Just One More While I Can..


Town Budget

Stratford superintendent retiring — but not leaving job
By Richard Weizel
Updated: 12/11/2009 10:56:56 PM EST

STRATFORD — The outgoing Board of Education’s final decision may have been its oddest.

Only time will tell if it ends up being its most controversial.

The board accepted the retirement of Stratford Superintendent of Schools Irene Cornish, effective June 30, after more than six years leading the district.

But the seven-member board also approved giving the 68-year-old Cornish a new three-year pact as “interim superintendent” that begins July 1. The new contract was approved earlier this week, just days before four of the board’s members are to step down when the new panel is sworn in Monday at 8 p.m. at Stratford High School.

“I know it sounds unusual, but we decided doing it this way would be a win-win situation for everyone, because it will enable us to save significant money and keep Irene (Cornish) leading the school system for as many as three more years,” said outgoing school board co-Chairwoman Susan Barksdale, who, with co-Chairman Robert Cody, negotiated the arrangement and new contract with Cornish.

By retiring from her current post as the full-time schools chief but agreeing to sign on to a new contract as “interim” at a reduced salary, the district will save $180,000 over the three-year pact, according to Barksdale and Cody.

Cornish will be paid an annual salary of $90,000, plus an annuity of $50,000, starting July 1 — nearly 30 percent lower than her current salary of $196,413, according to the school board.

Do we really need “Time” to tell us if this is controversial or not? $140,000 plus a pension equals more than $196K. Any bets on how hard the search for a new superintendent will be? Does anyone want to guess if it will take three years?


46 Responses to “Just One More While I Can..”

  1. 1 1george1

    As I have blogged in the past, I prefer Irene and Ben to O’Connell.

    I had told them that where Irene phased out O’Connell’s fine
    Assistant Superintendents, who found good positions elsewhere,
    there was a multi year savings of Administrative salaries.

    However, there has been a build up of both PAY and PERSONNEL
    which many citizens felt there are too many Administrators and
    Management, with PAY that is far too high.

    (Except people like Chuck Lindberg who would throw money at
    Board Of Education, similar to Marcia Stewart would be willing to
    “give away” Long Beach West, OR Jeze who apppears to feel only
    while the unaffiliated private sector working woman and man OR
    Business Owner have to work 50 – 60 hours and often without

    Irene is leading by example.

    Her fellow Superintendent and the EDUCATION LOBBY will never
    agree to a more comparative relationship to private sector.

    It sets precedents in Negotiations

    > The PRIVATE SECTOR needs to be raised / improved DRAMATICALLY
    as the only way the PUBLIC SECTOR can get DESERVED good pay,
    benefits, and pensions.

    The Teacher’s contract move “appears” to be generous.
    However years of OVER COMPENSATION allows for minimized pay
    > The above is NOT disparagement of deserving compensation
    for the PUBLIC SECTOR,
    > The above infers or project the fact that the PRIVATE SECTOR
    compensation packages for WORKERS and costs for small BUSINESS
    has not just lagged, but taken huge hits, via
    4 – CLOSINGS
    7 – GEO – POLITICAL SECURITY contracting needs, changes


    but my belief certain levels of the PUBLIC SECTOR have been bribed
    while schools became retail outlets for NATIONAL DRUG PUSHING

    Just as “The System” does not care about Military casualties,
    except to NEED casualties to Galvanize, “The System” loves to
    galvanize police with ceremonies for KILLED in LINE of DUTY.

    Politicians like a Miron or Cheney – Bush get a chance to make
    themselves wrapped in the flag and look like they care. ….
    Actually, I believe Jim Miron cared far more for Vets / Seniors
    than Bush – Cheney, even though I felt Jim’s formula for Tax
    Relief was pretextual, to spread low amounts of money to more
    people for political voting potential, while giving big bucks to
    certain police, certain fire, and certain others.

    Some of those have friends and families who read this blog,
    and tell me the reaction has a huge range!

    Some people are ME FIRST – ***** everyone else
    Some people are ASHAMED, but have to go along ….
    Some people are INFURIATED, but have NO REDRESS ….

    Then there are those who knowingly did “discernable wrong
    doing” and have willfully tried to create a cover up?

    What is amazing is what people who are honorable in many
    of their dealings with others, make choices that …..

  2. 2 nomoreyears

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. The new teacher contract was negotiated with Cornish in mind even though she was supposed to retire. She loathes teachers. However, the teachers did this to themselves. They did not get involved with the political process the last two elections and have only screwed themselves. They never endorse or support candidates in town elections and because of their lack of participation really shot themselves in the foot.

    Cornish has honestly been a horrible district leader. She’s another no show, often showing up to BOE around 10 AM every morning. I would like a job where I can show up whenever I’d like. Must be nice to work in Stratford.

    A longstanding problem with Stratford has always been its problem with poor leadership. Like Miron, Irene is a poor leader. She’s an administrator and lawyer. She is not an educator. She’s attempted to run the district like a business yet she has very limited business experience. Her only business experience was working as a lawyer in Hartford for a very short period of time. She is basically a hermit and hides in her office. However, if she comes to visit a school or classroom it is not for good reasons.

    If Cornish was a true leader and worked with the teachers and included them in the decision making processes instead of threatening and firing, think of how far Stratford would be ahead. Stratford just barely gets by in education. It could do far better with better leadership. However, the board loves Cornish. She bullies teachers, and gets the minimum results done. Mediocrity is what is killing this district and Cornish loves mediocrity.

    Time and time again Cornish has threatened the town with the doomsday scenario. If you don’t give me the money we’ll layofff teachers, close schools, and kill programs. George, O’Connell didn’t do that. He didn’t threaten the taxpayers and voters with doomsday advice.

    Very few teachers would follow Cornish willingly. There is no shared vision, no shared leadership. It’s her way or else. Very few teachers have bought into her educational philosophy. Very few even know what it is.

    My question: When and if the new board attempts to replace her, is the town going to be stuck with paying her for the next three years? Sounds like a Miron move to me.

  3. 3 sylvia67

    We need Raymond O’Connell back as Supt. He was wonderful and everyone loved him. He always made time to talk to the parents and would go out of his way for the students and teachers. In all my years of living in this town Ray was our very best Supt. He treated everyone with the utmost respect and therefore he received respect back. Use Raymond to pick our next Supt. because he knows what we need and will make sure we get the best

  4. 4 1george1

    Nomore + Syl,
    My impression of O’Connell was that he was an empire building,
    fear mongering, self promoting blatherskite.

    However, I have to give him props for helping the WW II Memorial,
    the mack-butler basketball scholarship events and other things.

    Each year there were threats to close a school by O’Connell.
    Cornish skiiped a year or two, cut back the Administrative Staff
    and appeared to be reprioritizing Budget waste back towards
    the students, including Federally Funded Food Programs.

    Unfortunately Cornish appeared to be partially captured by the
    Board of Ed top heavy / over staffed / overpaid mindset.

    The few times I spoke to Irene Directly or at Budget Workshops
    or Hearings, I saw gradual (same year) responsiveness implemented,
    which actually has also happened with a few things with the Town
    Council, to a degree: Tom Moore, Gavin, Amy, Alvin, & John.

    No one told me Emma was in an auto accident, missing many month?

    When ever I saw and hear interaction between Irene and Teachers,
    I saw and heard enthusiasm and respect.

    I was furious when I found out about the HEALTH INSURANCE GIVE
    AWAY, which could have dropped Taxes 1/2 MIL!
    So it is not like the Board of Ed, deprived Teachers.

    Syl there are long time retired Teachers whose retirements need
    upgrading and the existing pay and retirements of the newer retirees
    appear … pretty high?

    I can not argue O’Connell’s or Cornish’s day to day conduct or ability.
    But, I have to respect O’Connell more that I had given him credit for
    the job he did … but I had not rated him that high.
    I like Irene as a person and believe she has done many good things for
    the Children and parents of Stratford.

    I have no problem with a manager who comes in at 10 am and works’
    well past 6:00 pm on many nights. My experience is that there are
    night and week end meetings, as well as work at home, similar to
    teachers, who make issues about work done on homework.

    Friends who teach the younger grades do not have the same demands
    of homework as many other teachers of higher grades.
    They tell me they have a great deal, for how much they work/get paid.
    Getting to teach little kids, is both joyous and demanding, but not to
    the degree of HS; JR. HS; or higher grades of elementary.

    I do not disparge the work of teachers and education, especially
    since it cost $ 12, 000 a year to educate a child and $ 50,000 to jail
    men or women, besides the waste of lives and time.
    Plus they have to put in time and effort to get advanced degrees,
    yet get ample compensation,

    POINT WAS: 180 DAYS for TEACHERS to WORK minus Vacation/sick
    time, at $ 87 – $ 91,000 top pay, working in heated buildings with
    parking near by, with $ 19,000 a year Health Benefits minus 11 %
    Premium, ROLLS ROYCE COVERAGE, and $ 2200 DEDUCTABLE covered
    BY last YEAR’S DEAL, would gain appreciation of most intelligent
    people (teachers) who get hat, while many parents have ZERO

    The Chuck Lindberg types only hear the criticism and not the
    praise, that there has to be responsible prioritization in the
    Educational Budget allocations. There are people who just can
    not pay their taxes on homes long since paid for.
    Some of the stuff that happened under O’Connell, from my
    recollection, leaves me to respect Irene more than Ray O.

  5. 5 jezebel282


    “We need Raymond O’Connell back as Supt.”

    I don’t think going back into the past is the way to go. Many things have changed since Ray O’Connell was superintendent.

    Besides, with Cavanaugh, Maffet, McCarthy and Riddenhour already collecting pensions from former careers, do we really need another retiree double dipping?


    “She’s attempted to run the district like a business yet she has very limited business experience.”

    I’m not sure that an educator would be more beneficial. There is nothing wrong with trying to achieve economic efficiencies in system. But it eventually comes down to what Stratford has always lacked. Leadership. It is also a question of educating educators. Some in the profession have never left the school system. From the time they entered kindergarten to graduating college to becoming a teacher to administrator they have been in the education system their entire life save for the 4-5 years they spent learning to walk and talk. They do not know any other existence.

    Like Town government, the school system is not a business. It cannot be run like a business. Eventually the parallels fail. A truly adept leader will distribute both the responsibility AND the authority to get things done. If you only issue responsibility the result, more often than not, is frustration, lack of accountability and lower morale. (See James R. Miron 2005-2009)

    Leaders who seek to retain all authority and none of the responsibility will inevitably fail.

  6. 6 starlooker


    First off it is 183 days…They work a 37 1/2 work week BUT when they come home it is not their time. there are papers to be graded, lesson plans, grades to be logged and estimated I can go on and on. Try doing 6 periods of students term papers and correcting them plus special projects. When most people get Columbus Day, Vets Day, Martin Luther King day and a few others off Teachers do NOT get that day off. They need to attend an 8 hour workshop to get their CEU’s in order to keep their job. Nevemind the many calls they have to make about problems, parents meetings, Meet the teacher night, and school functions. As I stated before I would LOVE to have you spend a week at Stratford High or Bunnell being a teacher and fully realize what they go through. I personally had 2 students going at it, one student hid behind me and all the other student who was out of control saw was this students peeking behind me and wham I ended up getting punched in the shoulder and fell. I am glad I am now preschool, it is much easier but even in preschool I have to do lesson plans each weekend on my own time. When they do a paper (which believe it or not prechool gets) I have to correct it and YES I have to attend functions on my family time… When you enjoy children and want to educate them you give it 100% for they are our future and if you become a dedicated and caring teacher and see how they grow trust me it is worth all of it. If you would like I will contact someone from Stratford High about you spending a week there and I also can do this at Woster Middle School, Stratford Academy and Eli Whitney. Just give me the YES and I will let you actually see. I will also make sure that the teacher gets a break and you do the papers, planning. Also at times many teachers do not get the 40 min. break when their students are at Gym etc. They either have to do study hall ot cafeteria and if they do get the golden chance to correct papers 40 min. is not enough esp. when you give a test with over 50-100 questions.

  7. 7 nomoreyears

    George wrote:

    When ever I saw and hear interaction between Irene and Teachers,
    I saw and heard enthusiasm and respect.


    I have never seen you at a function where large numbers of teachers and Mrs. Cornish are gathered together. Respect is given because Irene scares and intimidates the very staff that work for her. That’s not respect.

    Elementary teacher’s and middle/high school teachers are partners in our children’s education. Elementary and middle teachers must prepare our students for the mastery test while the high school teachers get a reprieve after CAPT (sophomore year). Your comment regarding high school and elementary teachers not working equitably is horse manure.


    Ray isn’t the way to go for Stratford’s future. Ray had his issues as well. Nepotism, cronyism and his good old boy network were detrimental to the educational process. However, you saw him. He came into your classroom and patted you on the back, talked about what was needed as did Guy Stella. You could speak openly and candidly without repercussions. Do that to Irene or her good old women’s club and you’re written up. Non-tenured and you’re out on your ass.

    You have no argument from me regarding leadership in the town of Stratford. There hasn’t been any since the recent election.

    Very slick move on Cornish’s part. She may be hated by the people who work for her but she’s one smart lady. She set herself very nicely. $190K, Stratford must be made of money.

  8. 8 1george1

    Thank you for your perspective.

    As I wrote, I prefer school to jail for most lives and there are far more
    time and work demands for highed grades than very low school grades.

    I also wrote about additional education and home work.

    However, many school children parents work closer to 360 days a year
    than 183 days, minus sick days and vacation days.

    Independent contractors get NO PAID HOLIDAYS or BENEFITS or PENSIONS.

    Today one of those morning shows claimed the PUBLIC SECTOR is paid
    $ 30,000 more a year than the private sector, with huges differences
    in the added costs.

    No more – You read exactly the opposite of what I wrote about HS
    Jr. HS & upper Middle School, where they have to do home work.
    Is that horse manure?
    Star was able to state the pro-teacher case.
    I had poked at the Chuck Lindberg teachers:
    can do no wrong,
    badly over worked,
    throw money without question,
    I respect the work teachers do.
    But it is not working in all weather, with dangerous tools or products
    for minimum or low wage and no benefits, which too many people do,
    and are glad just to have a job.

    It appears that you have insights into inner workings of teachers
    and Ms. Cornish, that I will let others challenge or support.

    Your assessment about Mr. O’Connell and Mr. Stella are consistent
    about but problems of Mr. O’Connell and the management styles of
    both Mr. O’Connell & Mr. Stella, who I heard many good things about.

    I find your comment about Irene, Reprisal, and woman’s club a bit
    surprizing. I am not saying you are wrong nor correct.

    I escentially agree with Jeze’s post.

  9. 9 phineast

    Nomoreyears- Do your research–Irene’s pension comes from the state not the town of Stratford. It is set up that way for all educators and that is what she is considered. So yes, she is a smart lady- she found a way to collect her pension from the state and still independently contract for the town on a year to year basis-ultimately that saves the town about 50K$.
    Starlooker-Everyone knows that most teachers work hard all year long, but we also recognize that teachers are compensated very, very , very well. Most licensed professionals have to do continuing education classes to maintain their licensed or certified status- in addition to teachers this includes police, fire, ems, nurses, doctors real estate agents etc. etc. etc. so it is hard to feel sorry for you having to give a a couple of governmental holidays to do it. It is part of life. You also have about 5 times the vacation time that the average person does-I agree you need it-but you will be getting no sympathy from me as I work 9-11 hour days and only get two weeks off and yes, I fall into a continuing ed category that yup, I get to do on my vacation time or in the evening or a Saturday. You chose your profession because it obviously is your passion-it comes with good and bad points-I chose mine as well because I am good at it, but you don’t see me or any of the other professions that work just as long as you or just as hard as you with far LESS vacation and benefits than you complaining about how hard they have it and how it takes away from “family time”–that is bs and you know it. It happens in lots of professions-and guess what I never get Columbus Day, or Martin Luther King day or the Jewish holidays off..so what, you learn to deal with it and be grateful 1.) that you have a job and 2.) that on those particular days you don’t have to face the commute with all the parents on the road.
    Take the good with the bad and be grateful.

  10. 10 phineast

    Sylvia- I am going to disagree with you about Ray O’C. We absolutely do not want and cannot afford to have him back. He can keep all his superman stuff at home and lock himself in his phone booth permanently-his was an awful example for the students.
    Sure he is a likable guy, and well written so to speak-but he was just like Miron and perhaps worse to a certain extent in my opinion. Some of the stuff that slid through on his watch was in my opinion downright dangerous. I was totally relieved when he was finally gone.
    Irene administrates with an iron hand, no question, because it was necessary to bring the balance back after the O’C era. I may not agree with everything she does, but when I have questions, she has always been forthright, direct and respectful to me. We may agree to disagree, but at least she will listen. What she doesn’t put up with is the “personal” politics and personality bs and that upsets some people.
    Stratford has one of the most unique demographics in the state for a community our size and it has ALOT of challenges to overcome. Most of the challenges are not about the staff’s performance but is is about the kids abilities to focus, understand, master and in many cases overcome in order to perform. These are the issues tha O’c exploited to get extra $$$ from the town and then instead of using the $$ to the highest overall good he used it for HIS highest overall good in his paycheck. No thanks-you can keep him and those that are like him–stick them all in the “Miron cell”.

    A final thought for today:
    as of midnight Stratford has the opportunity for a new beginning. I hope that the residents will take a more interactive role in this community and how it is run. The more people that are involved the better. I am certain Mayor Harkins will welcome the help.
    Good Luck Mayor Harkins, be true to your values and be true to Stratford. I will assist you in any way that you deem helpful, because if you are successful then Stratford will be successful. See you all tomorrow night!

  11. 11 sylvia67

    For your information Raymond O’Connell was a great Supt. and where you are getting your information from is so wrong. I have known Ray for a good many years and the system was doing very well under him. He certainly doesn’t want to come back he is enjoying retirement and I don’t blame him at all. Teachers did not fear him and no teacher should fear the Supt. if so that Supt. should be let go. My husband was President of the AFT in Bpt. and when they jailed 278 teachers for refusing to work without a contract my late husband warned the mayor of Bpt. that if one of his teachers got jailed he would close Bpt. down where no union deliveries would enter the town. The strike ended the following day when the mayor’s sister was suppose to go to jail. Mean while none of those teachers could ever get another job in another system because they were in jail. My husband feared no one and the respect for him from the top down was without question. He was offered jobs all over the country and loved teaching at Harding High School. He retired after 34 years and most of his students are in very high positions all over this country. I still hear from many of them and my husband made a real wonderful impression on these students. Ray O’Connell is a wonderful person and I have a great deal of respect for him.

  12. 12 phineast

    We are just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. My information is very very accurate-and much from 1st hand interaction with the guy. Mind you, I never said he wasn’t nice or like-able for that matter.
    Your husband was an amazing man, very dedicated and excelled in his work. People were fortunate to have him offer guidance.
    Cornish is only feared by those that have need to be afraid. There are many, many teachers that are not afraid of her but have a healthy respect for her position-which is very different. The staff should have a respect for the authority she represents.
    O’C, like Miron, was all about himself-the rules were for others and did not apply to him. It didn’t matter if he was in front of a council and his time was up and he completely disregarded the request to stop or in other areas -it was always about O’c doing what he wanted, when he wanted because he wanted and that was that. I was in his company enough to see it over and over and over. Again it doesn’t mean he isn’t “nice”. That is where he is different the Miron. Miron was just a creep all the time. But that does not mean that I would ever hope that someone like O’C is running the schools……..Cornish absolutely has her quirks-no doubt about it. The one key thing about her that is different is that she just doesn’t tolerate the classic “Stratford politics” or the “influence” of such.
    If that creates fear-oh well.
    What I do hope for our community is that we find a superintendent that has only the best qualities of those whom have gone before him or her. Someone that only acts in the best interest of the students and our community and leads by a personal example every day.

  13. 13 1george1

    I feel Phin was very much correct in his/her posts.

    He/she disagreed (to degrees) with Star & Syl, both of whom
    I know, like, and respect.

    Often we base our opinions on how people treat us, and travel
    in social / professional circles which will reinforce positions.

    So Phin and I could be in error.
    Or Syl could be in error.
    Based on our associations.

    Star has to be in the “Teacher trench.”
    There are very few perfect jobs or without issues / problems.
    I recognize extra demands, extra education, and other things
    in being a teacher.

    However top pay is $ 87,000 – $ 92,000 for 183 days work or 37 1/2
    hour weekly job, where there are several periods that could be
    considered coffee breaks, plus lunch break, in heated rooms with
    paid utilities. Subtract vacation and sick day (well deserved)

    Add Health Care and other Benefits and a Pension that virtually
    no one in the private sector has, except executives.

    Star, would you honestly trade your “profession” for that of a DAY
    and NO PENSION?

    Compare the average Education and Public Sector Pay – Benefits vs.
    Stratford individual or household income …..

    On a Sunday morning politico show, a Senator pointed out that the
    Public Sector pays $ 30,000 more a year than private sector BEFORE
    all the EXTRAS.

    Where I am different?

    I want the PRIVATE SECTOR RAISED, with minimal and temporary lower
    costs as a transition with contractual transitioned indexed catchups,
    to offset temporary give backs.

    However, the Stratford Lawyers and Town Committee Machiavellis have
    created a time bomb, in their plan to steal and steer all assets.
    The POLICE, FIRE, PW, and BoE are caught (placed) right in the middle.

    Stratford is not alone in this problem

  14. 14 cstratct

    There are a lot of problems with this deal. First, she is getting a $90K salary with a $50K annunity on top of her pension.

    The three-year pact is renewed by mutual agreement each year, but does that mean they will not search for a replacement during that time? And what is the mutual agreement? If the BOE decides they’ve had enough after one year but she doesn’t want to go, what happens then?

    And if a replacement is found, are we (the district and by default the town) on the hook for the entire $140K for that year?

    She had the audacity to tell John Kovach that the roughly $50,000 saved is equal to one teacher’s job. Yet what she fails to mention is that $50K annunity (which is given on top of her pension) is another teacher. And if we’re paying the “interim” superintendent while bringing aboard a new superintendent, we’re likely on the hook for her $90K salary for that year as well. I’m guessing there’s no stipulation that her salary will be pro-rated for that year if a new superintendent takes over. I hope I’m wrong.

    How about taking the next 6 months to find a suitable replacement? Or even a year if that is what is needed. Did the outgoing schoolboard really need to build a contract that was so blantantly skewed that it ties the hands of the incoming BOE for years to come? Could they not have simply allowed the incoming BOE to negotiate the terms of a “transition” package rather then pulling this stunt?

    And phineast, I have to disagree with you about the teachers. Many of them are just trying to do their jobs without engaging in a destructive tit-for-tat with the Dr. Cornish or her administrators.

    As for nomoreyears comment that the teachers “screwed themselves” by not getting involved in political gamesmanship, had they been involved people would have attacked them for taking a position if it was in opposition to their beliefs/political affiliations. Regardless of union affiliation, people shouldn’t be strong-armed into supporting a candidate just because their union takes a position. They still have individual rights and a political stand by the union would have unfairly painted all teachers with the same brush.

  15. 15 sylvia67

    Phineast and George,
    I do agree with both of you. My problem is I usually like everyone. There are very few people in our community that I dislike. My grandson and I stuck up for Irene Cornish and she was so delighted at the time. When she received a call from the Star where we both wrote a “Live Letter” supporting her she let us down and from that point we have had zero respect for her. Every time Musante would write about Irene he would always state about her color when he mentioned her name. My grandson and I found this to be unnecessary and very wrong. When I mentioned this to her at a luncheon we were both invited to, she agreed with me and thought she was being overly sensitive. I told her absolutely not; Musante is wrong. He never researched what he wrote and merely printed what he heard from Democrats. I am so delighted they moved him out of our community because he was not helping Stratford at all. My grandson was voted in at Stratford High School all four years as President of his class. At graduation there was not a dry eye when he spoke. He is well respected and loved by all people. I would not expect anything less coming out of my home. And he was incensed about the way Irene was being treated in the Star. But if Irene was now willing to stand up for herself, then why should anyone stick up for her? It was very disappointing to say the least.

  16. 16 jezebel282


    “As for nomoreyears comment that the teachers “screwed themselves” by not getting involved in political gamesmanship, had they been involved people would have attacked them for taking a position if it was in opposition to their beliefs/political affiliations.”

    Although we apparently agree, I think nomore has a valid point. The teachers certainly didn’t mind picketing when their contract was at issue.

    Unions support or oppose candidates all the time. They vote on it. Although PD Local 407 supported Harkins, I am sure there we 7 or 8 members that did not (Pinto, Popik, Miron, Loschiavo, Proudfoot, etc).

    It is entirely correct for a union to take a position other than just their contracts and benefits, especially if they live and work in this town.

  17. 17 cstratct

    Jezebel, I realize unions support or oppose candidates in some cases. But that doesn’t mean they HAVE to do that everytime. If there is significant disagreement among members, the best option for the union is to remain non-committal and allow the members to support or oppose the candidate of his/her choice.

    It appears in this case that the union is being condemned for not supporting Harkins, as that is ultimately what everyone here was expecting them to do. Education should not be a Democrat/Republican punching bag, even though I realize that is often the case.

    For me the difference is that negotiating for a contract is not in the same realm of politics as backing a candidate. That is their livelihood, and they’re entitled to negotiate what is in their best interests. That is not “political” in the sense of supporting a particular candidate or political platform.

    I don’t have a problem with the teacher’s union staying out of the political fray. Teachers are still going to vote, and without undue pressure from the union, he/she has no need to fear retribution from the union (or others) if he/she decides to cast his/her vote for the candidate of his/her choice.

  18. 18 jezebel282


    “and without undue pressure from the union, he/she has no need to fear retribution from the union (or others) if he/she decides to cast his/her vote for the candidate of his/her choice.”

    That is why we have secret ballots in this country. Even in Stratford.

    I am not “condemning” the teacher’s union for not supporting Harkins. I am condemning them for not supporting anyone. I sincerely doubt that members of the teacher’s union would have supported Miron in any event. After all, they can read and write.

    I’m just a little annoyed when I hear them around budget time saying it’s all about the children as if they cared about the Town. There is more than just showing up for work.

    Oh..there is one more thing. Dr. Cornish’s picture is still up on the BOE website and Miron’s is gone from the Town’s.

    Cornish wins.

  19. 19 cstratct

    Cornish wins what?

    Honestly Jezebel, what’s the point of a statement like that?

    I’ve been very up front about my concerns regarding Cornish. I didn’t like the “pants on fire” grandstanding she did regarding the budget, and I found her “I’ll give my raise back to the district” generosity disingenuous at best. Now we see why she refused the pay freeze. Her pension is based on her highest earnings years, and she gets to use the current year in that equation. It was never about “giving back.”

    I’m in full support of the teacher’s receiving fair compensation. To say I have a problem with administrator pay is an understatement. People want to complain the teachers only work a certain number of days, but teachers are also required to complete additional training and have to meet a lot of ongoing requirements.

    It appears to me that the outgoing BOE is rewarding mediocrity.

    Cornish keeps her job and now Miron is out of office.

    But who really “wins” with Cornish and her new agreement? The town? The students?

    I’m hard-pressed to find a “winner” in this debacle, unless you mean Cornish’s bank account. $140K plus her pension, nice work if you can get it, especially if the outgoing BOE is giving it away.

  20. 20 jezebel282


    “Honestly Jezebel, what’s the point of a statement like that?”

    Just a simple observation.

    Just like the location signs in Town today. Miron’s name is gone (already) and Harkins name is in it’s place.

    A simple observation is all it is. Nothing more.

  21. 21 starlooker


    If you had read my post correctly you would of seen I am NOT teaching in the Public school system. As a preschool teacher I work 51 weeks a year and 2 out of the 5 days I work 10 1/2 hour days. No Medical Ins and no pension.. I was not in the Public school system long enough to qualify for a 401K. I was just stating a fact that a teacher just does not go home from work and that is it. Matter of fact I even have to work on Christmas Eve and New Years eve, but so what, I am grateful to have a job. George I have worked as a Dental Assistant for 14 years so I do know about the other side. Again Torn Lace Curtains. It does not matter what job you have each one has the plus and minus. I have always worked hard at each and everything I have ever done. If it meant I had to do a labor job outside I would do it and be thankful for a job. I RESPECT each profession, no matter what it is, each person has a role and purpose to help others. Where would we be without electricions, oilmen, mailmen, water company, supermarkets workers, gas stations I can go on and on. You missed the point and trust me I am not some pampered bellyacher at all. In education trust me some are making crazy money but if you are on the bottom of the totem pole then you would understand.

  22. 22 sylvia67

    I personally think teachers are very much underpaid. Isn’t it something that people just don’t understand what it takes to be a teacher have so much negative to say? I am very protective of teachers and appreciate how hard they work. They may be off summers, but must take courses and do research for the following year. If it is not teachers that these people are against, it is the police and firemen. Teachers in Bpt. were going to jail because they refused to work without a contract. Do you think this was nice? Do you think teachers wanted to apply in Bpt.? They had a hard time for a good many years. Stop all your pure gossip and do something with your life because it appears to me that anyone who is against teachers, police, or firemen are suffering from pure jealousy and unfortunately there is no cure for this awful sickness. Our education dollars should be going to the kids and the teachers. We don’t need so many administrators and expensive programs that don’t work anyway in this town. We must return to the basics, which last I checked don’t cost all that much to teach if the teachers are allowed to do their job.

  23. 23 nomoreyears


    I don’t believe my post was addressing your response.


    Phin I know exactly where my teacher’s retirement comes from. I am one.

    After reading the CT Post article I don’t believe it said Mrs. Cornish was officially retiring and taking pension. It sounds more like a semi-retirement deal where the town is footing the bill. What’s Mrs. Cornish’s job performance record? Why wasn’t this discussed? What are the districts CMT and CAPT scores since she took over? They’re not very good. Why was the public not informed that such a deal was going to be discussed?

    Phin wrote: but when I have questions, she has always been forthright, direct and respectful to me. We may agree to disagree, but at least she will listen.

    It is a very well known fact that there is no discussion allowed with Mrs. Cornish. She makes the rules. Period. There is no disagreeing with her. No debate even if she’s wrong. That is fact

    Trust me Phin, the percentage of teachers who think Mrs. Cornish is great for Stratford is very low. Ask the SAINTS who work at Franklin school all about Mrs. Cornish and her crew. Ask the teachers of Stratford High what they think about her leadership.

    Enough of this. Cornish is still in. The board made it clear that they want her however ignorant they may be. Hence a new board was elected and perhaps the new board will make better decisions in the future regarding the district’s direction.

    In the meanwhile,

    Stratford, I wish you all the best with your new mayor. I hope you once again shine. Jezz, I look forward to any reporting you can give us on the inauguration of Mayor Harkins.

  24. 24 1george1

    I do not believe I stated anything bad or untrue about teachers.
    I simply tried to show a compative situation.

    Some of the older retirements for teachers are sadly very lacking,
    as are some of the older pensions.
    Some of the higher pay and pensions, are high, in my opinion, compared
    to what is fair to the private sector.
    Between Pension and Insurance abuse, 8 of 30 Mils could have been dropped.
    If there was any attempt at honest economic development and funding,
    5 more Mils, could have been reduced.


    Very few of the private sector are reading this blog – all inbreeding.
    When, not if it all blows up, none of the games and cover stories
    will work. There are people who read this who I didn’t know and
    some that I do know. Some of the other readers tell me I have hit
    many things to be exactly the way they exist.

    If anyone remembers or has seen “all the president’s men,” you would
    know there are people who know more than all of us.

    I gave information to Harkins, respected union people, and others that
    that the some of the readers have to worry from the people and others
    have to worry about the double cross, from the top down.

  25. 25 jezebel282


    Unfortunately, a family issue came up and needed my attention. I could not make it. But…as they say in the PD…”the show’s over folks”.

    As has been mentioned, Mayor Harkins signed the emergency order for the trucks. 7 fatalities in a Town of 50,000 is 7 too many.

    It is my hope that except for the resignations of John Buturla and James Cavanaugh and the prosecution of Miron there won’t be much to write about any more.

  26. 26 1george1

    It would be appropriate to prosecute all of the people responsible
    for delaying fire truck purchases from 10 years ago and 5 years ago.

    I am curious if the lack of working Fire Truck actively contributed
    to any of those 7 deaths?

    Every death is a tragety

  27. 27 mayor2013

    I have the following statement:

    Doesn’t anyone see it. Mrs. Cornish is staying on having worked out this wonderful personal package for herself to give Ben Branyan enough time to attained his necessary certifications which will enable him to step into her position. It is so crystal clear. And, so the beat goes on and the taxpayers get the business.

    New day, new mayor, new leadership but same ole same ole.

  28. 28 1george1

    Mayor 2013
    Your BoE suggestion appears plausible.
    And I have been a supporter of Irene and Ben.
    Especially when Ben first got the job.

    I respect the job they do / have done.
    There have been increasing issues.

  29. 29 jezebel282


    It is true that Berchem Moses and Devlin continue to represent the Stratford Board of Education. BMD makes a very nice living by draining the coffers of municipalities throughout the state of Connecticut. Our little pot of money was probably the most easiest to access for the last four years.

    Neither the Council nor the Mayor have any discretion when it involves BOE representation.

    The decision to continue paying Berchem Moses & Devlin $225/hour out of the Education budget rest solely with the BOE. There are seven members that must vote to change our representation.

    Gavin B. Forrester, III (R)

    Charles A. Lindberg (R)

    David A. LoConte (R)
    Vice-Chair &Secretary

    Joseph G. Crudo (R)

    Jean T. Collier (D)

    David R. Kennedy (R)

    Janice O. Daponte (D)

  30. 30 1george1


    Praise be to you and this above post on BMD + BoE.

    I absolutely have to give you props.

    Sometimes great minds think alike! 😉

    But I enjoy the challenge you present in trying to convert you to some
    positions I would think any socially conscious democrat would embrace!
    Even one radicalized to become … shudder … a Republican?

    At the December Town Council farewell, I listened in amazement when
    Henrick talked about Christian and Conservative Values …..
    Based on his Town Council record …… I have to guess his Sunday School
    classes and political science classes were taught by a decendant of Boss
    Tweed? 🙂

    In his 6 years, PENSION OBLIGATIONS grew from about $ 10 to $ 17.4 Million.

    Incidently Gavin, weren’t you in the Town Council for the same 6 years?

    Gavin and others, what happened to Tax Payers’
    > Household Income
    > Individual Income
    > Health Benefit Cost
    > Taxes (not the phoney mil rate, but % of actual Tax Costs)
    > PENSION PORTFOLIO / 401 / Retirements ….. if ANY other than SS?
    > JOB security or Business
    > Home value
    > Debt
    > Interest on Debt
    > Utility costs + Gasoline

    To be fair to Gavin & locals, they can not be responsible for National
    costs and abuses ….. but it has to be factored in.

    When good people like Gavin, Jon, Calzone, Greg, and other EMS people
    (I will not split political hairs – each has saved lives, and deserves praise)
    start having SUICIDES like the MILFORD WIDOW, over lost HOMES owned
    for GENERATIONS, it will tear them up …. when they realize the GROSS
    AFFECT of TOWN DECISIONS on the lives of innocents and trusting.

    I know MOST of the COPS are VERY GOOD PEOPLE!
    I know MOST of the EMS are VERY GOOD PEOPLE!
    I know MOST of the FIRE are VERY GOOD PEOPLE!
    I know MOST of the PW are VERY GOOD PEOPLE!
    I know MOST of the BoE are VERY GOOD PEOPLE!
    I know MOST of the Town Workers / Managers are VERY GOOD PEOPLE!
    I know MOST of the State Workers / Managers are VERY GOOD PEOPLE!
    I know MOST of the Federal Workers / Managers are VERY GOOD PEOPLE!

    I know MOST of the Bloggers are VERY GOOD PEOPLE!
    Although I enjoy bustin b**** when insulted and enjoy the challenge of
    debate and trying to make people aware out of their preferrance.

    I challenged JEZE on the BoE.
    JEZE to her credit, was up to the challenge.

    Whether we agree or disagree, JEZE is extremely responsive.
    Even if the response is to move or erase (recent) posts.

    The opposite of LOVE is not HATE … It is apathy.
    JEZE is not apathetic!

    Don’t faint … but .. Good Job, on the BoE + BMD – JEZE … 🙂

    So far! 8)


    PS: I just realized similarity of BMD vs. WMD …

  31. 31 nomoreyears

    mayor13 and George,

    It would be a very long haul for Ben to become Superintendent. He would not meet the state of Connecticut’s requirements of successful teaching 50 months in a public school and on top of that he would need 30 credits in an 093 program and 36 credits in a special education program. If Mr. Branyon has no teaching experience, it would take a lot of circumvention for Mr. Branyon to obtain an 093 by the Superintendent and the State.

    Does Mr. Branyon have any teaching experience in a public school? I don’t know. Does he have the necessary credits to become a superintendent? I don’t know that either.

    Mr. Branyon is good at what he does. There is not question on his capabilities with the BOEs finances. No personality, but he’s good at what he does. He is also inaccessible and reclusive like our current chief.

    Link on information regarding superintendent certifcation.


  32. 32 jezebel282


    Although I have no knowledge of Mr. Branyan’s educational certifications, it is clear that he does have one quality rarely found in school (or Town) administrators ….competence.

  33. 33 nomoreyears


    As I said, Mr. Branyon is very good at what he does. He was an excellent town manager. Doesn’t mean he’d make a “competent” or even average Superintendent. There is more to running a school district than managing finances.

    As I hope we’ve learned from the previous town side debacle, people skills are a valuable resource in any leadership position.

  34. 34 phineast

    Nomore- Interesting that you have such difficulty accessing Mr. Branyon or Ms. Cornish-
    When Branyon was in town hall never once did I have an issue attempting to speak to him-same goes for him being in the BOE. I have always found him to be direct but thoughtful(not shooting from the hip), not to mention exhibiting a high level of integrity-something that was lacking for the remainder of the miron tenure in town hall. Ben now really knows how things operate on both sides of the budget-and exactly what savings can be realized and where-though only the BOE and superintendent can give him the go ahead to implement and change things for the BOE-on the town side I’d be willing to be that he would help the Harkin’s administration through the budget process if they asked him-he is a good man and we are fortunate to have him working for our highest good. He genuinely cares about this community.
    Ms. Cornish has always had an open door, at least from my experience. Yes, I have had to wait for an appointment, and that is ok, it is to be expected. We don’t always agree on things but she has always given me the opportunity to speak and question, and then explain what I am asking about. I don’t always like the answers I get, but at least I get some type of answer. Is her style heavy handed? I don’t work for her, but some of my closest friends do-and all agree that she is tough but a million times better than working under OC. She isn’t paid to let people not do their job-she wants the schools to be very successful-because if they are; she is, but most important-the kids are. That is what matters most.

  35. 35 nomoreyears


    As I’ve said before we agree to disagree.

  36. 36 1george1

    Thank you for the information and opinion about Ben & certification
    to become a Superintendent. It appears to legitimately eliminate the
    suggestion about that potential situation becoming a reality.

    My experience with Ben and Irene is closer to Phin’s well writen and
    well thought out post.
    However, if I remember correctly nomoreyears appears to work for the
    BoE and has some career experience of internal machinations that Phin
    and I do not have.

    If so, it would change the perception and dynamics or our respective
    Like Phin, I feel comparing OC to Irene favors the lady.
    Like Phin, comparing Ben + Irene to Mirons …. no contest.

    “Mr. Branyon is good at what he does.”
    > (JIM MIRON thought he was …… )
    There is not question on his capabilities with the BOEs finances.
    > (I just got my hands on the CFR … $ 203 MILLION REVENUES …
    but the BUDGET was about $ 178 MILLION ???) (hmmmmm ??)*
    “No personality, but he’s good at what he does.”
    > (JIM MIRON had/has PERSONALITY and he thought …. ) 😉
    “He is also inaccessible and reclusive like our current chief.”
    > (JIM MIRON was exceptionally accessable)

    Comparing to the above:
    Ben’s integrity, priorities, and skills sets
    Irene’s integrity, priorities, and skills sets

    After OC left, I did find he did good things, but …

    Like Phin, I would like to see BMD go bye bye.

    Well written, nomoreyears
    about in the spirit of debate ….
    agreeing to disagree.

  37. 37 jezebel282

    Nomore & Phin,

    It really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of Branyan or Cornish. Part of their job is to take the bullet for the policy decisions made by the Board of Education. Decisions like which law firm represents the BOE, the budget, union contracts, administration salaries etc are all approved by the seven elected members of the Board. That’s why we elect them. They alone bear responsibility for the nearly $88 million budget.

    If any real changes are made they will be decided by

    Gavin B. Forrester, III (R)
    Co-Chair, forresterg.boe@stratfordk12.org

    Charles A. Lindberg (R)
    Co-Chair, lindbergc.boe@stratfordk12.org

    David A. LoConte (R)
    Vice-Chair &Secretary, loconted.boe@stratfordk12.org

    Joseph G. Crudo (R)
    Member, crudoj.boe@stratfordk12.org

    Jean T. Collier (D)
    Member, collierj.boe@stratfordk12.org

    David R. Kennedy (R)
    Member, kennedyd.boe@stratfordk12.org

    Janice O. Daponte (D)
    Member, dapontej.boe@stratfordk12.org

  38. 38 1george1

    It appears you and I are in compete agreement on this one.

    Could you put the above post into it’s own String?
    This way it is easier for people to find and follow.
    Yeah … I know … 😉

  39. 39 mayor2013

    New Year’s Prediction:

    Ben Branyan will be Stratford’s next Superintendent of Schools.

    How about a discussion on employee Health Care Premiums. How does everyone feel about the former First Selectman from Trumbull and others in his administration only paying $52 per year for health insurance.

    In my opinion, this was absolutely dispicable. To say he was going to correct it had he been re-elected . . . so very sad. And, then to compare his package with what Miron allowed . . . also very sad. I recommend that the new administration in Trumbull go back retroactively for his year’s in service and for everyone else who was involved in this “sweet” deal and send them all an appropriate bill. I know, I know, someone will say – the law, the law. But, honestly, this is very low handed and out right dishonest and on and on. At least the statement should be made – of course, whether or not a payment is forthcoming is not relevant.

    How about a discussion on Shelton Mayor Lauretti contemplating a run for the Governor?

    Let’s hear it.

  40. 40 1george1

    Mayor 2013,
    I suggest you re-read Tuesday’s front page, where the exact center of the
    3 columns mentions UNIONS + NON UNIONS are now paying upto 11 %.

    THAT is part of the REAL ISSUE in Stratford.
    However I could be in favor of the UNIONS paying 0 %.

    Ask HOW?

    HINT: I have posted in the past.

  41. 41 1george1

    Joe Lieberman wrote the biography of John Moran Bailey.
    “The Power Broker”

    I believe you would find Bailey extorted from the insurance industry
    to build his power first in CT and then for a remarkable 7 years as the
    National Democratic Chairman. (now called Lobbying)

    CT. has screwed up the Nation’s Health Care, the same way the OIL
    STATES have screwed up the nation’s ENERGY.

    The CHINA SYNDROME eliminated NULEAR as an alternative.

    See the MOVIE: “Who killed the Electric Car?”
    The ELECTRIC CAR could drive over 110 mph and get over 100 miles
    per charge …. in 1996

    Our scumbags in Legislative, Executive, + Judicial and their political
    courtesans have held back the USA until they could control it.

    Until I saw Stratford politics in action, I could never understand how
    the USA was over run with DRUGS and how the Economy was so messed
    up……. Power attracts the corrupt and corruptible…

    The real Democrats and Republicans, helped make the USA GREAT.
    The creatures who control the political parties are the curse on the
    whole world….

  42. 42 1george1

    I understand a certain ranking person of the Stratford Republican
    Town Committee really lives in Shelton.

    It was Scinto, not Lauretti, whose buildings increased property
    taxes from businesses, keeping residential taxes low.
    I as told a certain Stratford politico stated a couple of years ago:
    “We gotta Zoning. There are a lotta BIG things coming up.”

    4 years ago, I ran for Mayor, not getting on the ballot.
    One of my suggestions (platform) was changing Stratford zoning
    to 12 stories, to have an effect on taxes like Lauretti.
    I found that Stratford people like the OLD FASHION HISTORIC
    type of townand (most) would (likely) be against having towers.

    My information is there is a rumor that KELLY – FLOREK – BURTURLA
    – PROTO/Anthony Avallon, and others want to put 15-18 story Towers
    on part of AVCO. FAA gave OK already = out of the flight path!
    (unless the airport is bought and developed to even more condos?)

    Every CONDO needs 2 lawyers for CLOSINGS for buyer/sellers.
    There can be 20 Condos on the same foot print as 1 house.
    So what if it messes up schools, fire, ems, police, and ambiance?

    The Town Committee people, Lawyers, and ranking pensioners
    will retire to FL, NC, etc and stick the locals with the TAXES and
    the mess. That’s why they do not care about the DELAYS where
    their steering came back to some of them as finders fees or as
    business clients….

    Your TAXES are 50 % too high – and I have shown that many times!

  43. 43 jezebel282

    We do not take requests for new articles.

    State elections have their own blog sites. Besides, who would vote for the wrestling lady anyway? The only Democrat I would absolutely trust in any office right now is Pat Ulatowski. But she hasn’t announced…..yet.

  44. 44 1george1

    “We do not take requests for new articles.”

    Excuse me Jeze, but who is “WE?”

    Could it be one of your many (schizo) personalities?
    (I am TEASING! Absolutely NO serious intent!!)

    Back when Anthony (D) Schirillo and Dick (D) Miron arranged for
    Kevin (R) Kelly to be the Republican Town Attorney under
    William (R) Cabrol …. replacing Mike Koperwhats …..

    (Wanna read that sentence again?)

    I happened to watch the W. W. F. match one week,
    and the Wrestling announcer’s name was…..



    Lowell Weicker is or was on the WWF / WWE Board of Directors.
    Lowell Weicker went to the same Greenwich Episcopalian Church
    as a young man as’ G H W Bush.

    My Aunt is Episcopalian, so I KNOW there are MANY good ones …
    and I trust Bush – Weicker are not representative ….

    So if anyone is wondering about who scripts Stratford politics ….
    could it be …… ?? The “W” “WE” 😉

    While the wrestling is fake and cover stories even beat Stratford’s
    I have to conceed the McMahan family and their wrestlers are in
    far better shape than I am, or most of us.

  45. 45 jezebel282


    School board to submit 6.1% budget increase

    Written by John Kovach
    Monday, 01 March 2010 21:13

    The Board of Education Monday unanimously approved a 2010-11 budget that increases 6.1% over last year.

    The $94.15 million budget is up $5.4 milion from fiscal 2009-10.

    Of that, $5.4 million, $4.5 million is an increase in health insurance premiums the school board is contractually obligated to cover.

    Monday night, the board voted to restore $387,559 for special education outplacement. Those expenses are mandated by federal and state law, Chairman Gavin Forrester said after the meeting.

    The board cut $36,975 from the budget by holding non-union employees to a 0% increase. David Kennedy made the motion, which passed 4-2.

    Schools Supt. Irene Cornish objected, saying those staff members would then get no raise two years in a row.

    Thanks for the cooperation there, Irene. Those “staff” members are the top administrators most of whom already pull down well over 6 figures each from the Town. Are you kidding me? You don’t even want to negotiate their bonuses?

  46. 46 1george1


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