Former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh has been sharpening his teeth the past few days in letters to his old mates. Does the “Troll” miss the council action? The latest letter urges his City Council representatives Evette Brantley and John Olson who replaced Walsh when he decided to retire in 2011 to pull back “questionable” contracts recently approved for the police and fire chiefs. Walsh’s letter:
I am writing my City Council representatives requesting that one of them make a motion to reconsider the recently approved contracts for the Police Chief and Fire Chief. And that the other one second the motion.
I have to assume that neither of you were aware of many of the facts that I have learned since the contracts were approved because if you had been I do not believe that you would have approved such questionable deals.
One report that I read said that the Fire Chief will be making in excess of a quarter of a million dollars a year between his salary and pension; all paid by the taxpayers of the city of Bridgeport. And this does not include benefits. This is obscene and outrageous in a city that claims to have such severe financial difficulties that it could not increase its funding for education for the past 4 years.
But first and foremost the council must reconsider the matter at the first meeting immediately following the meeting in which the item was approved. Do not buy into anyone suggesting that this would not apply to labor or personnel contracts. Robert’s Rules Of Order does not recognize such exceptions and therefore the motion would be in order. All that you need to do at the present time is to refer the matter back to the contracts committee.
Among the troubling facts are:
1) At a minimum the Fire Chief has requested retirement and I believe he has done so as a disability pension. I have been told by several retired firefighters that when they first applied for a disability pension they were told that they needed to submit medical proof of the disability. I believe that Chief Rooney was not required to do so because his is a technicality. Technicalities lead to lawsuits and the city of Bridgeport can ill afford any more of these. The council should be provided a formal written legal opinion from outside legal counsel clearly addressing this matter.
Among the questions are:
1) What are the consequences if the fire chief sustains additional disabling injuries or diseases while on the job having already been granted a pension?
2) Can the chief waive protections granted him under state workers compensation regulations?
3) What is the city’s liability as to having to pay out additional benefits to others who were denied this benefit now being extended to the chief?
4) What are the future consequences of granting a disability pension without proof of disabling injury or medical condition?
2) What is the cost to the taxpayers of this contract and the practice of collecting a pension early based on which pension plan the Police and Fire Chief are covered by?
3) The original contract provided to the Police Chief had a residency requirement included while the Fire Chief did not. The council decided to eliminate this language for the Police Chief. I urge my representatives to reinstate that language for the Police Chief and to insert the language for the Fire Chief.
I truly anticipate your motion to reconsider. If you decide not to do so then I would appreciate in writing an explanation as to why you refused to do so. I am copying the other council members so that one of them might take this action if the two of you do not.
Robert S Walsh
Taxpayer 132nd District
56 Redding Pl
Bridgeport CT 06604