Post Your Turkey Awards, Plus: Smoke-Free Zone

I’m a happy man this week (okay, I’m generally happy in any event) because OIB traffic is surging a few weeks after the election when it was expected to reach its peak. So, thank you to the thousands of you visiting OIB.

What are you hearing out there regarding city negotiations with unions? Are we any closer to surviving this financial freefall?

We’re mighty close to announcing our annual Turkey of the Year Awards, but don’t let that stop you from casting nominations one week from Thanksgiving. Why wait until the last minute, fire away. I’m looking forward to Yahooy’s stuffed Philistine of the Year. (Hope it’s not me.)

The Water Torture Test

Rule number one: if a public official has his hand out, don’t get your father involved. Rule number two: if a public official has his hand out, run as fast as you can and call a lawyer.

The government on Wednesday charged Peter Botti–the 80-year-old father of Shelton developer James Botti indicted for allegedly larding Public Official #1, aka Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti in exchange for favorable treatment–with repeatedly depositing or withdrawing less than $10,000 (amounting to nearly $150K) to avoid IRS reporting requirements. Translation: they were trying to make it look like no funny business was going on.

What you’re seeing in this case that’s leading to the chief elected official in Shelton, the outgoing Barnum Festival ringmaster, is government-style Chinese water torture.

Okay, we’ll let you play ball with us. If you don’t we raid your house in front of your kids. If that doesn’t work we indict your father.

This is the time of the investigation when the wings are pulled off the flies. The government thinks young Botti is an arrogant prick, and they won’t mind pulling on the wings a little tighter if it persuades him into cooperation mode. If not, they’ll make their case while he sits, along with his father, at the defense table with Public Official #1.

What did Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez write the other day: Botti-bing!

News release from Mayor Finch

Mayor and City Health Department Encourage City Workers to Quit Smoking During “Great American Smokeout”

BRIDGEPORT, CT (November 19, 2008) – Mayor Bill Finch, together with the Bridgeport Health Department, is encouraging all City employees who are smokers or who have family members who are smokers, to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 20, 2008.

Smoking is a global problem. According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, more than 450,000 adults in Connecticut are cigarette smokers, and every year in Connecticut, more than 4,900 people die from smoking-related diseases.

Mayor Finch is concerned about workers’ health and welfare, as well as their work productivity and medical costs associated with smoking. “If we can motivate and assist employees to quit, everyone benefits. Employees who quit significantly reduce their risk of health complications, and overall costs associated with smoking.”

The Great American Smokeout is an opportunity for people to set a date to quit smoking. Mayor Finch said he “recognizes that quitting smoking is the single most important step employees can make to improve their health.” He also recognizes it can be the most difficult.

Similar to our area hospitals, the City is preparing to become a smoke-free campus. In order to achieve this goal, Mayor Bill Finch is fully committed to giving employees the support and assistance they need to quit, including a variety of cessation programs.

On November 20, the Bridgeport Health Department, together with Pfizer, will be launching an anonymous survey to all City employees to determine their health and smoking status. The survey will assess employees’ readiness to quit smoking. Mayor Finch encourages all employees who smoke to complete the survey.

Using survey results, additional group work-site smoking cessation classes and other tools will be implemented to assist those employees who are ready to quit.



  1. You wonder where the crisis management people for Public Official #1 are.

    1- He should immediately resign from his elected position to deal with this privately.

    2- He should plea bargain now and spend a year like Rowland instead of 10 like Ganim.

    A friend made a good observation that at least this is a bi-partisan corruption scheme involving both D’s and R’s. If things get even worse for the R’s I think I’ll cave into pressure and just become a Democrat like the rest of the state and New England!

  2. Ron,
    It is true local 834 will have two meetings today. They are not “special” meetings but rather the regularly scheduled monthly meetings. It is a shame that not all members of the fire department will be in attendance as some of them have chosen to withdraw from the local. It is unfortunate but even if they wanted to attend they couldn’t … why on earth would they do such a foolish thing?

  3. It is so bummer on ‘roids about the City. I moved here from Derby, guess that was a mistake. I don’t know much about politics but why don’t we just hire people with experience to run the city and if they screw up fire them. I know if my register is off by a quarter my head will roll.

    Thanks for dispensing some TP on the potty humor. I think the turkery bird-in-chief is Sarah Palin. She reminds me of my boyfriend’s mother in that cougarish, wanna-be MILF sort of way. And we do not want my boyfriend’s mother in the white house, she’d probably do all the other country’s presidents, ’cause her husband is just the sketchy side of what my mother calls trailer trash. I told her this isn’t Alabama and nobody says trailer trash anymore. Anyway this Sarah chick is a total climber, she was probably planning on droppin’ an extra roofie or two in the old dude’s tea at lunch so she could be the queen. I will say I did like her leather jacket better than her stepford clothes. No way would I pay $150k on pink suits. And the glasses; what, she couldn’t afford contacts? She is such a turkey she probably gobbles in bed and is used to getting stuffed.

  4. Lennie, did you know there is another story out today re Joe Ganim seeking a new trial and you are one of the primary reasons for it. It is posted on-line in CT Post.
    I hear from my sources that the City is looking for zero pay increases for 2 years in exchange for job security. I think this is a fair offer and the unions should seriously consider this package.

  5. I heard the city first offered 1199 a 0, 0 and 0 (annual pay raises) and a one-week furlough. They said no thanks so the city countered with 0 (annual pay raise for the first year) and a one-week furlough. They can renegotiate the next two years sometime in the future. Sounds to me like 0, 0 and 0 (annual pay raises) and a one-week furlough pronounced. And yet the city wants to give Nick Panuzzio $48K for lobbying services for the next six months.

  6. *** There are only so many concessions the unions in general will stand for, so I would think that more layoffs are in the mix. It’s a shame that an employee with the city of Bpt. that has some, say 10 yrs. senority can get laid off before an election crony with a lot less time before the holidays. *** Also, if in fact public official #1 turns out to be the Mayor of Shelton, he should be presumed innocent ’til proven guilty. And if in fact there is enough evidence to probably find him guilty; he should try & make a deal like Rowland did, without having to tell on anyone involved. *** The Holiday classic movie this year is, “The Finch that Stole Xmas”! *** Coming & Affecting a Family Near You! ******************************

  7. Cato- Can I be your Green Hornet?

    Dear Abby- Was that ‘roids or raids?

    I wonder if Finch is going to give up smoking stogies and his wife give up the Marlboros.

    City Hall Smoker must be a Tareyton person. He “would rather fight than switch”.

  8. Lennie, as far as NAGE (My Onion) is concerned, I understand that Frank, my Onion President, did not show up for the past Monday meeting. NAGE members are in the dark as to what offer has been made. There are also some members of NAGE still waiting for their Turkey vouchers. My voucher is still available to the first former NAGE member laid off last year who contacts me. So far, my year to date Onion dues total $447. Now that’s one expensive turkey!

    As far as members of 1159 (the Police Union) feelings about their offer, I heard a lot of, “I like it” from officers who asked each other about the offer. I’ll take a zero raise for 2 years with no medical cost increases. It’s not like I have gotten any significant raise in the past.

    Let me see what this new Joe Ganim trial is about.

  9. All right Lennie, where’s the money? Show me the money is one of my favorite movies. I can only assume that Joe Ganim’s new Attorney (a latino?) doesn’t believe that state’s witnesses (co-conspiring ones) should not be allowed to walk or get lenient sentences either.

  10. Lennie:

    When arguments like the ones alleged by Joe Ganim’s new attorney arise, do you have to consult an attorney to protect your rights under the agreement you made with the government? Do you feel like the ghost of the “Ganim Case” has had an effect (positive or negative) on your future since getting out of the toilet-cleaning business?

  11. Just thought I’d drop a line or two to weigh in on the current financial freefall and how it is impacting the city/union negotiations. There is no doubt that this crisis is real and it needs to be dealt with and dealt with soon. It is not going away and is not going to get better on its own. With that being said, does anyone think it is fair of this administration to threaten layoffs unless the unions kick in $4.5 million in concessions without themselves having demonstrated a commitment to fixing the problem? How is it that the unions are to blame for this mess? Why aren’t the people responsible for creating this house of cards called a budget being held accountable for their gross negligence? What guarantees do the unions have that these same geniuses won’t put us right back in this same position a year or two down the road?
    I am not sure which direction this is heading but I am certain that unless Mayor Finch does a little house cleaning in his own office he can not be taken seriously.

  12. “park city fan” wrote “It is a shame that not all members of the fire department will be in attendance as some of them have chosen to withdraw from the local. It is unfortunate but even if they wanted to attend they couldn’t … why on earth would they do such a foolish thing?”

    I have no problem answering that question, all you have to do is call me or if you see me ask me. If it becomes a subject matter on this site I will address it. I have been elected to three separate union executive boards for three separate companies and I believe in unionism and supporting and looking out for my brother union member. I am proud that I got out of the fire union because they did not believe in supporting and looking out for their brother black union members.

  13. City employees I hear what you are saying. Of course it is not your fault that the city is financially strapped. The blame can be directed toward numerous subjects. However the only way to make a dent is to deal with labor since labor is the most significant factor. Hence you take a hit. In the present economy, and apparently for the foreseeable future, the entire northeast and especially CT and Bpt are in for very tough times. Sacrifices must be made. It is better to have a job with your medical benefits than to be without them. I believe the mayor’s negotiators have presented you with a fair package, given the present conditions and you would do well to accept it. In my humble opinion, you would be foolish to reject it. I agree with you that the mayor must now set an example and halt all hiring especially these “political” discretionary positions and must do so immediately in good faith to all of you. Thank you for considering this offer and for your sacrifice.


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