Port In A Storm

Should they or shouldn’t they?

Big decision tonight before the full City Council following a vote by the Ordinance Committee last week to abolish the Bridgeport Port Authority. Public hearing at 7 followed by council meeting at 7:30.

Recap: Jay Malcynsky, an attorney and high-powered Hartford lobbyist for the port authority, managed to splice onto a bill in the last days of the regular state legislative session language that gives the state Department of Transportation veto power over municipal dissolution of a port authority.

This threw City Council members into a fit for several reasons including the loss of home rule. In addition, Malcynsky also serves as a lobbyist for the city and city officials feel blindsided by their lobbyist helping an affiliate of the city against city interests. Port Authority Executive Director Joe Riccio, not a favorite with city administration officials, had his lobbyist finesse the language out of self preservation. The City Council has looked at dissolving the port authority for more than a year.

Malcynsky, feeling the heat from the council and Finch, has been working state legislative leaders to get the language he crafted reversed as the General Assembly heads into a special session of the budget. City Council members, however, aren’t optimistic that will happen and want to dissolve the port authority before  the legislative language is signed into law by Governor Jodi Rell.

The Finch administration has urged the governor to hold off signing the bill until the city’s legislative body takes action.

Opponents to dissolution such as the city’s former Director of Economic Development Nancy Hadley say the city should not rush to judgment, citing the potential financial advantages that a port authority can bring to the aid of the city’s waterfront.

A key ingredient to dissolving the port authority is the revenue it receives from Long Island based Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamship Company that docks its ferries at the downtown terminal managed by the port authority. City officials want to make sure those fees will go directly to the city and negotiations with ferry officials have been ongoing for the past week.

Officials for the port authority and the ferry company have been at odds over a variety of issues including the ferry company’s desire to move to a new modern terminal across the harbor in the East End.

Cable Fable

You know a pol’s in trouble when he takes to the airwaves more than a year before a potential primary. Chris Dodd isn’t taking any chances as he rides the liberal credentials of Sen. Ted Kennedy to shore up his fragile Democratic support base with a television pitch about health care.

Dodd is also in public outrage mode firing salvos at financial institutions in an effort to counter the voter outrage directed at him for using his public position for financial gain while his constituents were hurting.

Dodd is facing a party challenge by Mystic businessman Merrick Alpert. Three Republicans have also announced challenges against Dodd.



  1. With so little information available it’s hard to decide what is right and what is wrong. What we do know is that the council leadership wants to disband the PA. We know that home rule could be hit if the governor signs this bill.
    What we don’t know is Who or What takes over the responsibility for the Port and its commercial features.

    1. Does the PA go under Public Facilities an agency that seems to be stretched to the max with other responsibilities and little manpower?
    2. Does the PA go under the mayor’s office under Andy Nunn? The mayor’s office and the mayor are sending mixed signals here. The Economic Development chief Eversley is campaigning to keep the PA.
    3. Does the PA come under another city commission and then who oversees this commission and the Port?
    4. Do we create a new head of the Port to oversee grants and other responsibilities?
    These are just a few questions for which the public has not been given any answers.

  2. Lennie, are you sure the Finch administration has asked the Governor to hold off signing the bill? I thought they were asking her to veto the bill. If she vetoes the bill, this race takes a pause and the City Council has time to do the careful analysis that this issue deserves. The Governor could veto it today and the cloud over Bridgeport would lift. I really hope the Finch Administration goes on record to ask her to veto the bill.

  3. I’m shocked and speechless: Bridgeport’s City Council is actually doing something with the best interests of the city in mind. Home rule RULES! It’s about freakin’ time they stood up to be counted.

  4. *** Pull the plug already; time has shown in the past & present that between the State of CT & the city attorney’s office with the blessing of the Mayor’s admin, the B.O.E. and some business leaders at times have all tried in one way or another to take away local power and authority from the city council, who’s supposed to be representing the city’s local district voters & taxpayers and the city’s overall best interests! Now is the time to flex some council muscle & get rid of a board that did not have the city’s best interests in mind first. It can be re-established stronger & better with the city of Bpt’s best interests in mind first & most of all, a “transparent” operation. And if legal, this lobbyist called “Double Dip” should have his contract revoked! Forget about what the Governor is going to do, the council has no control over that. However on this agenda item, the council does, BIG-TIME! ***

  5. Was anyone at the Council meeting tonight? What happened? Do we or don’t we have a Port Authority? And if they voted to disband the PA, does this mean a new job in Curwen’s future?

    Something’s cooking with the CDBG office. HUD was down a few weeks ago and they were very unhappy with both Housing Code (Rich Paoletto) and Anti-Blight (Tom Coble). Rumor at the Annex is that HUD is pulling out all their money for these two offices. This could mean a lot of layoffs. I’ll keep my ear to the ground tomorrow. This could be a big scoop for OIB. Bigger even then the lightbulb incident!

  6. chs, the council voted to do away with PA. We just assumed $1.4 Approx debt and buyout of Riccio and a mortgage that PA had.
    Hud wants the money that’s been spent on salaries in Paoletto’s office the last few years. Could be over $1 million. More in the AM.

    1. *** With new responsibilities as the Housing Code boss come new headaches to deal with! *** Hud is not the sharpest pencil in the Federal Dept. Box, someone’s had to have complained about C.D.B.G. funds awarded & use? *** The Mayor is playing both sides of this P/A fence very nicely, that’s why he’ll wait ’til action from the city council to sign the ordinance. He may even veto it for more time to research & be sure the city doesn’t come under any “$” legal problems? *** Regardless, big ups to the city council! *** Let’s hope Curwen gets the new P/A job if it come to that, which leaves a wide opening for T/C to be a council member in the future. ***


Leave a Reply