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Public Hearing Tonight–Big Mac’s Red Meat Gauge

January 3rd, 2012 · 35 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Council, News and Events

Tom McCarthy

City Council President Tom McCarthy

8:45 p.m. update: A testy crowd of more than 100 showed up at City Council Chambers for the public hearing conducted by the Ordinance Committee of the City Council featuring a number of speakers against the proposed pay raises for about 80 non-classified city employees. Speakers included 2011 mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster, city clerk candidate Marilyn Moore, former State Senator Ernie Newton, political science professor Don Greenberg and Mary Pat Healy, executive director of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition.

The full City Council is expected to vote on the measure following the public hearing. It appears the votes are there for passage, but there was sentiment before the meeting among council members to eliminate the provision in the ordinance that authorizes the mayor to increase salaries by 15 percent beyond the outer range of the salary grid.

Tonight’s (Tuesday) public hearing before the City Council is a nice test for Mayor Bill Finch early in his second term, not necessarily for getting stuff passed but for how much effort goes into getting stuff passed. The mayor probably has the votes to pass his proposal to hike salaries for non-classified city personnel, many of them discretionary appointments. The mayor says the city must modernize salaries to attract the best candidates to city government. We’ll find out if residents are comatose, fired up or somewhere in between.

Government pay hikes for six-figure positions generally alarm residents of working-class communities, albeit for short spurts. A sparse turnout means the mayor can do just about anything he wants in molding government to meet his policies. It’s human nature. If residents don’t give a crap there’s less reason to schmooze through policies, whether communicating directly with residents or working council members to approve proposals. The mayor has become much more efficient at selling policies. He has a talent for sounding like he knows what he’s talking about even when he’s not sure about it.

City Council President Tom McCarthy is the mayor’s chief lieutenant for keeping council members on board. Big Mac will in fact receive a nice pay bump from the passage of this ordinance as deputy chief of the city’s Labor Relations Department. McCarthy has come a long way from his days as the freckle-faced kid working political campaigns. He’s popular in his council district, maintains a strong working relationship with most of his 20-member council and gets along with the mayor just fine. Big Mac’s dad is a butcher by trade. He’s learned a thing or two about what passes for red meat. If McCarthy realizes he doesn’t have the votes for passage he can pull back, table it for another day. If the votes are there just go for it and get it over with.

Listing of non-classified positions.

The pay-raise ordinance also creates opportunities for pols to show they’re trying to protect the little peeps. Former State Senator Ernie Newton, who’s expected to make a formal announcement later this month about seeking his old seat, says he plans to speak out at the public hearing.

“We can’t afford to put money into education, but we can give raises to top-tier appointments,” Newton says he’ll argue.

2011 mayoral candidates Mary-Jane Foster and John Gomes will also be attending as well as former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh. So who else is showing up tonight?

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35 Comments so far ↓

  • Bepo In The Know

    Lennie, I’ll be there. What do you think would be a good number of protesters to be effective in swaying the council? People should also email their council members today!

  • carolanne curry

    300?

  • countdown

    Hey! Look at the list; take a good look.

    There is an Assistant Internal Auditor but where is the position of Internal Auditor? There is a Director of Auditing–who or what is that? Are both of those positions unfilled?

    How come the Legislative Office Director’s position isn’t in the list? What is he? Chopped Liver? He can’t be the Legislative Liaison position … or is he?

    I thought the Mayor Executive Office Manager was put in Civil Service by Fabrizi along with a bunch of other positions so that this patronage/grants payroll stopped. Those positions should not be in the ordinance. Sloppy.

    There is the Labor Management Coordinator, Labor Relations Officer, Senior Labor Relations Officer, Labor Relations Attorney, Labor Relations Director, Deputy Director of Labor Relations … I can see the mil rate rising … Maybe someone should see how many of these positions are held by members of the Democratic Town Committee. Really!

    Then there is the CAO. The Assistant CAO makes more than the Deputy CAO. The Assistant CAO makes more than a whole bunch of Department Heads with real Charter responsibilities. What’s up with that?

    There is a Director of Organizational Development. What or who is that?

    All of these positions are outside of the Civil Service System. No testing. Patronage? Some, not all. We’ve been in a deep recession for over two years. All of these positions do not need to have a 15% bump based on the Mayor’s discretion. There are a lot of folks looking for work. The City has great benefits. Why the bump in salary ranges? Where is the comparability analysis that justifies all of this? Folks are working for less because they want to work; they need to work.

    Last year the Unions took it on the chin. Why are all these positions outside of the testing system? The Unions need to be respected. That staff needs to be heard, not filtered by a bunch of appointees.

    Look, there is nobody on the Ordinance Committee who has the depth to push back at this. The Budget and Approps Committee hasn’t weighed in.

    This is just wrong.

  • countdown

    Did I mention again today Bridgeport needs a Board of Finance? The Charter Revision must come up with a group of five who are required to have finance background and experience with this municipal finance arena. This is just wrong.

  • Bob Walsh

    It will be interesting to see if any union officials show up to speak at the public hearing.
    Will they be intimidated by the mayor or intimidated by the prospect of losing some of their perks?
    They definitely don’t seems to be intimidated by their membership.

  • town committee

    Tom McCarthy is one of the two most dangerous people in city government, the other one is Mark Anastasi.
    McCarthy has engineered every financial dog and pony show presented by the administration.
    McCarthy has no conscience, he will gladly screw the employees making $30K and then he will gladly screw the taxpayers by getting every bill or proposal presented by the administration. He will do these things with a smile on his face. McCarthy does all of this and benefits personally by getting giant raises. Under Finch McCarthy’s salary has nearly doubled in four years. McCarthy has done all this without a gun or a mask.

  • bpt guy

    McCarthy would look fine in black leather fishnets and ball gag with Adam Wood dressed the same as his dominatrix with the whip and prod to keep him in line.

  • Follow the Money

    Public Hearing Tonight-Big Mac’s Red Meat Gauge Or GOUGE?

    I would like to remind city council members in 2013 there will be no top of the ticket. Finch is throwing you under the bus.

    Please read the Ethics Commission Ordinance about benefits above the “de minimus” nature. These guys are taking the Minimus to the Max!

    www .bridgeportct.gov/BoardsCommissions/Documents/Ordinance%202.38.pdf

  • carolanne curry

    How many direct questions asking if an OIBer is going to be at the meeting tonight … With no response!
    This isn’t going to be a bunch of talkers and no walkers, is it?
    town committee is the only one so far who has responded to the question.
    Don’t ask me because I will be there and I will be bringing along a business owner who will feel the pain from the Finch/Wood administration gain … game … and greed.
    Well done, Bepo In The Know.

    • Bepo In The Know

      Carolanne, happily a few other OIBers have now said they have written their council members and will be at the council meeting tonight! See you there! Dennis the Menace

  • bpt guy

    I will be there, my Bpt people will be represented.

  • Bridgeport Now

    After that meeting tonight, at 8pm, Bob Walsh will be on the TV show ‘Bridgeport Now’ to discuss the hearing on city worker pay hikes and other related issues and we will take calls.

  • bpt guy

    Everyone should know this by now. All the city employees and their union leadership have been intimidated to the point no one will speak up because the economy and job market being what it is they are afraid for their jobs or loss of pay for suspensions or demotions whatever the Finch administration can rig up or dream up with step and fetch Larry Osborne.

  • Grin Reaper

    Bpt Guy,
    I can understand city employees but union officials have super seniority and should have no concerns about speaking out against this ordinance.
    Many of these officials couldn’t find their workplace if their lives depended on it because they spend 35 hours a week in the union office and get paid by the city taxpayers.

  • bpt guy

    Yes, some do, the Montalvos of the world, but others don’t, they have to do their job which requires them to report to supervisors. Some have already been beat up by Larry, Nunn, Adam, Charlie, DePrimo and anybody else who does Mario’s bidding carrying his ball sack around.

  • town committee

    Off Topic a bit:
    After eight months on the job as the state’s executive director of special revenue and gaming, former First Selectman Kenneth Flatto has resigned .
    Maybe one of the Fab 3 will give Bridgeport a break and apply for this job. Finch, McCarthy and Anastasi would be great in this job. Just look how they have manipulated Bridgeport’s finances.
    I am making an open plea to Gov. Malloy. Please offer this job to one of these three.

  • Mojo

    *** To show some due diligence in this matter, I expect the city council will send this item back to committee for some possible tweaking just to clear the negative air somewhat. But make no mistake this item will get passed this winter before budget proceedings in the spring! Always expect the unexpected in “ZOMBIELAND!” *** HERE WE GO! ***

  • Ron Mackey

    Mojo, once again, sad but true. They want to keep their perks, job, position, title, no primary. They cannot piss off the mayor or Mario, that is their main concern, not what is best for Bridgeport. Sad but true, Mojo.

  • Chosen 1

    John Stafstrom has become more the machine than Mario himself.

  • bpt guy

    Mojo, you were part of this kind of stuff in another life. How do they justify what they do to the people? Is it just about money and making it while you can and pleasing Mario to gain some kind of point system or is it like porno, who can swallow the most without choking?

    • Mojo

      *** Justify? It’s easy, some council members don’t have a clue, others are promised something or are city employees, etc. avoiding any type of drama. Then you have the ones who will believe anything the admin. and the city’s legal advisers tell them; top it off with no-show, no-vote council members. All amounts to political item rush jobs with minor study or tweaking by city government which at times comes back to bite taxpayers in the wallet. Who’s to blame, those who voted for them and those who didn’t bother voting at all! *** You ain’t seen nothing yet! ***

  • bpt guy

    They passed it 4 against 1 abstain, shame on all of you. You have no soul, you are all scum of the earth during these painful times when everyone is suffering anyone who supported that scumbag Finch should bury their head in shame because you will all pay for your sins, what goes around comes around.

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