Did Ya Take The Mayor’s Call?

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:

By the time this election year wraps up, some residents will likely be tired of seeing Mayor Bill Finch out and about, holding news conferences, attending events and courting votes.

But when it comes to discussing his proposed $532 million budget, the mayor has a more limited schedule than in recent years–one event.

And you probably blinked if you missed it.

On Monday, Finch, through a private firm, hosted a little publicized 7:30 p.m. conference call or “telephone town hall” specifically on his 2015-16 fiscal plan.

Full story here.



  1. As I think about governance in Bridgeport (and might tell a visitor to the City), I might relate Bridgeport has two separate buildings from which most of the actions are dreamed up, authorized, supported and financed: the first popularly called the Annex, is renovated commercial space where the Mayor’s office, City Attorney and most of the financial folks including Planning and Economic Development are housed. Second there is the former Central High School that housed the Town Clerk, City Clerk, Assessor, Board of Education, Building, Tax Collector, and, oh yes, the Chambers of the City Council, our legislative body.

    If the Mayor represents the body, and the Council represents the tail of this political animal, then we all know this tail does not wag this dog!!! The dog so treats the tail end of the Charter-prescribed process of authorization and approval, it wags friendly all the time.

    So getting information to the public about the budget in the form of a Mayoral or Council setting is about hearing from the people, but offering no comment back to justify or briefly comment on the why and the how with documentation. In three hearings thus far, two nights have featured only one speaker, and the other was complete within 20 minutes of opening. Sad but true.

    If Budget and Appropriations are watchdogs over an approved budget (and I would strongly argue they are not doing that work), then their hearings schedule ignores any conversational sessions. Why is that? Do they know so much they do not have time to inform the taxpaying public? Or is it just the simplest way to keep “Sherwood Forest” dark and green?

    My comments to the Council recently on errors, misstatements, inconsistencies undercutting a trustworthy financial document falls on deaf ears as nothing is done. When you get to a state of low trust, people don’t participate, because they know in their hearts the incumbent does not have them in his heart.

    If Lockhart’s numbers are right about Monday night Town Hall invitation and participation cost less than $2.00 per person who listened to the full message, and may have satisfied the 14 who stayed on to talk with the Mayor on subjects other than the budget.

    If the Mayor does not want to be in the open when people ask questions, what is he afraid of in changing the routine of recent years? And avoiding the public with a no-tax-increase budget? Shouldn’t it be a time for celebration?

    Who trusts the Council these days in their extended set of meetings to grapple with real issues and real numbers to efficiently allocate funds to the most pressing City needs and defer spending in others to rebuild City financial strength? Watchdogs? Tails? Whose fault is that? Do they need a public relations spokesperson to help Tom McCarthy? Time will tell.


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