Vent, Bitch, Moan, Now’s The Time

If you have an Election Day bitch tonight’s the night to vent.

Mayor Bill Finch, in response to the Nov. 2 Election Day ballot gaffe that put Bridgeport in the national news, has created an informal committee to hear complaints and make recommendations for improvements. The meeting is at 7  p.m. in City Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street.

Had the city’s Registrar of Voters Office printed enough ballots to accommodate the turnout this meeting would not be necessary. But it is what it is and the mayor asked former Mayor Nick Panuzio, attorneys Richard Bieder and Edwin Farrow, former Bridgeport Hospital President Robert Trefry, and Rosa Correa, long active in civic issues to meet, listen to concerns and report back with recommendations.

The mayor cannot force recommendations on the city’s two elected registrars, one Democrat and one Republican, but this could lead to state legislative law that would institutionalize an updated set of guidelines reporting to the Secretary of the State’s Office, the statutory state elections authority, or perhaps a City Council ordinance requiring the local registrars to issue a briefing before each city election. We’ll see. Printing one ballot for every voter isn’t a solution. What will they do, print 43,000 ballots, the Democratic registration, for the next guber primary? The most recent one had a 15 percent city turnout. Common sense should prevail. Or is that asking too much?

I’ll be joining OIB friends at 7 p.m. where we hope to air the meeting live here, provide commentary and hear what the peeps have to say.



  1. I am positive this panel will do everything in its power to make Finch look like he had nothing to do with this. He is the chief bottle washer and somehow, someway has to be connected. It all will come out in the wash, somehow, someday.

  2. Rosa Correa? Is this the same Rosa Correa whose nephew went from the lowest-level BOE custodian to a high-paying management position created specifically for him in just a couple of years? And now with Ben Barnes headed for Hartford has his eye on the top spot even though he is grossly unqualified, uneducated, inexperienced and lacks the basic tools and demeanor required for any management position whatsoever? That Rosa Correa? I scratch your back, you scratch mine. And if you think anything of substance will come out of this “panel” I’ve got a bridge to sell you. This whole charade is merely Finch’s effort in CYA, as evidenced by Ms. Correa’s selection to the panel, and is a colossal waste of time. The Registrars, who report to the Mayor, are unable to effectively do their jobs so the Mayor convenes a panel to find out why they can’t do their jobs??? And on this panel is a woman who already called in a favor for a job her nephew can’t do and who now has his eye on an even better job he can’t do? OIB.

  3. BPT 1
    The Registrars do NOT report to the Mayor. We elect them. There is no recall provision. As far as I can see there is only an Impeachment process through the state legislature. The only way they can be removed is if they resign. Then there will need to be a new election to replace them. I am glad the Mayor convened this panel. It is the way to learn what happened during the entire election process so the overall system can be improved. I am going tonight and I am going to testify. I never want to feel that my vote wouldn’t be counted. I am still not sure it was. I am also glad there will be an audit of 12 polling places including mine. The Mayor is doing what he can given the registrars are independently elected positions.

        1. No answer from the answer lady. How about that? It’s a simple question. Does she think Finch is doing a good job as mayor? Yes or No. She’s quick to jump all over everything else I post. On this one she goes mute. Must be a tough one I could rewrite it monosyllabically.

          What happened to Mr. E? He’s gone mute too.

    1. As the Ripper noted below:

      Bridgeport rejects ballot recount
      Ken Dixon, Staff Writer
      Published: 11:14 a.m., Tuesday, November 16, 2010
      HARTFORD — Bridgeport officials, citing a lack of authority for Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, have rejected a request to recount ballots in the 12 city voting precincts that were kept open an extra two hours on Election Day.

      Bysiewicz’s office said Arthur C. Laske III, deputy city attorney, called Monday afternoon to announce that the city would not be redoing the count that they originally performed in the days after the Nov. 2 election.

      Laske’s call occurred hours after a Bysiewicz news conference announcing that Bridgeport’s voting registrars agreed to perform an additional review of the ballots as part of a routine statewide recount of totals in 74 polling precincts.

      So Santa Ayala says OK to the recount and Art Laske says no. And Art Laske’s word in final.

      And you are going to say the the registrars DO NOT report to the mayor? Please, Nancy.

  4. Thank You Nancy. Can you enlighten us as to who sets, okays, and signs off on the budget for the registrars’ office? Someone above Ms. Ayala had to sign off, no?

    1. The Mayor proposes the budget. The Council holds meetings with every department, makes changes to the budget and then it is approved. The Mayor can reject the budget if he doesn’t like what the Council decides. I don’t think he has line-item veto but I am not sure. This is a very small portion of the entire budget being out of balance.

      If the Registrars appeared in front of the Council and complained that their budget was too lean and the Council ignored that plea, the Registrars would have recourse to go to the Secretary of State. If the process is underfunded then this issue should have surfaced way before the order went in to print the ballots. The Secretary of State and the Registrars are responsible to protect the integrity of the electoral process. In my opinion,the process is broken on many fronts, not just this print order. That is why I am going to testify tonight. In an earlier OIB blog I called for the resignation of the Registrars. I have no confidence to this day that my vote counted.

      1. The registrar could have gone to the Secretary of State? And done what? The SOTS could have ordered the mayor to give her more money? Sounds more like this is still pointing to Finch and no one else.

  5. The overall system would be improved citywide on all levels if qualified people were in the positions instead of the same incompetent political hacks propped up for election time and time again or given cushy jobs for which they are not qualified!!! And asking Rosa Correa for a recommendation on a solution when she is part of the problem is also part of the problem!!!

    And as far as I know, the Registrars’ office is funded by the city and is part of its budget, so while they may not report directly to the Mayor, it is a city office and is ultimately in his discretion.

    The panel is a waste of time. PEOPLE NEED TO BE COMPETENT FOR THE POSITIONS THEY HOLD. And if they’re not they should not be in them!!! The Mayor should be demanding their resignations!!! Wasting time with panels and public forums to tell them how to do their jobs is utterly ridiculous!!! If you can’t do your job, does your boss convene a panel of people to tell you how to do it instead of holding you accountable??? Again, OIB!!!

    1. When John Fabrizi was mayor and Lisa Parziale was registrar he ordered Lisa to submit a time sheet to him to sign off on.
      And the city attorney said he could do so.
      So the Fabulous one and City Attorney have already established a high level of control the mayor has over the registrar. But why let facts stand in the way of a Nancy Hadley rebuttal?

  6. The job description on how to run an election is set by the Legislature. This is another study, in a long line of studies, that borrows our watch to tell us what time it is!

    They screwed up plain and simple by trying to cook the books for their budget.

  7. Imo, this whole thing tonight is a puppet show. Puppet master to be determined by someone far smarter than I. Once again insult our intelligence, powers that be. The lemming voters look to Madison Ave to ask who they should vote for anyway.

    1. As much as I would like to think some good might come from tonight, the bottom line is an insufficient number of ballots were ordered, and there was no training for such a situation. No conspiracy–bad judgement call–by persons who thought they were doing right by reducing costs–something not often done by municipal employees. Other municipalities also ordered fewer ballots than voters–but in Bridgeport with so many combinations of Senate and Rep districts there were that many more opportunities for shortfalls.

      I have been a moderator for absentees for a long time. If a ballot cannot be read by the machine (which happens with the absentees as well), it is inserted into the side slot and retried at the end of the night. If the ballot cannot be machine read it is manually counted–which is what should have happened with the photocopy ballots.

      At the end of the night the number of voters and number of ballots are reconciled–there would be a problem if there are more ballots than voters–no one has asserted this is the case as far as I know–all the hoopla about ballots not counted etc. can be easily proven through the reconciliation process.

      None of the above is difficult but given the number of elected offices this year it is time-consuming–a moderator at the polls begins working at 5:30 AM–making for a 16-hour day–the hassle of not enough ballots and irate voters venting at the polls can take its toll on anybody–one year I didn’t leave until 1:30 AM.

      The panel should look at the number of voting locations and volume of voters at each location–fewer polling locations would allow for better-trained workers at fewer locations–16-plus hours can take its toll–the 2008 presidential election was also a long night.

  8. Election Fiasco in Bridgeport. Did your vote count or is it still in a box under the Registrar’s desk? Should the Registrars resign? Will the mayor’s panel get to the bottom of this? This could only be a job for one good detective, and tonight on “Bridgeport Now” he is invited guest: Sherlock Holmes. He will be on live at 8:30pm tonight on ch88, while the hearing is going on across the street.

    Detective Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his forensic science skills to solve difficult cases, something needed in our great city.

    Of course we take on any chance to promote Bridgeport arts also, so we are pulling in actors from nearby stage: The Playhouse on the Green, where they have a great play going on. Also tonight, we will show some exhibits from the Bridgeport Art Trail.

  9. The City budget seems to indicate that 5 people are employed full time with benefits totaling about $460,000 personnel expense this year to the Bridgeport taxpayer who presumably is part of the voting public.

    These employees are ‘certified’ political appointments, chosen for their connection to their respective parties, and not for their administrative competence. They staff Registrar offices around the region. However, not all of these offices have five full-time employees to produce the “black eye” that came to Bridgeport for all-around incompetence this year.

    You have a right, and I would suggest responsibility to vote for the person and/or the question of your choice. That is an American freedom, too often ignored or disregarded. That is shameful. But more shameful is the behavior of employees who do not perform at expected levels.

    I hope that Nancy Hadley and others raise the question of whether their personal ballot was recorded, whoever she selected. (The system certainly keeps track of whether your property tax check is recorded!) The system should be able to assure voters that their one vote had meaning. The system also ought to be so established that any questions of whether there were more votes at a polling station than those checked off on the voter lists are resolved as negative.

    I suggest continuing education for poll workers each year, computer based, and approved by the Secretary of State. If you can’t handle the material, you should not be paid or be responsible for this critical civic process.

    Finally, let’s look around. Just spoke with a Registrar in Fairfield. There is a secretary in that office who is full time paid with benefits. All other Registrars and Deputies are part time, with pay according and no benefits. Wow … the current budget there indicates about $220,000 of personnel costs and benefits for the one full-time employee. Let’s see, Registrars in both offices have dual responsibilities of Maintaining Voting Lists and Staffing elections including primaries. Bridgeport has nearly 70,000 registered according to news reports and Fairfield has only 36,000. But Bridgeport gets 30% to the polls and Fairfield 62%??? Do the math.
    Bridgeport is paying more than twice as much for inferior results. You can tell the committee tonight that you want changes because you are not receiving competency!!! Here are budget cuts waiting for the knife!!! Is there anyone at this moment who feels this office is providing value to the taxpayer??? Show up tonight and make your case. Perhaps someone will provide Mark Feeney a pair of scissors as a going-away gift, and he in turn may hand them to Mayor Finch. If the supervision of this office comes from State Statute and Federal Election Law under the guidance of the Secretary of the State, the money to run that office come from us, and we have been severely taken advantage of.

    1. Nonsense.

      First, an office serving half the voters has a staff budget half as large? What’s your problem with that?

      Secondly, in what way is the Registrar of Voters responsible for voter turnout?

      Finally, in what way are pollworkers responsible for the ballots running out? How would computerized training have solved the problems faced in this election?

      1. Yo Marlys, I said do the MATH. Bridgeport had about 23-26,000 voters at the polls. Fairfield had about 22,300. Those are comparable numbers. A citizen who is registered but does not vote, is not a voter in my book. That’s my problem, and a bloated office with incompetent behavior is an indicator of that.
        Registrars of Voters maintain lists, instruct people at the polls and at Black Rock they might have noticed they had different ballots delivered to them without some of the candidates for that district. When people turn out to vote they are responsible for smooth functioning of that poll. When Murphy’s Law is at work, they need assistance in the form of ready instructions rather than denial. Training prepares you for many things.
        Sounds like you might be a long-term poll worker or know someone who is trying to be in denial that the entire system needs re-working. Perhaps you are an employee of the City. Where do you see any signs of competency, integrity and behavior deserving of respect, Marlys? I answered your questions, showed you the math. Try my question as homework …

        1. Just because the turnouts are similar doesn’t mean the work is the same–the Bridgeport office would have been flooded with thousands of calls and changes in the wake of Obama’s visit, has twice the registrations to process, more than twice the number of pollworkers to hire, machines to work on, polling places to set up: the number of people who show up has nothing to do with the preparation needed to get the election up and running, whether you capitalize MATH or not. Get real. Extra training isn’t going to do jack about the ballots running out, nor is cutting the salary of some secretary.

  10. Now that we have a panel of 5 will there be a chairman? Did a commission just get started with no input from anyone but our Mayor? I’m wondering if the Mayor will publicly acknowledge their efforts and support their recommendations.

    1. Hector,
      The mayor appointed Nick Panuzio Chairman. Nick is the Washington paid lobbyist for the city of Bridgeport. The City Council voted on an extension of that contract last night. And the contract contains language that says the mayor can unilaterally appoint him to a second term at an amount to be determined if there is money in the budget.

      1. Isn’t he a Republican? In fact aren’t the majority of the members Republicans? I guess since this whole fiasco is the fault of the Republicans (he he), that’s proper.

  11. *** Is there going to be a Psych. couch to lay on while residents vent there frustration about the overall election debacle? Surely nothing major will come of this but more staff training & check, check, double checks, ’til a fair system on ordering ballots is voted on by the state legislature. And of course a bill to the city for the panel’s time & report along with a washing of hands by the present admin. after all is said & done! *** Free candy for the speakers. ***

  12. I hope Malloy is watching this dog and pony show tonight. Mr Governor, meet your state’s largest city. Oh btw, the city that was told to vote for Lamont. HIT THE DECK!


Leave a Reply