White: Junk City Council Junkets

Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody
Buffalo Bob and Howdy Doody.

Former City Councilman Tom White, who also served as staff liaison to the legislative body, thinks junkets by city legislators are nothing but a puppet-show waste of taxpayer dollars. City Council members use their stipends to attend government forums and programs. Upcoming is one hosted by the National League Of Cities in Washington, DC. In this commentary White decries the conference attendance that council members assert provides knowledge to bring back to their constituents.

Corey Booker

Say kids, What time is it?  It’s Howdy Doody time.

Nope. It’s time for another junket by city council members.

Anyone who has been employed in a position that encourages supplementing your skills and expanding your knowledge to improve your contribution to the organization’s mission appreciates the opportunity to attend conferences and, at the same time, recognizes the obligation to justify the expense.

Workshops can focus on specific practices and methods to improve your performance. Interaction with others in similar roles can help build a network of colleagues to share information with.

If you are a member of the Bridgeport City Council and heading to the National League of Cities Congressional Cities Conference in Washington DC, these obligations do not appear to apply.

You are attending because, well, you can. You will likely attend some interesting workshops which have nothing to do with the knowledge base or skills that could improve your performance as a member of the city council. Furthermore, why should taxpayers pay for skills that you should be bringing to your service on the council?

The Bridgeport City Council contingent will likely represent 75% of Connecticut elected officials in attendance. How can this be? Other Connecticut cities do not see the need for their legislative body members to attend and will not cover the cost. The only other city that provides a stipend to its Aldermen is New Haven. Their stipend is less than 1/3 that received by Bridgeport city council members and it can not be used for travel and conferences. Only three of their members can attend an event.

Will any council members be focused on learning best practices for WPCA collection policies? How about police overtime control?

Or, will they seek out social events, sightseeing or spending time with people with similar political beliefs such as ‘sanctuary cities’?

Will our council members provide an accounting of the benefits to taxpayers for their attending the conference? Are they required to? (the answer is no)

Instead, we will likely see postings to their personal Facebook pages (courtesy of an internet connection paid by Bridgeport taxpayers) with pictures of them dining (at taxpayer expense) or hobnobbing with Corey Booker.

All in favor? Aye!



  1. Here we go again, Tom White being white. The National League Of Cities has always had a very large makeup of people of color and women.

    Each Bridgeport City Council member who attends MUST come back with a detail written report (not taking points from the NLC) but a report on what they found that could make Bridgeport better and their report posted on the City’s website. Also a report to be given at the next council meeting after the conference.

    1. You really expect a report or two read at a Council meeting or posted on the city’s website to make a difference? Get real, Mr. Mackey. It will not make Bridgeport all better.

      The Connecticut Post doesn’t report this sort of detail because no one gives a shit. The most read sections of the paper are horoscopes, the comics, advice columns, sports and the obituaries. As a newspaper it’s great for wrapping fish or lining your cat’s litter box.

  2. Ron,
    That looks like a picture of Tom White sitting on Mike Garrett’s lap. I think they both share the belief that “ONLY WHITE IS RIGHT”. Do their comments surprise you?

  3. Only partially aye! Any information that can be received and could possibly help someone bring good things back to the table would not be a bad thing. I can’t personally say what if anything this particular conference could provide to any of our “politicians”. I do like the comment however, regarding skills that council people bring with them…… besides just getting elected just because. Case in point and I have mentioned this before: I don’t know anyone who knows anything about the skill sets that the “bartender” running for the 133rd for the 3rd time in the same election is bringing to the table.?! We all know the story but then again I don’t read, hear or see anything from his opposition so again Bridgeport citizens will get what they deserve. Where’s the investigation of the voter fraud etc.? Silence by all begets the continued appearance of CORRUPTiON whether actual or not in this city. Have a nice day.

  4. Bridgeport’s City Council have attended more than a few of these junkets over the years. Tom White is asking “What are we paying for? Where’s the bang for the buck?” The schools still suck, the economy is perpetually bubbling under, there is still high unemployment and organized criminal activity.

    Is anyone listening? Noooooooooo. This has turned into a Tom White bashing fest. He’s a racist. He has his head up Michael Garrett’s ass. The same can be said of the people that said those things.

    Neither major party in Bridgeport bears any semblance to their respective Nationl committees and ideals. The Bridgeport DTC is an old boys’ network serving the interests of the business class. The local RTC is a bunch of honkies resentful of the fact that Bridgeport is a multi ethnic community.

    Time to stop looking at the city through the eyes of elephants and donkeys.

    1. Derek, Tom White is just throwing stones like he usually does, he gives no suggestions. A lot of people who get elected have no idea about government so attending a conference like this can be helpful that’s why I made the suggestions above.

      1. He is not throwing stones. He is demanding accountability of our aldermen. The only information Bridgeport’s City Council needs is “GET RID OF MARIO TESTA AND JOE GANIM,” period. Of course, if Steven Auerbach were in attendance he ould come back with a report on menu planning for political conferences…

          1. Greetings from Washington D.C. What an exciting and vibrant city. Hope the Hillbillies on blog are helping Bob Walsh and Lisa Parsiale recover from their stunning defeat. We are celebrating. While they eat crow.Had no idea the council members are here on a learning expedition. Education is an important thing. If they are paying with their stipend then they are putting their money to good use. I hope they will be enjoying the museums, art galleries and exciting night life. They work hard enough for free. There have to be some perks along the way. DUH! Hungarian Food this evening, thanks for asking Derek Brown.

      2. He doesn’t need to offer solutions. We all know what the problems are and how to solve them. Ganim promised transparency in governance. Didn’t say a word about accountability. My guess is he diesn’t like to be held accountable for his actions. Hell’s bells, he doesn’t like to admit when he’s wrong. Yessiree Bob, this is the man that leads the city of Bridgeport.

        Several good people were elected to the Council. Let’s hope they are not going to accept the status quo of “don’t ask and we won’t tell” about questionable financial expenditures. Flying to municipal conferences? The train is just as reliable. In this day and age it takes less time to board. Room upgrades? Get real. We have to pay for that. Bringing guests? We have to pay for that as well.

        It is well past time for elected officials to distinguish themselves, behaving as if there is some accountability. Public office is not a birthright.

  5. *** I would say it all depends what you put into the trips and what you hope to get out of them. I enjoyed the ones to D.C cause it gave me an opportunity to meet our fed.legislators, (in a small setting) and talk about our district & city’s needs! As a Dem. city councilman, I met with Sen. Dodd,& Sen. Liberman, both Dem. And finally, Cris Shays (Rep.) all three. In an attempt to get fed. funds to make the Bpt. Middle St. Post Office handicap accessible? After about a year & a half, with the help of Tom White who was the Bpt. council’s liason @ the time and Cris Shays Office staff; the Rep. Congressman came through and made it a reality! Thanks to that D.C trip & the small group settings with our Fed. legislators. Like anything in life, you only get back, what you put into it! ***

  6. If it was one or two conferences yearly with reporting, I wouldn’t be too concerned. But I think that some Council members do more than that. I agree with Tom that more work needs to be done on the basics like WPCA, also city budget. I see no reason that Bridgeport, with the nearly highest mil rate in the state, is only one of two of the 169 municipalities that give Council members stipends, and that the annual stipend per council member is $9,000, that in a system where there’s much room for misuse!

  7. That’s good Mackey, Tom White being white. How can anyone be surprised that this is Tom’s belief after all his ideology on the forum has always been, white is right, Black get back and brown outta town. Tom being Tom.

  8. Lennie, that you for allowing me this guest commentary. I am confident that the ‘silent majority, those that read OIB but don’t comment have an understanding of my point and my intent.

    Some of who commented ‘get it’, but most just used it an an opportunity to sound off with their usual meaningless drivel.

  9. Tom,
    It is possible at times you may raise some valid issues, I will not dispute that. However you constantly find fault with our city council members, to the point that you now predict what they will bring back to the city from this trip. I think that information will be made available to those interested to improve their value to our city as council members. I personally believe that if our city council members were not the racially diverse group that they are that you would be less critical of them. Then you add comments that refer to Sanctuary Cities and Corey Booker, that is when you make it clear the direction in which your moral compass points.

  10. Joe.

    I was on the city council a couple of terms. Were you?

    I was staff for city council several years. Were you?

    I attended a NLC conference a few years ago.

    I made arrangements for council members to attend. Some insisted on traveling by air to look like big shots. Some insisted on room upgrades. Some brought guests. All at taxpayer expense.

    I brought my education and work experience to my service on the city council.

    My colleagues and I decreased our stipends by 50% (from $500 to $250 because of the city’s financial condition).

    There are other current examples such as the use of department funds to aviid using their stipends that McCarthy introduced and Mayors endorsed.

    There are some bright spots on this current council, but overall in recent years the skill and ability of council members is sad.

    Some get media coverage for their efforts to address issues such as WPCA collection arrangements. They huff and puff and in the end do nothing. They actually think that passing a resolution is establishing a law. If they utter something in committee it will be done.

    Now they use taxpayer funds to sight-see, dine and hobnob with politicians of their party.

    What do they accomplish? Maybe Mackey will collect those reports and share them. Well, not likely. He and Day will come up with some way of claiming accountability is racist.

  11. A few years ago the Post reviewed the City Council’s individual expense reports. Mario Testa’s joint was the beneficiary of stipend money, a lot of it. Who approves these expenditures? What did they learn attending a “conference” at Testo’s, how to twirl spaghetti with a fork snd a tablespoon?

  12. Tom,
    You were a city council member that is ancient history and I do not believe there is any chance you could be elected again. You were a city employee and your position was eliminated evidently for a valid reason. (I guess you were not as valuable to the city as you had thought) and you sued the city, you lost, you appealed, you lost, talk about a waste of taxpayer money. Maybe you should reimburse the taxpayers for that. I do believe Mackey and Day do have a valid claim that you are a racist by your comments as proven in this letter with the reference to Sanctuary Cities and Corey Booker. What business is it of yours if our council members have conversations with others who share similar beliefs on the issue of Sanctuary Cities or have a picture taken with Corey Booker it will not cost the taxpayer for that? Maybe it is just your personal prejudice against mostly Latino immigrants and a black Senator.
    If I had the opportunity to have a picture taken with Corey Booker I would certainly take advantage of it and what might Tom White call me then? I’m certain you wouldn’t say it on OIB.

  13. Tom White is a racist? I suppose if you say it enough times people may believe it. I crtainly do not need to come to his defense. I have known Tom for 28 years. You can call him many things. Calling him a racist and believing it is just wrong. If he were he would have left the city a long time ago.

    Joe Mclaine. i remember standing in front of Winthrop school with you. You were a very nice guy. I remember the confrontation with Mike Garrett. That was unbelievable. I like your writing stye and I get that you and White have issues but I think it is wrong to side with Mackey and Day in calling Tom a racist. It just isn’t true. If it were I wouldn’t be defending him. We have to respect his comments and accept them for what they are. Opinions.

  14. Steve,
    I do remember being at Winthrop school with you and Dennis Scinto we had very pleasant conversation and I believe you are a very likeable guy. And yes we were enjoying passing time until Garrett came along and took pictures of us and tried to provoke an argument. I have not seen you since and I hope you are well.

  15. Joe, I don’t think Tom White is a racist, I think he’s just an old common bigot. Over the last 67 years I’ve seen both and there’s nothing uncommon about Tom White, just an ordinary bigot.

    What I do know that he is that’s complicate in the theft of Bridgeport tax payer money when he said, ” I made arrangements for council members to attend. Some insisted on traveling by air to look like big shots. Some insisted on room upgrades. Some brought guests. All at taxpayer expense.

    How dare you Tom White Tom violate the trust of Bridgeport residents by allowing your friends and fellow councilors to steal from the city. How dare you allow this thievery and then years later brag about your complicit behavior. Shame on you Tom White. Shame on you.

    1. In order to be a racist you have to have the power to enforce that bigotry, Tom White and Andy Fardy don’t have any power to enforce their bigotry.

      Don, it’s like you said, “there’s nothing uncommon about Tom White, just an ordinary bigot.”

      1. Ron,
        Tom White has made a public confession that he was biased 20 years ago and more so now because of people like you. I think he is in dire need of psychological therapy. Very sad.

  16. This is comical. The people with the least knowledge and charter members of the double-digit club are making comments with no awareness of facts.

    Mackey, I am likely more biased than I was twenty years ago. Why? Because of behavior I see, including the influence that ignorant people such as you have.

    Day, I confronted the city council members at a budget meeting, questioning their use of stipends and department funds for their activities. I was, as Lennie says, “Whited Out” of the budget. I proved in court that my ‘layoff’ was a sham.

    McLaine, have you re-registered as a democrat yet? Perhaps you can confront the DTC chairman at a meeting the way you confronted the RTC chairman and demand reform. Maybe you’ll be sleeping with the fishes.

    OIB readers, I apologize for digressing in order to respond to Moe, Larry and Curly.

  17. Tom
    Are you now going to say that people who have confronted the DTC chairman in the past are sleeping with the fishes, that they have been murdered at his request? It appears that you are trying to give the inference that the DTC is an extension of the mafia; please explain the basis for these comments. FYI I do not live in fear of anyone. If I were a member and had a valid reason to believe that the DTC chairman was intentionally excluding people of color from the organization I would confront him on that, regardless of what you say are the potential consequences. Am I wrong, did you win your court case against the city for your termination? You claim to be well versed in the laws, rules and regulations of city government. When you were terminated did you request a wrongful termination hearing? Could the failure to request that hearing be the reason that you were not successful in your legal pursuit? What I am getting from you Tom is that anyone who does not share you beliefs or opinions are either criminals, lacking knowledge or just plain stupid. I would suggest that you take a closer look at the members of your own club.

  18. Joe,
    My instincts tell me not to respond, but there may be double-digit colleagues of yours that may actually believe what you are saying.

    The ‘sleeping with the fishes’ line from ‘The Godfather’ was too hard to resist.

    In reality, if you were to confront the DTC chairman as you did the RTC chairman, you and/or your family members would likely lose your city jobs.

    I challenged my ‘layoff’. My attorney failed to convince a judge that my First Amendment rights were violated but my suit did prove that my layoff was a sham orchestrated by McCarthy.

    I was initially denied a post-termination hearing and a judge ruled I did qualify for a hearing given I was a classified employee and could only be terminated for cause. Judge agreed with my argument that I was terminated unjustly, that my ‘layoff’ was a sham, but my suit was based on an argument that my First Amendment rights were violated.
    My beliefs and opinions about matters of Bridgeport are based on my experience beginning with the Paoletta administration and reflect my personality, calling for facts and proof. For example, my resentment of Joe Ganim’s mayoralty is not that he is a felon, but that he has never admitted guilt for the felony crimes he was convicted of as mayor. I admit that with my awareness has come a lack of patience. I need to lower my expectations of what (and who) is shared on OIB
    You, Joe, are typical of people with a little bit of second-hand information (usually inaccurate) who speaks out and impresses the uninformed.

  19. Tom,
    This is meaningless drivel and does not change what you said and the message that you had sent. I do not have a city job, my family members do not have city jobs, you inference was clear that if I challenged the DTC Chairman that I might be murdered, now you are trying to deny that. You also stated that you were biased 20 years ago and more so now because of Ron Mackey. Don’t waste your time responding, just get yourself the help that you so desperately need. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  20. *** Its amazing to me how quickly some bloggers on OIB, resort to labeling other bloggers that may not be in agreement with certain political party’s or city hall goverment policys or issues; with name calling or as racist! All most of the time without really knowing the blogger personally as a individual or content of what their really about. Nothing more than personal hate at times that is built up inside and this blog serves as a means to unfortunately release it. Some on this blog cannot deal with a difference of opinion without throwing a foul reading fit of slanderous words that prove nothing but an ignorance way of thinking! This world full of hate is spinning so fast @ times, that I sometimes wish I could get off! So now lets have the first stone throwers begin their assault on what I’ve blogged concerning this OIB opinion, no? ***


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