McCarthy Reelected Council President

McCarthy, Finch, Musto
State Senator Anthony Musto, right, issues oath to Tom McCarthy. In background is Mayor Bill Finch with camera.

UPDATE: McCarthy wins another term as Council President. City politicians often leverage the oath of office to showcase old and new alliances. The 20-member legislative and budget authority as well as newly elected school board and city sheriffs were sworn in on Sunday. The new City Council assembled for its first meeting Monday night and elected Tom McCarthy for another term as council president. McCarthy received 15 votes for council president while newcomers to the council Rick Torres and Bob Halstead received two each.

On Sunday McCarthy received the oath of office from State Senator Anthony Musto who was instrumental in killing a bill in the last state legislative session that would have enforced the City Charter prohibiting city employees from serving on the council. A loophole in state law allows it. The bill proposed by Bridgeport State House Democrats Jack Hennessy and Auden Grogins received bipartisan support, but was stymied by Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey because it did not have the backing of Musto and State Senator Andres Ayala, both of whom represent Bridgeport.

Supporters of the bill maintain it would prevent conflicts of interests such as city employee council members approving their own wages and benefits and allow for a stronger legislative check on the executive branch. McCarthy serves at the pleasure of Mayor Bill Finch as deputy director of Labor Relations.

Musto and Ayala worked against the bill for fear of alienating political support on the council, including McCarthy. As council president, McCarthy appoints members to committee assignments. He maintains he has no conflict serving as a city employee council president, although he has refrained from appointing a city employee as chair of the key Budget and Appropriations Committee to avoid conflicts.

Musto, a Democrat, is up for reelection in 2014. He represents portions of Bridgeport and Monroe and all of Trumbull.

City Council:
130 District, Rick Torres, Sue Brannelly
131 District, Denese Taylor-Moye, Jack Banta
132 District, Bob Halstead, Trish Swain
133 District, Tom McCarthy, Howard Austin
134 District, Michelle Lyons, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia
135 District, Mary McBride-Lee, Richard Salter
136 District, Richard DeJesus, Alfredo Castillo
137 District, Lydia Martinez, Milta Feliciano
138 District, Mike Marella, Richard Paoletto
139 District, James Holloway, Eneida Martinez-Walker



  1. I guess Mr. Musto and Mr. McCarthy felt it was important to use the occasion to publicly embrace and solidify their self-serving stance in favor of city employees serving on the City Council.
    It is ironic Tom McCarthy swore to uphold the charter of the city based on the oath administered by Mr. Musto while the two of them plotted to ensure a state law restricting the city from enforcing the charter remains in place thus empowering Tom McCarthy.

  2. I don’t think a lot of people fully appreciate the bind the mayor may soon find himself in. Previously he had control of the BOE and overwhelming control of the council. Now he has lost control of the BOE and lost overwhelming control of the council.
    Skirmishes between the two bodies seldom happened in the past. Now not only are they a real possibility but they can quickly get ugly.
    Let’s take the issue of not fully funding the MBR. The BOE in a substantial majority could now call on the mayor and council to fully fund the BOE and in real dollars and not budget gimmicks.
    The council might try to respond in kind but in the council you now have a faction that is anti-Finch that might join forces with fiscal conservatives in the North End and quickly you could have dissension at multiple levels.
    Now throw in a School Superintendent who might not be afraid to rile up the public like the good old days and pack the City Council Chambers.
    Now you are looking at real problems. Throw in another curve ball at any angle, e.g. Malloy looking to get rid of the car tax again, a serious cut in federal or state aid, an economic development disaster like Bass Pro falling further behind schedule and you have severe headaches in multiple directions.
    Then the fun will have begun.

  3. Bob Walsh, I totally agree with you. Mayor Finch will have big time problems with 135 District, Richard Salter and 132 District, Bob Halstead, as Democrats they will NOT take any mess from the mayor or 133 District, Tom McCarthy “if” he is elected council president. They become major players because they are Democrats and they will have a better chance to influence other Democrats on certain issues.

  4. Tom McCarthy wears so many hats at times his neck must get weary, or certainly his mind must get confused as to what he is doing. Strange to me he chose someone from outside the City to administer his oath.
    John Fabrizi was present to administer the oath also and shake hands all around.
    And Paul Ganim administered the oath of office to several newly elected.
    Personal events kept a few newly elected from the ceremonies. Can we assume the oath is taken elsewhere before they are seated? Finally, why is the entire City Council sworn in (some for the 11th or 12th time) while it is only the new members of the BOE who are treated in this regard? Anyone else curious? Time will tell.

  5. Thank you, Bond Girl. How silly of me to overlook that obvious fact.
    Does an election victory with a new oath of office represent a “slight speed bump on the road” to someone sitting for multiple terms? Or is each swearing-in a separate starting point to review one’s sense of the terrain in line with the oath of office? Time will tell.

  6. Musto obviously has poor judgment and his action of swearing in McCarthy represents a public rejection of good governance and home rule principles. CW4BB’s top priority in 2014 will be to ensure Musto is replaced.

  7. After steamrolling through the primary and general election, CW4BB is already setting their sights on next year. Its Treasurer uses the tone of a determined victor and sounds more politically motivated every day.

  8. The effectiveness and credibility of Bridgeport’s City Council will not be respected by the public and businesses who would consider expanding in Bridgeport until the Council eliminates its serious conflicts and starts making Committee assignments based on relevant experience and merit rather than seniority and political favoritism.

  9. Bridgeport poses several concerns to a potential developer/investor but the its City Council is not one of them. The public seems uninterested, too. In fact, current law could prevent specific problems before they arise. Things happen for a reason.
    The rules can be changed but its recent failure is part of the legislative record.
    Everywhere in politics assignments are based on seniority and favoritism. Bridgeport’s no different.

    1. Local Eyes,
      I know business people who have told me they will not consider Bridgeport unless and until it deals with its conflicts and cronyism. Please name any other city in the U.S. that has one of its top labor relations officials who has multiple inherent conflicts as its City Council Chair. I’ll save you time–there isn’t one! Only in Bridgeport!

  10. I know business people who’ve shown the fortitude to grow in Bridgeport despite what some call unfavorable conditions. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Things are tough all over. Everyone seeks ideal terms–that doesn’t happen only in Bridgeport.
    It would be a mistake to think I’ve got time on my hands. I’m just exploiting gaps in my productivity.

    1. Yes. In my view she should have abstained due the inherent conflict of Tom’s status as a City employee. It’s not about Tom as a person, it’s about conflicts, good government principles and home rule.


Leave a Reply