Tom White: City Government Is A Morally Compromised Institution

Former City Councilman Tom White has an interesting perspective on how the city’s legislative body works. White, the council’s legislative liaison for several years, was whited out of the budget last year for trying to reform the way it conducts business, according to a federal lawsuit he brought against the city several months ago represented by former Mayor Tom Bucci, an expert in labor law, who’s won numerous settlements on behalf of city employees against the city. The community action group Citizens Working 4 a Better Bridgeport has been pounding the pavement, attending numerous public meetings trying to bring attention to conflicts of interest such as city employees serving on the City Council approving their own wages and benefits. White, for one, says city government is morally compromised, as he shared in a letter to members of the community group, published here with the approval of White, in response to a City Council budget meeting this week.

White references this story in the CT Post. White’s memo:

Forgive my condescending attitude, but does anyone seriously feel that (City Council President Tom) McCarthy is moved by suggesting he must do right by the citizens of Bridgeport? His job (while a conflict of interest) is to get the mayor’s budget through the city council, including his nearly $15,000 pay increase. Oh, has anyone noticed and brought up the point that since he became council president, his salary has increased from $65,000 to $114,000? His performance appraisals must show glowing performance. But wait, the city has no job performance appraisal system. Golly, could it be that his role in the Finch administration is to control the city council?

You will reach some of the council members with your message, but possibly fewer will vote against a tax increase than last year. Too many of them are city employees, have a daughter, husband, etc. dependent on the Finch administration for a job.

The attached CT Post story is simply ‘he said, she said.’ No research is demonstrated. Brian Lockhart is capable of much more if the the CT Post allowed coverage of city hall matters as they should be done.

I admire your effort being made to appeal to the city council, but their vote is based on allegiance to the DTC and whatever quid pro quo deal (such as their jobs) they can strike with the Mayor via McCarthy.

Bridgeport city government is a morally compromised institution. The city council is not embarrassed or apologetic about their lack of knowledge, critical thinking skills or their unethical behavior. I have shared some specific suggestions with CW4BB based on my first-hand experience as part of moving forward.

Sorry I am so pragmatic.

Share

12 comments

  1. Lennie, could you please link to the article Tom White is referencing? We need to read exactly what Tom McCarthy said. This isn’t just about the actual vote related to the city budget. This is about all of the deliberations leading up to the vote. City employees should have no participation related to the city budget. A blatant conflict of interest if they do. The State of Connecticut sends over $250 million to the city of Bridgeport every year. Every state taxpayer has a vested interest in convincing Speaker Brendan Sharkey to bring House Bill 5724 up for a vote. The conflicts of interest must stop. City employees are prohibited from being on the city council per City Charter. The state legislation needs to respect Bridgeport’s local charter.

  2. Where is the outrage? Where is the law? Do these slimy slithering people just slither on the edge of law breaking? is that why we can’t get them?

  3. Tom White is a good citizen. He has a wealth of knowledge on City governance, himself a Common Council member two decades ago. He earned an MBA and has been an adjunct educator at one or more local institutions of higher education to the best of my knowledge. Until June 30, 2012 last year he was the only active employee assigned to the City Council, though they had two authorized positions for more than one year–it’s that old “ghost expense” gimmick of Mayor Finch!

    As I attended Council meetings I got to know him a bit and he was generally helpful with background history of Council functioning. My fiscal questioning and concern about Council stipends over which there seems to be great secrecy by Council members and the administration was heightened by last year’s Legislative budget hearing where White questioned the stipend process. From the conversation I saw his concern in that he as a City employee was asked to sign a form that went into the City purchasing process, yet he was not allowed to monitor whether the Council person had any stipend authorization remaining of their $9,000 allocation. I believe to this day he was looking to reasonably protect himself from signing paperwork that later could come back to bite him because of an “excess” authorization. Why is there such secrecy about who spends, how much, on what purposes annually of taxpayer funds? Perhaps disclosure of stipend activity should be a saliva test for the 2013 City Council elections. Time will tell.

  4. Tom McCarthy is a bona fide piece of crap. He doesn’t want the mayor’s office budget brought up. McCarthy wants employee givebacks and furloughs and yet Tom McCarthy stands to get a $15,000 raise in this budget. That’s right, a $15,000 raise. He is a greedy son of a bitch. People went to the public hearings of the B & A and poured their hearts out, all to no avail.
    How do you justify a $15,000 raise for a guy who does squat to make life easier for the residents of Bridgeport? One has to wonder where the raises are hidden for the other bottom feeders in this administration. Tom McCarthy and this entire administration are lower than whale shit and that sits on the bottom of the ocean.

  5. There are a whole lotta pissed-off folks in Bridgeport right now. Tom McCarthy took no issue waving his complete disregard for the taxpayers of Bridgeport in the faces of those who elected him, via the CT Post. We know what a conflict of interest looks like, Big Mac. You went on record asking for the Budget Committee to leave the Mayor’s Office alone. What the hell are you smoking? Loathsome. Degenerate. Greedy. Sickening.

  6. Lennie, it should be noted that my comments were a response to the content of a message sent to a CW4BB contact list expressing concern with the city council’s handling of the budget.

  7. Jennifer,
    Would you please list out the contact information to email the state legislative delegation? I know you entered it on OIB in the past but I can’t find it. Bravo to Brian Lockhart for actually printing McCarthy’s quotes. Yes I know these conflicts have been allowed to happen for years but having the quotes in the newspaper are important so we can actually send the article and make the point even stronger HB 5724 needs to become law. Wake up Connecticut. Everyone is affected by this crap.

  8. countdown–do you want just the Bridgeport reps or all? It is the majority of the statewide Democrats waiting for the Bridgeport delegation to support this. Lennie has the link to the state reps on the side of this page, but I will get the emails once I am back at my computer.

  9. The Mayor and the City Council have been operating in violation of the City Charter and basic rules of professional and ethical conduct for too long. The Council President has been particularly egregious in this regard. The evidence is clear and the people have had enough. Stand by, this time it’s different.

Leave a Reply