Can You Guys Help A Little? Plus: No Resolution To NAGE Layoffs And No Magic Dust

With the Connecticut General Assembly now in session, a revamped Bridgeport legislative delegation featuring three new members raises an intriguing question: who’s the go-to pol?

Who among the eight members would Mayor Bill Finch call first? State Rep. Chris Caruso? That would be a fun conversation.

“Chris, how’re we doing with that school reimbursement money?”


State Senator Ed Gomes, big union guy?

“Eddie, my man, what’s going on with that property-tax relief bill?”

“Yeah, what’s going on with all those union members you shit-canned?”

New State Senator Anthony Musto?

“Hey, Anthony, what are you hearing?”

“I don’t know, I’m just trying to find my way to the bathroom.”

State Rep. Jack Hennessy?

“Jack, how about we pull the delegation together?”

“Don’t talk to me. Ask Caruso.”

State Rep. Andres Ayala?

“Andres, I’m dying down here with this budget.”

“Yeah, well, any money I pull down is for the Board of Education.”

State Rep. Don Clemons?

“Don, any movement on funding for a new Pleasure Beach Bridge?”

“Yeah, in about 20 years.”

New State Rep. Auden Grogins?

“Audie, you’re the only person I can count on up there.”

“Well, Bill, if that’s the case you don’t need to be talking to me. Talk to everyone else.”

New State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago?

“Ezequiel, any update to raise the sales tax to benefit the city?”

“You need to clear all questions with Mitch.”

“Ezequiel, you’re on the payroll.”

“Yes, and Mitch is responsible for my job so talk to him.”

(Mitch Robles, vote-getter extraordinaire in the South End and West End, is Eze’s political godfather and stepdad.)

So, where does the mayor turn?

“Mario, Mario, I need you Mario.”

“Go talk to John Stafstrom!”

Just another day at the office.

No NAGE Agreement

Around 5 p.m. on Friday I checked to see if there might be a possible resolution to avert the layoffs of 50 or so NAGE workers. The union had asked for an extension to further review the city’s concession requests, but was rejected.

Magic’s Disappearing Act

The Canyon-Johnson project for the South End is toast, burned by national economic conditions. The city has pulled the plug on the development fronted by Magic Johnson who was using someone else’s money. Now what?



  1. Who the Mayor talks to doesn’t really matter because Bridgeport’s legislative delegation is impotent. No city’s legislative delegation is less respected. Forget what they tell you about their leadership posts and committee assignments, they can’t deliver squat. That is nothing new. Bridgeport has been paying the price for a weak delegation for a long time.

    Consider this question. When was the last time Bridgeport had a top-tier leader in the House? In the Senate?

    Until we change the kind of people we send to Hartford nothing is going to change.

  2. The State Delegation needs to actually work this session. With hard cuts to programs they won’t be on easy street. Only the reps who can hold their own and have some respect will bring anything back.

  3. You hit the nail on the head, Former.

    It has constantly amazed me (ok, pissed me off) that other than a couple of “feel good” programs, we get very little in the way of results from our delegation.

    The only good things I can recall in the last few years were Russo’s audit for the BOE and Keeley getting $ for the Black Rock firestation that the City allowed (through neglect) to turn to $hit.

    Hopefully those guys will be able to deliver for us this year …

  4. There was a time when Bridgeport actually had power in Hartford. That time goes back to Ed Caldwell, John Guman and Tony Milano. Caldwell as a state senator consistently brought dollars to Bridgeport. As comptroller along with Guman they brought dollars and respect to Bridgeport. Milano was the top Financial guy in Hartford.
    What we send to Hartford now is a disgrace. We don’t send the best people; what we send are party hacks and ethnically correct people. Just take an overview of our delegation:
    1. Chris Caruso one of the senior legislators is the chairmen of no committees this year.
    2. Jack Hennessy Caruso Clone who might as well stay home for all the good he has done the city.
    3. EZ Santiago just started but had no outstanding record on the council too new to do anything.
    4. Auden Grogins first trip to Hartford her past record in Bridgeport politics is horrible and she has screwed up every elected position she ever held.
    5. Andres Ayala Second term hopefully he produces more now that he knows the ropes.
    6. Don Clemons around for a long time and has brought nothing of substance back to Bridgeport yet keeps getting elected.
    7. Ed Gomes other than a great dinner companion and storyteller he has produced nothing for Bridgeport of any substance.
    8. Anthony Musto too new, just started has to really worry about Trumbull and Monroe more than Bridgeport.

    So in my opinion we will get screwed again in Hartford and come away with Bupkus. The days of Caldwell, Guman and Milano are regretably over.

  5. Lennie,

    Without looking it up, can you answer my question:

    When was the last time Bridgeport had a top-tier leader in the House? In the Senate?

  6. Finch actually had some cachet in the Senate. He should have stayed there. By now he’d be in real leadership position with the ability to do Bridgeport more good than he can now. The skills to be a legislator are very different than the skills to be a CEO. Keeley had muscle as the Chairman of Bonding, he just never flexed it. The city needs the ears of Don Williams, Chris Donavan, Denise Merrill and the Appropriations committee. Not sure who has these relationships, but it isn’t the Freshman, it isn’t the Mayor, Caruso burned bridges, maybe it is the new city lobbying firm.

  7. Two problems.

    One, none of them work with the Governor. That’s something Fabrizi kept saying and it’s true. She’s the governor, deal with it, work with her, and get us what we need.

    Two, our Hartford delegation’s problem has never been Republicans, it’s that the rest of the Democrats in this state have no desire to dump money in this city with the way we waste it. So unless they can put this city first, work with EVERYone, and admit our faults, our state delegation will remain worthless.

  8. “Keeley had muscle as the Chairman of Bonding, he just never flexed it.” Now there’s a truism if there ever was one. He also had a bad habit of arguing with the governor, the one elected official with absolute power over bonding issues. That’s why Bridgeport hardly saw much pork during Keeley’s overextended tenure in the State House.

    Willy Chute is right: the legislature is collectively loathe to throw stacks of the taxpayers’ greenbacks downstate because the money is squandered. If the barest scent of a potential bonanza floats through the air, the special interests and the “in” crowd gather. They fight and push each other out of the way and drown each other out with shouts and cries of “ME FIRST, GODDAMNIT!” The money has been getting here over the years. Whether or not it ends up, in its entirety, where it was s’posed to go in the first place is doubtful.

    Our legislative delegation shouldn’t be written off just yet. Sure, it’s a new ball team, but maybe, just maybe, they will learn to work together. Until they do it is up to everyone that calls Bridgeport home to take the initiative.

  9. Heard a good one the other day: The Black Rock Art Center is “closing” for three months. An informed source in City Hall sez it is because IPA can’t afford to heat the building. An even better informed source thinks that IPA lost the battle AND the war with the city of Bridgeport and will now have to vacate the building. None of this is surprising. Ol’ Joe “I’ll get the volunteers to wipe my ass for free” Celli secured a well-paying job in New London a long time ago; he had to have known which way things would go. Now he and his “nonprofit” organization will pull the old restaurant trick of hanging a sign in the window that reads “we’re on vacation” and just not return from whatever sunnier clime he departed to.

  10. Lots of chatter about B’port not getting much of the bacon this year because of … well, whatever.

    Lots of chatter about an administration and city unions that appear to be neglecting the people they represent.

    I’d like to see a consensus amonst my fellow bloggers on which council people should go in 2009. If a list can be developed of the greatest liabilities, maybe we can form a grassroots movement to oust them. That just might be the incentive for the rest of the politicians to wake up and walk in step with Prez Obama and create some CHANGE!!!

  11. I think Jim Himes is going to do a better job of bringing the federal investment dollars back to Bridgeport (and other depressed cities in Connecticut) than the city’s state legislative delegation. The state is in dire straits financially and simply doesn’t have the money to piss away on Bridgeport. The feds, on the other hand, will borrow the money from China and raise a few more bucks by selling weapons and other neat stuff to third-world dictators. There will be plenty of money for an FDR-style WPA effort to put America back to work.

  12. Screw Nage. Frank has his opportunity to come to the table. He didn’t so sayonara! Hey Lennie have you heard anything about that Tom Coble incident over at the annex? What the hell is going on over there? You have employees yelling and hitting each other. Only in Bridgeport.

  13. He works in the economic development department with Ronald Eversly. I really don’t know what his day-to-day job title is but he supposedly took out one of his employees.

  14. Has Charlie Carroll put the municipal plates back on his city vehicle yet? Has he had G.P.S. installed yet? Who is he hiding from? It’s OK Charlie you can come out now! We will find out what you and yours are up to eventually.

  15. Meatball- Is this true? I wonder how many other people have non-municipal plates on their cars? I hope the City Council or the Mayor can do something about this.

  16. Very sad day today saying goodbye to several hard-working NAGE employees. People are bumping all over the city and those with low seniority are out of a job. It’s a disgrace that Frank let this happen with no conversation with the members he is supposed to represent. Frank is a full-time union president, meaning that is his full-time job. He should be laid off himself for poor performance.

    Tom Coble is head of anti-blight. He worked on Fabrizi’s campaign and then bullied or blackmailed Fabrizi into giving him a job. His anger problems go way back to his date of hire. He was apparently holding something over Fabrizi’s head because he was never disciplined for any of the incidents (and there were plenty). He is a convicted felon and served time in jail for gang banging, drugs and assault. I believe in giving second chances but this guy is dangerous and needs to be put away.

  17. The Mayor, Feeney, Nunn, Carroll and several others had their city BPT plates replaced with non-recognizable plates. You can spot them in the Annex garage.

  18. CHS- Do they pay taxes for these cars??? I can see the Mayor & Carroll needing cars but why do Feeney and Nunn have cars? The only time they spend in Bridgeport is when they come to work and go home. Those cars need to be taken away ASAP. Did Mike Lupkis have a city car? If not why does Feeney have one?

  19. The city is tax-exempt so no taxes are paid on them. By having a city car, you don’t have to pay personal property taxes, insurance, gas or maintenance. Good deal if you can get it.

  20. This past Wednesday, Attorney Bucci had asked for an extension to further review the city’s concession requests, but was rejected. Not only did Bucci need more time to further review the concession request, NAGE had to then set up a date for a concession Vote from its members.

    Yesterday, those selected for layoffs received a letter from Labor Relations with their checks notifying them of the decision. As far as the Police Department is concerned, 12 people were laid off, the majority of them from the records room. The Police Department has to move some folks around to cover the man and woman shortage in the records room.
    The problem now is that the people asked to take on the job responsibility of the laid-off employees are also NAGE members. They feel that they are not floaters; that they are betraying fellow Union members and seniority is not considered when selecting those to move over to the records room.
    One service assistant was laid off, this means that I have to pick up on some of his responsibilities. I have no problem doing as much as I can and I don’t feel like I’m betraying anyone. Although I am assigned a specific area in the building, I am able to handle other duties around the building for the time being.
    I have been told by those I have spoken with that they were told that they have no bumping rights.
    In my opinion, our Union President’s comments to the Connecticut Post did not help; the denial to the request for more time was a consequence of that statement.

    Back to you Lennie!

  21. *** It’s going to get worse before it gets any better! *** Time to assess the entire “$” problem & overall projection, coming July 1st ’09. From that assessment, without personal feelings of failure, call for a CT State Finance Review Board to step in before a possible complete “$” collapse! If not the fools will try to tri-tax the citizens to close the Budget & Bpt. will become a ghost town for sure. *** And as far as the city council elections for this Fall are concerned, at least 50% of the incumbents will return. Why, ’cause most Bpt. voters vote by party regardless of who’s running against them or their records! It’s the automatic system addicts’ ignorant voter thing to do! Just stop and look @ what’s representing Bpt. and what they’ve done come election time. Also, look @ the individual local town committee members and where they work, relationships, present & past elected officials, or what city boards they sit on, etc. Nothing will ever change in Bpt. unless voters clean house, period. *** What’s going to be left in your wallet? ***

  22. CHS- Are you serious? You can’t KNOW Tom Coble! What are you TALKING ABOUT??? What plenty of incidents? Gang banging? Assault? I KNOW that you are lying! Speak Truth or Shut up! Tom is not dangerous nor has he physically assaulted anyone at City Hall. If posting lies on a blog are crimes, you are a criminal!

  23. As a long-term civil servant, I just have to say we have no upper echelon that understands that they are public servants. They actually THINK that they are employees of some big corporation, are entitled to BIG PERKS, LIKE take-home cars, cell phones, and credit cards that will buy you lunch and dinner etc. Those days are gone in the private sector, but live on in the taxpayer expense area. Isn’t that unethical, greedy, and some other adjectives??? Where are the good old guys, attorneys and top-notch guys who would have given these perks back long before asking the lowly paid NAGE workers to give back??? Where are those guys??? They must have fled Bridgeport some time ago I guess. And we are stuck with out-of-towners who milk the taxpayers for every perk they can get whilst they ask lowly paid career civil servants to give up their grocery, gas, and tax money. Yes … FEENEY, SHERWOOD AND OTHERS. I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU. You wouldn’t know public service if it was a snake and bit you in the butt. There are poor people here in Bridgeport. They don’t need your highly educated crap. They need help … GIVE … GIVE … GIVE.


    Yes, it just gets more expensive. Debt is front-loaded joy and back-loaded pain. Deficit spending and its little sister “personal debt” is the second-biggest wealth transfer system in our nation’s history–the biggest is the reckoning day that still awaits.

    Most of what we read here is a result of the debt that contunues to unwind much to the dismay of people everywhere. We have substituted debt for genuine savings (remember that?) and investment. If your assets exceed your debt, you might find yourself on the right side of history. Otherwise, welcome to Bailout Nation.

  25. Inside Girl: having worked for a Fortune 500 company I can tell you most of the management people are not given company cars; they pay for their medical and are paid for performance. They are also subject to firing if their units do not perform.
    These management people do not go home after 5PM. They will work 10, 11 or 12 hours a day to stay ahead of the curve and the grim reaper.
    A friend of mine in this company is a vice president in charge of 55 engineers and 75 scientists and has a multimillion-dollar budget. His work day starts at 7AM and he on most days does not leave his ooffice before 7PM. Granted he is well compensated but no company car, no 13 paid holidays and all the other perks these city hacks are getting. Most of all his department needs to PRODUCE.
    Based on my knowledge of the city management team they are for the most part UNDERqualified for their positions. They are there because of politics.
    1. Feeney is in the financial area and has no financial background.
    2. Nunn is there because he was first selectman of Monroe; big deal, how does that relate to Bridgeport?
    3. McClain is there because he knew how to turn the lights on and off at democratic headquarters. Knows absolutely nothing as it relates to his job.
    4. Rubin is there because he is Rubin.
    5. Adam Wood is there because he managed two failed campaigns for Farrell and helped Finch barely win the mayor’s job. Has no personnel skills and knows squat about the city even after a year.
    6. Gomes ran a great deli and makes a great sandwich but that’s it.
    7. Council members for the most part are there because no one else ran against them. Very few with the exception of two north end alderwomen and one or two others do a damn thing other than what Finch tells them to do.
    8. Timpanelli yes he is included because he leads Finch around by the nose. 20 years of doing nothing and making big bucks. Expert at dodging the question What do you do for a living?
    And the list goes ON and ON and ON.

  26. Having worked for two Fortune 500 companies, I can tell you this: they are among the most indebted companies on the planet. The biggest culprits of the current crisis are members of that “indexed group” and have debt ratios that have gone from “ridiculous” to “insane”.
    Fortune 500 companies represent “public” enterprise–that’s not my opinion, that’s legal and public policy. America was founded as a haven for “private” enterprise which I think is making a huge comeback!

    (wink and a grin)

  27. Today’s headlines in the Connecticut Post state that Governor Jodi Rell is tightening the State’s policy on state-owned vehicle use.
    When is the Finch administration going to get off their ass and do the same thing?
    Is it the new policy of the city for top managers like Charlie Carroll and the others to register city vehicles with regular plates so that no one knows they are driving a city vehicle?

  28. The whole premise of Lennie’s blog is wrong. Finch does not talk to anyone outside his smallest circle of advisers. If he actually started to do this with anyone, maybe we could begin to see progress.

  29. The other bloggers writing in with their comments on who in the delegation can or will deliver what are misleading.
    It will come down to who might be successful in minimizing the level of draconian cuts that the governor is talking about.

  30. Clichebpt,
    You obviously never heard of the time Finch was playing with the republicans in overthrowing a Democratic Senate President.
    Seven years of clout can get wiped out by a moment of stupidity.

  31. City ordinance says that with the exception of certain police vehicles, all city vehicles must be clearly identified with the city seal.
    It’s on the books. It’s the law but the hotshots in the annex don’t want anyone in the burbs to know that the car they drive around in is not their own.
    The perk give-away program began under Ganim and has only gotten more out of control under F & F.

  32. Anyone catch the nice photo of the Bpt. Police Officer riding “his” horse Davinci during a recent exercise outing at Seaside Park? Again, can someone explain to me how this is a necessity in the battle against crime in this tough economic time?
    At least the taxpayers of the city should have the opportunity to rename the horses. For this one, I suggest “Excessive Baggage.” I believe their are seven to be renamed. Let’s hear a couple of suggestions, Grin Ripper.

  33. G.R.,
    One horse ought to be named “Silver.” That way we could applaud as the mounted police officer yelled out “Hi-yo Silver, awaaaaaaaaay” as he rode off into the sunset of a balanced budget. Yeah, right. As if that is going to happen.

    Bill Finch inherited a budgetary deficit that has been around for about thirty years or so. His predecessors were very good at legerdemain accounting practices. Johnny Fabs incorporated projected Steel Point revenues and one-time land sales into his budgetary mumbo-pocus. Most folks accepted his explanations, so the magic worked, for a little while. Now it’s Finch’s turn. Hizzoner has had to use “moral pressure” in order to wring some concessions from the city’s unions. Many are crying foul, that it is unfair, etc. I have qualified agreement: it is unfair, but the greater injustice is that Bridgeport has had to shoulder an unbalanced budget for more than three decades. It is not hizzoner’s fault. He’s only playing the hand that was dealt to him by the election.

  34. Earvin Johnson pulled out because Bridgeport is not a happening place. I am in agreement with flubadub: “pay-to-play” is still the favorite game for the political “in” crowd in Bridgeport. Magic pulls a disappearing act, and Phil Kuchma runs out of money when the bank financing his urban renewal efforts pulls the plug on his loan and credit line.

  35. Here is is
    2.44.030 Lettering.
    Each motor vehicle owned by the city shall be permanently and conspicuously lettered with the design adopted by the director of public facilities in letters not less than one inch in height, with the name of the department to which it belongs. (Ord. dated 12/21/92 § 75(f); prior code § 2-261)
    Let make this happen!!!

  36. Yes, let us make it happen. As long as times are good (and the guilty parties are purchasing their own gasoline) I’m inclined to look the other way. But Finch did ratchet up the “bootfinder” program to catch the tax cheats and make ’em pay (excluding Sal DiNardo and the Hi Ho clan, neither of whom is inclined to pay anything but lip service to tax debts). Municipal employees ought to and should pay for the priviledge of owning and operating an automobile in the city of Bridgeport, same as everyone else. Using a city vehicle for the purpose of conducting city business is one thing; using said vehicle to run errands is quite another.

  37. Grin Reaper … the horses were supposed to show a sign of strength like they do at baseball playoffs and world series games when they are worried about crowd control … and also the community was supposed to enjoy the horses and even dare I say pet them … plus horses can go where police cars can’t especially when the jersey barriers are up on the east side … hasn’t worked out that way but damn I love my Harley.

  38. Grin Reaper knows the law and plays to win. His idea has merit and logic. The Bridgeport Kid–no stranger to good ideas–understands a winning hand and dreams of the day he plays Earvin Johnson one-on-one for bragging rights in The Park City. My money’s on The Bridgeport Kid (nod).


  39. Let’s hope that the “Magic Dust” helps to melt the snow falling today and tonight. Mayor Finch has gone on record saying “We are two blizzards away from bankruptcy.” This is the second storm since the mayor’s comment. If you are in Bridgeport today, you are witnessing the City’s Budget Meltdown (Despite it’s cold) and the potential for more layoffs.

    Does anyone know the city’s snow budget numbers? Paging Bob Walsh! Don’t panic folks; there is $9 million in the rainy day fund. How many blizzards will it take to evaporate 9 million dollars in a rain day account?

  40. Joel,
    As far as I can tell, the mayoral bean counters are already planning on wiping out the fund balance to balance this years budget. So that’s all there is, there aint’s no more. The numbers are so bad that if the city eats up enough OT clearing the snow, that’s it.
    Already for next year’s budget, the city needs to make up for any and all expense increases not tied to city employees, any increases in health insurance, and the revenues that are in this year’s budget that were grossly overestimated AND try rebuilding the fund balance.
    The city had hoped to “hide” this with the inflated grand list caused by reval but that ain’t gonna happen.
    Can anyone say Financial Review Board?

  41. Bpts Finest,
    At a minimum the PD should disband the Mounted Police and the unneccesary OT they bill the taxpayers. Tell them that they are expected to exercise the horses on their own time and not on the city’s dime and when the fiscal storm passes we would consider re-establishing the unit. If they won’t agree, then we should disband the unit and sell off the horses. Times are tough.
    We should not be laying off city employees in the Health Department and keeping this unit active.

  42. Bob … I agree the mounted force has not worked out as envisioned, you go to NY or Boston and you see the charm of a mounted police force … my Dad was a Mass. state mounted policeman after he came back from WW2 … of course the question is … in this economy can the horses be sold???

  43. *** Bob Walsh- Right On to that Bob! *** I’ve heard & through personal experience as well that the parking tickets quota has increased & the vehicle towing too! A simple parking ticket downtown is $35. now, also from early 8:am ’til about 6:pm, #6 days a week the city’s out looking & running plates for delinquent auto-tax vehicles. Also on declared snow emergency streets, etc. All in the name of quick city revenue; what’s next? *** Hate to sound like a broken record, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better! *** Can you holler, S.F.R.B.! ***

  44. Bob, is there any truth to the rumors that Finch is about to make some major changes in his top admin staff? If things are as bad as you say then the city will be looking for more union concessions next year. It would make it more palatable if Finch gave up some of his appointments.

  45. I don’t understand, Mojo … it’s supposed to be ok to park illegally and be delinquint on your taxes??? Then I wouldn’t be earning my taxpayers-paid check if I allowed those violations … right?

  46. CHS- There are rumors that Finch was getting rid of John Gomes. The reason isn’t that he is doing a bad job. Nunn and Carroll hate him and he is being a ball buster. That’s what happens when you hire someone that actually wants to do the work and wants to get rid of political hacks!

  47. Think of the irony of this. On Friday lays off members of NAGE because they did not give concessions fast enough. On Saturday the city is paying member of AFSCME mega OT and they haven’t agreed to concessions!
    What is the difference here?
    AFSCME endorsed Finch and NAGE remained neutral! Bad politics makes for bad policy.

  48. Buzz around city hall is while Nage members are being laid off a certain custodial supervisor has been sneaking in a few of his cronies as service assistants.

  49. Dewars, if he gets rid of Gomes, will Ezequiel and Carol Curry go too? I was afraid of this. CitiStat has potential ONLY if they are allowed to do their jobs and make recommendations regardless of politics.

    As far as I’m concerned, we could get rid of Nunn and his assistant, who just happens to be Charlie Carroll’s girlfriend, and no one would even notice.

  50. What is up with AFSCME anyway? NAGE got hammered and there’s not one word about AFSCME layoffs. I think the majority of their membership is bd of ed. That may be the problem.

  51. Bpts Finest:

    A Service Assistant at the Police Department was among the 50 laid off. He was told that he had no bumping rights.
    NAGE is aware of others hired who perform the same duties of Service Assistants. The positions that they have been classified under is probably “Mantainers”. Labor relations maintains that Service Assistants can’t bump to Maintainers because maintainers earn less. One can only bump up not down.
    The Service Assistant was laid off because his Union did not want to give concessions that would have lowered his pay. If the Service Assistant agreed to the givebacks, He/She would then be earning less or equal to what the Maintainer earns.

  52. Paging Bob Walsh!

    These are questions that City Kitty has, but is afraid to ask?

    If a fund balance runs out of funds, would it still be considered a fund balance despite the lack of funds?
    The fund balance is also called the rainy day fund. Can rainy day funds be used on clear sunny days or for winter weather-related expenses? If so, why is it called a rainy day fund and not the rainy day, sunny and clear, day or night, Winter, Spring and Fall fund?

  53. Joel G,
    Bob Walsh cannot answer those questions. I’ve been told that under City Charter only Tom Sherwood can decide how to use rainy day funds but if blizzards force bankruptcy obviously rainy day funds can not be used for snow removal.

  54. ALL service assistants are under NAGE; they have no bumping rights because they are not officially recognized under Civil Service because they were/are a class of workers hired basically by B.O.E. without any Civil Service guidelines. Service Assistants were basically hired hands hired by former Custodial superviser/one-time Custodian manager Juan Hernandez during a Health Department crackdown some years ago to help get a few schools in shape.There are NO more service assistants hired, when one goes they are replaced by a custodian off the hiring list. Service Assistants will always most likely go first in a layoff in NAGE because they should have never been hired in the first place. Just another case of Bridgeport panicking and giving someone bundles of money to fix a problem and not thinking of future financial consequences.
    Also maintainers are 1522.

  55. Bpts Finest, that certain custodial supervisor also has a take-home Chevy Blazer, in comparision the other two custodian supervisors on the B.O.E. side manage about 38 schools, have maybe 170 employees they manage and do not take home their Blazers even though they are also on 24-hour call if needed. It is always good to know people in position.

  56. When a City Councilman (Bob Walsh) utters the term “Financial Review Board” maybe the darkest hour is upon us. However, I see two beacons of liquidity that have Bridgeport on their radar: one’s in Hartford and the other’s in Washington. Mayor Finch is scoring points in both places. What this country needs is a President who understands the plight of state governments. I predict some of that money will find its way to Bridgeport.

    America also needs a President with a good jumpshot who can play tenacious “D” and hit the 3-pointer. We just drafted Obama.

    Now back to the game:

    The Bridgeport Kid fakes left; goes right; ELEVATES; and jams on Earvin Johnson. Here’s the best part: all Magic saw was the BOTTOM of The Bridgeport Kid’s sneakers!

  57. Mr. Hicks … there’s plenty of rumors that one or both of those BOE supervisors are sneaking in a few of their friends in the schools also … I can remember way back when that one gentleman who works at home depot used to manage twice the staff of custodians they have now and did one hell of a job at it whereas now they have 3 doing the job … talk about $$$$$$ waste!!!

  58. Oh … just to add a bit more … people all over city hall say that one of those 3 BOE custodian supervisors runs every chance he gets into the office of the DR. and tells him just that … and if he were to take out the other 2 supervisors he would go after the maint. supervisors next and rule the whole BOE staff by himself!!!

  59. Nice article in the CT Post on Dr. Evans. It seems like Cecil Young may finally have her in his sights and MariAn Gail Brown has the good Dr. on the run.
    Dr. Evans is dodging MGB’s requests for documents, City Attorney Melanie Howlett is defending her hiring of her nephew and only the bloggers are bringing the fact that she also hired her husband in violation of the city’s Ethics Code.
    Bad politics equal bad policy.

  60. To Countdown from the other day,
    I hear you are far down on the list of potential Keeley replacements. Caryn Kaudman, Keith Rodgerson and Bill Murphy are all willing to take on the gig at a much lower salary. And I hear there are a couple of dark horses out there. So you had better hold onto that consulting gig that was handed to you.
    But keep up the phone calls. I hear you are turning old friends into new enemies over at the BRBC!

  61. If and I say If the rumor is true, John Gomes got into an argument with Charlie Carroll’s girlfriend over a copy machine that had no paper in the tray. This led Carroll to suspend Gomes.
    Speaking of nepotism doesn’t Charlie’s girlfriend’s son work at the park department? At least he did when Charlie was the head of the park department.

  62. I told Gomes when he took this job the same thing I told Sherwood when he spoke before the B & A Committee in support of this wasteful spending on CitiStat. IT WON’T WORK IN BRIDGEPORT. It flies in the face of patronage.
    The city spends all of this money on people, computers and software to find out that someone in Housing Code does one-tenth of the work as everyone else. So they go to the supervisor and tell him that something needs to be done. He reminds them that he never wanted to hire this person but the administration made him because he is so-and-so’s nephew, son, cousin, whatever.
    If the city is not willing to totally change its culture all of the money spent on CitiStat is a waste.
    And if we examine the Finch practices of layoffs, backdoor personnel services contracts, creating new titles for the same old work to avoid unions and Civil Service you will understand that the city is not willing to change its old ways in order to save taxpayers real money.

  63. I would like to compliment councilwomen AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia for her e-mails updating me on senior and servicemen filing for tax breaks available. I like the fact that we are kept up-to-date by these e-mails. Good Job AmyMarie.

  64. Wondering- I was at a local establishment on Friday and I was told that Gomes is treated like a 2nd-class citizen in that office. The problem is that Gomes is finding where all of the bones are buried and now he gets the resistance. This same person told me that Gomes was physically threatened and called a monkey by someone that day.

  65. Finch Snow Flakes

    One down and one to go to bankruptcy. Sounds like a Snow Job to me!

    I hear the GPS for the snowplows and city cars also have streaming video. You can go on the city’s website and track the vehicles and see them plowing the street. Bill said, “this is really cool”.

    Puts a new spin on “Auto-Erotic”.

  66. Dewars: It does not surprise me. Finch saw this CitiStat in Baltimore which is a hell of a lot bigger than Bridgeport and decided that he liked it and damn the cost.
    He hired Gomes (whom I don’t know) to do a job. Gomes steps on some toes like asking EZ Santiago to show up at work and Carroll’s girlfriend to keep paper in the copy machine and all of a sudden he is on their hit list.
    The nepotism in this administration is running rampant and as soon as it is brought up by someone they get slapped down.
    Now we all know that to the victor goes the spoils so we expect some political operatives to get jobs but when did this turn into the FAMILY HOUR. This has almost turned into a poster city for “how to start a family business”. I assume these family members that we are hiring could not find suitable employment anywhere else.

  67. Wondering- isn’t it ironic that Gomes who was hired to point out inefficiency was forced to work with a secretary who makes $64k? They should get rid of her if they are serious about saving money.

  68. Wondering,
    When it came to CitiStat, the council should have created new positions but instead the city simply took other positions, gave them new resposibilities and the council simply allowed the administration to walk all over it.
    The head of CitiStat was the Deputy CAO, the positon that Brian Williams used to hold.
    The people in the department were in other departments as Program Analysts and were transfered over. In one instance, the city created a program analyst where one didn’t exist, unfunded other positions to fund the PA and then transfered it over. All in the name of patronage.
    But because so many council members are city employees, have family members who are city employees or have relatives with city contracts; no one is going to raise any opposition.

  69. Friends of mine in the BOE told me that Charlie and J Fabs used to sit across the table from Charlie’s brother who is a boss at a union and negotiate the contracts and then the brother used to tell his workers to take the deal or else … talk about conflict of interest.

  70. If a system like CitiStat is going to work, its results can stay a secret. The Council can, and it should, require periodic reporting concerning the results of those evaluations.

  71. You don’t need an efficiency expert to determine what’s wrong with Bridgeport City Hall. It’s a simple three-syllable word: patronage. According to Wikipedia, “Political leaders often have at their disposal a great deal of patronage, in the sense that they make decisions on the appointment of officials inside and outside government (for example on quangos). Patronage is therefore a recognized power of the executive branch. In most countries the executive has the right to make many appointments, some of which may be lucrative (see also sinecures). In some democracies, high-level appointments are reviewed or approved by the legislature (as in the advice and consent of the United States Senate); in other countries, such as those using the Westminster system, this is not the case. Other types of political patronage may violate the laws or ethics codes, such as when political leaders engage in nepotism (hiring family members) and cronyism such as fraudulently awarding non-competitive government contracts to friends or relatives or pressuring the public service to hire an unqualified family member or friend.”

    “See also: political machine, pork barrel, and no-bid contract.”

    A blog is a perfect place to start a rumor. It’s been done on this particular blog more than once. One could even say that I tried to do that with all of the less-than-flattering things I’ve posted regarding Bob Keeley and Joe “I’ll get the volunteers to wipe my ass for free” Celli. There is a big big difference in both of those cases: It was an open secret that Keeley was taking kickbacks as chairman of the bonding commitee (maintaining a tradition that goes back a long way) and that he more or less bullied his way into keeping the DSSD no-show job.
    All of the stuff I posted about Mr. Celli can be accurately described as “dirty laundry”; everything is backed up by a document in a file cabinet somewhere, primarily the city clerk’s office on Lyon’s Terrace.

    The stuff that people have been posting about who has this job because of what intimate relationship, etc. Eh, show me the proof; and while you’re at it explain the relevance. The belt is tightening around the whole waist, no?

  73. Come on kid; give it a break. You do not have single shred of evidence that Bob Keeley EVER took a kickback; EVER!
    As far as Joe Celli, the only things you ever post about him is that you do not like him and he has a group of loyal volunteers that you wish you were a member of.

  74. Kid: Do you think hiring a son, a niece, a girlfriend what proof do you need? In the time of layoffs of career civil servants many with long service to the city makes it relevant.
    Creating a new department or as Bob Walsh explains it transfering people into this new department is relevant when they are themselves or are related to powerful politicians it becomes relevant when there is a serious deficit.

  75. Didn’t anyone tell Gomes that putting paper in the copier is not in Charlie’s girlfriend’s job description? Here is her job description:

    Title: Administrative Assistant

    Salary: $65,000 with annual step increases

    Education required: None

    Qualifications required: None

    Experience: None

    Job duties: Fix hair and makeup on an hourly basis; keep Charlie supplied with ice-cold diet coke; have lunch with Charlie daily; read Charlie’s email and tell him what it says; monitor Charlie’s schedule; plan vacations with Charlie; all other duties as assigned by Charlie.

  76. Hey, we all expect patronage to some extent. But Jesus! At least have the decency to do your job. She is such a primadonna it makes everyone at the Annex absolutely sick.

  77. Paging Bob Walsh.

    Is CitiStat looking into costs or expenses the city has to pick up due to state mandates?

    Let me give you an example of one that I see just about on a daily basis. A person is arrested and transported to booking to be officially charged and processed. The detained person feels sick and asks detention officer MOJO for medical assistance. By law (state mandate) MOJO must call an ambulance to have the inmate transported to the hospital. The Police Department then has to call a patrol car to escort the ambulance to the hospital to make sure the inmate does not try to escape or attack someone. The cost of an ambulatory transport can exceed $500 and an additional cost for the police escort.
    On a majority of the cases as mentioned above, the inmate is sent back to booking and no serious medical conditions are detected. Many inmates request medical assistance for the hell of it; when they were free minutes before, there was no need for medical assistance. I know that there are cases in which such requests are legitimate and necessary.
    Is or will the City ever take a look at such expenditures?
    Considering that the City is out raising all its fees and creating others, isn’t it time that we find other ways to pay for such expenses? Wouldn’t it be better if an inmate who requests an ambulance and has a $500 bond is given a promise to appear or the city pays the $50 bondsmen 10% fee and let the freed inmate pay the ambulance cost? I’d bet that as soon as the inmate is bonded out, he or she will quickly feel better. There has to be a better way in handling this type of circumstance.
    How much is the City spending in ambulatory transportation and police escort of detained suspects?

    Can you imagine if Police Officers (as payback to the city) were to suggest to every suspect arrested to request an ambulance to the hospital? The cost would surely exceed the police overtime expenditure. “Joel Gonzalez, you are under arrest!” Ouch, I need an ambulance!

  78. *** Bpts Finest- Never stated it was okay in my blog, just the fact that going after citizens that visit downtown with $35. parking tickets doesn’t help in the long run with building up downtown. Also, going after auto-delinquent taxpayers full trottle as a quick tax fix is not going to solve the city’s revenue problems either. Short-term resolutions to solve a pre-long term “$” problem will only create negative results in the future. Unless Finch knows something secretive that no one else knows @ this time, about certain “$” that may see its way to Bpt. sometime after the President’s swearing in, but before July 1st ’09. Otherwise, the best course of action for the city of Bpt. before things get worse seems to be the State Finance Review Board! ***

  79. 100 posts on this Blog subject since it opened–WoW. A lot of good stuff in these posts. If only the idiots running the zoo at the annex would pay attention instead of paying their friends and family members. Maybe the city could move forward then.
    Mr. Gomes I wish you well but you are shoveling shi- against the tide in dealing with these idiots at city hall; you should know that by now.
    If I were you I would go back to my business interests and tell the powers that be to go screw. They will not implement your recomendations especially if it involves one of theirs. Good Luck.

  80. Mojo … the deliquent taxes are deplorable … as a taxpaying citizen you must feel that way … right? And as far as the tickets, when there is a budget crunch the big cities always tighten the rules on tickets … ever watch that parking wars reality show??? Finch was on Fox TV this morning and he did very well along with 2 other mayors from CT cities … they are all awaiting a helping hand from the bailout and from the governor.

  81. If I were on the financial review board, here’s what I’d do on day #1:

    Give Finch 3 and only 3 appointees for the Mayor’s/CAO Office; the rest have to go including Carroll’s girlfriend.

    Eliminate CitiStat; good concept but not the right time.

    Combine OPM and Finance; eliminate Sherwood and all other unnecessary staff and bring in the best-qualified financial guru you can find; where’s Jerry Baron?

    Kick the BOE out of City Hall; if they don’t work with Finch then he shouldn’t extend any consideration to them.

    Make immediate arrangements to move all the Annex staff into City Hall; with no BOE and less apointments there will be lots of room.

    Rent out space in the Annex.

    Close all the senior centers and move everyone into the Eisenhower building; eliminate all unnecessary staff regardless of who they are related to.

    Eliminate all recreation and social service programs not funded through grants; instruct Central Grants to seek new funding to restore services through grant funding ASAP.

    Replace Alanna Kabel as director of Central Grants; hire someone with a proven track record of bringing in money.

    Eliminate 1/2 of the supervisors in Public Facilities; put them back on the street where they can actually work.

    That’s day #1.

  82. Lennie,

    Just a suggestion, but maybe you should sit your Bow Tie Banker down for a talk about the lessons of the first Financial Review Board and the Charter Revision that took place at about the same time. I think that he’ll tell you that a lot of folks went into that effort expecting that eliminating patronage and getting spending under control would solve the problem. It didn’t.

    Why? Because the problem turned out to be a lot more complicated than that. Yes, political waste and lack of financial controls were part of it, but they were a fairly small part. Union contracts; the need for and cost of city services; the crime rate; flight to the suburbs; the number and needs of Bridgeport students and dozens of others all contributed to the problem.

    One of the biggest problems? A lack of basic information and analysis of the causes of and cures for the city’s problems (one of the reasons that I support CitiStat). For a while things got better, but those days (like the Review Board) are long gone.

    Sounds like a pol pod to me. Then you might want to talk to some of the other folks who were there and have been through this before.

  83. *** Bpts Finest- Yeah, you’re absolutely right, tagging everyone under the sun that’s visiting downtown Bpt. while most of the council & economic advisors, etc. have all claimed that one of the best ways to build a good lasting positive revenue base, etc. is to have downtown grow in business, restaurants, entertainment & the arts, etc. So even before it gets off the ground, to the point that it’s a small district in itself, the city should make it a #1 priority to give as many tickets as possible. That should keep visitors & citizens alike flocking to the downtown area! Good concept, ticket or tax them & they will come. I’m sure learning a lot on OIB forum & its insightful thinkers & bloggers; Thanks! ***

  84. Wow Mojo … I guess I should take your advice and not ticket lawbreakers and in no way should a boot go on a tax cheater … we should rip out all those pain-in-the-ass meters that you have to dig in your pockets for and while we are at it why not just say to hell with paying property taxes and piss on those motor vehicle taxes … all in the name of arts and entertainments … yeah … I’m just gonna go get me some speeders and burglars … uh huh … yeah … to hell with the laws … let’s lay off the cops ‘cuz we damn sure don’t need them pains in the ass wearin’ them koool blue uniforms.

  85. Former City Official,
    I don’t know how long it has been since you were a city official but it sounds like a long, long time.
    Whatever financial controls were put in place by ordinance and charter have been ignored for at least the past 6 or 7 years. And as long as a mayor thinks that he works for the OPM Director and not the other way around, they will continue to be ignored.
    And as long as you have a council that thinks it works for the mayor and is not an equal partner in running the city, they will not insist on city employees adhering to charter and ordinanace.
    And as long as you have a city attorney who issues a legal opinion that states that the council cannot adopt an ordinance that would make it a violation of the Code of Ethics to knowingly violate Charter or Ordinances.
    So go ahead and spend as many hundreds of thousands of dollars that you care to on CitiStat in an effort to make it appear that someone gives a damn about how much money the city is wasting. But in the long run, until you change the culture of the way the city does business it is all a waste of taxpayers’ money.

  86. Lol … little hot under the collar Mr. Mojo … still doesn’t take away from the fact as a present/former public official you are pissin’ and moaning about us cops giving out tickets and doing the jobs that the taxpayers pay us to do.

  87. A snow emergency was declared Sat. by hizzoner. Can anyone fill me in on why no vehicles were ticketed or towed on the snow emergency streets? Seems like this would be a good opportunity to make some much-needed $$$! I guess the Police don’t want to get cold hands ticketing snow-covered vehicles. Any input, Bpts Finest?

  88. *** Bpts Finest- Brown shirts that give out tickets like their jobs depended on it are not cops! Meter-readers maybe but not cops! Also if you’re not a cop, you shouldn’t be trying to impersonate one! ‘Cause Cops do much more than give out tickets downtown, their presence alone is welcome to all that do business or visit downtown! Get a LIFE! ***

  89. Re: Bpts Finest
    I logged 19 hrs. behind the wheel in Saturday’s snow. Not one vehicle in my section of Bpt. had a ticket or was towed. You must have been off duty!

  90. I was on early Sat Meatball … the snow started around noon … and Mr. Mojo … you are gettin’ way too hot under the collar and I think I will stop posting on the subject so you can cool off.


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