The Passion Of Politics, Plus: Update On BOE Audit

Noon Update: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. Well, it looks like we have a little community chatter going–and learned a few things–as a result of Thursday’s post regarding potential City Council primaries.

Danny Martinez, freshman councilman from the 137th District on the East Side, notified OIB in a Thursday comment that he’s not likely to receive the endorsement from East Side Democratic town committee members. Thanks for the post Danny.

But if Danny is not endorsed, will he wage a primary? In all the years I had managed city elections trying to figure out the serpentine political machinations on the East Side was an exercise in endurance.

Fight today, make friends tomorrow, fight again a few days later. I was dizzy assessing the personalities. It was better for me just to stay out of the way. “Mario, what’s going on in the East Side,” I’d ask  Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa. “Grimaldi, whatever’s going on today can change tomorrow.” Eeeeeeeeeee!

Political passions run high on the East Side. Nothing like that Latino spirit. Someday, Latinos in the state’s largest city will coalesce into a potent citywide political force. Bridgeport has not had an African American mayor or a Latino mayor.

There was a time a young lawyer Eddie Rodriguez could have made a play for mayor. Bright, good looks, strong public speaker. Eddie decided it was better to fill a spot on the Superior Court bench, the first Latino in state history, appointed by Governor Lowell Weicker.

The Latino community for decades looked to Cesar Batalla, the leading social irritant for 20 years. Cesar was unafraid to take on government, political and business powers. But Cesar, who passed away many years ago, never had a taste for putting his name on the ballot.

Charlie Tisdale, the single strongest political organizer in the city at his peak in the early and mid 1980s, came close to winning the mayor’s office in 1983. Tizzy, who today runs the anti-poverty agency ABCD, inspired new voters to the polls, but white Bridgeport feared him during a period when white Bridgeport held the balance of power.

And of course, it leads to the most basic declaration: African American and Latino political leaders still have not coalesced, all these years later, into a citywide force. Someday it will happen. Someday.

BOE Timeline

OIB asked Paul Timpanelli, president of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, for an update on the timeline of an operational audit and systems review of the Bridgeport Board of Education. Timpanelli’s organization has been overseeing implementation. He shared the following today.





Review of financial relationship between Board of Education and the City in an effort to improve lines of authority to make Board of Education financial management more autonomous.


Implementation of the recommendations of Phase I.


An overview of Board of Education operational and management systems in order to determine whether there are any clear opportunities for efficiencies and/or savings.


If measurable opportunities for efficiencies and/or savings are found, a complete operational and management review of all systems would be undertaken, the purpose of which would be to make the system more accountable and to re-invest found efficiencies in the classroom to improve likelihood of better classroom outcomes.





All work complete by DHLS Project Manager except those items that await acquisition and execution of new accounting software.


Approved by Board of Education on April 27 to proceed with RFP process for consultant services. RFP Committee to convene likely week of May 11 to draft RFP, advertise, and formally solicit responses. Signing of consultant contract anticipated August 15. Work  estimated to take 90-120 days.


Contingent upon findings of Phase III. Estimated to take 9 to 18 months.



Cost of $115,000 covered by BRBC.


Cost of $275,000 funded by City and Board of Education ($195,000 is cost of consultant as Project Manager). Contract with project management consultant administered by BRBC.


Estimated to cost between $50,000 and $250,000 intended to be paid by BRBC (1/3) / Board of Education and City (1/3) and State (1/3). Board of Education 1/3 is not now available.


Estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1,500,000 to be paid by BRBC (1/3)/ Board of Education and City (1/3) and State (1/3). 


v    State – $250,000 grant approved and received.

v    City – $125,000 in Mayor’s budget approved. Request for funds to be made subsequent to Board of Ed approval for Phase III.

v    BRBC – Fundraising in process, approximately $200,000 committed to date

v    Board of Education – $125,000 in Superintendent’s budget not approved by Board of Education.

(It is assumed that Phases III and IV will occur over two fiscal years, so City, Board of Education and State monies are currently 1/2 of what they  need to be)

News release from Anthony Musto


Bipartisan bill approved unanimously by three committees

Hartford – State Senator Anthony Musto (D-Trumbull) praised the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee for its favorable vote  on legislation that would promote greater brownfields remediation in Connecticut. He urged members of the state House of Representatives to quickly take up the legislation when it reaches the House Calendar.

Substitute House Bill 6097, An Act Concerning Brownfields Development Projects, would expand the capacity of private parties, municipal developers and state agencies to clean up and redevelop polluted property. It does so by broadening the range of costs that can be recovered by parties remediating contaminated property and specifying criteria for establishing immunity from liability.

“I have been supporting brownfield remediation this whole session because brownfields present a significant barrier to economic development in communities across our state but especially in urban areas like the city of Bridgeport,” said Senator Musto, who serves on the Commerce Committee. “Bridgeport is Connecticut’s most populous city, but it is limited in terms of square mileage and it consists of significant brownfield areas. If we’re to reduce property taxes, encourage economic development and attract individuals to live and work in cities like Bridgeport, then we need to do more to create usable space within our cities. This bipartisan legislation would encourage further brownfields remediation by limiting municipal liability, protecting municipalities that choose to investigate contaminated properties, and making it easier for municipalities, owners and developers to recover clean-up costs. It’s a positive step for our whole area, and I thank the Appropriations Committee for recognizing and affirming the merits of this bill.”

Additionally, the legislation:

Limits the remediation a developer must perform under a covenant not to sue to the contamination within a property’s boundaries;
Extends Transfer Act exemptions to property municipalities take by eminent domain or remediate with state economic development funds;
Limits liability for municipalities entering and inspecting contaminated property;
Eliminates the sunset date on a Connecticut Development Authority program that finances brownfield projects; and
Makes it easier for state agencies to develop property in floodplains.
The Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the legislation. It was previously approved by a unanimous vote in the Commerce Committee, where Senator Musto supported it. It also received unanimous support in the Planning & Development Committee.

News from Discovery Museum

SATURDAY MAY 9 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM RAIN OR SHINE Warbirds and Modern Airplanes Helicopters and Harleys Sikorksy’s Orange County Chopper Flight Activities Free Airplane Rides for Ages 8-17 Food and Fun Sikorsky Memorial Airport 400 Great Meadow Road Stratford, CT Admission $5 Adults$3 Children$15 Families (2 Adults and up to 4 Children)

One of the “Warbirds” highlighted at the open house is the F4U Corsair. More than 12,000 corsairs were produced by Connecticut workers from 1938-1945, and it is considered to be one of the best fighter-bomber aircraft used during WW II and the Korean War. It was designated Connecticut’s State Aircraft in 2005. Other “Warbirds” will include a 1944 AT-6 Texan, a Czechoslovakian L-39 Albatross and the legendary C- 47 Dakota, attended by re-enactors attired in 101st Airborne gear. Visitors will be able to purchase “Discovery Flights” on the AT-6 Texan.For more information visit Helicopters on display will include Sikorsky Aircraft’s dependable and rugged Black Hawk and their S-76 chase helicopter. Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook, the Army’s only heavy lift transport helicopter, CT State Trooper 1 and a Bell helicopter can also be seen.

Modern aircraft using “glass cockpit technology” will include the Piper, the Diamond and the Cessna. They demonstrate a revolution in the way cockpits are designed today which resulted in increased safety, lower costs and timelier schedules.

A Harley-Davidson competition sponsored by Fritz’s Harley-Davidson of Bridgeport and Stamford will take place on site with awards in three classes: Classic/Antique, Stock and Custom. Best in class, runner-up and “people’s choice” awards will be given. Those interested in entering their bikes should email Dan Height of Fritz’s Harley Davidson in Stamford @ or call Harley-Davidson in Bridgeport at (203) 380-2600.

The Discovery Museum
The Discovery Museum was founded in 1958 and opened to the public in 1962. It is southern Connecticut’s preeminent non-profit educational resource for science and space education. It is located at 4450 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, one mile south of Merritt Parkway Exit 47, directly across from the Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course. Daily admission to the Discovery Museum is $8.50 for adults and $7 for children over 5, seniors and students with I.D.’s. The museum’s newest traveling exhibit, Robot Carnival opens on Saturday, May 9. Now showing daily in the Henry B. duPont III Planetarium: The Little Star that Could and Dawn of the Space Age.



  1. Lennie it may well be time for a Hispanic or a black candidate for the mayors office. There are a few roadblocks to this happening and it’s in these communities. On the hispanic side I see Carlos Silva and Andres Ayala. I have not seen any black candidates come forward or who have given a hint that they may be running. The problem for both is getting the vote out.
    I cite the primary for voter registrar when Santa Ayala ran against Lisa Parziale. In the 138th we were only able to get 10% of the registered hispanics out to vote fortunately that was enough but on a mayoral election it would not have been enough.
    The other thing that has to stop is the mine is bigger than yours fighting that ends up killing any potential candidate.
    It’s time for a change, it’s time for the citizens to stand up and say I have had enough of the same old bullshit.

    1. “[I]t’s time for the citizens to stand up and say I have had enough of the same old bullshit.”

      Here we have it folks. Town Committee feels that it is time for Bridgeport to elect Republicans.

  2. Why on earth is it TIME to have a black or hispanic mayor? What a complete crock of shit. When is it TIME to have the BEST QUALIFIED to be mayor? Maybe you should go back to sleep.

  3. I think Yahooy is on to something (is this going to get me in trouble?). We should be looking for the BEST and not a black or Latino or Italian, or Irish, or a woman, or a gay man (yes, even some of them get involved in politics), or an asian. Once the back of the antiquated democratic machine is broken, the cream will rise to the top and the BEST candidate will surface.

    1. There was a time when I might have agreed with you, but she was a disgrace (and a no-show) as a Judge and would be worse as a Mayor.

  4. Town Committee, I had a conversation today with Rich P.
    Rich made it very clear that he has no intention or plans of stepping down and that he will seek the nomination for the 138th district alderman seat. Rich sounded as if he had the endorsement secured and said that all the noise we have been hearing is simply that–noise.

  5. Joel that’s good news. I am glad to hear that Rich is running. The endorsement is the endorsement. Primaries are always fun. Primaries give you two shots at talking to prospective voters. Once when you get signatures and once when you walk the neighborhood before the vote. I am not sure what noise you are talking about.

  6. The Roadblock … A real and honest mayoral candidate would not sell his soul to the restaurant on Madison Ave. … A real and honest candidate would win on their own and owe no one and in that way they can clean house of the Ganim and Fabrizi adm. and the people still polluting the halls of the city. Having a Latino majority in the city you would think a Latino could win in the city … but would the restaurant ever allow a Latino or African American to win??? One bright spot to consider … they said pigs would fly before we ever had a black president; well now we have the swine flu … so pigs did fly and maybe someday they will fly in Bpt.

    1. So true. Someone needs to do a good and thorough housecleaning. As long as the mayor is beholden to Mario, this will never happen. I had high hopes for Finch. It looked for awhile that he would not kiss the ring of the little man on Madison Ave. But when he allowed Mario to raise big bucks for him at the recent fundraiser, he sold his soul just like the previous 2 mayors.

      The politics and nepotism are destroying the city. I don’t care about race, color, creed, gender or sexual orientation. I just want a mayor who will do the right thing for the city and for the employees.

  7. Regarding the BOE timeline and the AUDIT
    The game plan here is to DELAY–DELAY–DELAY
    Read the “Four Phases.” Ha-Ha. It reads like a sophomore high school paper on nothing; a few interesting words that dead end. This is a joke submission I think.
    Citizens of Bridgeport someone does not want the audit and is doing their best to confuse the issue; could it be there is a great fear some kind of truth will filter out to the taxpayers? That would surprise me.

    Just an off-subject reminder. Paul Timpanelli, did you remember to pick up your weekly $2,500.00 paycheck from Bridgeport, a pay for some other unknown job, got to hand it to you though, easy money.

  8. Will somebody please explain to me in terms a two-year-old can understand WHY THE HELL IS PAUL TIMPANELLI COORDINATING THE ALLEGED BOE AUDIT? That’s like having the fox tell the chicken farmer how many chickens are in the hen house.

  9. Yahooy what the hell is the matter with you? He runs the city. BOE Audit, Plan for sewer tie-in. Regional WPCA all handled by Flush Timpanelli.
    From what I am told Finch is tied up with Al Gore trying to make Bridgeport Green and does not have time for the regular stuff.

  10. Timpanelli’s BOE timeline is totally bogus. It is a waste of space on this blog. It is a term paper written by a student who never read the books and is trying to bullshit his way through. I give it an F.

    Interview with Michael Feeney, Director of Finance, regarding new MUNIS financial system:

    CHS: Mike, I understand that the city will be implementing a new financial system on July 1st. What is wrong with the current system?

    Mike: The current Advantage financial system never worked. My BFF Tom Sherwood, OPM Director, brought Advantage in several years ago at a cost of several million dollars. It didn’t work so we spent another several million trying to fix it. It still didn’t work so now we are replacing it at a price tag of several million more.

    CHS: Is it true that Tom Sherwood brought in Advantage against the objections of many experienced employees in the Comptrollers and IT offices? Didn’t they warn him that it would not work and would in fact make the system more difficult?

    Mike: It is our opinion that the employees do not know anything. Their opinions do not matter.

    CHS: But Mike, aren’t you making the same mistake with MUNIS? Aren’t you being warning by employees who use the system every day that MUNIS is a waste of money at a time when the city can ill afford it?

    Mike: I repeat, the employees don’t know anything. I have complete confidence in Tom Sherwood.

    CHS: Is it true that you are planning to implement the new system on July 1st? Haven’t the employees told you that this is the worst time of year to implement a new system? Isn’t this when the accountants are closing out all of the 2008–2009 accounts and setting up the new 2009–2010 accounts? How can you bring in a new system at this time? Wouldn’t it be smarter to change over January 1st?

    Mike: I repeat, the employees don’t know anything. I have complete confidence in Tom Sherwood.

    CHS: How will you train everyone on the new system by July 1st?

    Mike: We plan to set unreasonable deadlines and mandate classes during the busiest time of year for employees who do the financial record-keeping in their depts. If they fail to attend the MUNIS classes or complete their work on time, they will be disciplined.

    CHS: Doesn’t this cause undue stress on employees in depts who are already severely stort-staffed because of the NAGE layoffs?

    Mike: We don’t care. They will do as they are told or they will be disciplined.

    CHS: Did you ever consider doing a pilot program before implementing MUNIS citywide? Wouldn’t that be smarter to test the system before spending millions on something that may or may not work?

    Mike: I don’t care. I am the Finance Director and I will take home my paycheck every week whether the system works or not. My goal is to make as much money as possible from the COB for as long as possible. When the city crashes, I will have my father-in-law buy me another job somewhere else.

    CHS: Thank you Mike, for this most informative interview.

    1. As a public service to all my fellow OIB bloggers, I will now reveal your identity:

      You’re the City Hall worker with the flattest forehead … as I’m sure you constantly ram your head into the wall day in and day out.


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