In an email to City Council President Aidee Nieves and co-chairs of the Contracts Committee Ernie Newton and Jeanette Herron, City Councilwoman Maria Pereira is urging Nieves to call a special meeting this week to address her resolution–pending for a month–seeking legislative oversight of payments made to the investigative firm Guidepost Solutions that is among the firms representing the city in response to federal probes of municipal government.
Most council members will be away next week in Washington, DC attending a National League of Cities Conference. Pereira email:
There are NO committee meetings scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday of this week. After all, both Contracts Co-chairs were quoted in the CT Post article published in yesterday’s Sunday CT Post expressing consternation and outrage at being kept out of the loop regarding another federal subpoena not just from the CT District, but also from the Southern District of NY. In addition, close to $300,000 has been spent on Attorney DeVita and Guidepost Solutions through November 30, 2019.
This is of such critical importance that I am urging City Council President Nieves call a Special Meeting of the City Council for Wednesday, March 4, 2020 or Thursday, March 5, 2020.
And, if City Council President Nieves does not, I strongly urge the Co-Chairs of the Contracts Committee to reschedule the March 10th Contracts Committee for either Wednesday, March 4, 2020 or Thursday, March 5, 2020.
Both we and the public have a right to know what Mayor Ganim’s administration is involved in.
Note: The Contracts Committee meeting scheduled for March 10 has been “CANCELLED due to a
lack of quorum and will be RESCHEDULED for a later date this month,” according to a posting Monday on the City Council web page.
The lack of quorum is due to the DC junket.
Pereira’s resolution appeared on the agenda of the February 3, 2020 City Council meeting. It was referred to the Contracts Committee on that date.
According to minutes of the meeting, Eneida Martinez made the motion to refer the matter, and others on the list, to the appropriate committee. Ernie Newton seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously on Feb 3.
Since then, it has not moved forward.
As always Mario’s Boy, will sweep it under the proverbial Rug!
How many City Council members will be attending this conference and how much is this costing the taxpayers? Why is it there’s no summary report from each council member who attends, that can easily be posted on the City’s website and in on OIB and in the media seeing that the taxpayers are paying. Maybe some of council members who have attended in the past can inform us what they have learned in the past that has improved the running of the City Council because the only thing we see is City Attorney Hamilton Burger telling council members how to vote on issues. Hopefully Maria will get enough council members to listen and asked questions for giving that kind of money away.
At public speaking session last evening, a local activist raised the issue of STIPEND accountability. Previously, some 5 months ago she had questioned a former CC expenditure of stipend funds and no Council person, Council committee or member of the administration had provided an answer to her. On some level she was attempting to recover stipend funding received for the City or some portion.
As an activist around City financial issues, I suggested that she pursue an action by the Council to make available as a monthly report, the stipend spending records of all Council members. In general this is not a gift or payment in lieu of a salary, but funds provided by taxpayers to assist the Council members in their work of listening and looking focused on oversight of existing issues and perhaps new legislation to deal with changed circumstances.
Which Council members wish to keep their spending habits as publicly unfriendly as they are now, requiring FOI pursuit? Who is proud of their use of public funds and will allow the fiscal record to show up? With technology, once the initial report is set up, there will be no additional costs to assist public oversight, will there? Time will tell.
Love her or hate her,Maria at least she tries to root out the corruption that is killing our city…However,I believe her attempts will go nowhere.Most of the others wouldn’t dare question what Joe,Mario & the city attorney’s office are doing….And other than taking a vacation on our dime,why do MOST of the CC have to go to Wash DC to the conference??..Nieves,and maybe a couple others should be sufficient.Does this vacation come out of their stipend money,or do the Bpt taxpayers have to ante up again for their hotels and 3 meals a day?..Unless part of the conference covers “How to get the balls to expose corruption in your city”,there is no sense in all of the Council going..
New Haven puts limitations on the number of folks attending and the frequency of attendance. This serves to limit such expense for that city.
Bridgeport legislators, with the highest municipal stipend found around, have no limits put on their ‘vacations’.
Were the junkets to venues around the US businesslike, we would receive reports on meetings attended, issues pursued, and ideas to follow-up for City quality improvement. Such reports might be no more than a Middle School composition exercise on: “What I did on my family vacation and what we learned to keep in memory.” They could be posted on the City Council site easily by District for current learning by taxpayer voters and use by their subcommittee.
Such a reporting responsibility might justify the expenditure of as much as 50% or more of Stipend actual results each year. It would also connect the purpose of the conferences attended to the problems of the City, including high taxes and many needs already. What say you to your City Council representative? Time will tell.
Harvey, Maria’s concerns are the same ones expressed by numerous posters on OIB! Our concerns are easily dismissed, but Maria’s aren’t easily dismissed without benefit of the public’s interest and perturbation.
Maria’s request to the President of the CC and others is long overdue by a member of the council regarding involvment of the Body in matters of the City that are over the top, and are not available to the public unless the Post reports on what information is available to them. My dear friend Lennie could always be counted on to make all information available, but lately I’m confused by my friend’s lack of digging and reporting on some really, really questionable issues. Some of us are still connected to sources so we know, but what about the public. It appears to me that this request from Maria is being stalled due to a date workable for all. That’s easy to fix. It’s called communication and willingness to share with each other,(without the influence of outside sources,) how they feel, and what they would do. Harvey, the junket to DC is a good source of information to councilmembers who go to benefit from what it has to offer, and it’s a great opportunity for those attending to share with the public. It is a stipend-friendly expense. Speaking of stipends, wouldn’t it elevate the members if they decided to police themselves in an appropriate manner. I have heard from numerous sources that Marcus Brown, 132nd district used $1,800 at the Ritz, paid for by his stipend account. If this is not true, I would expect Marcus Brown to reply to this on OIB. The truth is easly available. If true, I would expect the President of the CC to look into it.
Lisa, a little while go Tom White made a great point to Ernie Newton and to the entire City Council where he said that the council has the authority to bring in department heads and question them. Lisa I agree taking her action but I don’t see the benefit of the junket to DC as being a good source of information to councilmembers who go to benefit from what it has to offer, and it’s a great opportunity for those attending to share with the public. It is a stipend-friendly expense because I don’t see any evidence it working for the taxpayers.
Yes Lisa your key word is ‘willingness’ and that, as we all know is the problem. How many on the CC and other areas of city government are ‘willing’ to do the right thing and ask the questions and take actions necessary to expose the going’s on in and around city hall?
That’s why I’ve said many times here on OIB ‘imagine if there were a few Maria’s on the council’. What a difference that would make. You know that many of them have already called each other to figure out how to sidestep her. They shudder at the fact that they know she is just getting started!!!
More actions like this could force the news agencies to cover this and other stuff and that’s how the public will get to find out. Let’s hope that she gets more support from others. Strength in numbers. Cheers Maria!!!
Here’s one for Maria to dig her teeth into.
Be it ordained that all requests / reimbursements of stipends must be publicly noticed for 14 days either through the city website or via the CT Post & Only in Bridgeport before they are reimbursed.
Pretty simple and straight forward. No threats of non-reimbursement. No oversight just a two week waiting period. Let’s see if that flies.
If it’s true, let’s see what the good voters of the 132nd will say about an $1,800 stay at the Ritz.
The third show has been announced for the amphitheater. You’d better be sitting down.
Are you ready???
For real. I can’t believe it. I hope all the City Council members are happy they took care of themselves. Tickets will be in demand for this show.
Wait a minute. I thought it was Black Sabbath. Sorry. Or maybe Black Crows. Nope. Blackberry jam, I mean, Blackberry smoke. Holly smoke.
Bob, Was that dingleberry smoke?
Have you been smoking dingleberries???