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Troll On Warpath Over Maley Money, Wants List Of Paid Consultants

September 15th, 2010 · 18 Comments · City Budget, City Council

Excerpt of letter to City Council President Tom McCarthy from peers Bob Walsh and Andre Baker:

At a time when the City of Bridgeport is laying off low paid city employees due to a budget problem, it is unconscionable that the City Attorney is allowed to proceed with politically motivated consulting contracts of this magnitude

A Hartford Courant story revealing that a lawyer friend of Mayor Bill Finch from his days in the State Senate has earned more than $200,000 as an outside legal consultant to the city has City Council members Bob “Troll” Walsh and Andre Baker asking questions.

How many of these agreements are out there and who’s getting paid? Walsh and Baker fired off an email Tuesday to City Council President Tom McCarthy asking for the information they had requested in May as part of a resolution. McCarthy, according to Walsh, said a resolution wasn’t necessary, the information could be obtained without it. Troll says he and Baker are still waiting. Here is the letter which was also sent to members of the council Ordinance Committee.

Resolution concerning Personal Services Contracts & Procurement Ordinance

Council President McCarthy,

At the May 17, 2010 council meeting Councilman Baker and myself introduced a resolution calling for a full disclosure of personal services contracts for the prior 6 months in an effort to determine whether rules outlined in the Procurement Ordinance were being properly adhered to when advertising and awarding these deals. This resolution was prompted by then recent revelations concerning such contract with prior City Hall employees, i.e. Ned Winterbottom and Dennis Murphy.

The matter was heard by the committee at the May 25, 2010 committee meeting. At that time Baker and I were chided for not simply requesting the information and for putting the request in the form of a resolution. We felt that the subject matter was such that the force of a resolution would carry more weight and be more effective in procuring all of the data sought. We felt we needed to see all such information on these types of contracts to fully understand the extent of the problem and determine if changes to the ordinance were in order.

At that time you, as Council President, offered to get the information informally without a resolution being passed. I agreed and request that a full twelve months worth of data be made available to which you agreed. The matter was tabled before the committee and has remained tabled since then.

Now I read in the Harford Courant that a former Senate colleague of the mayor in line to receive close to a quarter of a million dollars of Bridgeport taxpayers hard-earned money in a contract that was never approved by the City Council and at least could have been revealed by the council if our request had been honored on a timely basis.

Nearly four months have passed with no response and now we have to ask if the public embarrassment is one of the reasons that this has gone unheeded.

At a time when the City of Bridgeport is laying off low paid city employees due to a budget problem, it is unconscionable that the City Attorney is allowed to proceed with politically motivated consulting contracts of this magnitude; and in an apparent effort to avoid a proper hiring process. Additionally, this practice apparently bypasses the requirement of minority contracting that is included in the ordinance.

And once again, you, as a highly paid member of the Finch administration and working in the Office of Labor Relations, bring about the appearance of conflicts of interest in trying to please too many masters.

We are requesting on an expedited basis the information previously sought in the attached resolution for the twelve month period prior to the submission of the resolution that you had previously agreed to and for any additional contract that have been issued since that time.

Resolution by council members Bob Walsh and Andre Baker:

Whereas, published reports have indicated a number of personal services contracts have been awarded recently that did not go through a competitive bidding process; and

Whereas, some of these contracts were issued on a “not to exceed basis” and the payments made may have exceeded those established limits; and

Whereas, based on the information made public these awards may be in violation of procurement procedures outlined in city ordinances; and

Whereas, the lack of competitive bidding does not provide the public with sufficient transparency to ensure that the most qualified and cost effective bidders are being selected; and

Whereas such process may violate the minority contracting requirements or at least violate the spirit of the minority contracting requirement;

Be it resolved that the city forward to the Ordinance Committee a list of all contracts awarded in the past 6 month in excess of $10,000. Such list shall include:

1) Procuring officer

2) The bidding process, i.e. informal, formal, Bid Sync, advertised, sole source exception, etc.

3) Minority outreach efforts / consideration

4) Total value of contract or “not to exceed” value

5) Term of the contract

This list should include contracts / engagements entered into by the City Attorney regardless of whether or not charter allows such exception.

Be it further resolved that in light of this report that the Ordinance Committee initiate a complete review of ordinance rule and regulations as well as reporting requirements to ensure full transparency.

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • FRANK CUCCARO

    Councilmen Walsh and Baker,

    I thank you for asking all these questions about the money that is being wasted by this administration. You also need to inquire about Atty. Dave Ryan Jr and Sr. Jr. is a good friend of Finch and has been involved in numerous negotiations before we threw him out and got a deal done. Also, how many attorneys are in the city atty’s office?

    Why are we farming anything out? Are they incapable or is Finch just taking care of his friends?

    They laid off people who have been with the city for 29 yrs … That’s sad!

    Keep up the good work guys! Don’t stop until you get the answers you deserve!!!

    • Born in BPT

      Sad state of affairs, the dark clouds hover over the state’s largest city once again.

      Is the CT Post and WICC outa business?

      Guess it’s don’t believe what you read unless it’s in the Hartford Courant.

      JOHNMGOMES.com

      2011

      HE WILL CLEAN HOUSE

    • Up On Bridgeport

      Who is William Beccaro and People for Excellence in Government? Inquiring minds want to know!

  • town committee

    Why am I not surprised Tom McCarthy has been dragging his feet on revealing what personal service contracts have been awarded?
    Tom McCarthy has been a shill for Bill Finch from day one. What can you expect from a guy who’s $91K job could be on the line if he goes against Finch and his half-assed policies.
    McCarthy and the a majority of the council should be ashamed of themselves for the inaction that has taken place on covert spending.
    It is amazing how these people can look at themselves in the mirror every day. They have sold out 140,000-plus people for their own benefit. SHAME ON THEM.

  • Grin Ripper

    RedWhiteandBlue // Sep 14, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    “Bob, should this be a matter for the City’s ethics commission?”

    “City’s ethics commission.” Now that’s an Oxymoron!

  • RedWhiteandBlue

    What was I thinking … I know …

  • junkyardogII

    God Bless Councilmen Walsh and Baker. Keep up the outstanding work you have done and continue to do for the taxpayers of Bridgeport. Walsh and Baker, now there go two elected officials who believe in their Oath.

  • Up On Bridgeport

    Up On Bridgeport // Sep 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Category: Arsonic and Old Lace for $200.00

    John Olsen?

    Answer: Who was the “Arson Parson!”

    TC–That fire in 1969 was the Katz fire.

  • bridgeportnow

    Excerpt from the Courant article, on Maley Money:

    “Democrat Edwin J. Maley Jr., a longtime aide to state legislative leaders, is proof that the right political connections can make your retirement years as financially lucrative as when you were a highly paid state employee.

    Maley, 56, of Cromwell, retired in 2007 after a 28-year career as a legislative staff attorney, much of the time serving as legal counsel and chief of staff for state Senate Democrats. His annual salary was about $180,000 during his last few years on the job, not bad for government work.

    But public records show that he has been able to exceed that in three of his retirement years since then — 2008 to 2010 — because he’s collected his pension while doing part-time work for three government entities. And those three entities are led or influenced by former or current Democratic state senators with whom he worked as a state legislative employee:

    • Maley, who operates a part-time solo law practice out of his townhouse condominium in Cromwell, was paid $217,000 between late 2007 and the end of last month by the city attorney’s office in Bridgeport — where former Democratic state Sen. William Finch is now mayor. Bridgeport currently pays Maley $7,000 a month for legal work, a city spokesman said.”

    www .courant.com/news/politics/hc-lender-column-maley-0912-20100912,0,701281.column.

  • bridgeportnow

    But recent years have brought increasing scrutiny of “double-dipping” by pensioners who return to the state payroll after retirement for high-paying part-time work while still collecting pensions. Maley’s case stands out because you could almost call it “triple-dipping.”

    “… Bridgeport City Attorney Mark Anastasi responded to a Courant inquiry last week with a statement saying, ‘Attorney Maley has provided invaluable advice and consultation regarding improving the quality of the City Attorney’s office service delivery plan and facilitation [of] our modernization plan.’”

  • bridgeportnow

    These issues can get complicated. One issue: are we farming out what is really just the daily work process of our city attorney? Is he doing his job or does he need to hire a $7,000 a month consultant to do it. Also, why is that guy getting a pension from the government while going back and working for the government? Why don’t they just give him his job back? This double-dipping thing is out of hand. The city has a hole in its budget, fires 15 people and has endless entitled pension programs out of control.

  • Ghost of elections past

    Finch’s friends from college and the Senate are making out pretty good. The City Attorney’s office would be fine if the Hartford duo let them alone. Finch has his fingers in the executive, legislative, and judicial (sort of) branches of the City Government. I am flashing back to the days of Boss Tweed, Finch, Wood et al. Outsiders from Hartford who think they can take over Bridgeport. I wish the real powers in Hartford would take over for awhile and clean house in Bridgeport.

  • Bob Walsh

    Attorney Anastasi loves to quote this section of the City Charter:
    “The Law Department shall be the legal counsel to every board, commission, department and officer of the city and shall represent the city in the prosecution and defense of all civil actions. When the interests of the city require, the city attorney may engage any necessary outside counsel, experts or assistants; provided that funds are available for such purpose … Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, no board, commission, officer or department of city shall retain legal counsel to represent it in any matter without the approval of the city attorney.”
    I read this as “shall represent the city in the prosecution and defense of all civil actions. When the interests of the city require, the city attorney may engage any necessary outside counsel, experts or assistants.”
    The City Attorney reads this as he may hire any attorney or consultant he chooses for any matter related to city business he is consulted on.
    I read it that in “defense or prosecution of civil matters” he is granted great latitude.
    The City Attorney also interprets the language “provided that funds are available for such purpose” as simply a requirement that he checks with OPM and if OPM says there is money available then he meets that prerequisite. He does not know what account is charged and he does not care. It quite often will be an account the City Attorney has no authority over and it sometimes will be an account that is funded by bonded debt.
    Since language states no board or commission can hire outside legal counsel without the approval of the City Attorney then any part of the city cannot legally challenge the CA with city funds.

    Can anyone say Machiavelli?

  • Hector A. Diaz

    Councilman Walsh, as always, “good job.” Please keep us abreast of the status of your inquiries. If an ordinance is proposed (awaken) let OIB know so we can support it and be present at any hearings. Thank you.

  • Bob Walsh

    A few years back I tried to amend the Ethics Ordinance to include in the definition of unethical behaviors knowingly or recklessly disobeying City Charter or City Ordinances. The greatest opponent of such language was none other than Mark Anastasi. Why? Because in cases like this it may well come back to the City Attorney’s office telling another department certain sections don’t really apply to what they are trying to do. The Ethics Commission could actually become the watchdog of City Attorney legal opinions and you could be sure the City Attorney would not want that to happen. Then the Ethics Commission might have no choice but to try to hire their own outside counsel.

  • Hector A. Diaz

    Does the “Hartford Courant” deliver? Where can I buy it locally? Once again the “Connecticut Post” gets scooped on a local story. I can remember sending out numerous press releases to the Post and none (maybe one) getting printed, while most of the ones sent to the Courant and Waterbury’s paper were printed.

  • Up On Bridgeport

    Hector–Just click on Lennie’s link for the Hartford Courant in the media section or go to www .courant.com

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