Walsh Tells Musto To Grow A Spine On City Council Reform Bill, ‘Will You Roll Over And Play Dead Or Find Courage?’

Former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh writes he will actively campaign against State Senator Anthony Musto if Musto does not support the state legislative bill that would bar city employees from serving on the City Council. Many of Musto’s Bridgeport constituents, such as Walsh, are urging Musto to find some backbone instead of caving in to the city’s political interests that support the conflicts of interest they want to remove. Bridgeport’s City Charter prohibits city employees from serving on the council, but a loophole in state law allows it. Musto has not responded to several inquiries from OIB asking him to state his position. Walsh’s letter to Musto:

I am writing concerning HB 5724 “Act Prohibiting Municipal Employees from Serving on Certain Municipal Legislative Bodies.”

I will forward under separate cover copies of a recent Letter To The Editor that I submitted to the CT Post as well as a copy of the written testimony that I submitted to the committee.

Needless to say this legislation is near and dear to me. And I am totally baffled by your apparent ambivalence towards this issue.

If you take the time to read the attached you will learn that I was both a member of the City Council and a city employee during the Ganim administration. Shortly after making an extremely critical speech about Mayor Ganim I found myself without a job. This is what can happen to employees who speak out on the Council floor. And, in spite of what you may hear up in Hartford from organized labor, even though I was a member of a union, that organization failed to afford me the protections that I had expected.

Furthermore, as the investigation into the Ganim corrupt practices evolved, I was contacted by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation seeking my assistance in their investigation as a fact witness. As such I assisted in explaining and reviewing the practices and procedures in of the city and the City Council. At the time they had specifically noted that I was approached by them due to public statements I had made about the actions by the Ganim administration.

I say these things in order to provide you with proof that:

1) Retribution against city employees who do not play follow the leader is real and it happens for sure in the city of Bridgeport.

2) Any actions that tend to silence elected officials can have serious negative impacts not only in fulfilling their duties in representing their constituency but also when it comes to investigating and prosecuting corruption.

3) Union representation can be corrupted by a corrupt administration.

4) In a state such as Connecticut where we have had Governors and Mayors of our largest cities resigning or being found guilty of corrupt practices any action that encourages corrupt practices hurts our cities’ and state’s image and fosters the culture of corruption.

And yet in spite of all of the publicity that this bill has generated, I have yet to hear or read a definitive statement from you as to where you stand on this legislation and why you have not already signed on as an ardent supporter.

As a matter of fact, I heard second hand that you, at one public meeting, dismissed the bill as a problem unique to Bridgeport and that the state cannot be bothered with fixing Bridgeport’s problems. Furthermore you had suggested that Bridgeport needs to fix their own problems.

I would hope by now that you have properly educated yourself to know that Bridgeport has cleaned its own house and has language in its charter barring city employees from serving on the council. But it is a state law that prohibits the city from enforcing its own charter. Hence the legislation proposed by Representative Hennessy and co-sponsored by Representative Grogins.

I am asking that you publicly endorse this legislation and sign on to the legislation. If not I am begging you to publicly explain why you refuse to do so.

I am not a one-issue voter. I look at a candidate’s complete body of work before deciding to endorse and/or vote for that individual. But obviously I place a far greater emphasis on their stance on issues near and dear to me. And this piece of legislation meets that criteria.

I cannot say today that I will not support you a year from now when you are up for re-election. But you will have had to shock me with your accomplishments in the meantime to offset this major failure of yours.

More likely than not, your unwillingness to fight for this legislation on behalf of your Bridgeport constituency will cause me to actively campaign against you when the time comes.

The choice is yours. Time is running out. Will you roll over and play dead like many members of the city’s delegation or will you find the courage to step forward and lead?

Please feel free to contact me at this e-mail address if you wish to discuss this further.



  1. Bob makes some strong points. It’s time for Senator Musto to stand up and be counted. This is not a hard judgment call. Being for HB 5724 means supporting the people versus the special interests, good government versus the political machine, and pro-home rule. A judge would not take long to decide this matter based on the merits.

  2. Brilliant. This may fall on deaf ears, however this letter is perfectly executed in a terse fashion. I do not always agree with Bob Walsh, however more times than not he is the voice of reason amongst followers of the status quo. I know many council members who are also employed by the City. I know them to be hardworking and dedicated. I totally support this legislation but would like a clause stating all future elections. Asking some of these council members to have to make a decision like this would be tough. Any future candidate who is not currently serving is what I would like to be written into law if it is not already.

    1. Ah, the “Grandfather” clause. It’s been discussed in a couple of scenarios. It is on the table. If the right people don’t consider it, it will be off the table for the next submission.

  3. There are equal protection legal issues associated with any attempt to grandfather existing employees who are on the City Council. A better approach would be to make the legislation effective in 2015 and allow the voters of Bridgeport to vote on whether employees should be able to serve on the Council as part of a new Charter Revision Commission before 2015.

  4. Local Eyes Rumor Mill:
    Thousands of people fill the streets of downtown Bridgeport where crowds waving pro-Musto placards repeatedly shout in unison Ignore Bob Walsh.

  5. Completely off topic. Sorry.

    I am completely in favor of extensive universal background checks associated with weapon and ammunition purchases. The chief objection according to the bums in the federal legislature who acquiesced to the NRA threats is such investigations will create a world-wide database that could impinge on personal privacy. I think that premise is weak.

    I just stopped in at a Walmart where I purchased Zyrtec for allergies. I had to fill out a form providing a considerable amount of personal information before the pharmacist could give me the over-the counter allergy medicine. He said the information provided by me will comprise a global universal data base that will be used to insure against abuse of allergy medication. Interesting, isn’t it?

  6. yahooy, although this is completely off topic I finally do agree with you on universal background checks associated with weapon and ammunition purchases.

  7. Steven A, you prove my point. A conscientious representative needs to be making that decision (council or job) on a daily basis. If they do not have to pick it is obvious the job is more important. And if they vote with any administration 99% of the time, if they never propose controversial legislation and if they never publicly challenge the administration, why in hell do you think they deserve to be on the council???

  8. Council persons are elected to perform two primary duties as representatives of the people:
    To study, develop and approve ordinances that serve the public; and to pass a balanced annual budget. As legislators they are not intended to be in the pocket or lapdogs of the executive branch. They ARE meant to be a check and balance on executive activity and overreaching. People who work for the City and are on the Council cannot handle the conflicts that necessarily appear. That’s the reason for our Charter language.

    For the most part, our Council members believe they are exalted hierarchy in the governance of the community. Most of them are ready to follow the leader, in the same manner they did in nursery school. And a minority of them are not owners of residential properties on which larger taxes continue to be imposed. They have no understanding of what owners face, and somehow as renters they think they have escaped the affects of their failure to be fiscal watchdogs. Why don’t they accept the offer of assistance from taxpayers who understand some of the things they do not? Stubbornness? Debts of various kinds to people in power? (Conflicted behavior?) Time will tell.

  9. Why single out Musto? What about the delegation from Bridgeport? Seems unfair to only put the pressure on him alone, especially since he represents two other towns besides Bridgeport.

    1. Good observation, Godiva. Here’s the difference: the two members of the city’s State House delegation co-sponsoring the bill, Jack Hennessy and Auden Grogins, represent constituents in the Bridgeport portion of Musto’s State Senate District that represents the highest turnout areas of the city Musto will need for reelection next year. Musto will not win Trumbull and Monroe in 2014 if a Republican challenger qualifies for public financing. This places a premium on Musto running up a Bridgeport plurality. If Musto loses Black Rock, Brooklawn and North End voters over this issue, he’s toast. Musto has the most to lose among the city’s eight-member legislative delegation.

      1. Lennie, based on what you said it’s obvious Musto is doing what Mario Testa is telling him to do. He needs Mario to get those votes Black Rock, Brooklawn and North End for him.

    2. Godiva: There have been other folks in the City who have been calling all of the Reps out but Bob lives in Grogins’ district so his Rep already supports HB-5724. He is now calling out his State Senator, Musto. There have been some of the other Reps contending their constituents are not asking them to support the bill, and if it were important to them, it would have their attention. I wish some of the folks in the other rep and Senate districts would do the same thing Bob did. Musto’s district is loudly and publicly demanding his support and he is ignoring them. He is a real piece of work.

    3. Godiva2011,
      It is legislation that will affect many cities and towns in the state. In addition, Musto is Chairman of the committee that deals with election issues for the state legislature.

  10. *** True Godiva2011, seems unfair when there are another five State Legislators also in the same political sinking ship wondering whether to “bail water” or “abandon ship!” No idea why they cannot stand their ground and make a statement one way or another on HB-5724, no? *** SAD ***

  11. Musto is being singled out for two reasons. First is he has not taken a position on anything or at least not since he totally goofed and endorsed a girl’s detention center in the upper East Side of Bridgeport. Gun control legislation in CT–no position. If you are from Black Rock, the North End or Brooklawn and you have a legislator who won’t take a stand on anything, you are one unhappy taxpayer and voter. Second, the expectations from the rest of the Bridgeport delegation are so low no one holds them accountable. They are regarded as jokes who are unwilling, or more correctly, incapable of doing anything for Bridgeport. So different standard for them. Turns out folks were wrong about Musto. He’s a joke too and totally incapable of doing anything for Bridgeport. I can hardly wait to see who runs against him. I don’t think anyone is going to care what party it is, they will just turn out to vote against Musto. After all, he’s earned it.


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