Things are financially sticky these days at the Board of Education and layoff notices could be sticking to 100 or so BOE employees real soon.
Claiming the projected school-year budget that starts July 1 is millions short in revenue, education officials have listed a variety of jobs whose positions are held by some high-profile political figures. They include the position of assistant director of Adult Education occupied by John Fabrizi and dean of students occupied by State Rep. Andres Ayala and math program assistant held by City Council member Michelle Lyons.
Now someone with the seniority of Fabs has deep bumping rights, but the list illustrates the severity of the BOE budget crunch.
There are rumblings that a few sacred cows were intentionally left off the list such BOE employee Maria Valle, a City Council member whose vote was sympathetic to the proposed school budget chopped by Mayor Bill Finch and the full council. Finch authorized additional money, but not the amount requested in a more than $200 million BOE budget.
The release of the list Wednesday night at a meeting of the BOE budget committee comes on the heels of a hearing to consider the closing of several elementary schools include Black Rock School. The layoff list highlights positions and not individuals. Supt. of Schools John Ramos’ salary is taking some heat from OIB posters in light of the layoff list. Stay tuned.
Finch issued a statement regarding the financial challenges that the BOE faces. See statement below:
I am a longtime advocate for education. The City budget has to balance the needs of taxpayers with the needs of our education system. The reality is that most people want good schools but few want to pay higher taxes to fund them. This budget was a compromise and, like all compromises, no one got 100 percent of what they wanted; not me, not the Board of Education and not the City Council. We’re all working together as hard as we can to balance all of our needs and not break the backs of the taxpayers. This budget allows for an increase of $7.5 million for the Board of Education from last year’s budget. I wish it could be more, but we are facing very tough financial times.
“The State and Federal governments are also making cuts. I have gone to Hartford with Superintendent Ramos and have met with our legislative leaders repeatedly to push them to restore Early Reading Success funds in this year’s state budget. These funds account for an estimated $3.2 million and are crucial to our full-day kindergarten program.”
How much time did Ayala put in at his BOE job anyway? didn’t he have to go to Hartford for months as a state rep? Can’t say I feel too bad about his layoff especialy since he gets paid to be a state rep. Is Fabrizi’s wife getting laid off too? What job did she do?
City Kitty: Let’s hope that Rob Russo is successful in getting an audit of the BOE. There’s lots of fat that has to be cut out and only an audit is going to show us where it is.
If Bruce Hubler were mayor, he would order an independent operational audit of the BOE and, from the resulting report, reorganize so as to ensure maximum effectiveness which is efficient and has a tangible cost benefit associated with the expenditure of resources.
Con, I’m no rocket scientist but even I could tell them what to cut, even without an audit. Start with all Ramos overpaid assistants and such, how many top dogs does it take to run the BOE? Ramos is supposed to be very smart – can’t he do some work alone without all those assistants? Why is it the little guys always have to suffer? My dad worked in a big corporation and when they had cutbacks, middle management was the first to go on the chopping block. As long as the BOE and medina protects them, there’s no chance of that.
It’s the BOE shakedown! Sounds like if you are a BOE employee and you vote against their outrageous budgets that you get canned.
Downtown Block Party Tonight
Baldwin Plaza @ 6pm (Fairfield and Broad Street). Lawn games, bratwurst BBQ, German New Wave Films and an Open Experimental Krautrock-Type Jam Session.
Come hither blog nation…
WOW! Ramos get his pockets lined up and is trimming all of the Afscme Positions. Let’s see if BCAC has 500 kids screaming and crying for the BOE cuts.
Why was Maria Valle the only sacred cow left off of the list? I don’t even think she can look at her council colleague Michelle Lyons in the eye knowing she cut that deal with the education folks and left them out to dry.
As some of you may have heard, most of these cuts are political in nature. You have John Fabrizi, Mary Fabrizi, Jeanette Herron, Andres Ayala and Michelle Lyons.
Hey Ramos, tell the paraprofessional who is making peanuts times are tough with your nice little raise in pay!
Many years ago Babe Ruth approached the Yankees for a raise. The Yankees replied that this was more than the President of the United States made. The “Babe” replied, “I had a better year than the President!”
John Ramos is no Babe Ruth. For that matter neither are Cheney and Bush.
Happy 91st birthday to JFK, who liked Ruth and Norma Jean among others. Johnny we hardly knew ya.
And for that matter, we the taxpayers of Bridgeport, aren’t Yankee management!!
J Fabs gets to keep his job because he will “bump” another BOE employee with lesser seniority but the same rate of pay. That’s terrific. J Fabs hasn’t put in a full day’s work since he resumed his BOE duties after the election. Now he gets to put another person out of work who probably works hard and is conscientious and competent. How come??
The BOE thinks that they are immune to scrutiny of their budget. It is time for the council and the mayor to come up with the funds to effectively audit this sanctimonious money machine. They don’t give a damn about the kids, the taxpayers or anyone but themselves. The entire elected BOE members should resign NOW. The audit should be done and after it is completed Ramos should be fired. The audacity of this group to lay off the workers in the trenches and only one high-priced administrator is beyond belief. How many $300-$600 a day consultants were let go? They then vote a 3plus percent raise to Ramos and extend his contract are you kidding me? One of these robber barons on the BOE stated that we can not blame Ramos for the increased dropout rate or any of the other child related problems. If we can’t blame the leader who the hell is to blame? It is this convoluted thinking that has screwed up the BOE for years. To the board member that okayed the high school basketball teams to play at the arena well done you dumb asses.
Only have a minute but wanted to ask why the hell Ramos needs consultants?? I’d tell him he’s useless for free. The whole BOE should be forced to resign, people should start a petition to get rid of all of them, what a sick bunch they are. And above all, Ramos and his useless assistants shouldn’t get a raise, that money should be used to save the workers in the trenches instead.
City Kitty, Wondering, et.al. all of this speculating could be confirmed and resolved with an audit. Certainly the Mayor is not going to order it and agitate the machine any further, so it’s going to have to come from the State. We can only hope that Rob will come through for us.
Just received an e-mail from a friend which in part is quoted below. It is apropos of the fiscal situation in which we find ourselves:
We should fire Ramos and then hire him as a seasonal in the Parks Department. That way he would know what a real day of work is really like.
I hope he plans to buy lunch for all paraprofessionals who got laid off through August.
Ramos is making more money than Vice President Cheney. You have to love the public education system.
When will the Bridgeport BOE stop with its outrageous spending and poor decisions? We live in a city with an extremely high dropout rate, and for that our Superintendent gets a raise?
Name a place of employment where the worse your performance the more you are rewarded. I guess we are all in the wrong profession.
Kudos to the Mayor and the City Council. They made the tough decisions and cut at the top and not the people making the bare minimum.
FIRE RAMOS!!! MAX MEDINA, RESIGN!!!
Con: the mayor does not have to order it. The council can allocate the funds regardless of what the mayor wants. Once the money is allocated then let’s hear the mayor’s excuse why there is no audit.
Need money for the audit lay off the following:
Special Projects coordinator Curry $57,000
Special Projects Coordinator Santiago $57,000
Special projects Coordinator Police $57,000
Greeter at City Hall $36,000
Gene O’Neil $70,000
Money allocated for positions not filled but still in the budget $200,000
an Administrator from BOE $105,000
2 BOE consultants $6,000 per week $300,000
That’s a total of $882,000
That figure should be close to what an audit will cost and if it is more lay off more school administrators.
The other problem is people have to give a damn this post has been up since morning and we only have 15 blogs. Not one shithead councilmen or politician has responded. As far as Russo goes don’t hold your breath, a freshman senator from BPT I doubt it.
Whoa…what’s going on here? It seems you can spot the real machinists on the blog when all of a sudden people are up in arms about John and Mary Fabrizi getting the boot (or is it Two Boots) from the BOE. Or Michelle Lyons. Or Jeanette Herron; I don’t even have a clue as to who this is or why anyone on the blog would be mentioning this name. Must be a real inside job.
Sure John Fabrizi can bump someone. But now he won’t be hidden in the bowls of Harding High School and now he’ll have to behave or else.
And now everyone is screaming for a BOE audit. What a joke! Why do you think the city of Bridgeport would never come up with real money for a real audit? Because political hacks would show up all over the place; that’s why.
And these same people who are crying crocodile tears for the Fabrizis were howling in the night when Finch took his pound of political flesh out on the members of 1199. It’s easy to see why they were targeted. First they endorsed and worked for Caruso and since you need to be licensed as a nurse, nurse practitioner or certified social worker, you can’t hide any unqualified hacks in these positions.
And now that the cuts have gone beyond the SEIU umbrella, people are mentioning AFSCME and suggesting politics at play. The council took away $1.4 million in the dark of night and the mayor balked at putting it back and I guess everyone thought that there would be no cuts. What was it that 1199 was saying? Cuts hurt kids. And I guess ex-mayors too.
Kinda puts a smile on an old Reaper’s face.
Kinda puts a tear on my face and I guess that would make me a Grim Weeper.
Grin Did it ever dawn on you that maybe the reason there has been no cry for an audit is because it would show the utter waste of taxpayers dollars?
The council would vote on a certain amount of money for the BOE and then think their job was over the situation was finished and who gave a damn what the BOE did with the money. The council figured we did our job now the hell with it.
For the BOE’s part all they had to do is cry it’s for the kids and blame the council that we don’t have enough money. They got a few hundred million and did not have to answer to anyone but each other. They put aside the money they were contractually obligated to pay and the rest was gravy. They did not have to answer to anyone. Does anyone or any elected official know what the BOE is obligated to pay by contract? My bet is no one knows.
Now for the best part. The BOE has millions to spend on hiring retired administrative friends for $300-$600 a day. Example: a retired administrator with no construction experience who retired with $70 plus thousand in pension money is hired as a construction consultant on one of the new schools at $600 per day. Where are the elected BOE members? They are walking around with their heads up their collective asses. Where is Ramos? He is trying to figure out how to get more money in his contract.
This is not about who got laid off this is about where the money is or where the money went. Wake UP.
Wondering: Do you really think that the Council is going to vote affirmatively for an audit of BOE if the mayor is not in favor of it? I doubt it. Besides they are complicit in perpetuating the mess.
It would be far better for the State to order the audit where the auditor is under the control of a disinterested party. Let’s keep the pressure on Rob Russo to get this rolling before we start worrying about another budget and higher taxes. Or it might be a good idea to turn Bridgeport education over to the State and let them clean out the mess.
Also, we must hold Rob Russo to his campaign promise to put a 3% cap on municipal taxes. It’s imperative to our survival.
Fixing the BOE is going to be a monumental task. When this audit comes, they are going to slow it down as much as possible. They will not cooperate. We really need to maintain this pressure on the BOE.
wondering, you always seem to think that city hall people should lose their jobs; I don’t get where that’s a solution for anything. You actually recommend that certain jobs should be cut and I think that’s pretty mean on your part. The big BOE jobs is where the cuts should happen, and not the little guys. I guess you never got laid off so you don’t understand how awful it is.
I guess Wondering has a hard-on for positions that work directly with the Mayor. How about all of the waste that’s sitting in public facilities??? I know a few folks who could get hacked in there. I will start with a few folks who are related to town committee members or elected officials. Let’s get “Creative,” WONDERING.
The BOE will get an audit when Dennis Scinto becomes the GRAND MARSHALL of the Juneteenth and Puerto Rican Day Parades. That’s Never.
Eddie, I’m sure you could find slackers and no-shows in lots of departments. Who is Dennis Scinto anyway? I’m still hoping Russo or somebody, anybody, forces a BOE audit.
You all talk a lot about things you do not know. A lot of people work hard for you taxpayers, and are not appreciated. Taking the brunt for the few who are now on the gravy train. Regular long-term city employees get very little benefits and very little pay. We do it for the self-satisfaction. There is nothing like a smile on a constituent’s face when they know they have received excellent service, and where I work, we strive for that every day. There is no gravy train for us. We just do our job. Politics be damned.
Rob Russo will get the money for a Board of Education audit, but the Board and, maybe the Mayor (“what will they audit next”) will continue to resist it.
There is no way that the Democratic legislative leadership in Hartford (you know, the leadership that Caruso and Keeley are always boasting about being part of) will let the property tax cap happen.
I don’t care whether they layoff John Fabrizi. I do care whether people are being picked for layoff for political reasons. That’s just plain wrong. It is also illegal.
A BOE audit is going to be meaningless if we continue to elect the same kind of folks to the Board of Education.
The word of the day is “ACCOUNTABLE”
The Superintendent needs to be held accountable…..
The BOE needs to be held accountable….
Former BOE members running for office need to be held accountable (yes Audie, this means you)….
John Ramos gets a salary of over $225,000 but important performance measures are dropped because, according to the newspaper, he wouldn’t agree to them. What’s wrong with this picture? If he’s not accountable who is? Who is in charge, the BOE or the staff? Come to think of it, I think that the Board answered the last question last night. The staff is calling the shots.
MEMO TO MAX MEDINA: The Board’s refusal to hold the Superintendent fully accountable is irresponsible, politically stupid and just plain wrong. YOU need to fix it.
For Wondering from yesterday’s posting at 8:30 … easy, my friend. No need to be grumpy. I thought Eddie Palmieri wrote a funny, light-hearted posting regarding that Richard Gere movie about a fictional naval aviation officer candidate that gave me a good chuckle which is always good for the heart and mind, and I wanted to reply in the same spirit.
Yes, my wife is in India doing eye surgery, but no, she has no clue about OIB, and yes, it’s hot as hell in Southern India where she is, but no I doubt she’s ever heard of this movie. She was five years old in 1982. And for Ron Mackey, I don’t think “Tootsie” (another 1982 movie) was on her movie list at that age. In 1982, I was a 26-year old Navy Lieutenant, going eyeball to eyeball with the Soviet and Warsaw Pact Navies in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and South Atlantic, but I digress.
Although, if I remember correctly every officer in our wardroom thought Debra Winger was very hot, so did then-California Governor Jerry “the original Moonbeam” Brown, no? Any card-carrying AARP member remember?
About my opinion or that of other political candidates regarding the Board of Ed breaking news about potential layoffs, salary raises, budget/funding matters and so on, I would love to comment, as well as to hear my political opponents’ opinions on the same or other subjects of interest and importance. For Wondering, why don’t you coordinate or help put together a forum for all of us? I will gladly participate.
I have not heard or read anything about Ezequiel Santiago, except for his comments at the DTC meeting on May 20, 2008 that he will “prove that he is his own man.” I know he’s Mitch’s stepson and Amerigo’s son. That’s it. With regards to Chico Rivera, I don’t know where he stands on anything, except that he knows and reminds me every time we meet I will not and cannot win the 130th seat because no one knows me.
And Chico’s right. I agree 100% with him, not many people in the district know me, but I’m trying my best to overcome that in the next 10 weeks. I’ve only lived in Bridgeport for eight years and in the district for almost five years, not a lifetime like Chico and Ezequiel.
So where and when is the first debate? Let’s get it on!
It seems pretty clear that Ramos is, as one poster said, “playing the game”, protecting friends and selecting high profile employees for layoff. And we wonder why good people won’t get involved in Bridgeport politics.
City Kitty: The jobs that I refer to are jobs that are fairly new jobs that were created to provide jobs as a political payback. These jobs are not jobs held by long time dedicated employees. I know I keep mentioning the greeter’s job but do we really need someone sitting in city hall lobby telling people where certain offices are when we have a large directory on the wall. Couldn’t that salary save a librarian a nurse’s job or a school para professionals job. Could that money go towards what an audit would cost. The other jobs I mentioned Special projects coordinators. Does the police chief need a special projects Coordinator to be his spokesperson at $57K, do we need this job in public facilities or in city hall. NO.
Eddie: I don’t know public facilities and if I did I would bring it up. I am sure that among the bloggers here we all know of the no show or the jobs that are meaningless and should list them. maybe just maybe someone will listen although I doubt it.
City Kitty: If you think I am mean well maybe I am or maybe I am looking for ways to pay for an audit or keep the taxes down. These jobs I mention are not jobs held by hard working city workers but made up jobs for political payback. If I could I would fire them all and also get rid of the nonessential jobs everywhere in the city. I would rather employ librarians and para professionals than hacks. Sorry.
Eddie, you tool! Shouldn’t you be working hard in the studio getting that new album out?
“Eddie: I don’t know public facilities and if I did I would bring it up.”
90% of the bloggers here are insiders who don’t have the balls to use their real names so they DO know about the waste going on all over city hall including Public Facilities.
Don’t play stupid, Wondering. You know sooo much about the budget and about how City Hall works, yet you don’t know about the waste in Public Facilities??? Who are you kidding?
Wondering, you don’t have to apologize, but I still think that it is mean that you have no mercy when it comes to saying that you want to get rid of people’s jobs. You are very judgmental, and all mayors always get to pick who they want working with them. I don’t know much about the other jobs but that greeter job is not new like you say it is, I’ve been going to city hall to pay taxes for years and I always remember somebody doing that job, so its been there as far back as I remember. Besides, it’s also a little guys job, not some high paid position for sure. But you criticize everybody’s job, not just that one. Judge not, or God will judge you. Thats how I look at it. you need to be a little less self rightous. Too many people on here are mean spirited and its a real turn-off, well at least it is to me.
Mr. Keenan I am sorry that you don’t believe me but in truth other than the special projects coordinator that just created I dont know the workings of public facilities other than they pick up the trash clean the streets and do a lot of tough dirty jobs. If I knew of the waste of no show jobs I would speak about it. I am not a city employee and I neer worked there in fact I do not know anyone that works there. I encourage YOU to come forward.
Wondering just hates Bill Finch. That’s why he targets the Special Project Coordinators and the Greeters. Everyone knows about 10-20 people who have been leeching off the taxpayers for decades.
Those leeches were put there by the likes of Mario Testa so we won’t talk about them for fear they might get raises.
City Kitty: In tough financial times people have to go or taxes need to be raised. The position you speak about and I have spoken about is a political payback position and nothing more. In fact at one time it was manned by a cop on light duty. The question you need to ask is, is it necessary in these tough financial times. Would you rather have a greeter or a para professional in the class room. It’s not being mean spirited it’s being realistic. On one hand people cry about their high taxes and the political jobs and when someone suggests hard choices he is mean spirited. Well so be it you can’t have it both ways.
I find the thought of Rob Russo being to deliver anything from the state a joke. We always talk about the mess in Bridgeport, but in case you’re not paying attention, we have a catastrophe in Hartford. The state went from a 268 million dollar surplus to an 80 million dollar deficit in a year’s time. The Governor said she would veto everything with a fiscal note (if it cost money). Further, Democrats control committees and it is almost impossible for a Republican to deliver anything unless it is a bi-partisan effort. Rob Russo’s intentions may be noble but the reality is that he is hamstrung and cannot deliver. I also think the administration would welcome a BOE audit, the mere fact that Ramos makes a quarter of a million is disgusting and is evidence of the mismanagement. They should have an audit themselves.
If Rell talks about cities and families tightening their belts one more time I will puke. Look at the inefficiency and mismanagement at the state. By losing out on Federal money, estimates that were off by millions, bloated departments and there is less money for education, roads, pilots. It is like Rell is saying to hell with the cities and towns and no one calls her on it! So Russo doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting that kind of money or doing much else. He is also supportive of taking away another million dollars from the city by being against keeping the real estate conveyance tax rates. How’re you going to make up that money Robbie?
Also, Wondering is right, the Mayor’s staff is inflated with political appointees. What expertise do they have that justifies their jobs? The kiddie campus was bad enough and now you add useless political appointees, while you fire seasoned professionals. The Mayor needs seasoned professionals who know Bridgeport because he is running the city like a campaign, he is alienating everyone. People compare it to the KGB because if you dare speak against them out you go. So it is their way or the highway. No administration can function with a bunch of yes men and easily brainwashed minions. If you need an example compare Bush, Cheney, Rove and the rest to the way Bridgeport is being run now.
Let me take you to school, Mr. Wondering. Besides taking out the trash. The Public Facilities department has an office that runs the day to day as they say.
The guys out in the field do yeomans’ jobs, but you do have some dead weight there as well.
I am sure the new Public Works Director could do without a few purchasing agents and the like.
Yes Eddie, I think that’s what it boils down to, wondering just hates Finch so he takes it out on people who are working under him. He says he doesn’t know who the people are, but he actually named some of them, so he has to know who they are. I’m sure glad he’s not my boss. It’s just mean to want to fire people, I don’t want anyone to lose their job, it happened to me a few years ago and it’s very depressing. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. You can never make some people happy no matter who you are or what you do, that’s just a fact of life. All this budget mess didn’t happen in the past 6 months, its been brewing a long time, and Finch got stuck with it. I just wish that people would stop abusing him because I bet in the long run, he will do good things for B’port. Ya gotta keep the faith! 🙂 In the meantime, I’m hoping all those little guys in the BoE don’t lose their jobs.
I know Russo probably can’t get money for an audit, the governor isn’t going to dish out any money to the cities, because a truckload of state money just seemed to disappear in the past year since she’s been in office. This state pays the most for gas in the whole country because of a tax she imposed, and I saw on TV that come July 1, it’s going up again! Where is all that money and the casino money going? I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m really starting to feel the pain big time!
One last thought before I start my day. I was just talking to a friend, and I want to mention to wondering that even if all those people that you stated should lose their jobs, it wouldn’t save any BOE jobs because that is a whole different budget that even gets state funding. If anything Ramos and his high paid staff shouldn’t get a raise, now that would save some little guy jobs, don’t you think? Wondering, I know I sound like I’m getting on your case big time, but you should never wish that anybody loses their job, it’s just too unkind to wish hardship like that on people. Meanwhile, have a blessed day everyone.
Didn’t I just read the Bpt Regional Business Council and the City were partnering dollars and looking to bring in another party (foundation? state?) with $’s to perform the much-talked-about audit of the BOE? Any scoop on that? (Although I think the Chamber is as much a part of the problem as anyone.)
City Kitty: I never said I did not like Finch but I did say that some of his moves since taking office were wrong. If you believe that laying off librarians and nurses is okay while you hire politically connected people for BS jobs then we will always disagree. The positions for the most part have been saved but library hours have been cut. Given the choice I would eliminate one of those new political jobs to save library hours.
I never advocated laying off the real city workers only the political hacks that got BS jobs. My only intention was to show where the money could come for an audit of the BOE. The audit is necessary as noone knows how they spend their money.
I dont feel sorry for people that have politically made up jobs they are blood suckers accomplishing nothing at the expense of career city employees.
Again City kitty you can’t have it both ways. If you don’t mind higher taxes to fund these and other political jobs that’s fine. I do mind and would have no trouble sleeping at night after the politically connected were let go.
Be mad at me I’m a big boy I can take it. Have a nice day.