Finch Presents Pension Solution Plan, Emphasizes Ganim Gamble

UPDATE: Mayor Bill Finch issued a statement Thursday to “fully fund obligations for Pension Plan A” for uniformed services. The mayor’s primary opponents have criticized him for deferring payments while questioning an assortment of administration spending practices. The mayor says he’s offering a long-term solution without raising taxes, and adds a reminder that city pension investments sagged on a gamble by former Mayor Joe Ganim. This is one of those issues that requires an accountant or actuary. The Connecticut Post take on this:

Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez who served with Finch on the City Council says he’s offended by Finch’s criticism of former Mayor Joe Ganim’s pension investment gamble. Writes Speedy: “Finch seems to have forgotten that he not only voted in favor of just about all of Joe Ganim’s proposals and projects, but that he was the Chairman of Contracts and Appointments Committee during the Pension negotiations. John Stafstrom was one of the key advisers for Ganim and the council during that period. I recall Councilmen Bill Finch voting (with no questions or objections) in favor of all matters related to Pensions and bonding alike.”

Speedy says if Ganim gets into the mayoral mix he may support him. From Finch:

Comprehensive City Pension Payment Plan to be included in budget implementer With Support of State OPM and State Treasurer

The state Office of Policy and Management and the State Treasurer are supporting the City of Bridgeport’s pension payment plan which offers a tiered approach to fully fund obligations for Pension Plan A.

This comprehensive legislative proposal calls for accelerated payments beginning in FY2011-2012 with an increased payment of $7 million, to be re-calculated thereafter using actuarial methods and assumptions based on Actuarial Standards of Practice, and a level percent amortization of the unfunded actuarial accrued liability using a 5% growth rate.

“This plan offers a long-term solution and extends the life of the fund through its conclusion without causing extreme burden to taxpayers at a time that we can least afford it,” said Mayor Finch. The plan we have developed is a fiscally responsible and comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges of fully funding Pension Plan A. I would like to personally thank Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, OPM Secretary Ben Barnes, OPM and Treasury staff, and our state delegation led by Rep. Andres Ayala for all of their hard work on this important issue for Bridgeport residents and our retirees.”

Pension Plan A covers only police officers and firefighters who were employees of the City on or before October 15, 1981. The plan offered retirement and disability benefits, including escalating annual payment benefits based on the pay scale of current police officers and firefighters, and a 3-percent annual COLA. Pension Plan A was closed in 1981 in an effort to reduce future pension costs. As of July 2010, there were 612 retired and disabled participants in pay status, 254 beneficiaries and 33 active contributing participants.

In 2000, under the Ganim administration, the City received a loan for 30 years by selling $350 million of pension deficit funding bonds to partially fund the Pension Plan A liability. As a result of the collapse of the “tech bubble” and recently, the securities markets, Pension Plan A’s market value plummeted while its liabilities remained substantially unchanged. Over the last two years, however, Pension Plan A’s market value has risen from $148 million to $164.7 million as a result of favorable investment returns.

The City was granted a waiver to pay its obligation in fiscal years ending June 30, 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2009, under the terms of the waiver the City was not required to pay more than $6 million, but contributed $6.2 million to the fund. In 2010, the City contributed $4.7 million satisfying its required minimum $4 million contribution. For fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, the City is again required to pay at least $4 million, but will be contributing $5 million.

As the CT Post earlier reported, “The issue has been lingering a dozen years, back to when Mayor Joseph P. Ganim gambled on selling bonds and making profits in the stock market, which fell a couple times before finally tanking precipitously in 2008, costing the city half of a $350 million investment. In 2009, legislation that would allow the city to delay further contributions for two years failed in the last days of the General Assembly, but it was added to the state budget approved in early September after a summer of partisan wrangling.”

The City has two other major, active pension plans, which cover police officers and firefighters hired after October 1981. The Police Pension Plan B is managed by UBS, and the Firefighters Pension Plan B is managed by the Fire Board. Both plans are independent of Pension Plan A and each other, and are performing well due to the fact that they are open plans and have active participant plan contributions and few retirees.

Most other municipal employees participate in the state MERF pension fund. The City and employees contribute to this fund on a quarterly basis.

Below is the legislative language as submitted:

Sec. ___. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2011) (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 7-374c of the general statutes, the City of Bridgeport, having previously issued pension deficit funding bonds pursuant to section 7-374c of the general statutes, shall not be obligated to make any appropriation to fund, or make any contribution to, any pension plan funded with the proceeds of such bonds, unless otherwise required pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section.

(b) The City of Bridgeport shall make a minimum required contribution (1) of seven million dollars to such pension plan for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, and (2) for each subsequent fiscal year, a contribution to such pension plan as follows: (i) at the beginning of each fiscal year, the City of Bridgeport’s actuary will determine the unfunded actuarial accrued liability for such pension plan using actuarial methods and assumptions based on Actuarial Standards of Practice, and a level percent amortization of the unfunded actuarial accrued liability using a 5% growth rate; (ii) the amortization period will be twenty-four years for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013 and will decline by one year annually for each subsequent fiscal year; and (iii) the amount of contribution will be recalculated each fiscal year, so that any gains and losses experienced by such pension plan are taken into account in the determination of unfunded actuarial accrued liability for a particular fiscal year and are amortized over the remaining period.



  1. Well, well, well!!! That is pure and utter bullshit, plain and simple. There is $162 million in the fund. To date the costs are in the area of $30 million a year for retirees. The obligation is still there to pay for the bonds that were taken out under Ganim. How does a $7 million payment per year cover $30 million that is actually paid? Where does the money come to pay for the original $350 million taken out? This is pure smoke and mirrors and political trickery at its best/worst!!! More on this later.

    1. tc,
      Check your numbers. You are basing them on preexisting values prior to losses through investment. Foolish investments cost you 1/3 of your reserve. The city’s commitment is to fund a percentage of the existing principle. I don’t argue you are getting screwed, I am just questioning the numbers.

    2. tc, how is it you keep coming up with the same bullshit, that the taxpayers/City owes $30million a year to Pension Plan A?
      When the City’s only contribution is roughly 5%, and the fund return on investment is roughly 5% on your best year that’s only 16.2 Million?
      Every year you have to dip into the fund, for $30 Million, this year you will need take 13.8 Million from the Pension Plan to cover costs.

      1. The numbers are the numbers. Remember $350 million was borrowed and the final cost at the end of the 30 years is $900 Million. The pension payout for the retirees and the loan itself are $30-plus million per year. These are not my figures, they are in the actuarial report.

    1. Ain’t that the truth. Finch doesn’t have the financial acumen to either read or write this business plan. Neither does Adam Wood, Andy Nunn, nor the illiterate Charlie Carroll. So … the question is … WHO WROTE THIS?

    2. city hall smoker // Jun 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm
      to your posting

      Sounds like a SHERWOOD masterpiece of woolery.

      All of us know this is courting financial disaster, don’t we?

  2. City hall smoker, that’s funny but true. I can’t wait to hear him in a debate and explain what’s in this release and to answer questions about it.

  3. Any update on the BOE meeting? I hear Ramos is presenting a budget that includes over 400 layoffs. The unions were going to pack the meeting tonight. Assumedly Lennie will have an update for us soon.

  4. What? How low of Bill Finch to dare stick a fork in the eye of Joe Ganim and leaving him holding the bag. Finch seems to have forgotten he not only voted in favor of just about all of Joe Ganim’s proposals and projects, but he was the Chairmen of Contracts and Appointments Committee during the Pension negotiations. John Stafstrom was one of the key advisers for Ganim and the council during that period. I recall Councilmen Bill Finch voting (with no questions or objections) in favor of all maters related to Pensions and bonding alike. We all understood at that time there were risks involved as well as payment obligations. I take responsibility for any favorable votes made which may have led to this. At the time, I voiced my questions and concerns about paper money concepts. No one listened to me (not even Finch). Stafstrom managed to convince the majority by reassuring them that this was a homerun. Remember this, Bill?

    1. Good information, Joel. Makes Bill look a bit hypocritical, don’t cha think?

      Let’s not forget also that Ganim was Finch’s best friend as long as he was providing him with a job every time he screwed up. Then Finch was the first one to kick Joe when he was down. Says something about Finch’s character, doesn’t it?

    2. Joel Gonzalez // Jun 3, 2011 at 12:50 am
      to your posting

      At that time there was money from the State and from the Feds to bail out the City financial stumbles … This is all catching up … and the economic reality is no one will bail us because there is no longer any bailout money …
      If we don’t take this administration out of commission on September 13, 2011 … we don’t even have a chance …

  5. If the State approves this deferment, then they should be fiscally responsible for all the city’s financial obligations as a result of this!!!

  6. Could the following people, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, OPM Secretary Ben Barnes, OPM and Treasury staff, and our state delegation led by Rep. Andres Ayala, please take over the budget that runs my household?
    If you can make a $600 million pension obligation disappear and make a yearly expense to pay retirement benefits get reduced from $30 Million to $7 million with the passing of legislation then my household budget should be easy.
    To rep Ayala and the state delegation, don’t get caught in this trap. This is pure and utter bullshit. I don’t know what Finch & Company told you but I guarantee it was not the facts.
    Retirement costs for plan A are $30 million per year, no matter what they have to pay the retirees that much. How do they do that by reducing the city payment into this fund to $7 million? They will get away with it for a few years because there is $160 million in bonds still in the fund. When that runs out in about 4-5 years what then? They will still have to pay retirees and still have to pay the bonds off. How do they do that? Damn it the state should actually talk to the people who know. Hey Ayala and Grogins call BEACON2 he will explain it to you.

      1. Cupcake’s Plan v. Finch’s Plan
        Cupcake’s Plan–With 35-1 odds on roulette we take the remaining balance of $168Million, go up to Foxwoods and put it all on RED.

        Finch’s Plan A–In 4 to 5 years everyone goes back to work.

  7. The Post report covers only ONE of the TWO major retiree issues the City faces: Pension Plan A and Other Post Employment Benefits. That is important for all of us to remember.

    In 2000 Mayor Ganim and advisers went to the State of CT to gain special authorization to issue Pension Obligation Bonds so he could come home and invest the $350 Million of proceeds. They did so and according to Finch lost $100 Million of taxpayer-provided funds. If Mayor Finch is now dumping on Mayor Ganim for his answer to the pay-as-you go and unfunded position of Pension Plan A in the year 2000, just be aware that among Mayor Finch’s solutions discussed last year and this year in letters to the State have been multiple and similar uses of Pension Obligation Bonds. Did you know that?

    If the problem has been volatile investment markets, at least those were not caused by Ganim or by the investment advisers. If the problem has been an assumed investment return that is higher than our advisers have earned in the past 11 years, that is not the fault of the actuaries who need City leaders to tell them to get realistic (even though it may raise the required contribution level). Lower the assumptions. The problem has been less money has regularly been put in the plan annually than actuarially calculated. And that is the problem put on us by Ganim, Fabrizi, and last but not least, Mayor Finch. Put in the money called for by your professional actuary for long-term solvency.

    If you don’t like the answers above, the Mayor has run to the State and asked for relief and that is what Bridgeport politicians are good at. What the public needs to remember are the names of the politicians who have ignored this growing problem: Mayors and Council persons, and now the legislators who would defer the problem until the decreasing investment fund is exhausted. Governor Malloy, please act as a teacher and steward to the weak leadership in Bridgeport. Just say NO!!!

    The larger problem Mayor Finch does not address (nor the Post in this article) is his fiscal magic in deferring current annual costs of the retiree healthcare obligation. To my knowledge this is not something he can run to Hartford for relief. Twenty million per year has not been currently paid in 2008, 2009 and 2010 with probably another secret deferral this year (with only 27 more days to go). The total was $61 Million at the end of 2010. It certainly is a more serious number for the City to deal with and it is a clear indication that Finch’s budgets have not been balanced in terms of current expenses being paid by current tax dollars.

    Governor Malloy can strike a blow for open, accountable and transparent municipal administration by forcing the Finch administration to clean up its own mess. They have had three years to plan and come to terms with the problem. They have not done so. Assuming the Governor dislikes cowardly financial managers, he will not extend Mayor Finch’s leash. This is the time finally to follow professional (actuarial) not political (election time) direction!

    1. BEACON2 // Jun 3, 2011 at 7:11 am
      to your posting

      Sadly we have one hope at this time … get to the Governor …
      Your words are best …
      “Governor Malloy can strike a blow for open, accountable and transparent municipal administration by forcing the Finch administration to clean up its own mess … Assuming the Governor dislikes cowardly financial managers, he will not extend Mayor Finch’s leash. This is the time finally to follow professional (actuarial) not political (election time) direction!”

      This is the place where the rubber meets the road for the Governor …

  8. Maybe someone should speak to the current president of the police union. Their pension plan managers have managed to make money in a recession for the plan that covers officers currently on the job. They are said to be in a position to be solvent for many moons.

  9. It looks like we are once again to quote Bill Finch, “on the 5-yard line.” Too bad he never said we have 95 yards to go. He’s trying to pull out a Hail Mary with this BS. My apologies to the BVM.

  10. BEACON2, thank you for painting a clear & true picture with the facts concerning Pension Plan A. Do you know what input & knowledge State Rep. Don Clemons might have seeing he is also retired from the fire department & is on Pension Plan A?

  11. I noticed Mr. Gomes brought this to the governor’s attention in April. Why is it Ms. Foster is getting the credit for this in the CT Post and they go to her for comments? Why is our only newspaper so biased?

    1. Dear Tom,
      Please see the dated release from the Foster Campaign with all due respect to Mr. Gomes in this matter.

      Put Plan in Place Requiring Pension Obligations To Be Met
      BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – April 7, 2011 – Bridgeport businesswoman and social action advocate Mary-Jane Foster, who is a candidate for mayor, is calling upon the leadership of Connecticut’s House and Senate to take steps requiring Bridgeport to develop a plan to meet its pension obligations, should the State legislature approve Mayor Finch’s request to further delay contributions to the City’s pension fund.

      “For residents who wonder why Bridgeport is always behind the eight ball, putting off paying our bills is the reason why. That’s what we get when our mayor puts his re-election ahead of our taxpayers, and Bridgeport deserves better, stated Foster. “In the interest of good government, I urge the State legislature to put a plan in place with clear requirements and timelines for meeting our financial obligations and unmistakable consequences for failing to do so.”

      A copy of the letter to President Pro Tempore Williams and Speaker Donovan is attached.

    2. Tom Hagen // Jun 3, 2011 at 9:07 am
      to your posting

      We keep trying … because in the end it’s only going to be Bridgeport voters who decide … whether to continue with the misery and lies or get a new direction incorporating honesty with numbers and communications that speak to our population of 144 thousand, not just a dozen favored few …

      1. Yes Carrolanne- Not Just a Dozen Favored Few.

        Here’s what most voters are concerned about, jobs and taxes.
        If Bill Finch kicks pension plan A down the road, who cares!
        Most of these pension plans from the past should be renegotiated anyway.
        Let’s face it, we cannot afford $30million dollars each year to fund a luxury like pension plan A, and if MJF or anyone else running for Mayor tells you she will fund Pension plan A next year, she will raise my taxes.
        How many people/voters in Bridgeport live on a Pension Plan like this one? Very favored few!
        Lower my taxes, start by revaluating my property, cut costs everywhere.
        And renegotiate all contracts and Pension Plans now. That’s what the people of Bridgeport want and need.
        That’s who I’ll vote for!

        1. CCH69,
          It is truly surprising that you pay taxes, have property to revalue, and get out to vote because your grasp of how City budgets work and what pension commitments are about border on the ignorant.

          A budget just got passed by the City Council. Was it a good budget? Based on your desire to lower taxes, I guess you would have to say NO. Did you go to any sessions, talk to your City Council person, write a Letter to the Editor? To make the statements you do, you reveal that you are either “not informed” or “never will get it.”

          So one last time, for you alone:
          Past politicians as a part of a pay package for public-safety employees made a promise to police and firemen that when they retired there would be retirement income for them and 50% of that for surviving spouses. (Got that so far? Any problem with that?)
          Those employees got their salaries while they were working and also contributed their required % to Pension Plan A while they were working. 866 of the employees or their beneficiaries are receiving monthly pension income benefits from the plan currently. There are still 33 employed who are fully entitled to get an income benefit when they retire. (Are you still OK with the concepts?)

          The 866 are drawing $32 Million per year this year and at least that for the next 10 years as projected by the actuary. The $32 Million is not coming from the General Fund directly but from the Pension investment fund created in 2000 for Pension Plan A (by borrowing $350 Million–more later). Because Mayors Ganim and Fabrizi and even Finch have put in less than enough money to keep the plan solvent each year AND because investments sometimes lose money, there is only about $150 Million in the fund today. (Here’s where the math gets difficult for some. If you have $150 Million and have to pay benefits of $30-32 Million per year, how long will the money last? Five or six years or less, depending on investment returns and values (unless the City funds significant payments to the Plan itself, keeping it alive for years longer.)

          When the last asset is liquidated to pay income benefits, subsequent retirement obligations will come directly from General Funds. How much have we been contributing for the past 10 years? Less than $2 Million per year on average? And MAYOR FINCH DARES TO USE THE TERM FULL FUNDING ABOUT HIS CURRENT PROPOSAL? (Any questions CCH69? We’re almost there.)

          Remember that $350 Million borrowed in 2000? We, the taxpayers of Bridgeport guaranteed a payment stream to bondholders that would last 30 years and have an interest rate of 7.64% PAID BY CITY TAXPAYERS. WE HAVE 19 MORE YEARS TO make these PAYMENTS AT ABOUT 30 MILLION PER YEAR!!!

          Don’t you realize Mayor Finch would have renegotiated if he could? Don’t you see he loves to hire lawyers to take care of problems out of sight of everyone and pay for them with “other people’s money?”

          Add it up and you will see we are paying the bondholders because we would lose our tenuous credit rating if we did not. $30 Million annually until 2029.

          The Plan is paying $32 Million today to retirees, but since we are only feeding Plan A a trickle (10 year past average > $2 Million, we will be at the “train wreck” shortly as the Plan A investment fund drops to nothing over the next 5-6 years. (Do you like “train wrecks?”)

          The facts are truly that simple no matter how many potential illustrations the actuary makes with assumptions changing. Putting in $6 Million, or $4 Million as we have done under Finch, or even going to $7 Million next year IS NOT FULL FUNDING!!!
          Please repeat after me … train wreck coming … we are not full funding … train wreck coming …

          Now, if you do not like additional taxes, and who does really, what would you do with the recently passed 2011-12 budget to allow for a real pension obligation funding this year? Where would you make the cuts? Where are the inefficiencies? Get the idea now, cupcake? … You’re welcome.

          1. BEACON2,
            That was rather rough. She was only voicing what many of us already think. The realities will be what they will be. The problem is people on this site let emotions govern their thoughts–sorry. I enjoy reading your postings, perhaps you were in a bad mood earlier. I hope your day got better.

          2. You and tc. Stick Pension A up your ass for all I care. I’m voting against anyone who supports full funding of Pension Plan A.

          3. Hey B2, here’s something for all the taxpayers to read.

            This struggling small city on the outskirts of Mobile was warned for years that if it did nothing, its pension fund would run out of money by 2009. Right on schedule, its fund ran dry.

            Then Prichard did something that pension experts say they have never seen before: it stopped sending monthly pension checks to its 150 retired workers, breaking a state law requiring it to pay its promised retirement benefits in full.

            Prichard stands as a warning to cities like Philadelphia and states like Illinois, whose pension funds are under great strain: if nothing changes, the money eventually does run out, and when that happens, misery and turmoil follow.

            The declining, little-known city of Prichard is now attracting the attention of bankruptcy lawyers, labor leaders, municipal credit analysts and local officials from across the country. They want to see if the situation in Prichard, like the continuing bankruptcy of Vallejo, Calif., ultimately creates a legal precedent on whether distressed cities can legally cut or reduce their pensions, and if so, how.

  12. Know that both Mary-Jane Foster and John Gomes have called these serious matters to the attention of Hartford leadership. Both candidates are serious about the financial mismanagement in my personal opinion. I applaud them for taking these issues seriously and I believe a new Mayor + Charter Reforms + better citizen attention to important Citywide issues will allow us to turn a major corner for the next four years. I also believe a serious review of what current leadership has been doing with City money, personnel, resources and material will reveal opportunities to make our current taxes do better work and limit the increases we face.

    The “devil is always in the details” as the saying goes. But details are what directs Who, gets How Much, When and Where. We need more focus on the details through dialogue and discussion. Would you like to dialogue Mayor Finch? Perhaps give me a day or two with all of the material that I as a taxpayer have helped fund from our Pension Plan A actuary Thomas Davidowicz, so that I can study what you have had three years to understand, with your coaches Stafstrom, Sherwood, Feeney, and Norton??? Let me know when you are ready … Then maybe we can talk about OPEB and “internal service funds” and how recent City contracts have added to Pension Plan A underfunding … and other things.

  13. Training Workshop Focus: Reclaiming The Waterfront

    This headline is from the annals of recent press releases from Mayor Finch. What a joke when your look at how his administration has turned a blind eye with a wink and a nod to Mark IV and Manny Moutinho for his MT. DIRTMORE on Seaview Avenue.

    Moutinho and his family members bundled $3,500. to the Finch 2007 primary campaign. Not included in this Mountain of the Bounty was additional monies raised by Mr. Moutinho at a fundraiser at the Cafe Roma.

    It was cheaper for Mark IV to litigate Seaview Avenue until he was positioned to settle the case and relocate his rock-crushing operation. The city rolled over like rover without demanding a pecuniary penalty from Mark IV.

    The voters have an opportunity on Sept. 13th to vote on an “Environmental Bill” to Dump Finch!

  14. BEACON2 // Jun 3, 2011 at 10:20 am
    to your posting

    One edit, it is not Dawn Norton who is doing any coaching … she is the coachee of TOM SHERWOOD, and she is cutting a swath of devastation in her department. Long and loyal … and very capable employees have suffered disciplinary action for not doing the job Norton was hired to do … and she is still going after people with encouragement and support from her “coach” at 999 Broad St. At least six or seven outstanding city employees with exemplary work records have found themselves suspended, fired, warning lettered and whatever else is in Norton’s quiver to aim at them. Shame on this woman … shame on her behavior.
    This is the director of the Finance Office, who even today has to rely on a recently hired deputy finance director (from out of town?) to bail her out.
    The dysfunctional behavior is not limited just to Norton, but she is taking it to new heights …
    Watch her …

    1. Carolanne,
      My apologies for mischaracterizing Dawn Norton. I really did not know whether Ms. Norton, who holds the title of Acting Finance Director, when I last looked, is a Coach, an assistant Coach, or a pom-pom waver for Team Bridgeport. So I gave her the benefit of the doubt because of her title!

      Recently, John Stafstrom did not respond with an answer to me, but referred my email request to him for the Pension Obligation Bond CUSIP# to Norton. She characterized the”AUDACITY” of my act (in sending an email to Stafstrom who is the POB expert in the City) in asking a question of a City “vendor.” Not knowing City policy about “vendor” silence as I only pay taxes to the City, and not sell services to them, I had previously called another “vendor.” It was the Pension Actuary who appreciated my call where I questioned a number in his report. He indicated that it was a $10 Million typo. Mistakes occur and need to be corrected. He agreed. That typo was not discovered by Ms. Norton, any of the other Coaches, the B&A Council persons, etc. My guess is they pay for consulting reports, store them away, but never read the content. So we are led down a “dumb and dumber” path as decisions get made.

      From what you are telling me, it is Ms. Norton who is practicing audacious behavior with respect to City employees. How many of these folks are involved or have already reached settlements with the City on employment-related grievances? Any ideas … anybody?

      1. Beacon, I know several people written up, suspended or terrorized by Dawn Norton. It cuts across three unions and she mainly goes after females. I know several of her victims read OIB. Perhaps some will write in.

        1. People get “written up” so that paper goes in their personnel file. Does it mean anything more than that? What are people written up for that would cause a suspension (for how long) or make them feel terrorized?
          And BG below talks about Dawn not being held to any standards at all. In what obvious ways is Norton inappropriate for her position as seen by her co-workers?
          But will anyone put out additional info on good workers who have been driven out of their City work, fought back with legal counsel over many months, and received a settlement of significance, before getting to court or after a court settlement?
          There must be a variety of stories … of which I am totally ignorant… but that have a significant bearing on the costs and efficiencies of the City as a workplace.

          1. Beacon, yes there is a record of all of this but it may be confidential because it concerns employees’ personnel files. The Finance Office, which includes Comptrollers and Treasurers is severely short staffed but the people who do work there are tenured employees with significant experience and expertise.

            You may recall that Mike Lupkas was the previous Finance Director under Fabrizi. Mike was a good manager, hard-working, and here’s the key word … qualified. When Finch got elected, he wanted to bring in Andy Nunn as his CAO (God knows why) but he didn’t want to terminate Mike Feeney. So he demoted Mike Lupkas and made Feeney Finance Director. Lupkas soon left the City for a job elsewhere (wouldn’t you?). Feeney brought in Dawn Norton as his assistant (God knows why).

            Now you have two managers, neither of which have any knowledge of what the Finance dept does and both of whom have terrible management styles.

            Without good people in key positions, the City’s internal infrastructure began to crumble. Nunn, Feeney, Norton and Wood don’t want to take the blame for anything so they begin to blame everything on the employees. People with 10, 20, 30 years are written up and suspended. Unions filed grievances. People filed formal complaints with the CT Human Rights and Opportunities Office and private attorneys were hired for civil and harassment lawsuits. Cases are just now beginning to settle and the City is paying out large sums of money.

            It does not surprise me Dawn Norton was nasty to BEACON2. She is nasty to her employees, constituents, vendors and other dept heads. Yet Andy Nunn loves her and backs her up. Amazing what a short skirt and a pair of heels will get you.

    2. Carolanne, when it comes to unfairly disciplining good workers, Dawn is backed up by Andy Nunn. Dawn is Andy’s girl and she can do no wrong. He suspends people for sneezing in public but does not hold Dawn to any standards at all. She is grossly and obviously unqualified and everyone knows it (including Sherwood) … except Andy.

  15. Confused about all this budget talk? On Tuesday June 21, the Institute for Truth in Accounting will call into the Bridgeport Now TV show at 8:15pm to explain Bridgeport’s “Billion Dollar Burden.” Plan A, Plan B, and health costs, off balance sheet obligations, etc. We will try to spell it out, with them on the phone.

    The Mission of the Institute for Truth in Accounting is, in a non-partisan manner, to compel government to produce financial reports that are understandable, reliable, transparent and correct.

  16. Anti, I have no first-hand knowledge of anything between Andy and Dawn. I’m just saying he backs her up no matter what the situation. She is a bad manager and he allows it. Enough said on that.

    If there were a REAL CITISTAT, they would monitor more than the number of constituent phone calls. They would look at dept efficiencies and inefficiencies. If you have one dept where all of a sudden you have multiple grievances and disciplinary problems, it means one of two things:
    1. You have a bad bunch of employees. However, if the employees are long-term and had good records before, then they are probably not the problem, or
    2. You have a bad manager. If this is the case then a REAL CITISTAT does something to help, like provide management training, or does a retreat or intervention to deal with the problems or FIRES the bad manager.

    This City in all its wisdom keeps the bad manager, does nothing to deal with the REAL problem yet pays out big money in settlements and outside legal counsel to defend the bad manager’s actions. And we wonder why the City is in such bad shape. OIB.

  17. BG,
    Thank you for a realistic and simple explanation of what is an ongoing City administration issue. It doesn’t make the papers in any meaningful way in a four-year Mayoral cycle. It does not show up (or at least is hidden there) in a budget or audit. The facts are probably buried, as you suggest, in personnel files or City legal activity documents. And with CitiStat emasculated to being exactly what the UI called for in 2005 (but a far cry from what Finch told us he set in motion with John Gomes), a 311 number, we get no real numbers to see where problems are being encountered and where high-level remedies are required to get things back on track.

    Of course, if some people in office or in City employ know or sense for a particular reason they are special people who are above it all, including the law, unjust and unfair activity continues. That gives the ‘outs’ ammunition to use against the ‘ins’ and an election is the right time to use it. In these instances it is not so much negative campaigning as it is asking those elected to get it right. Those seeking office to assist reforms in City practices must practice what they are preaching and seeking of course, or be called for hypocrisy. But from my viewpoint more than one has the character, experience and integrity to do that. That is quite a distance from what we see today directing City affairs.

  18. Beacon, this administration is not interested in efficiency or productivity. Andy Nunn’s main goal is to keep everyone in line. He rules those not in his favor like a Nazi concentration camp. If you dare step out of line or speak up about an injustice or even try to make a suggestion, your life is made miserable. Shame on Mayor Finch for ignoring the problems and allowing this to happen. Andy Nunn is the true day-to-day mayor. Finch has no clue and doesn’t care.

    Beacon, you are right that there are two candidates with the character, experience and integrity to turn city government around. These two need to join forces. They need to let go of their egos, get together and do what’s right for our city before it’s too late. We cannot lose this election to Finch. Our city will die. Someone needs to broker the deal between Mary-Jane Foster and John Gomes. Beacon, are you interested?

  19. Bridgeport Girl,
    You could not be more on target. Everything you said is right on the money. This city is in a death spiral and we have two choices. Choose 1 candidate to eliminate Mayor Finch or look for a Republican replacement. Inch by inch get rid of Finch.

  20. Candidates need to follow their intuition and their egos are part of that package. At some point their advisers will look into the crystal ball, review what the pollsters are telling them, check out what is in the checkbook, ask the candidate to assess their feelings of the moment with a significant “gut check” moment. A decision will be made. Whether that occurs before the primary or after will depend on many things, not the least of which are good attention to the rules of the electoral process in CT for having your name on the ballot for November in certain specific ways.
    I like each of the candidates personally and suggest respectfully they do not need a broker at this moment.


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