Sporting your negotiating booties? I hope Mayor Bill Finch has his pulled up because this is a telling week as he begins earnest discussions with labor leaders to place a tourniquet on a city budget spewing red ink across the city.
Do you recall back in January and February my rantings (and OIB reader commentaries) urging Finch to pay attention to city business immediately because it only gets worse with time? No, instead he was more interested double-dipping paychecks until the editorial board of the Connecticut Post shamed him into dropping his state senate seat, working triple time twisting arms of city employees on the Democratic Town Committee to keep John Stafstrom titular head of the party and kicking in the teeth Dottie Guman, the woman who did more to advance his political career than any pol on the planet. The result, Mario Testa’s rise from the ashes, Dottie as party vice chair and a city hemorrhaging so much loot that my friend at the Connecticut Post Managing Editor Michael Daly and a boatload of OIB readers have called for the return of a financial oversight board.
Meanwhile, how many of you have run into Finch when he uttered the following declaration: “I didn’t know the job would be this hard.”
Let’s see now, hizzoner spent eight years on the Bridgeport City Council, another seven in the Connecticut State Senate and he had no clue about the difficulty of managing the state’s largest city? Had he trumpeted the disastrous financial horn after his election–that he is doing today–things wouldn’t be great but they’d be better.
Now here this: Finch is far from perfect, but at his core he is decent, caring and optimistic. If he fundamentally decides to govern the way he wants, screw the politicians (okay, some of them), reach out to experienced hands at negotiating union contracts and spread around the pain he has a chance. What does that mean?
It means it’s going to be hard for Finch to sell the desperation of the city’s financial condition to unions unless he shows the balls to eliminate a selected group of party pols from the payroll. Not all of them, not a lot of them, but some of them.
This is a hard call for a candidate that promised to cut your taxes $600 and then raised them $600 on the schizoid reversal that he didn’t know how bad things were. Finch feels loyalty to folks that busted their butt for his election, and realistically there’s not a large enough patronage payroll to come remotely close to closing this budget deficit.
But I don’t expect union leadership to cry uncle unless Finch pinches a few of his discretionary appointments.
In the end, I don’t think he’ll do that. Where will that leave him nearly five months into the budget year? Ouch. Stay tuned.
Support My Friends
Hey, we’re entering the holiday season. Time to promote local books (beyond mine) and artwork by friends. Don Harrison, the gifted scribe that produced the Bridgeport Light sports section for me when I was publisher of the legendary Bridgeport Light community weekly (yes, it’s been about 20 years) has authored Connecticut Baseball: The Best of the Nutmeg State, loaded with pages and photos of the best Major Leaguers from the Nutmeg State including all the boys from Bridgeport such as Phil Nastu (Bassick), Angel Echevarria (Bassick) Kurt Kepshire (Central) and let’s not forget our Hall of Famer Jim O’Rourke.
Published by The History Press. Buy a whole bunch of copies at www.amazon.com/Connecticut-Baseball-Best-Nutmeg-State/dp/159629552X
My old pal from The Connecticut Post Charles Walsh is just as talented (and twisted) with his artwork as he is with his column. He’s finally juiced up the urge to take his work public. The image below the press release about his work looks something like me after Charles nearly drowned me on a fishing trip on the Housatonic River years ago. Charles can write and fish but he’s definitely nautically challenged.
Connecticut Post Columnist Charles Walsh to show photographs in Black Rock Insurance Agency
Most people in Fairfield County already know Charles Walsh from his years as a columnist and reporter for the Connecticut Post newspaper, but behind that Walsh has been producing evocative original artwork for many years. In December Walsh will show his works on paper at the Gallery at Black Rock Insurance Agency, 2861 Fairfield Avenue, in Bridgeport. Walsh’s illustrations have been featured in the Connecticut Post and The New York Times. Art has been a passion for Walsh for over 40 years and this show will feature pieces spanning much of his art career.
The rapid growth of both the art and business scene in the Black Rock area prompted agency owner Michael Murren to create a unique coupling of art and business. “The connection between the agency and the local art scene is a refection of the community we serve,” said Murren. “Many of our customers are local artists and it seems like a great way to showcase some of the amazing talent that we have locally. This show will be the first in our new gallery space that will give the Artists a better showcase for their work.”
The agency will host an opening on Thursday December 4th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The Artist will be available to discuss his work. The opening is free and open to the public refreshments will be served. Community members are welcome to stop in and see the art during normal business hours Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.