Port Authority Tsunami Continues, Full City Council Vote Set For Monday

Get the lifejackets ready!

A special meeting of the City Council has been set for Monday night at 7:30 to act on the Ordinance Committee’s vote to dissolve the Bridgeport Port Authority. A public hearing will take place, before the council meeting, at 7 p.m.

A lot is swirling–and will continue to swirl–in the days leading up to the special session, and it sounds like this will be a working weekend for many of the involved participants.

For instance, city officials are negotiating with the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamship Company over a variety of issues such as tariffs it currently pays to the port authority, relocation from the current downtown terminal to the East End, and future investments to the terminal. If the city moves forward with dissolution (fine with the ferry company that has been fighting with the port authority for years) officials wants to make sure the city gets its pound of flesh.

The city is also researching the financial impact dissolving the port authority could have in efforts to secure state and federal funding. Port authorities serve as key stimulators in the development of community waterfront. But city officials are not happy with Port Authority Executive Director Joe Riccio, a nice guy, who’s ducking arrows from all directions coming from City Hall.

Combatants on both sides have contacted the governor’s office to see their side of the issue. The city wants the governor to sit on the recently passed legislation (they’d be thrilled if she’d veto it) granting the state Department of Transportation veto power over termination of a port authority, language that was spliced onto a bill by the port authority’s lobbyist Jay Malcynsky (at Riccio’s direction) who also is a paid lobbyist for the city.

Conflict of interest? You bet, and council members and city officials that hired Malcynsky want to make sure no lobbyist they’re paying ($55,000 a year) works against their interests.

Simple solution for the future: no lobbyist can be a hired gun for a subordinate/affiliate of the city. That clearly did not stop Malcynsky from grabbing another $36K or so a year from the port authority. Nice, more than $90K combined from both for not a lot of heavy lifting.

(By the way, Jay, or someone from his firm, is welcome to post his point of view at any time.)

The heavy lifting is now in the hands of both the city and officials with the port authority trying to untangle this mess.

This one is a real shit storm. Stay tuned.

(And when you’re done here check out my related blog at the Connecticut Post, blog.ctnews.com/grimaldi/2009/06/16/lobbying-with-two-forks

News release from Jim Himes

Himes Announces Over $600K for Job Training and  Diploma Program for At-Risk Bridgeport Youth
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Himes (CT-04) today announced a $604,846 grant to The WorkPlace, Inc. to fund their YouthBuild Bridgeport program, which assists at-risk, out-of-school youth obtain their diplomas or GEDs while providing vocational training in the construction industry. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant was awarded through the Department of Labor.

“YouthBuild will provide education and job training opportunities for the kids who need them most,” said Congressman Himes. “Giving at-risk youth this type of support gives them the chance at success they deserve, provides local businesses with a skilled workforce, and helps keep communities safe. Congratulations to the fine people of The WorkPlace, Inc.”

The WorkPlace, Inc.’s YouthBuild Bridgeport will target sixty 17-to-24 year-olds over a three-year period. A partnership that includes the Bridgeport School System Adult Education Division, Carpenter’s Union Local 210, Home Builders Institute, Bridgeport Police Department Division of Community Service, and the City of Bridgeport Housing Authority will support YouthBuild. The WorkPlace, Inc. will administer and lead the program.

“We are thrilled to be part of the national YouthBuild initiative and to be able to invest these resources to help at-risk youth in Bridgeport build better futures,” said Joe Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace, Inc. “A huge thanks to Congressman Jim Himes for his support for the Recovery Act and this important project.”

Feel The Spirits

News release from state Department of Consumer Protection

State Law Allows Liquor Sales in Connecticut on Saturday, July 4th

HARTFORD, June 18 – Citing a 1982 statute that amended a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol on some major holidays, Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr. indicated today that package stores may remain open and grocery stores with a beer permit may sell beer this year on the 4th of July.

“As with any major holiday, retailers are placing their orders and formulating their staffing schedules in advance, so we’ve been getting numerous calls asking us to clarify this statute, passed by the state legislature in 1982,” Farrell said. “Public Act 82-33 provides for the sale of liquor on July 4th when it falls on Saturday, so for only the fourth time since 1982, the answer is, liquor can be sold in stores this year on the 4th of July.”

Liquor stores are not required to be open, however.

“The statute allows the stores to open, but the decision is up to each individual store owner whether he or she wishes to open on our national holiday,” Farrell said.

“Given that the Department of Consumer Protection is the licensing agency for the liquor industry in Connecticut, it’s our responsibility to get the proper information out concerning the legality of selling liquor on July 4th this year – along with a reminder to drink responsibly,” Farrell said. “Amid the fun and festivity, safety is of utmost concern, so please don’t drink and drive, don’t sell or serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, and certainly, don’t allow anyone who has been drinking alcohol to operate any type of fireworks – that’s a recipe for an explosive cocktail.



  1. *** Time to clean house and get rid of the BPA & over the course of time consider re-establishing a new board that will serve the city’s interest first, with the State’s blessing. With clear understandable bylaws & rules agreed to by all that will truly watch over our ports, etc. *** Easier said than done maybe, but if it protects and watches over our ports & increases city revenue doing it; I say why not? How do cities in N.Y or N.J. run their P/As? *** It’s the time for “change” era in America! ***

    1. NY’s Ports are run and all decisions overseen by the Port Authority of NY & NJ. In recent times, it looked more like the NJ Authority of All Ports. NY didn’t seem to have much of a say, and certainly felt like they were on the short end of the money. The PA of NY & NJ has jurisdiction over all ports, including the airports of NYC, Newark, Stewart and Teterboro, Tunnels and Bridges, Ferries and the PATH trains. Talk about a nightmare.

      Imagine if some of the buffoons here had that kind of power and authority …

  2. In my opinion the vote Monday night is a done deal.
    There were only 3 voices of reason at the ordinance committee meeting. Vizio, Branelly and Martinez. That being said here is what I envision as happening:
    The port authority will be disbanded and put under another board or commission. I don’t see it going under public facilities or under Andy Nunn.
    Wherever it ends up it will need a new leader. Guess who that could be? Could it be the person pushing the hardest for this change?
    What happens next?
    1. The RFP to lease 14 (20) Acres put out by the now defunct PA is rescinded.
    2. A new deal is struck with the ferry company.
    3. The new deal will involve the port and the adjoining acreage, thus a mini Port Jefferson.
    All of this will show the real reason for all of this BS. Just watch it will happen.

    1. Say this again in English. I don’t understand your meaning. Will the new regime keep the ferry where it is or will they move it? If it stays put … where on earth would a mini PJ occur?

  3. A memo to Mayor Finch and his administrators. Have you taken a ride through Bridgeport lately? This city is turning into one big pothole and garbage pit.
    You want to get people downtown take a ride on Main St you need a ATV to safely navigate this disgusting roadway. Pave the damn road.
    I have never, ever seen so many potholes and broken roadways. Somebody please tell the administration that spring and summer are for road repairs.
    Somebody please start cleaning up this city. The curbs are loaded with trash and other debris that has been there for some time. Look at upper East Main St for example. Upper East Main street is what the rest of the city looks like and it just seems to get worse. Sweeping the main roads once a month is not getting the job done.
    Why not use prisoners to clean the roadways? The state uses them for paper pickup on the state highways. At one point in time we did use prisoners for graffiti removal. It can be done. Just do something for god’s sake.

  4. *** Off subject of which I’ve heard enough on! *** Broken down, how much does a Bpt resident pay on the average in city taxes for all city services in general like protection from the Fire & P.D., Sanitation pick-up, Public Schools, Emergency Services, Public works, etc. over a year per person? And remember the cost of labor these days as per union contracts too. Also, factor in many city residents don’t pay taxes or maybe just auto tax & receive all city services which raises costs as well. *** QUESTION: In our daily demands for better city services @ better cost, are we actually getting more than what we’re paying for through our taxes in general??? ***

    1. Everyone always thinks that the majority of City employees are overpaid and underworked. (Not saying you do MOJO.)

      Maybe it is time people compared their cost of services to other municipalities, instead of assuming it. See what Waterbury, Hartford and New Haven pay for their services and maybe it will begin to put things into perspective.

      As was said elsewhere, the root of the problem isn’t the run-of-the-mill employee. It’s the system–bad management, lack of the ability to manage funds, political hack appointments at all levels and poor hiring and promoting systems/decisions.

      You can cry about the unions all you want, but if both sides refuse to work together, things will never get any better.

      1. From some quick research–not sure of the accuracy, but take it for what it is worth:

        New Haven Budget – $614+ Million
        Hartford Budget – $550+ Million
        Bridgeport Budget – $490+ Million

        NH Education – $280m
        Hartford – $372m
        Bridgeport – $216m

        NH Police – $40+m
        Hartford – $42+m
        Bridgeport – $46+m

        NH Fire – $35+m
        Hartford – $32+m
        Bridgeport – $25+m


        New Haven and Hartford seem to have about 125k, while Bridgeport has around 140k.

          1. Yale, an institution that doesn’t pay taxes has produced many US Presidents. You go figure that one out.

        1. Nice work product by HereWeGo.

          Speaking of Authorities. Does anyone on remember the World Trade Authority building that was supposed to be built in Bridgeport in the late ’80s?

          Just another victim of the Bridgeport Litany of Ain’ts!

  5. I don’t know if we are asking for better city services or are we asking for just routine maintenence. Here is an example, we met with the police chief and we were told that on any given shift there are 21 cops patrolling the city. Okay that means there are approx 350 plus or minus doing other things. I know there is a detective division. But isn’t that a lot of cops not doing day-to-day patrol or police work?
    Public works don’t you think we could have a full-time crew doing pothole repair?
    Just routine quality of life stuff. There always seems to be money for hiring new people. I mean we hired a mason and an electrician. How many loads of asphalt is that?
    Let me preface this by saying I think that for the most part the workers are working but I think that prioritizing things by management could be vastly improved.

    1. *** The city needs to streamline all depts. big time, also consolidate some smaller ones into 1 related dept. All non-essential dept’s work hours can be changed to a 4-day, 40hr. week with p/t positions avialable on a temp. seasonal bases to cover high-volume times of the seasons & staff vacations, etc. Also, AIC-community workers assigned by the courts can per union agreements help with simple city clean-up projects @ specified areas of the city. Studies on possible golden handshakes for essential hazardous duty personal should be looked @ with the unions for future contract changes. It would help free up senior top management or promotional positions from being overstayed by personal in order to create windows of opportunity for moving up the promotional ladder so to speak; which opens up slots for new classes within certain time periods. City Hall in general is “too” top heavy in certain depts & lacks closer supervision in others which is another step towards streamlining certain depts. Suggestion boxes should be avaliable in all depts to be reviewed by the C.O.S. & upper management @ their required monthly meetings to review the good & bad issues taking place. There’s much more that I’m sure OIB bloggers can come up with but that’s it for now! Last idea is, the city should lead by example on the recycling efforts by better advertisement & employee participation while @ work & home! *** Last but not least, a chicken in every pot in Bpt. on local elections day! *** Then maybe city services may improve a bit without raising taxes??? ***

  6. Here We Go,
    Yale does not HAVE to pay property taxes by law. But the state of Connecticut makes Payments In Lieu Of Taxes to the city of New Haven. And although it is only 70% of what the taxes would be for a city like New Haven it is a big chunk of change. Also, Mayor DeStefano has been successful in getting Yale to agree to make additional PILOT payments directly to the city. It is nice to have one of the largest college endowments in your town and a skilled mayor who knows how to negotiate.
    And Joel is right on the money with Hartford. They get 100% PILOT payments for all of the state buildings in their city which is a windfall and get a much bigger share of DECD money to leverage private development.
    Bridgeport is left to fend for itself by eating their offspring.

  7. “The statute allows the stores to open, but the decision is up to each individual store owner whether he or she wishes to open on our national holiday.” I wonder how many liquor stores will wish they’d stayed open after the holiday’s sales have been tabulated.

  8. I’ve been reading the Port Authority debate all week and I still don’t have enough information to take a position. This is a major decision and it scares me that the council is rushing it through. So much with them is based on personal agendas. The only thing that makes me feel better is that Bob Walsh is on board with Monday’s vote. Bob is one of the few trustworthy councilmen and if he’s ok with it then I at least feel confident that it won’t hurt the city and make things worse than they already are.

    And kudos to TC who is listening to both sides, attending meetings and learning all he can about the port authority vote. He will make a well-informed councilman. I wonder what his primary opponent Kevin thinks on the matter? I guess whatever Bob Curwen tells him to think.

    1. *** C.H.S why don’t you just ask Kevin what he thinks? *** Also, when one is running for an elective position, there’s tons of ideas running through ones head on what can be done to improve certain city issues. Sometimes people go into it with high expectations then find out that many of those ideas have been attempted in the past or that you need at least 4 votes in committee & 11 or sometimes 2/3rds votes in council to get things passed which is not always easy. Then there’s the changes that need a charter revision in order to get certain things done, not to mention support from the Admin. in charge. So it’s not always a win/win situation regardless of the promises or brainstorm ideas and elections pep talks! However being well informed on the pros & cons will always help a council person make their decisions. Believe it or not, senior city employees sometimes have excellent ideas on what works or what doesn’t, unless they’re a completely biased or disgruntled employee that just works in Bpt. but doesn’t live here, like a few we know! In ending it’s not what you say on the council, it’s what you do that counts. ***

  9. Mojo I agree with both your posts. Ann & I have no illusion about changing the world. We are concerned with our district and the quality of life issues that have been ignored up here.
    We are also concerned with the direction the city is going in and are not happy with what we see. Can we change the world? NO. But can we help Bridgeport? YES. I have been around politics for a long time and know how the game is played so I have no illusions.
    I try to stay informed on all city issues large and small. I do tap into the city employees that I know and listen to their suggestions and their gripes.
    I believe that the city employees are a wealth of information and a wealth of great ideas. It’s just that no one asks them. The management system in Bridgeport won’t allow for the kind of interaction that should take place between management and workers.
    I believe that if this city tapped into the employee pool there would be a lot of ideas that would improve productivity and improve morale.
    If something were started like an employee council where these ideas could be brought out and ideas exchanged, how could the city lose? It would be a win-win situation.
    Bridgeport has to get away from the management style of I am the boss you are the worker I am smart you are a dumb ass and get on the right management path. I would bet you that few if any managers have taken management courses.
    Do Ann and I have things that we need to learn? You bet we do. We are willing to put in the time to learn and we are willing to listen.

    1. This may be an old post, but I have to reply anyway.

      Mojo – Please do not be biased against employees just because they do not live in a Bridgeport Zip Code. There are many “out of towners” that seem to have more pride and understanding of their job and their place in the scheme of things than many employees that reside in the City.

      There is a reason people from “outside” WANT to work in Bridgeport. There are also many times that influences from inside Bridgeport make it harder and harder every day to want to work here. I have seen it first hand.

      Do not assume that ALL “out of towners” are here to take a paycheck and screw the City and taxpayer. You should also not assume that ALL “in towners” are a true asset to the City and we should all kiss their asses for working here because they do such a good job and have the market cornered on empathy.

      1. *** How you come up with that (don’t be biased) reply from the short sentences on city employees I blogged is beyond me? *REPEAT*–Believe it or not senior city employees sometimes have “excellent” ideas on what works or doesn’t. Unless they are completely biased & or a disgruntled employee that just happens to work in Bpt but does not live here. “Like a few we know”! *** No more no less on who’s a true asset to the city whether they live here or not! *** Let’s try & keep it simple and to the point without trying to guess what the blogger is really thinking! *** Works for me. ***

  10. ann.omminous wrote: Let me clarify … if you are spending your day blogging then you are neither walking nor IDing people … which means you are going to lose.
    You know this how? Just so you know one more area and we are ready for our second trip of visiting ALL the homes in our area. Just for the hell of it do you live in the district? I think not. Are you Joel’s neighbor because you have your info wrong just like him.

  11. Whats the matter ann.omminous, could not answer the questions? Sorry I have no more time to deal with you as you have nothing constructive to offer. SAD.


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