Ticking, Ticking, Ticking

It’s crunch time for city unions. It’s trigger time for city management. Is there a compromise to be had?

The city has passed a budget that starts July 1 with roughly a $6 million hole requiring dramatic union concessions to close. Every day that goes beyond July 1 makes it more difficult for the city to close that gap. Every pay week without concessions or an equal amount of layoffs an even far greater gap to close.

So that means something must happen in the coming week to eat away at that hole. The city wants help from several city unions including those representing uniformed services. What is Mayor Bill Finch willing to do to share the burden among his discretionary appointments? That’s always one of the first questions union reps ask.

Police and fire unions will scream we cannot keep the city safe if you cut positions. The city will say (privately, at least) the only thing you want to keep safe is your retirement plan. Something must give soon otherwise bean counters will have a larger burden to close the budget gap.

From Dan Debicella:

Debicella challenges Himes Hypocrisy

Dan Debicella, the Republican nominee facing off against incumbent congressman Jim Himes, criticized Himes for his recent comments during a Himes-sponsored telephone town hall meeting. Himes stated during the call that he would be willing to support a 1% spending cut. Debicella called Himes’s statement “insultingly too little and embarrassingly too late.”

“Jim Himes voted to increase discretionary government spending by 22%,” Debicella said. “He supported an $800 billion stimulus package designed to create jobs yet unemployment still hovers at 10%.”

During the call, which was held on Tuesday June 16, Himes called for a budget “this year that in the aggregate reduces spending 1%.” Himes stated that the world is looking for “an indication that we have the political will, that we have a plan to over time restore fiscal balance.”

“This is yet another example,” Debicella said, “of Jim Himes’s hypocrisy. You can’t vote for a 22% spending increase in Washington and then come back to Connecticut and talk about a 1% spending cut and think that makes it all go away.” Debicella said he believes that people are savvy when it comes to politicians and spending, particularly in this political climate.

“People are concerned about spending and they’re angry with their incumbent congressmen,” Debicella said. “A 1% cut following Jim Himes’s 22% increase doesn’t fool anyone.” Debicella stressed that Jim Himes’s voting record has led to a $1.4 trillion deficit and that 1% cuts do not begin to make up the difference.

Debicella said that there is a better way. He said he proposes “a hard spending cap that will force politicians of both parties to make tough decisions about how tax dollars are spent as well as an end to political earmarks that simply reward politicians for voting with party insiders.” Debicella’s proposal would limit the size of the federal government to no more than 20% of the economy; currently government spending represents 26% of the economy.

Debicella is also touting his plan to repeal stimulus spending and return those dollars to families and small businesses in the form of a tax cut. “Putting money back in people’s pockets is the best way to jump-start the economy,” Debicella said. Debicella’s proposal to cut the payroll tax in half would return $1,500 to every middle class family, give every small business a tax cut, and reduce the federal deficit by $150 billion.

From Mr. Barnum:

Celebrating P.T. Barnum’s 200th Birthday!

Greetings from The Barnum Museum!

In 1810, James Madison was the President, there were 18 states in the Union, the Lewis and Clark expedition was still a ‘current event,’ and P.T. Barnum was born.

Years in the making, the 200th Birthday Celebration for one of America’s most remarkable icons, P.T. Barnum is quickly approaching!

We are so pleased to invite you to join us in a fun-filled day at the Museum and enjoy the fabulous and famous clowns of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, a fun and hilarious stage performance, Barnum’s World of Wonder, Barnum Festival floats, City of Bridgeport Fire Truck, Book Mobile, kids activities, live music, Luigi’s birthday cake, all culminating in a Happy Birthday tribute to P.T. Barnum by this year’s American Jenny Lind, Jen Caraluzzi.

The Barnum Museum wants everyone to enjoy the 200th Birthday Bash for P.T. Barnum, famed showman, philanthropist, author, mayor, legislator, and one of Bridgeport’s most celebrated citizens, and we hope you can join us for the festivities on JULY 5th, to help commemorate and celebrate the historic day!

The party will be held on Barnum’s birthday, July 5th from Noon to 3:00 PM at The Barnum Museum in Downtown Bridgeport, 820 Main Street, and Bridgeport residents are welcome for free!

From Mayor Finch:

Barnum Festival Events

The 62nd edition of the Barnum Festival kicks into high gear this weekend with the Wing Ding Parade for Kids, Sat. June 19 at the Beardsley Zoo. Registration begins at 9 a.m., parade starts at 11 a.m. Parents and children from babies to 12 years old can build a float or come in costume. Ribbons, trophies and cash prizes for Best in Show, Most Elaborate, Cutest, Most Patriotic, Best Animal Theme, Best Group, Most Clever and Best Costume.

Jenny Lind Concert

Thursday, June 24 — Jenny Lind Concert, 7:30 p.m., Playhouse on the Green. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call 203.367.8495 or 331.1104


Friday, June 25

Fireworks over Seaside Park at dusk.

Skyblast Party at 7 p.m. Tickets: $45

Champions on Parade

Saturday, June 26, Kennedy Stadium at Central High School. Gates open at 4:30 p.m., show begins at 5:45 p.m. Tickets: in advance $17; $20 at the door. Rain or shine.

Barnum Festival Parade

Sunday, June 27,

steps off at 11 a.m. from the corner of North, Clinton and Brooklawn avenues.



  1. I have thought about this upcoming round of potential givebacks for some time and even as a taxpayer I find them insulting to the workers.
    Here we are asking the employees for a second time to give back anywhere from 8 to 18 days pay to balance the budget.
    It would be one thing if the city and all employees felt the pain. It would be one thing if we had stopped the hiring of politically connected people but we have not.
    Last year the mayor and his group got givebacks from almost all the unions but they then continued on their hiring blitz. Just to name a few Murphy, Winterbottom, Sims, a council person for the airport and many more who I won’t list but you get the idea.
    The latest to be hired is a person named Sims who was hired under that all-inclusive banner of Special Projects Coordinator for the police department. She is to deal with community issues. I thought we had a community policing division within the PD.
    This arrogant administration needs a wake-up call, they need to be told and shown the city employees are not their servants and not their foils. It’s time for the unions to stand up to the mayor. Oh by the way where the hell are the council people on this issue and on the treatment of the city employees? Oh yeah I forgot most of them are city employees and most of them go along with this hiring during union giveback times. Shame on them.

  2. No compromise. No union givebacks. Ms. Sims was hired as a non-essential employee during a hiring freeze. The City admittedly circumvented the Civil Service process which means they did not test and interview to select the best possible candidate for the job. They hired someone who was charged not once but twice for crimes of dishonesty. The first was mortgage fraud and the 2nd was stealing from a well-known non-profit program that serves kids. This, Mayor Finch, is someone who can use her talents and deep roots to help the community? No, this is someone with deep roots to Ralph Ford and you need Ralph’s support to win the next election. Plain and simple. No compromise. No union givebacks.

    1. It’s sad harley76 doesn’t believe in second chances. Mrs. Sims has a right to work and make a living for her family. No one talks about all the City Councilman and ladies who serve and at the same time collect a paycheck.

  3. Unfortunately I believe TC is on track. If Finch is looking for givebacks again, he must show leadership by having all his appointees take a 5%-10% cut. Absolutely the same thing for Ramos at the BOE.

    Afterwards, the BOE must slam the teachers with layoffs. I know many teachers and respect many for their commitment and dedication. Unfortunately I know just as many who are tired, cynical and could care less. Unfortunately with a way too powerful and unbending teacher’s union, the hacks stay and the young go-getters get turfed.

  4. Finch hires individual with a checkered past for the police department at the same time he is getting ready to lay off uniformed personnel.
    The union wants a no-confidence vote. Not only is that a formality but I hope a foregone conclusion. I hope it’s unanimous.

  5. Add insult to injury. Mayor’s Proposed Budget, page 132, Police Dept, assistant special projects manager. Current salary $41,400. Salary as of July 1st $46,517. Increase of $5,117. I’m not that good at math, but isn’t that more than a 10% increase? Ms. Sims is not in a union, there is no contractual obligation, so why a 10% increase?

    Several of the unions have asked for a list of people hired during the hiring freeze. The labor relations office refuses to produce this list. Now we know why.

  6. As to Sims, I couldn’t believe Finch’s comment in today’s Post that they don’t consider a criminal background in hiring, everybody deserves a 2nd chance.


    By his logic, let’s get Joe Ganim back as Economic Development Director … He and his staff seemed to get a lot more done than Finch.

    Unfortunately Finch is not really qualified for employment in the real world and must live off the public tit. That means he must whore himself out to the Ralph Fords of the world.

    I’m a white guy so my opinion will be discounted by many. But I do not understand that when the East Side, the South End, public schools, etc have the same depressing problems and lack of results year after year, why the electorate does not vote out the bums and fire the managers.

    Too many in Bridgeport leadership are poverty pimps. And since the electorate keeps re-electing them and getting the same shabby results, then they deserve what they get!

    1. It’s sad to say no one said anything Mr. Bridgeport Democrat has a lot of you know what Mrs. Sims has a right to work so much for the self holy maybe Mr. Democrat should run for office.

  7. Here is the new Finch campaign slogan.
    He made the tough decisions. He hired the politicians and fired the police. Be careful ’cause you never know who is next.

  8. And all of this talk about McCarthy …
    Where is his leadership???
    His head is either buried in the sand or up his ass but you see nothing, hear nothing and he does nothing.

  9. Boys, boys, boys. (Oops! Girls too! Don’t want to be sexist. Snort.) Where’s the love?
    The Democratic committee is being taken care of.
    The unions are toothless. For years civil service and the unions thought they had jammed up the system by jamming up elected positions.
    Finch is merely correcting the level of terror between taxpayers and employees with legal protections.
    The mayor should be congratulated for his political suppleness and ability to govern as a good Republican.

  10. The only thing Finch cares about is saving his ass. He will kiss anyone else’s ass he needs to save his. Criminal record no problem, hated you last time you ran and supported the war monger no problem, hiring dozens of incompetent cronies during a hiring freeze no problem. Finch is so incompetent he can’t remember what lie he told for breakfast. Wood spends a lot of time wiping the brown off Finch’s nose, but Wood only cares about his own too. Who really runs City Hall? It’s not Mario, it’s not the City Attorney’s office it’s whoever has votes, power to give Finch a job or lots of dough to get him re-elected. I think Finch could benefit from some movie quotes. “Runaway!” “Run Forest run,” “Your fifteen minutes of fame are up,” “What we have here is a failure to communicate,” “squeal like a piggy,” “It’s sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues,” “Politicians are a lot like diapers. They should be changed frequently, and for the same reasons.” “You answered without saying anything. That’s politics.”

  11. What I want to know is what did the council budget committee do when they held their meetings with each department head? That’s easy they did not do squat. These council members are in cahoots with Finch and should be ashamed of themselves.
    Where is Walsh in all this? He doesn’t mind chirping about bullshit but on the issue of layoffs and a budget with a deficit he is quiet.
    Where is Ed Gomes and his institutional racism? Who does he think is going to get hurt worse with a reduction in the Police Department and Fire Department?
    Damn it is there not one elected officials with guts to stand up to Finch and Wood and the arbitrary hiring that is going on.
    McCarthy would not say shit if he had a mouthful. Totally in Finch’s pocket and the people be damned. McCarthy thinking of running for mayor? Forget it.

  12. Mr. Debicella is wrong on so many issues. As a woman his candidacy is scary to me in the area of women’s rights. He is against the right of a woman to choose even in cases of rape or incest. He voted against providing women rape kits in hospital. He thinks being a woman is a pre-existing condition and should pay higher health care premiums than a man. Himes is a strong supporter of women’s rights. Jim helped to pass the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ensure equal pay for women, and he supported maintaining a woman’s right to choose by voting against the Stupak amendment during health care.

    On taking office in January 2009, where the economy was contracting and America experienced a net loss of 700,000 jobs, Jim followed the advice of economists of all stripes and saw the way to avoid further economic disaster was investment to spur private-sector job creation–the stimulus. And it has been successful. Most indications show the economy is recovering, like new job creation and declining unemployment. Jim voted for the Recovery Act, which gave a tax cut to over 218,000 workers in the 4th District and saved over 26,000 jobs in Connecticut. Some people don’t think recovery is going fast enough. But you know the truth is Bush took office with a budget surplus from Clinton, as did Rowland from O’Neill, and went on spending and borrowing spree that dragged our nation and our state in a downward economic spiral. Unchecked borrowing and credit schemes further escalated the decline. Now people want change overnight. You must admit that is a bit unrealistic.

    But with millions of dollars of stimulus money still to be spent, we need to return to fiscal sanity from the reckless spending and deficits of the Bush administration. Jim has been an outspoken advocate, even going against his party when it was the right thing to do: signing a letter to Speaker Pelosi insisting on establishing a budget before spending, advocating a symbolic 1% cut in spending to show America that Washington is serious about reining in spending, and thoughtfully considering any additional spending before supporting it–and when doing so, making sure it is paid for. 1% may not seem like much, but it is not an increase and it is realistic. Himes has developed respect on both sides of the aisle. Debicella’s extremism, especially as the minority, would assure he couldn’t keep any promise he made.
    Jim believes we should still pay for important projects, but new government spending must be matched with budget cuts or savings in other places as outlined in the PAYGO legislation he co-sponsored last summer, and the president signed in February. We have tangible proof that Jim can get things down, like the removal of the stuck Congress Street Bridge and he will continue his quest for money for the 4th district’s infrastructure. Jim is someone you can trust, a rare quality these days. You don’t walk away from a meeting with Jim without feeling like he really cares about you.

    1. “… Jim followed the advice of economists of all stripes …”

      You expect us to believe Himes listened to economist Peter Schiff (Republican), the only one who got it right and warned us all about the sub-prime mess?

    2. MCAT: there is no way to quantify the number of jobs saved by the stimulus. The administration is claiming it saved a lot of police and fire department jobs and teachers jobs.
      The unemployment rate is still 9-plus last month’s increase in the employment figures was found to be the constant rehiring of census workers. They would lay them off and then rehire them and count them as new jobs. Just look around no one is working.
      You make Himes sound like the second coming. He voted for a 2000-page-plus health care plan and never had time to read the bill.
      Look to be fair freshman legislatures don’t get much of anything done. As a matter of fact our Washington delegation for all of its seniority has done squat for the state.

      1. TC, is there any living person in public service who you admire? Just curious. Himes has nothing to do with the way the City is run and once again unemployment is dropping, even if slowly. Are you expecting dollars and jobs to multiply like loaves and fish? (Or would taking a fish from someone who had a lot of fish to feed the masses be offensive?) The health care bill was a compilation of dozens of re-writes and amendments. Most legislators had read all of the various sections prior to voting, just not in one lump. I needed that bill, I want my kids to be covered until they are 26, I don’t want to be a pre-existing condition and discriminated against because I am a woman. Perhaps the bill wasn’t perfect but it is an historic, much-needed first step. As to CT the Congressional delegation CT has done quite well for its size and population. I think it is safe to say a certain number of jobs were saved based on the fact they would have been cut without certain funding. I love to argue and be contrary as much as the next person, but if I always were that way I’d have a tough time getting out of bed in the morning. If you always expect the worst it seems you will always get it. As Winston Churchill said, “For myself I am an optimist–it does not seem to be much use being anything else.” Also, “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” It is why I keep posting here; I know someday you will agree with me.

        1. MCAT: Governor Christie from New Jersey comes to mind as does Scott Brown from Massachusetts. Christie is making the tough decisions for New Jersey that need to be made and the unions be damned. I was expecting a government jobs program that actually put people back to work. Where are those jobs? To say we have saved jobs is so much BS and a way for politicians to BS the people. The latest unemployment figures show the unemployment rate still at about 9.7% give or take.
          Why should your kids still be on your insurance at age 25 or 26, isn’t it about time at that age they fend for themselves? BTW on health care the true picture is starting to form people are going to lose the coverage they already have because it’s cheaper for their employer to pay the fine associated with not giving coverage to employees than to pay for the coverage.
          I don’t admire people who do nothing but run for office they really have no clue on the day-to-day struggles of the working man. To get to where they are they needed to lie and compromise their principles if they had any to begin with. Look at Blumenthal and Susan B these are two perfect examples.
          Blumenthal lied about his service and Susan B dropped out of the governor’s race because of the problems facing CT and she wanted to run in 4 years for the senate and did not want her performance as governor to hurt her chances.

  13. I believe Himes has done a good job and will only get better with time, BUT PLEASE STOP referring to the “removal” of the bridge like it’s a great thing, it is not. Shame on all those who stood there for pictures (like they supported the “removal”). The “removal” with no substitute is a slap in the face to the residents of that area. say what you will you can’t justify the fact people will still have limited access to downtown. If I ever get cancer hope the doctor doesn’t give me a band-aid.

    1. Hector have you noticed no one is saying anything about the economic benefit from the bridge demolition to Bridgeport residents? I watch them on a weekly basis and I noticed the license plates of many of the bridge demolition workers were from Maine, Massachusetts and New York. How many were from Bridgeport?

  14. Jasper didn’t hire hacks, generally, from what I learned. I’m sure there were stinkers in there. I admire him, but he made mistakes like anyone else. His mistakes tended to cost less, I bet.
    The neatest Jasper thing about hiring that gets overlooked is he made his political appointees civil service once he passed civil service. Nice trick!

  15. Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) – Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez was found guilty Friday on five of six counts in his corruption trial. Medics were called to care for his wife, who was overcome by emotions in court.
    There was no immediate comment on whether the mayor would resign.

    Why couldn’t we be so lucky???
    All Finch is guilty of is incompetence, buffoonery, ineptitude in judgment and misfeasance. Oh hell, that’s enough. Guilty as charged!!!

  16. Hector, every journey begins with a first step. You can’t build a new one without removing the old one. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Sorry for the platitudes, yet sometimes they are handy. Anyone with a facebook I invite you to “like” my page Mount2010. Also check out my website http://www.michelemount.com. I love free promotion, thanks Lennie 🙂

  17. Hector,
    I agree with you. The idea was to tear down the old bridge that stood as a symbol as to how the East Side is isolated from the downtown with no real plans to rebuild/replace it. The hope is that it will soon become a distant memory.

    The same can be said for the O’Rourke House. When it stood as the lone structure in the vast empty lot on Steel Point, it served as a constant reminder of the failures of the project, of the properties taken through eminent domain, of the rotting and decaying development proposal and of the inability of at least three mayoral administrations to make any real headway with the development. Once torn down, the property sits as a vacant parcel in a sea of vacant parcels.
    Out of sight; out of mind.

  18. “… the property sits as a vacant parcel in a sea of vacant parcels. Out of sight; out of mind …”

    I totally agree with your description of the Steelepointe site. The site is not empty; you have poor sight if you don’t see what I see there; and it’s been on my mind at least.
    Before you give me that “Grin,” let me explain. The parcels are not all empty. Have you noticed the structures that remain standing at the site? How could you not if they are even lighted at night? I’m talking about the five Advertising Billboards. There are four of them on the site and one on top of 371-177 E. Main Street, the symbol of the failure of Democrats. All the homes and businesses have been demolished. When I was on the Council back in 1999, it was clearly understood everything at the site was to be torn down. The billboards are huge money maker$ for the owners who have been known to contribute financially to the Democratic party. On top of the Democratic Party symbol of failure at 377 E. Main St. (city owned), there is another billboard that has also gone untouched by the city. Grin when you notice the billboards are double-sided. An ad on one of these billboards can bring in up to $5000 a month (help me here Lennie) times twelve equals $60 grand per side or $120,000 per year per billboard. That should make the owners of the billboards “Grin.”

  19. So far the only union to say it will give back is the trades union right? That union has a conflict of interest as the union head is Charles Carroll’s brother.

      1. LMAO

        Wish I went to school and were a tradesman making decent money, no I mop floors and clean up puke like you used to do eyedoctor. Too bad you forgot what that was like to earn your pay waxing a building in the am before it gets to 95 outside.

        1. Question for you Doc

          Why is it you and your alter ego Bill Hicks only come out of hiding when someone points out truths about the BOE??? I may clean puke for a living, but that doesn’t mean I will be crapped upon, nor should my fellow custodians.

          1. OH you’re a disgruntled janitor. And I NEVER cleaned up puke. Don’t know where you get your info from. I only comment when someone complains about the same shit over and over and over. I sad it before and I’ll say it again, unless there is a court order keepin’ you there, if you don’t like your job then quit.

    1. Wonder what kind of deal the trades got? If they received preferential treatment because of their association with the Carroll brothers this is a definite conflict of interest and should be investigated.

        1. All I said was the trades are the only ones to say they will give back and you assumed I was a disgruntled tradesman, ASSumed wrong of course Doctor.

          That has nothing to do with over and over again as it’s the first time anyone has mentioned the tradesmen giving back.
          So to make this short DOC,

          you are full of shit. And I ain’t moppin’ it up.

          You are 100% correct.

          1. #1 I didn’t assume anything, I only asked. You’re the one assuming I cleaned up puke.
            #2 It is over and over again. You complain all the time how being a custodian sucks. I’m only offering advice. Go somewhere else where it’s better for you.
            #3 What kind of preferential treatment would the trades get, keeping their jobs??? So what if Mr. Carroll is head of the building trades. He’s only looking out for the members of his unions. Can’t really say that about the supervisors, the teachers, nage or 1522. All they do is take your money and run the unions like a dictatorship.
            Don’t know how that makes me full of shit. I know what I know, you’re just another internet troll who tries to get a rise outta someone and roll with it. That’s all this website is for anyways, a place for all the moaners and whiners.

  20. I’ve been out of town. However, I read with interest this morning the Mayor is going to deep-six many of the city’s slant sixes that have been take-home cars. Why did it take almost 3 years to accomplish this? Are the take-home cars considered an employee benefit and do the employees pay taxes on this yearly benefit? If this benefit is added in as compensation do the employees get a benefit in their pension?

    1. There were a few names conspicuously left out of today’s car article: Mike Feeney, Charlie Carroll and several foremen in Public Facilities. Some of these cars have non-municipal plates put on to disguise the fact they were city cars.

      Joe Lemon asks the questions because he knows the answers. But I’ll bite. The cars are considered a benefit and the value is added to the employee’s compensation thereby increasing the amount the city pays towards their pensions. Another one of the dirty little tricks that have gone on for years.

      1. I’m wondering if Larry Osborne is giving up his city take-home vehicle (the dark green Astro Van).
        Now HE is a waste of taxpayers’ money. He should be fired, he hasn’t won one case. He has cost the city muito dinheiro.

  21. Laurelton Hall student learn the lessons of giving.

    Can somebody please tell the CT Post that the school’s name is spelled LAURALTON! Maybe they should be attending the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Downtown Cabaret!

  22. As for the Sims hiring, this city does not hire people for the functions they will perform on paper, they hire political operatives. VOTES is what we are paying for. Sims can deliver VOTES at the next Mayoral primary. Appointees are operatives.

  23. MCAT, last I heard Dan was pro choice. It is one thing to put your opinion out there but I think you should recheck your knowledge of his positions. I think Jim Himes is a decent guy so this is not an endorsement of Dan, just pointing out you may not have your facts straight.


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