What, No Fight? Plus: Cops Approve Contract In Tight Vote

What a bunch of party poopers. I’m always disappointed when no brawls break out at the Monday Night Fights, aka City Council meeting.

I mean we haven’t had a decent steel cage match since the night Bob “Troll” Walsh was so cranked up that Mayor Bill Finch called him a “buffoon” or something like that. Must be everyone’s in the holiday spirit. Hey, if they’re not breaking heads might as well break out the eggnog.

The tentative contract agreement between hizzoner and the police union saw no council action Monday pending vote from the rank-and-file that was completed Monday night. Union membership approved the proposed contract in a tight vote; a nice victory for the mayor–at least for the first two years that call for zero wage increases. (Any members want to weigh in on this?)

Former mayor–and seasoned lobbyist–Nick Panuzio’s feeling pretty good today. The council approved St. Nick’s Washington lobbying gig for another $48K, with Walsh voting against it.

“We’ve got a lobbyist and his name is Jim Himes,” says Troll of the congressman-elect. Walsh’s point is that with Democrats controlling the White House and Congress how can Nick, who cut his teeth in Republican politics, produce for the city?

I actually think it’s a good idea to keep Nick working for the city. Maybe someday he can land a large enough DC windfall to pay for the 20-year-and-out pension deal he cut with uniformed services before the 1973 election. It was one of the few times in the city’s history that unionized workers actually pumped hard for a Republican for mayor. That scream you just heard came from OIB friend Ron Mackey who I’m sure will set me straight about why 20-and-out was a good deal for the city.

Speaking of a good deal, come join us at the Barnum Museum Tuesday at 5 p.m. for a pre-publication party of my new book Bow Tie Banker, a biography of David Carson, retired chief executive of People’s Bank. Retail copies will not be available until next week, but we’ll give you a sneak preview. Plus, refreshments from the Royal Tea Company. And the museum will be open for tours as well. No cover charge!

If you want to harass me on the radio Tuesday I’ll be a guest on Jim Buchanan’s show on WICC at 11 a.m. Please, no heavy breathing.

News release from Mayor Finch on union vote.

Police Union Approves Contract With City

BRIDGEPORT, CT (December 1, 2008) – Bridgeport Police Union Local 1159 voted 156-141 Monday to ratify its contract with the City.

“This contract is a good thing for the City and for the police union, and will provide the City with significant savings during the next two fiscal years. Their action is a terrific example of how the unions can work together with the City to effect budget savings, especially in the turbulent economic times we are facing,” Mayor Bill Finch said.

Financial highlights of the deal include: zero-percent raises for the next two years, followed by 5.7 percent in year three and 4.8 percent in year four. The raises in years three and four will be implemented in half-year intervals: at 3 percent each July and January in year three, and 2.5 percent each in July and January in year four. Also, take-home vehicles are to be eliminated at the discretion of the police chief; holiday and vacation time payments will not be paid in the current fiscal year; and a rescinding of the planned layoffs of nine police officers.

In addition, to the significant value of zero-percent salary increases for two straight years, the city will save approximately $800,000 in the current budget year.

Also, the City will allow the chief to implement his new personnel deployment plan in order to achieve overtime savings.



  1. Let’s hope the new police contract has a “trickle down” impact on other unions and prompts a reduction in Bridgeport’s cost structure. KUDOS to Mayor Finch for his ongoing efforts to close the city’s budget gap. Did somebody say “zap the gap”?

    KUDOS to Bob Walsh for his true understanding of lobbyism and who “pulls the strings”.

  2. “But the remaining nine could have “bumped” lower-ranking officers, trickling down to the newest officers, a class of recruits sworn in two months ago.”

    Tell me why Finchee made such a grandiose gesture of picking 10 of the most highly paid police officers to eliminate to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Apparently each of these high-ranking police officers had the right to preserve their job by “bumping” the next lower-ranking officer who had the same bumping rights and so forth until the poor kid who just finished at the Police Academy gets whacked because there is no one lower on the totem pole to “bump”.

    So, instead of getting rid of 10 six-figure salaries and bennies, Finch ends up eliminating 10 new guys making perhaps 1/3 of what the initially targeted officers are making.

    Didn’t Finchee know this ahead of time?

  3. BTW …

    My compliments to the “brotherhood” of 1159. Nearly half of the “brothers” voted NO which would have virtually eliminated the jobs of nine of their fellow union members.

  4. Does anybody really think that Finchee is going to have the money to meet this obligation in 2 years? I don’t. Anyone want to guess where he will have to go to get the funds 1159 so magnanimously “deferred”?

  5. Our lobbyist is Jim Himes? Gimme a break! Jimmy won’t be able to find the bathroom in 2 years much less produce for Bridgeport.

    I love how some hardened Dems think that magically the Congress Street bridge will be lowered now that Jimmy is running the show. Give me a break. I’ll bet anyone here a steak dinner and bottle of wine that no movement on the Congress Street Bridge happens in the next two years.

  6. Is Bob Keeley certified to teach at any grade level in the State of Connecticut?

    I would hate to think that the BOE is handing out another 6-figure job to yet another political hack who has no other place to go … like Johnny the Nose.

  7. “yahooy” #6 wrote “Does anybody really think that Finchee is going to have the money to meet this obligation in 2 years? I don’t. Anyone want to guess where he will have to go to get the funds 1159 so magnanimously “deferred”?

    “yahooy,” unfortunately I agree with you.

  8. I have to agree with yahooy too. When we finally make it out of this recession, we’ll have these obligations to fulfill and we won’t be able to move this city forward for years to come. My only hope is that Obama has a plan to save poor cities like us.

    Also, thinking of ways to get money for the city, should churches really be exempt from taxes? One, it should be unconstitutional. Two, churches spend all their donations on making their church look nice and having over-the-top holiday decorations. Let them pay property taxes, so we can pay our cops and make this a better place to live.

  9. Willy Chute; I think your idea on taxing churches is a good one. Bridgeport has more storefront churches than the rest of Fairfield County combined. We are supporting these fly-by-night operations. It is my feeling that we should also be taxing the two hospitals that are in Bridgeport. They are buying up taxable properties at a phenomenal rate. A perfect example is Bridgeport Hospital. They are buying up a lot of the family homes on Seaview Ave for future expansion. What we will lose in taxes will never be equalled by the state pilot program payments.
    Saint Vincent’s is undergoing a large expansion right now that will increase their bottom line and do nothing as far as paying Bridgeport what is due in taxes.
    Time for all of these tax-exempt properties to pay up. 53% of our properties in Bridgeport are tax exempt.

  10. Any attempt to tax churches, or unilaterally decide what churches qualify, is doomed to failure. Don’t even try.

    If you want to get money for services out of non-profits, you need look no further than New Haven. Yale University is tax exempt. New Haven has negotiated payments in lieu of taxes from Yale.

    You’ll probably have to get something going at the state level to make this easier.

    Take a look at this document for a good overview of the issues.

    www .ctnonprofits.org/Content/NonProfitResources

  11. Yahooy,
    Yes Bob Keeley is a certified teacher AND willing to teach in Longfellow. Not only is Keeley certified to teach but he most recently passed the certification test to be a school administrator.
    And, although Mr. Keeley has not taught in the last 8 – 10 years, he has previously taught at Sacred Heart University, Gateway Community College and Bridge Academy (that I am aware of).
    And I must say it is nice to see someone actually ask the question before every one on the blog just assumes that it is all politics and blah, blah, blah.

  12. Well Lennie, why was 20-and-out a good deal for the city? As we know negotiation is the art of compromise where it’s a win-win for both sides. That is my short and politically correct answer.

  13. Hey Lennie I heard that Tom Terrific bounced councilman Danny Martinez from his position and finally put in someone that is capable of doing the job or at least will make Tom Terrific look good or should we say skinny as hell!!!!!!!!! I was very disappointed that that wasn’t mentioned if that was true. Hope you can find out?

  14. It’s been reported that for every $ONE BILLION pumped to states and cities from the feds in a stimulus, 40,000 jobs are created. So for a mere $100 BILLION we could see 4,000,000 jobs! That’s a better deal than what was given to the banks! Yes I know we need to stabilize the credit market. Now it’s time to help the majority! Let the auto industry share in this $100 BILLION to save their asses and give the bulk to the states and cities.

    Is B’port positioned with projects to go? HA! No new bridges in B’port, or anything else for that matter.

  15. *** The next Mayor of Bpt. is going to get all the union’s (make-up) increases #3 years from now in contracts made by the Finch Admin. Who knows what the city & state’s financial status will be @ that moment in time or how much property Bpt. will continue to sell to all these non-profit organizations for revenue now “$”, yet tax-exempt in the future? You can pay me now & get a deal, then also save in the future! Finch’s pro-committee’s advice for the city, “sell whatever you can to whomever has the money before July 1st “2009”. Besides it’s not like Finch is going to get re-elected for Mayor anyway! Maybe if the whole city is bought by non-profits, no one will be paying city taxes, defer them all to the state of CT! ***

  16. Not since Nick Panuzio traded 20-and-out for a second term has a Mayor made such a boneheaded political deal with a Union. All that Finch’s deal will do is push the problem out past the next election. Then whoever is Mayor (probably not the Birdman) will have to deal with huge back-to-back raises which the City can’t afford.

    Speaking of Mayor Nick, what exactly are we getting for $48,000 that a Democratic Mayor, Congressman and two Senators couldn’t get for free? I doubt that the fact that he is a Republican and his former partner, Charlie Black, helped run McCain’s campaign will open many doors after January 20th. This pains me, but I have to agree with the troll.

    Could it be that he is being paid to get the Republican party to roll over and play dead??? At least that would make sense.

  17. smoke/lunch break gossip at the City Halls, was Tommy Boy booted Martinez for Carlos Silva for no reason.

    I heard one person say it seems incompetence is rewarded in the Park City.

    I hear there are Council Members not happy with Tommy’s decision that appears to be orchestrated by the party to stick it to Danny Boy’s patron, good ole’ Rep Andres Ayala. The saga continues …

  18. *** #19- The young man never should have been put in that position in the first place! No freshmen councilpersons should be appointed as part of the legislative leadership, ’til their 2nd term on the council if they return. However with some of the choices to pick from, it’s a roll of the dice! ***


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