“You’re Mine, I Own You, End Of Story!” Plus: We’re Having A Party …

Power is a delicate thing to balance. Some know how to wield it; some are exceptional at abusing it; still others haven’t a clue. There’s another reason for the slow pace of Mayor Bill Finch’s appointments to boards and commissions that has tripped up governmental action. I received some inquiries the past few days about Finch asking sitting commission members whose terms have expired to sign resignation letters before they are reappointed.

The concern centers on letters being used against commissioners not going along with what the administration wants. Finch’s power grab is bewildering. If Finch had his way he’d use the resignation letters as a hammer against commissioners opposing his position on key issues.

The Finch effort won’t fly legally. There’s a clear distinction between asking a resignation letter of a city employee that serves at the pleasure of the mayor with no specific term (as Finch has done) and another for someone serving on an institutional board, i.e. zoning, police and fire, with a term of appointment.

I must confess, Finch is not the guy I knew. He looks good on television. He sounds good on the radio. On issues closest to his heart (global warming) he’s a noble warrior. But then you get him inside the quiet of a room talking about local policy issues and he acts like the monster with the hands dragging on the floor in the Bugs Bunny cartoon. I’m the mayor and you must follow! Yeah, right off a cliff.

What’s next, city council members? Hey, if you don’t vote with me on the budget I’ll yank your resignation letter from my desk!

Speaking of the city council, there’s a definite appetite to restore the cuts Finch has proposed in his budget to save potential job losses to library staff and school-based health clinics. Unquestionably, some will be restored. The question is, how much? The council has two more weeks to fine-tune Finch’s proposal before it goes back to Finch with legislative suggestions. As already noted here, a variety of options are being looked at. The biggest unknown is the final amount of state money that will come to the city in anticipation of the budget year that begins July 1.

The state is trying to figure out its budget dilemma at the same time as the city. Cross your fingers.

Party Time

Okay, guys and dolls, we’re having a blog festival at Captain’s Cove Seaport, Thursday, May 15, 6 p.m. at the circular bar next to the replica of the Titanic. Here’s the deal: the first cocktail/mocktail, whatever you want to call it, is on me. Immediately after that happy hour kicks in. We will have finger foods and a strumming guitarist, access to the deck overlooking Black Rock Harbor. We will have a pit for a mud wrestling match between State Rep. Bob Keeley and his challenger Auden Grogins. Or maybe we’ll let them duke it out like one of those John Wayne westerns. Bob “The Troll” Walsh will serve as special guest referee. Bruce Hubler will hit golf balls into the harbor. Everyone’s invited, readers, posters, non-posters, including that old fart Yahooy. (I don’t really know that Yahooy’s an old fart, but maybe one day we’ll find out.) Also, you’re not required to give up your handle. Just come, have a drink and pick on anyone you want, including me!

Let me know if you’ll be attending at lenniegrimaldi@onlyinbridgeport.com. Or just post your attendance if you want. Only In Bridgeport … voted best blog by readers of the Fairfield County Weekly! And no, I didn’t rig the vote.



  1. Lennie,
    This trick with signing a resignation letter before being sworn onto a commission is courtesy of your old boss Joe Ganim.
    And Patrick Coyne would keep copies of the letters. Maybe you don’t remember this or maybe you have forgotten it. But if Bill Finch is using Joe Ganim’s intimidation practices to win friends and influence people, then we are headed down a road again that looks all to alarmingly familiar. And Joe was doing this with the WPCA and the Parks Board prior to the votes on privatization.
    But there I go again being negative. If I see something illegal I should close my eyes, hold my nose and be a loyal soldier to whomever claims to be the leader with Bridgeport’s best interest at heart.

  2. Let me correct Bob Walsh on the subject of resignation letter as they relate to the park board years ago. Ganim did not reuire resignation letters. What Ganim did was keep all of thee commissioners whose terms had expired on the commission. When the vote came for Privatizing the gold course he replaced all the commissioners whose terms were up with commissioners who would vote his way. There were no resignation letters ask for or given. BTW I hate defending Ganim but on this one you are wrong Bob

  3. Summer Wind, “hubris” might be the more accurate term. But whatever you call it, it certainly doesn’t benefit the city.

    Here’s a real life example of the Peter Principle at work. Too much power, too much responsibility, both awarded much too soon. Mix that with questionable judgement and untested leadership skills and you have the perfect scenario for executive failure.

    A little narcissism we could live with. Gross incompetence we can’t. Learning (how to be an effective leader) requires a readiness and willingness to listen. Let’s hope that willingness develops sometime soon.

  4. Bruce

    Perhaps the Mayor should consider reading A.G. Lafley’s, of Procter and Gamble) new book called “The Game Changers”. Also required reading for the Mayor is “Nudge”, written in collaboration by University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler.

  5. TC,
    I signed one when I was appointed to the WPCA prior to serving on the council. And I know my replacement on the Fire Commission at that time signed one also. So, maybe it didn’t happen with Parks or maybe there were no new appointees to Parks after this process became an unofficial rule.

  6. I’m amazed I’m saying this, but I sympathize with Finch. I agree Bruce, hubris is probably the more accurate word, combined with ambition. I think Finch believes he can attain the popularity of Ganim without the latter’s obvious faults, and he can become one of the shining Democratic politicians in CT (ex. leading a green movement in BPT).

    He has a plan to save this city and wants to do it alone. But trying to save this city on your own probably feels like being neck deep and drowning in a swamp. While you’re trying to lift one arm up out of the swamp, you’re only sinking faster. He needs to realize there is no way he can do this alone. He doesn’t want to ask for help from people who have been controlling this city for years. What he needs to do is reach out to the good people who are in this city, and strongly ally himself with them. There is no single person who can accomplish this, the good people in this city need to work together to free us from our situation.

  7. BigCity- Exactly what you say is part of the message of the “Game Changers”. The author Lafley talks about identifying the problem and being engaged in a dialogue and collaborating with others to solve the problem. Much of what you and Bruce are alluding to is the key to being a good leader. A good friend of mine managed in the Big Leagues and in his first year thought he could do it all. Boy did he learn his lesson, fast.

    “Experience is a tough teacher. First it give you the test. Then it teaches you the lesson.”

  8. Tom,

    That’s a great start at a reading list. You might want to add “Alices Adventures In Wonderland” to illustrate the subtle differences between Lewis Carroll’s fictional world… and some of the decision making in Bridgeport’s city hall.

  9. Lennie,

    Maybe Yahooy’s not so old. But one thing’s for sure, I can’t even HIT a golf ball, nevermind drive it into the harbor. So how about YOU teeing one up from the upper deck. Put it on Chris Shays’ patio and the round of drinks is on me.

  10. Tom, that was one trip he can never return from, but hey, he had fun and thats what counts. However, an LSD trip is’nt my idea of a nice vacation. But to each their own. Look at it this way, he never had to pack a suitcase. 🙂

  11. Maybe the Cove could set up a little mini course and we could have a session of “Bitch and Putt”.

    City Kitty- I hear he broke his hip after his bad trip. I’m going to my room put on my Black Light and have some
    Cherry Garcia over a hash brownie in memory of my old pal Al. “And if you’re too tired to chew. Pass it on.”

  12. OOOHH, I like Cherry Garcia, its my favororite. Listen to some Lead Zepplin. Enjoy your trip, make sure you return safely. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions.

  13. Hey Lennie this past Tuesday upon arriving at work, I was given a card that read: Call Larry Osborne 576-****

    I called and we scheduled a 330. Larry asked me If I got the Letter wich I haven’t gotten yet. I’m sure It will come from the Parks department today along with the checks.

    So yes Lenny my pink slip is on its way. It’s bumping time. This is going to be an interesting one.

  14. Hi Bob Walsh. Hey Bob can you do our residents some good public service by letting them know about the other tax. I’m referring to the Water Pollution bill. You see I’m afraid that since we are going through a tough economic time, people are using less water to save money. In reality, doing so as in the past year, the WPCA will increase the rate. If they use too much water the result will be the same. Is there a way out of this Bob? Are the WPCA board members releasing any information on this. Should I stop bathing yet or can I continue to bath? Bob please help us all.


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