As far as we can tell, the Republican Town Committee’s agenda for the mayoral election is…nothing. Nothing at all. This is a perfectly reasonable to do list given what the Democratic Town Committee is proposing. The DTC is proposing nothing as well. In fact, things are going so well for the Republican Town Committee that they might persuade someone to run in the Second District this time. They might even win that Council seat for the first time in living memory. How much easier could it get for the RTC? They just passed a $192 million budget without even a whimper from a Democrat.
While this may be great news for members of the Republican Town Committee, it…well…sucks for us. The lack of opposition means that there is little if any discussion of the policies and expenditures effecting the 51,000 residents of Stratford. And while Stratford continues to register more Democrats and Independents than Republicans, the Stratford Democratic Town Committee remains one of the most dysfunctional Town Committees in the state. While RTC meetings must be downright gleeful, we taxpayers can only hope that they don’t hurt us too badly.
Filed under: Stratford Political Theater | 17 Comments
Tags: Republican Town Committee
Stratford has nearly three times more Democrats and Independents than Republicans and yet there is a Republican Council majority of 8-2 and a Republican mayor. How can that be? The answer is fairly simple. The Democratic Town Committee enjoys being the loser. They have proven that in the last few elections. To be sure, it’s not as if the Republican Town Committee has any sort of actual Republican ideas. Taxes have risen without fail for four consecutive years, the Administration has become more remote and the blunders show no signs of abating. Stratford Republicans certainly can’t point to their record of accomplishments as a reason to vote for them. So why do they keep winning?
The answer is that the Democratic Town Committee lets them win. It has been four (eight if you start counting from their last win) years and several abysmal losses for the DTC and they still refuse to look in the mirror. Oh…they had their chances, but they could not confront what they must confront to be a viable political factor in Stratford. Almost every voter in Stratford knows this and will continue to vote for anyone the RTC puts up. The DTC has been tainted by the Mirons and until they are able to put some distance between the DTC and that legacy they will keep losing. Electing Miron’s chief enabler, Rich Buturla, as the DTC Chairman certainly didn’t help.
Why, you ask, is this important? It is important because Stratford voters are entitled to a reasonable choice. That’s what elections are for. As it is, Stratford is run as a monopoly of the Republican Town Committee by default. That is never a good thing.
Filed under: Stratford Political Theater | 12 Comments
Tags: DTC, RTC
We have heard much (actually, way too much) about the “situation” and “morale” at Stratford EMS. There is no doubt that the people who work across the street from EMS headquarters bungled the entire management process and cost the taxpayers ten of thousands (probably more) of wasted tax dollars. The good news for us is that the dedicated volunteers and professionals who show up every day to get on the ambulances and come to our homes and businesses to help us when we are sick or injured will pretty much do that no matter what Town Hall does. They certainly don’t do it for the money or the “recognition”.
We hope that whatever happens during this election season that someone considers how badly we need Stratford EMS to be there and be effective. As for the EMT’s and paramedics who are working right now as you read this, we hope they keep showing up and jumping on the ambulances when we call them.
Filed under: Stratford Political Theater | 2 Comments
Mayor Harkins has released his election year budget. Proposed Budget. As in the past, with an 8 to 2 majority on the Town Council, it is very unlikely there will be any significant changes to the proposed budget. Oh, there will be budget “workshops” and maybe a public forum or two, but rest assured this budget will pass intact. The only discussion that might occur will be here and on other blogs.
As we have stated many times, the most significant decisions that directly effect your mortgage, rent, vehicle, business and your environment are the decisions made in Town Hall. Yet most citizens and businesses merely shrug their shoulders and write their checks. We have provided a link to the proposed budget and urge readers to at least give it a look. Of course, you will see that not much has changed over the last 7 or 8 budgets other than the budget is becoming less clear and less transparent. Oh, the same old tricks are still in use. Our personal favorite remains the Town Attorney’s budget. This year it is only $1.5 million with another $300,000 buried in Human Resources legal fees. That won’t be counting later budget transfers of course. And where, you might ask, does most of this money go? Apparently, we are not entitled to know.
And then there is the Water Pollution Control Authority (sewers). With nearly $500,000 paid directly to the General Fund for “contractual services” and $600,000 in “Miscellaneous Revenue” also paid into the General Fund, it remains a “fee”. Yet we are asked to pay 11% more in sewer use “fees” next year.
And who will question or oppose this budget? No one. Our prediction is that this budget will sail through with a 9 to 1 vote. The only dissenting vote will be Stephanie Phillips. Not a single member of the RTC on the Council will vote against it. And what of the Democrats? They remain a cult of Miron leftovers and are unable to convince anyone that they are a credible organization.
Filed under: Stratford Political Theater | 11 Comments
Tags: Harkins, RTC
It has been one full year since Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Murray retired. After being the most highly decorated firefighter in Stratford and giving the residents and businesses of Stratford twenty five years of loyal and dedicated service, the Town of Stratford continues to withhold every penny of Chief Murray’s well-earned pension. By way of review, the Town delayed and bungled the staffing of the position of Assistant Fire Chief (the ones who actually go to the fire) causing massive amounts of unnecessary overtime. This despite repeated requests from the two remaining Assistant Chiefs to resolve the matter.
To date, the Town has refused to pay Chief Murray the pension that he has earned. The Town claims that the pension amount is too high. We agree. The pension amount is far too high. What the Town does not mention is that the reason it is high is because the Town made no move to staff the Assistant Chief positions to the required level. As we have stated previously, the Town permitted two positions to remain vacant for over a year. This forced the two remaining Assistant Chiefs to divide 168 hours/week between them. That leaves an 84 hour/week schedule for the two Assistant Chiefs. Whatever the political issues are, and being an election year we can guarantee they are substantial, the fact remains that the Town is in clear violation of signed contracts.
We find this (in)action on the Town’s part…well…disgraceful.
Filed under: Stratford Political Theater | 6 Comments
Tags: John Harkins, Ron Ing, Thomas Murray
In one of the worst kept secrets ever, Janet Robinson the superintendent of Newtown schools, was named as the new Stratford Superintendent of Schools. At a starting base salary of $210,000 per year, she is also the most expensive Superintendent of Stratford schools…ever. While some “savings” in the BOE budget have been achieved by shifting healthcare costs onto BOE employees, there remains much more real work to be done. Also, by every account, morale throughout the BOE has been left in ruins by the former superintendent, Irene Cornish.
At this point we can only hope that Ms. Robinson builds upon the masterful repair work begun by Margaret Lasek, the interim superintendent. A good place to start would be here:
Filed under: Stratford Political Theater | 4 Comments
Tags: BOE, Lasek, Robinson
With another 2-5″ of snow on it’s way tonight, please feel free to post your snow stories here.
Note: the only people who were out and should have been out in the blizzard were EMS, Fire and Public Works.
Photo credit: Michael Ingmanson, EMT http://www.michaelingmanson.com/
Filed under: Stratford Political Theater | 10 Comments
That time is approaching again. The two gangs that run Stratford, the Republican Town Committee and the Democratic Town Committee, will decide who they will put up as the next mayoral candidates. We can hardly wait to be underwhelmed by the choices. Of course, everyone is anxious to see if Harkins will run again. The indication that he will run will be a budget with a zero (or close to it) tax increase. It is, after all, an election year. With an 8-2 majority on the Council he can pretty much pass whatever he wants. He’s already gotten his increases in taxes and sewer use fees. Even more interesting will be the DTC selection. After being trounced repeatedly by Republicans in election after election will they finally realize that another Miron crony is maybe not the best choice…Nah.
So while we prepare for the same old same old, we continue to hope for an actual independent candidate to organize an effective campaign. Town Committee politics has proven to be the most ineffective and detrimental system this Town has ever known. As a further reminder to readers, there is literally nothing that effects you more than Town government. It effects your mortgage payment, your rent, your cars, your children’s education, the services you depend upon, the very look of where you live. Ignoring Town government and how it runs is a very very expensive mistake.
Filed under: Stratford Political Theater | 33 Comments
Tags: DTC, RTC
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Where are the “well regulated militias” that need these weapons?
Filed under: Stratford Political Theater | 528 Comments