prohibiting a state employee from seeking office?


Leave a Reply