Stafstrom Pushes Revitalization Zone Protections

From State Rep. Steve Staftsrom:

Black Rock NRZ President Scott Burns and former president Joe Ianniello came to the Capitol today to testify in favor of H.B. 5283 which would provide legal defense and indemnify to residents who volunteer to serve on neighborhood revitalization zone committees.

This is an important bill to encourage service on NRZ boards and to allow NRZ’s to continue the important work they do to encourage positive development in Bridgeport and revitalization of our neighborhoods. Thanks also to my Delegation colleagues for their support in getting the bill raised. Senator Marilyn Moore; Senator Ed GomesState Representative Jack HennessyState Representative Christopher RosarioState Representative Ezequiel SantiagoState Representative Andre Baker; State Representative Charlie Stallworth.



  1. May I offer a couple of added thoughts on the subject:

    10 years ago Black Rock did the planning exercises to come up with a long list of neighborhood objectives in diverse areas for 1 year, 5 year and 10 year accomplishment. Many of these have been accomplished or are in the nature of ongoing.

    Joe Ianniello and I understood that funding would be important and invested in applying for a corporate entity and then filed so that we would be free from income tax because of our status. This was accomplished some years ago. It made us different from every other NRZ in the City.

    Joe and I raised the idea of leaders from each NRZ meeting regularly to balance as fairly as possible funding and needs, year in and year out. Some years the City has been interested in the NRZ beyond using HUD Community Development Fund Grants to accomplish work on the City (rather than the local plan). Other years there have been other attitudes for pushing City concepts down but not money.

    For those who sit on these groups we found ourselves unprotected by City Statute or State law from representing the community in the face of those who wished to attack by court suit. It has not happened yet, but many were concerned. Especially so when research indicated that City Council members, and City Board and Commission members had such protection or “indemnification” for acts consistent with NRZ responsibiliies. Enough were concerned that after several years of failure to get the City to pay attention to the issue, the matter has gone to the State for attention. It should not be a significant expense, but it can provide peace of mind for those citizens who wish to serve, but not be forced to sacrifice personal dollars to defend themselves if an opponent with deep pockets wishes to use the courts as an approach to eliminating opposition. Time will tell.

  2. Great job- May I also add how lucky that Black Rock in the 130th district has an individual the caliber of Scott Burns fighting and speaking out for Black Rock Residents. He is running on the top line and he is an excellent candidate not just a figure head. Black rockers get a chance to make sure that Scott Burns continues to fight and represent the best of Black Rock. Vote the top line all 9 ! Great candidates.

    1. Vote NO! To Scott Burns, Danny Roach and the rest of the parasites on the slate.
      Pay no attention to Steve Auerbach who just wants a bro-nance with Joe Ganim.

    1. Most Boards and Commissions in Bridgeport are non-elected. Their members are selected or nominated or appointed (variously) and serve. All those boards and commissions have indemnity at some level because of City Attorney representation, we have been told.

      What makes NRZ not gain similar status? That is the question. Time will tell.


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