Tom White: The Driveway Driveby–City Council Members Did Normal Due Diligence (Nothing)

Former City Councilman Tom White, in an OIB commentary, writes Connecticut Post reporters did the work members of the city’s legislative body are supposed to do, serve as a check on the executive branch for the dubious $400,000 driveway leading to Manny’s Mansion, instead of claiming they were left in the dark. If subservient council members–several of them on the city payroll–were doing their job maybe radioactive developer Manny Moutinho wouldn’t have landed the taxpayer cash to build the driveway to his mansion. It’s now convenient for council members to complain when their servitude has been exposed. White commentary:

I recently e-mailed Connecticut Post staff writer Brian Lockhart to give him an ‘attaboy’ for the reporting on ‘The Driveway.’ I have been somewhat critical of the lack of old-fashioned investigative reporting on city matters in recent years and wished to acknowledge this effort.

He acknowledged my e-mail and said he would call me regarding another story he is working on regarding ‘The Driveway.’ The phone call never came and the story appeared on the front page of the print edition as ‘Council Left in the Dark.’

The story suggests that the Finch administration, the city council’s only source of information, had withheld mention of ‘The Driveway’ being included in the funding approval they quickly provided at a committee meeting just prior to a full city council meeting which resulted in near-unanimous approval as well.

Why should the Finch administration provide details? The city council regularly approves matters in a truncated manner using a consent calendar. Why should this item be treated any differently?

Provide detailed information to make a judicious decision? This would only confuse matters and prolong the typical twenty minute city council meeting as the council members ‘caucus’ (actually, illegal executive sessions) in order to get instructions on how to vote.

The article by Brian Lockhart portrays the council members he contacted for comments as now being surprised, even confused by the lack of detail of the funding. Why did they, without question, approve the funding without, apparently, requesting to see detail such as a listing of what the funds were to be used for?

The answer may be that the CT Post writers did some research and the city council members did their normal due diligence (nothing).

Adding insult to injury, is assigning an investigation of the matter to the Labor Relations Department, suggesting a city employee will be the fall guy. The assistant director of Labor Relations is Tom McCarthy, president of the city council and member of the airport commission. No doubt this investigation will be thorough and totally objective, just like the review conducted by the city council.

I have a suggestion. Contract the Connecticut Post staff writers to conduct the investigation. Had they not discovered ‘The Driveway,’ it would business as usual in Bridgeport.



  1. Can somebody look at this year’s budget and give the line item amount for the city council’s office supplies? I figure the allocation has to be huge to pay for all the rubber stamps they use to pass these resolutions. Brannelly alone must go through a few a year.

  2. Tom White, very good but you really got straight to the problem with the City Council when you wrote, “Why should the Finch administration provide details? The city council regularly approves matters in a truncated manner using a consent calendar. Why should this item be treated any differently?”

  3. It is unbelievable–not to me–that few questions were asked on a $3 million item. The lemmings on the council who are now acting stupid still don’t seem to want to inquire about what happened and why it happened the way it did. It is obvious to me after rwo other bids were received by Ricci, someone tipped off Manny as to the amount of the other bids. Ricci would never tell his friend what the others bid. That would be a conflict of interest, unethical and illegal. But you folks can rest assured Larry Osborne will get to the bottom of this and give the people a full explanation.

  4. This driveway matter is just the tip of the iceberg. It serves to demonstrate the impact of conflicts of interest and a lack of professional due diligence by the City Council. Accountability ultimately has to rise to the top–the Mayor and the President of the City Council. This issue has the potential to generate national media attention as part of a broader story about Bridgeport’s Tammany Hall governance system and poor financial condition. Stay tuned.

  5. Never mind the “What’s in your wallet?” question that is asked here from time to time. What’s your question is the question of OIB 2013. Daly from the CT Post is right when he stated the recent documents he checked out at the City’s Purchasing Dept. raise more questions, but he didn’t raise one (except for the ones asked of Tardy) himself. I have a few and I’m wondering how many specific questions (based on what we know) anyone else has. Here is the link to the Daly article and in a little while I’ll post some questions, comments and observations.


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