What If Finch Became An Independent?

Bill Finch has always embraced an independent streak, it’s part of his persona that invites a hug him or slug him reaction, depending on your perspective. Finch is doing something no mayor in modern history has approached. He’s saying to anyone willing to listen to him, a little more tactfully, that city schools suck and entrust him to fix them. He’s on a tour to persuade voters to grant him the power to appoint school board members, control the budget, the spending and contracts because what’s the point of blaming me for failing schools if I don’t have the tools to fix them? Democracy doesn’t always work, he says. Sometimes you must seize control. So why not leave the Democratic Party and become an independent?

Finch believes dealing with the party apparatus is a necessary evil. It’s what party politicians do to survive. In politics survival is relative. Finch has an opportunity to say screw it, I have a lock on three and half years and I’m going to govern the way I want damn the political gypsies, tramps and thieves. Damn the political paupers nipping at my feet like chihuahuas. If he becomes an independent, he still controls the candy store. The political paupers on the payroll have no place else to go, Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, once the power politico with cashews that clank, is acting more like a henpecked husband.

Finch is in a position to transcend politics and tell all the party hacks to kiss off. If he governs well, transforms the school system, embraces a reformer’s streak, what can they do to him? By the time 2015 rolls around he’ll have a boatload of campaign cash ready for a general election to be judged by voters.

Will he do this? Of course not. That John Kennedy voice inside his head will take over: you’re a Democrat, you need to remain a Democrat and all the schmaltzy crap that goes along with it, if you want a higher office. But what higher office? Barring something dramatic no state constitutional office will be available to him in 2014. A state commissionership? If he makes nice with Governor Malloy, assuming Malloy seeks and wins a second term, that could be still be available to him.

If you’re going to transcend politics, as Finch is crafting, why not go all the way? Tell the Dems it’s been nice, I’ll still work with you, but democracy ain’t what it used to be. Now that would be the start of a legacy.



  1. Finch should be made independent of Bridgeport … You should write a book on the foibles of the Finch Administration, the Finch senatorialship, the failed Finch job record … maybe a soap opera?

  2. I have been in business since graduating from college nearly 50 years ago. Those who have responsibility require measured authority as well and ‘control of the money’ would be a meaningful right. However, checks and balance mechanisms are required to operate when those with the responsibility are not handling it in a rational and mature manner. Publication of information about money and how it is spent is part of that process. We have not had thoroughgoing fiscal public data for years for a variety of excuses that are never publicly explained. So when that basic info about how public dollars of all kinds are spent locally, public tax dollars on property and income, it seems a basic right of the people (and therefore a responsibility of OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT government process to provide) to know how ALL of the dollars are spent with timely reporting of same and opportunity to address public appointed or elected or employed personnel with their questions. Freedom of Information requests for basic info are not evidence of OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT procedure. Andy Fardy has been waiting over 6 months for an FOI request to the Fire Department Pension Trustees the City Attorney is looking into. I have placed a second request to the City Finance office for copies of all Blum Shapiro Management Letters to City Government that are based on their annual external audit as well as the City responses. The first request was incomplete including a comment that the 2008 Letter could not be found.
    What cannot be found is automatically secret as far as the public is concerned. Not wanting to waste time for City employees or myself, I suggested in the second request, acknowledged by the City Attorney last week, is for the Finance Office to contact the external auditor to make a copy of four years of management letters AND THE CITY OF BRIDGEPORT’S RESPONSE TO BLUM SHAPIRO. Nothing yet.
    Lennie, perhaps OIB might maintain a registry on the site for FOI letters sent to the City with dates sent, dates acknowledged and dates completed??? Kind of a scoreboard for an accountable Mayor, I suggest. Time will tell.

  3. Mayor Finch must be smoking that crazy stuff again. In case he doesn’t remember he has been in charge of the Budget and the BOE the last four-plus years. Here is a guy who has flatlined the BOE budget four years in a row. Here is a guy who had 60 ghost positions funded in this year’s budget.
    Run as an independent Finch, I dare you. You were elected to a second term after a very tough primary with MJF. If you did not have the party machine getting hundreds of absentee ballots and rallying at the polls you would have come in third as an independent.
    I wish I knew where Finch bought his BULLSHIT-making machine. It’s been working overtime lately.

  4. The mayor has 19 aldermen purring like catnipped kitties. Why would he mess that up?

    This is a nice little political machine here with everyone mutually dependent on everyone else.

    Rather than worrying about the mayor’s independence, what if you are an organization Democrat watching your mayor doing something zany? There’s got to be some days when people are reaching for the Sambuca and espresso, and deciding to forget the espresso.

  5. Mayor Finch doesn’t have the backbone, spine or courage to run as an independent. As Jim Callahan said, “everyone mutually dependent on everyone else.”


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