This may be a first, the City Council has hired its own lawyer. Sort of.
City Attorney Mark Anastasi has proclaimed repeatedly that the City Charter gives the city attorney–and only the city attorney–the authority to hire outside counsel.
Council members have hired Berchem, Moses & Devlin to review and advise them regarding the Steel Point development agreement. Council members have meowed for years that advice from lawyers on the payroll slants to the mayor. Anastasi has a history of loyalty to the chief executive. He is hired by the mayor and in his view must be absolutely loyal in his legal advice.
Well, what about us? ask council members. The advice given to the mayor is not necessarily a legal opinion good for the legislative body. The council must ultimately sign off on the development agreement crafted between developer and the mayor.
This kind of hire, however, can be tricky. The council has hired an accomplished firm to guide them legally. But it is also a firm that has and is representing the city on other matters. Could this eventually present a conflict between mayor and the council? Wouldn’t it be better to hire a firm that has no ties to city work?
The council has said screw it Mark, we want our own person on this one. And it appears the city attorney will play ball on this one rather than fight it. Mark has a few extra bucks stashed away in his legal account to pay for this. And Bob Berchem, the leading partner in the firm, has presented a proposal to the council that caps the legal work at roughly $20k. The council doesn’t have to worry about bidding the work if it’s run through Anastasi’s office. So there’s a bit of a wink going on between Mark and council members. Give us this one, Mark, and we won’t break your stones.
But it opens the door for the council to hire a lawyer on other matters as well.
Caruso And Columbus
Yeah baby, pass the sausage and peppers and pizza fritta, it’s Columbus Day weekend.
I chatted with the indomitable State Rep. Chris Caruso, a key weekend festivities organizer, about events sponsored by the Council of Italian American Societies. Friday and Saturday night at 7 the U.S. 2nd Marine Division Band will play free concerts at the Klein. If you’ve never seen the band or the Klein, check it out. The Klein is a sweet city-owned venue.
Tix are free and can be picked up at Lupe’s, 3129 Main Street, Bridgeport. Call 203-374-0600. Non-perishable food items are requested for distribution to needy vets.
On Sunday, the Columbus Parade kicks off at 1 p.m. at Wayne and Jewett, heads south on Wayne to Madison Avenue where it will end around the area of Micalizzi’s Italian Ice. Lots of floats and bands on tap including PAL Buccaneers, Park City Senior Drum & Bugle, Holy Rosary Church and The Shriners. Love those old guys on their cycles.
Parade organizers could use convertibles and welcome classic cars. (Hey Yahooy, here’s your chance to invite Anna in your ragtop.) Anyone with a convertible or classic car should contact Rose Vizzo at 203-452-7573.
Weather looks nice for Sunday. Ms. Mo and I will be harassing all the pols in the parade. Well, maybe just me. She loves to wave and blow kisses.
Speaking of Caruso, I hope to do a Pol Pod with him very soon. He’s always an interesting interview. The 2010 gubernatorial cycle will be a pisser and then we segue right into the mayoral cycle. Just think of the possibilities in 2011. Bill Finch, Chris Caruso, Johnny Fabs. Could Carmen Lopez jump in? Paul Ganim? Or Joe Ganim? How about State Rep. Don Clemons? State Rep. Andres Ayala? Maybe I’ll move back into the city and run myself. I might get one vote. Maybe not, I don’t think I could convince myself to vote for me.
Could Finch say screw it and make a play for Connecticut secretary of state next year? That’s the job Bill always wanted before city pols pressed him to run for mayor. Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is the leading Dem along with Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy for the gubernatorial party nod. That leaves SuBy’s seat available.
No, I haven’t lost my mind. These kinds of opportunities in politics don’t come around often. You take your shot when it’s available. And it would be a free run for Bill. He doesn’t have to give up his mayoral seat to run for secretary of state. All Bill has to do is pick up the phone and call Dem Party Chair Nancy DiNardo and say I want in. What she’ll say is a different story. That scream you just heard was Nancy saying, “Lennie, leave me alone.”