Taxpayer Response to Budget

24Mar10

Initial Reaction

Harkins: State of Stratford’s finances is dire
Richard Weizel, STAFF WRITER
Published: 06:43 p.m., Tuesday, March 23, 2010

STRATFORD — It was a speech that never would have been given during a political campaign.

In his first State of the Town address, however, Mayor John A. Harkins on Tuesday gave a blunt assessment of Stratford’s economic straits, saying there will be higher taxes, no new services and tough contract negotiations with the town’s six municipal unions.

Harkins said years of bad fiscal decisions by “leaders of both parties” have left Stratford facing “a perfect storm.”

“These obstacles, though not insurmountable, are daunting. The state of our town is strong, but the state of our town’s finances is weak,” Harkins”

Admittedly, this writer (that would be me) has been a bit distracted in the ER and ICU this week and will be for a while, but this budgets wreaks. There are no bold initiatives, no major cutbacks, no reorganizations, no eliminations of unnecessary and expensive positions nor anything at all that could be called creative or innovative. It contains more of the same with some notable increases. The one thing that has gotten better is Harkins press releases and speeches, but that is the difference between Heather Habelka and Adam Bauer.

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132 Responses to “Taxpayer Response to Budget”

  1. 1 rex525

    “There are no bold initiatives, no major cutbacks, no reorganizations, no eliminations of unnecessary and expensive positions nor anything at all that could be called creative or innovative. It contains more of the same with some notable increases.”

    I agree, it appears that the connected attorneys are being set up for more billable hours to suck the town treasury even drier and services to we taxpayers will be cut even deeper in the process. BTW was there any talk of hiring a competant finance director in all of this? NO, perhaps the mayor should look in that direction instead of listening to his throngs of party faithful. I AM DISGUSTED, business as usual in Stratford, time to call a real estate agent.

  2. 2 1george1

    If anyone wants to go to the Soundview Communications
    website there WAS ONE Candidate sounding the alarm of
    most of these issues and offered suggestions toward solutions. 😉

  3. 3 rex525

    Harkins said “Town Attorney Tim Bishop is crafting a long-range plan to overhaul that office “with a goal to cut operating expenses by half over the next several years.”

    Let me guess, they will create a new line item in the budget and funnel the funds, instead of through the town attorney’s office, directly to outside law firms. If there is not a competance level with Town decision makers without constant legal advise and consent they need to be replaced immediately and competant decision makers put in their place. While we are at it, how about asking for the resignation of our double dipping Police and Fire Chiefs and Deputies at the Saturday budget workshop. Instead of paying these four pieces of deadwood let’s look for a Police Chief and Fire Chief familiar with the towns operations and problems and have them run the whole show by themselves like they did in the past? It would likely be a vast improvement at half the cost. How’s that for innovation. Four people doing the work of two people BADLY and there is still no mention of it being corrected in the budget. I notice by the lack of activity on the boards that most of us are very disappointed. Voice your opinions and let’s get this town back on the track we thought it would be on before it’s too late. I know this is not the direction I cast my ballot in, and yes George you did warn us, thank you.

  4. 4 jezebel282

    “I notice by the lack of activity on the boards that most of us are very disappointed.”

    Perhaps it’s taking a while for people to, how shall I say, digest what is being shoved down their throats?

    I agree that there is no conceivable reason the legal salaries/fees should be almost doubled in one budget. We will need a clear backstory on this with some verifiable worksheets. How many people are suing the Town anyway? Everybody?

    Both Police and Fire Chiefs have assistants, captains and lieutenants all over the place. They need deputy chiefs too?

    And I haven’t even started on why it costs over $500,000 not including benefits to run the Town side of government.

  5. 5 mayor2013

    I read the letter in yesterday’s paper attacking Miron from DeCilio and I just have to comment. The Registrars of Voters, whom DiCilio serves as – could not be in a better position. He is not accountable for his work hours, is the highest paid ROV (along with the Democrat) in the state of Connecticut, receives the town’s health insurance, life insurance and paid vacation allownace and holiday pay. And, all of this for what is considered a part-time position. In fairness, this package is paid to all of the part-time employees who staff the office – so Mr. DeCilio you have no room to talk about Miron or his father! And, oh, Mr. Mayor – how about making some budget reductions to that office????????

    The whole proposed budget is disgraceful. It is absolutely correct as REX525 states, it is business as usual! Lets go through that budget, line by line, and eliminate all the part-time positions, all the overtime expense lines except for public safety and public works, and wherever there are two of the same position, reduct it in half. i.e. wherever a department has 4 clerks, reduce by 2, wherever a department has 2 secretaries, reduce by 1. Has anyone visited the wage and salary page? Those wages, added with the generous benefit package – this is crazy. If the employees will not agree to serious concessions NOW, then the positions must be eliminated by cutting the payroll lines. All of the non-union employees and department heads must make serious concessions through a mayoral directive. There is no negotiating necessary with them.

    And, oh, by the way Mr. Mayor this all goes for your budget too. Wherever there are two mayoral aides, reduce it by one. Everyone has to make sacrifices and that includes you. Reorganize and reduce staff everywhere!!!!!!

    Bottom line, Councilors, the taxpayers cannot afford this budget – simply cannot do it – not this year.

    I’m so very disappointed with Mayor Harkins and his financial team who put this budget together – it shows no toughness, no sympathy for the taxpapers and as REX says, no creativity.

  6. 6 mayor2013

    I have reviewed the Wage & Salary schedule and why is it I do not see any salary listing for part-time employees employed in several departments. Are they receiving a standard salary? benefits? vacation time? holiday pay? This part of the budget is incomplete – please add an addendum for a true picture of the salaries.

  7. 7 1george1

    Rex,
    I was agreein with your post, long before you got to the last line.
    You are obviously a highly inteligent blogger! 8)
    At least for now. 🙂

    Jeze,
    In a town 14 miles square, with 2 HS, 2 Jr. HS, + 8 (?) ELEMENTARY,
    WHY do we NEED Principles, never mind assistant principles in every
    school?

    I am against firing. I would favor them teaching and perhaps being
    supervisors at a slight reduction in pay, to a little above the $ 94 k
    top pay for teachers (over 50 % are top level about $ 88-94,000)

    I favor asking Burturla – Berchem, Kelly, and Florek to compensate
    Stratford for what I consider nonfeasance, misfeasance, malfeasance,
    and ….. drumroll …. c o n s p i r a c y, defrauding tax payers, in my
    opinion.

    Mayor 2013

    DeCilio started out great as a Town Councilor. I was impressed.
    He railed against the Registrar pay & Benefits!
    (similar to CRC Jim Miron, being against Mayoral goveernment? hmmmm)

    He raised the issue that in less than 6 months the fire house cost went
    from $ 1.8 million (Silhavey wanted the $ 1.6 million choice) to $ 2.3 m.

    Louie changed, I do not think he is a racist (I told him) like Jim Miron
    accused him of being, but I do think he lost his way and he knows I
    compare him to a local Darth Vader – a mini Cheney, doing leg work
    for Be UTTER NUTS – head PE NUT!

    I told Rick Marcone that I kinda wished Dick had not retired, so we
    could go after the Registrar position. Rick is a nice guy, whose email
    address includes the word “DAD.” THAT shows his PRIORITIES!

    I have stated and writen there is only 1 local political party in power
    in both DTC + RTC. I am not totally surprized by the BUDGET.
    However, it is the PRELIMINARY BUDGET!
    I would not be surprized by the final BUDGET being more than 50 %
    lower.

    As far as creativity?

    I spoke to the Mayor last week, to try to help him / the town.
    Early this morning I sent e-mail to him / 6-7 Councilor / Finance
    / T Attny / Press / Irene-Ben

    I went to my OCT page today and tried to post it on the blog:

    TITLE:
    Would you INVEST $ 200,000 to get $ 5 million Revenue
    (+ $ 3 million savings)

    It was awaiting moderation and I do not believe it posted.
    I will try again without e-addresses.

    Jeze may be asleep? 😉

  8. 8 ronmoreau

    Less then 3 months in office and our Mayor has not turned this town around?

    Shame on him?

    Are you kidding me?

  9. 9 rex525

    “Less then 3 months in office and our Mayor has not turned this town around?
    Shame on him? Are you kidding me?”

    Ron, Actually the Mayor has been in office for 3 months and two weeks and to clarify my position- NO, I did not expect him to turn this town around in three months, I estimated 2 to 3 years. What I certainly did not expect was this unimaginative budget, and while we’re at it this Dick Cheneyesque type attitude that is creeping from his new administration.

    An example of the Cheneyesque attitude, is all of this sabre rattling in the press. While I am not a big fan of labor unions, I realize that they are a necessary evil in municipal government. The labor unions of this Town were very supportive of candidate Harkins throughout the election. One would assume that those same labor unions would have been sympathetic to the plight faced by the current Harkins administration left by the slash and burn financial policies of Jim Miron. Certainly, they would have been willing to work with the new Mayor to solve these problems (to include some concessions in a year where all of the town labor unions are entering negotiations). Who would know better than the workers of this Town, imaginative ways to cut spending and find waste? But what does this administration do- go right to the newspapers and rattle their sabres- “the unions are at fault and we’re going to lay off and cut, cut, cut!”

    STUPID-STUPID-STUPID!

    Maybe i’m wrong but don’t you catch more flies with honey? A better idea would have been to stick your toe in the water, sit down with the employees, form some joint committees and see what they come up with. There’s a name for this, it’s called imaginative. If that doesn’t work- THEN rattle your sabres.

    BUT NO the republican party faithful want to declare an all out war…….and who will win…….THE ATTORNEYS AGAIN! I predict that if the Mayor and the Town Council don’t wake up quickly and see that we taxpayers of Stratford are FED UP with stupidity and politics as usual, they will be in for a rude awakening in 2011. A Republican Mayor and Republican MINORITY Town Council (with some independant candidates and Democrats winning seats) would again deadlock this Town and bring it to it’s knees. Don’t think this could happen? Guess again, we taxpayers are that fed up and disgusted. Bring back the pride, that’s what we vote for, and while we’re at it- be imaginative, something the RTC has never been capable of.

  10. 11 mayor2013

    Ron

    It is the responsibility of the mayor to deliver a budget that is affordable to the taxpayers at this time. His budget is not affordable. It shows no imagination and he accepts no resposibility. His responses are it must be as it is and we must move on. Well, Ron, we will not move on. The mayor failed miserably in just about the most important responsibiliy he has to the taxpayer – to deliver a budget that is fiscally responsible in these tough economic times. He gets an F grade. Just read that budget and look at those department accounts – there were numerous opportunities for him to make cuts and to suspend budget lines for this year – to help the fiscally-strapped taxpayers. He did not do it. Now, the council has to do it. If they do not, then the taxpayers will do it at the ballot box.

  11. 12 jezebel282

    2013.

    “It shows no imagination and he accepts no responsibility.”

    I have to agree. Except for the whopping increase in legal salaries and attorney fees, I can find no significant changes from the last four budgets that Miron submitted. There appears to be some minor tinkering in some line items, but no significant changes at all. Except, for the attorney gift item.

  12. 13 1george1

    Jeze,
    If you are predisposed, you can take a digital camera to the Library
    reference section and take digital pictures of certain parts of past
    Budgets, going back every 3 years.

    From there you have a composite picture of how things changed
    and when things changed.

    The political parties (groups) decide in advance of Town Council
    and other meetings what they will separately or collectively do
    in front of the Public. VIRTUALLY MOST of it is STAGED!

    The same thing is true about Federal, State, and area governments
    and politicos. E V E R Y T H I N G is on a T I M E T A B L E.

    Remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that GE BOSTON AVENUE is about
    to change circumstances, isn’t it?

    BUCCI was a former Mayor. His partner Willinger has been part of
    every AVCO misstep and also part of STEAL (steele) POINT.

    Remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that AVCO is about to change
    circumstances, with JUNE 26 DROP DEAD DATE isn’t it?
    A forth BID situation, coincidentally like Shakespeare?

    Remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that FERRY moved across Harbor
    and nearer to PLEASURE BEACH, and is about to change, isn’t it?

    Remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that AIRPORT is about to change
    circumstances, isn’t it?

    Remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that MOSES WHEELER BRIDGE and
    I – 95 # 33 is about to change circumstances, isn’t it?

    Remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that RAYMARK DUMPSITES are about
    to change circumstances, isn’t it?

    Remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that DOG STAR in Rockefeller’s Mobil
    Chemical buiding is about to change circumstances, isn’t it?

    Remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that DOG STAR buying RAMADA INN
    buiding is about to change circumstances, isn’t it?

    Remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that SHAKESPEARE THEATER PLANS are
    about to change circumstances, “for the 4th time,” isn’t it?

    Remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that DOG STAR interest in using the
    SHAKESPEARE for a CABLE STUDIO maybe about to change circumstances,
    isn’t it?

    YO CHRIS, aren’t you the one posting that NO ONE HAS A PLAN?

    AVCO alone is a multi BILLION Dollar project.

    Add in everything else in Stratford and then add in everything else.

    Anyone think there is NOT a PLAN related to $ 50 BILLION Economic
    Development?

    Anyone think there is NOT a PLAN related to steering and stealing
    the SPOILS of a $ 50 BILLION Economic Development?

    Anyone think most locals will NOT be DOUBLE CROSSED by the BIGGEST
    FISH in the FINANCIAL FOOD CHAIN?

  13. 14 jezebel282

    George,

    It is a remarkable C O I N C I D E N C E that only you think this.

  14. 15 phineast

    whoops! posted my budget comment on the career move topic-sorry!

  15. 16 cstratct

    There are probably a lot of people interested in developing the theatre now that there is a new administration and town council. So I’m not surprised someone has an interest. Do I think there is a vast conspiracy to turn the theatre over to Allen Christopher? No.

  16. 17 1george1

    No Jeze,

    All iy means is that of the 5 people actively posting on this
    blog, the other 4 choose not to agree.

    Chris,
    In my run for Mayor, one of the ideas I proposed, included
    using the theater as a studio for TV, CABLE, RADIO as well as
    the various other uses that you and I discussed.
    This included your idea of having CATERING facility on site.

    Allen Christopher and the Nateras were already the AVCO
    BIDDERS. I was unaware, Allen Christopher was involved in
    owning a cable station … already.
    That is a C O I N C I D E N C E.

    I am sure there are others who had alreadt expressed the
    same ideas, which I posted and used in my plan for the
    Shakespeare Theater.

    CHRIS you HAVE TO CONCEED:
    1 – I had a plan
    2 – Allen Christopher “appears” to have had a plan for at least
    a couple of years, which may or mat not have included the
    Shakespeare Theater.
    3 – Jim Miron NEVER propsed his plan.

    Yet you never back off from your claim that NO ONE had a plan?

    You asked for proof that Allen Christopher’s group has an interest
    in the Shakespeare Theater for a Cable Station (among other uses).
    I told you about what Bruce Alessie stated and gave you 2 phone
    numbers to verify (and there are over of a dozen people at that
    meeting and the January presentation by Allen Christopher to the
    same Economic Development Commission.
    Then there are all the people at the March 12 walk thyough.

    When I fullfilled your request and for proof, I thought it was
    GAME + SET + MATCH on an existing Plan + Time Table.

    It appears there is zero way to satisfy any of your requests.

    However, I have run into others in this blag and in government
    and business who not only are unresponsive to reason or have
    agenda or motive to be unresponsive.
    There are people incapable ….

  17. 18 cstratct

    George, I never suggested a formal plan. I mentioned several ideas that I had regarding possible uses of the facility and the grounds. I never claimed to have a plan. I offered my opinion, nothing more. No one has asked me to do anything with regard to the theatre, so all I have done is express my thoughts on the subject.

    As for this:

    “2 – Allen Christopher “appears” to have had a plan for at least
    a couple of years, which may or mat not have included the
    Shakespeare Theater.”

    All I can say is: What?! Someone may or may not have had a plan that may or may not have included the theatre. You could say this about anyone. Appearances can be deceiving, as we are all too familiar (i.e. Louis Burke, KKP).

    Finally, I never asked for proof of interest in the theatre. I asked for proof that there was some nefarious conspiracy “where the Miron – Burturla – RTC were always working together whereas it appears “Allen Christopher’s group” always was the developer in waiting, behind the tormentor stage wings.”

    I’ve answered your questions but that doesn’t suffice. I don’t believe there is a conspiracy to turn the theatre over to Allen Christopher. I don’t believe anyone has yet to put forth a proper formal plan for the future of the facility or the grounds. I don’t believe the town lacks an identity which impedes progress on any number of fronts.

    Do I believe conspiracies exist? Sure I do, but not the ones you put forth. If that upsets you so be it.

  18. 19 cstratct

    Oops, I meant to say “I DO believe the town lacks an identity which impedes progress on any number of fronts.”

  19. 20 1george1

    Meant to say x,
    Actually wrote y

  20. 21 jezebel282

    CStrat,

    “I DO believe the town lacks an identity which impedes progress on any number of fronts.”

    It’s an amazing thing, isn’t it? Groton is the submarine capitol of the world, New Haven is the home of Yale, Hartford is the insurance capitol, Winnebago is the capitol of…well, you know, and Huntsville is the capitol of rockets.

    Yet when you tell people that Stratford is where Sikorksy builds helicopters you get “really?”. Stratford is more famous for an insane mayor that carries guns to Council meetings.

    Can you tell we haven’t had an Economic Development Director for 4 years?

  21. 22 cstratct

    Jezebel,

    It seems to me that the lack of identity predates the switch to the Mayoral form of government. Raymark waste, SAEP, the airport. All issues that have been kicked around for years and years without resolution. It often appears that scoring political points supercedes progress.

  22. 23 phineast

    CT-we had an identity-but it closed 20 years ago………Shakespeare.
    There is much lacking since the loss of an economic development director. Raymark,SAEP, and the airport are issues that could be used for a positive spin not just the negative…but you need a creative Economic director and staff to do it.
    We have commissions and committees galore…..It is hard to evaluate what they do.
    We have a Harbor and Waterfront commission that SHOULD be marketing the 9 miles of waterfront in town. But they don’t. Maybe the members are stale or just don’t care-our waterfront should be the feather in the cap of the town….why hasn’t harbor and waterfront worked to do this over the last several years??????? They stay in a tight little circle and spin. That can be said about many many things in town….We have a spectacular forest but I’d be willing to bet that more than half the town doesn’t know where it is, who’s fault is that? There is a lot that needs to be worked on in town and people are finally awake and coming out of the stupor that has had a hold of them for so long….now that they are awake maybe people will come forward and share ideas that will once again make Stratford a great place–if they don’t the taxes will just keep going up and businesses will keep leaving. So invite your friends and neighbors to look at the town meeting calendar and pick a committee or a commission and go and be a part of it-you don’t need to be appointed to something to make your voice and ideas heard-these groups are all open to the public, you just have to be willing to lend a hand and follow through. That is what will begin to draw attention to our community in a positive way and make people want to do business in this town. Ideas that need action need people to act on them. Every contribution has value-even the ones that just spin.

  23. 24 1george1

    Phin,

    I have had my resume on fi;e with the Council Clerk for over 10 years.

    The only Commission I was appointed to be on, both Bob Sammis and I
    disagreed with words they tried to put into our mouths, as we were
    2/3rd of that SUB Committee.
    The apparent objective was to get me and Mr. Sammis to rubber stamp
    the POLICE O. T. given by Imbro + Burturla for Jan 2008 police retirees,
    as the Town Council exempted the Fire retirees.

    Phin in an honest game and honest government, your sentiments are
    the very thing I would like to have happen.

    However Phin, what you and others will not accept is that certain
    people in government intentionally cause problems to DRIVE DOWN
    VALUES of place they WANT to BUY cheaply and BUILD when they
    deem the time is right and they can maximize profits.

    In theory Phin, I love your post and many of Christopher’s and Jeze
    and others’ posts about the ways things could be / should be.

    UNTIL the COPS / FIRE and others GET DOUBLE CROSSED, they will
    NOT step up.

    As you see what has happened to the LoSchiavo’s, this will infuriate
    everyone more ……

    Do you believe they would NOT cut a DEAL to keep what they got,
    and become STATE’S EVIDENCE against all the RETIREES / LAWYERS /
    TOWN OFFICIALS / TOWN COMMITTEES?

    They are like LAMBS who have been STAKED, just waiting for the
    WERE WOLVES to STRIKE.

  24. 25 1george1

    Many of the BLOGGERS and readers have police / legal background.

    Just as there as sins of commission and sins of ommission, people who
    stay silent when they are witnesses to a crime and/or series of crimes,
    AND they profit from staying silent are callled …………. (what)?

    Not like I have not warned you … all.

    The biggest fish need to each a little smaller fish or a lot of smaller.

  25. 26 ronmoreau

    mayor2013,

    You wrote…..

    ( Ron

    It is the responsibility of the mayor to deliver a budget that is affordable to the taxpayers at this time. His budget is not affordable. It shows no imagination and he accepts no resposibility. His responses are it must be as it is and we must move on. Well, Ron, we will not move on. The mayor failed miserably in just about the most important responsibiliy he has to the taxpayer – to deliver a budget that is fiscally responsible in these tough economic times. He gets an F grade. Just read that budget and look at those department accounts – there were numerous opportunities for him to make cuts and to suspend budget lines for this year – to help the fiscally-strapped taxpayers. He did not do it. Now, the council has to do it. If they do not, then the taxpayers will do it at the ballot box.)

    What a bunch of CRAP.

    The responsibility of OUR MAYOR is to make sure our little community survives in this crazy world.

    How has our Mayor failed us?

    By,

    …allowing Bridgeport and A Federal Judge to take land from Stratford?

    …allowing OUR town to hire a person with a major dissablity to carry a gun and sit behind the wheel of a police car?

    ….allowing THE most beautiful beach we have to be given away?

    These are ‘biggies’ as far as I am concerned.

    You have a problem with OUR Mayor.

    You consider Our Mayor being ‘ honest’ a problem.

    Less than 4 months in office and he has Failed?

    You will never get my VOTE.

  26. 27 ronmoreau

    Mayor 2013,

    It wasn’t ‘Honest’ you had a problem with.

    It was ‘truthful’.

    Our Mayor being ‘Truthful’.

    Refreshing, isn’t it?

  27. 28 ronmoreau

    I want to know the truth, so I can plan accordingly.

  28. 29 mayor2013

    Salaries according to the Salary and Wage Plan posted on the website:
    HR Assistant aka Linda Lo – $61,749
    Asst TC – $64,608
    Asst Vital Statistics (2) each $49,209
    P&Z Adm. $90,895
    Planner $82,447
    IT Adm. 83,000 plus (3) employees each making $71,800 – why can/t this be reduced?????
    Youth Serv Adm $78,521
    Health Secretary $61,749
    Rec Supt $86,571
    Purchasing Agent $82,447
    Assessor $90,895
    Senior Serv Supervisor $82,447
    Asst. Finance Dir – $85,000
    Sanitation Supt $95,000 etc etc etc all of the public works superv making $90K and above

    Now add on to that about $15,000 for health insurance per employee
    Now add on to that about 1-4 weeks vacation per employee
    Now add on to that longevity bonus’ for each employee

    You are talking some really big big big $$$$$$$.

    Why are the secretaries’ salaries all over the place – what is the criteria in deciding their salary?
    Why does the town clerk need 3 assts. 1 asst to the town clerk and 2 assts for vital statistics. Why can’t she cut that down? And, under the budget for this department are funds for part time employees?????????
    The superintendents in public works – t ake a look at their salaries, this is plum nuts??????

    Mayor Harkins, please take a look at this!!!

    And, how about several furlough days – like other communities have been forced to do.

  29. 30 jezebel282

    2013,

    “IT Adm. 83,000 plus (3) employees each making $71,800 – why can/t this be reduced?????”
    It took more than a week to post the Town Budget. These guys get paid?

    “Senior Serv Supervisor $82,447”
    This one I can’t complain about. Diane Puterski does a superb job.

    But let’s not forget Two Deputy Chiefs with extremely little to do at $90,000 ea.

  30. 31 1george1

    Was it last Town Council or the one before where in my Public Forum,
    I stated I believed Berchem / Burturla + Kelly + Florek cost Stratford over
    $ 1 Billion in a projected 60 year window in excessive costs and reduced
    revenues?

    The more Jeze and Chris and others dig, the more can be exposed!

  31. 32 adambauer

    Hello All,

    Now that I’ve had time to get my feet under me in Town Hall, I’ve decided to start responding to various questions or other posts on this site as a way to increase communication from the Mayor’s office. A few ground rules:

    (1) I do my best to keep an eye on the site- but blogs are tough to keep up with due to the number and frequency of posts. My town email is always the best way to ask a direct question: abauer@townofstratford.com. If it’s to me, I’ll answer. If the question is for the Mayor, I’ll get you an answer.

    (2) Anything that is subject to FOI or legal clearance will not be addressed on this site and must be requested through Town Hall.

    (3) I will not respond to personal attacks (on the Mayor, the former Mayor, or anyone else).

    Now, to the real reason I’m writing- to address a few comments on the budget.

    (1) Town Attorney’s Office: It’s worth noting that when John Harkins walked through the doors to Town Hall on his first day in office, the Town Attorney’s budget for FY2010 had been spent by the previous administration. This is due to two factors: (1) a failure to implement controls in past years that would avert legal action against the town, and (2) because the Town Attorney’s budget was cut arbitrarily without any identification of where the savings would come by those doing the cutting. Mayor Harkins inherited a lot of lawsuits and other matters requiring the attention of attorneys from years (we’re talking in some case decades) of poor decision-making and management- particularly on the human resources end. Those controls are now in place (Ron Ing and Tim Bishop have worked tirelessly to implement best practices) and will save the Town thousands in subsequent years. However, at the moment, Mayor Harkins has no choice but to defend (or settle) suits that were handed to him, seeing as they won’t just go away because the budget is bad. While the FY2010 budget that was appropriated by the previous council and Mayor was just under $1million, the office’s expenses responding to outstanding suits and problems will end the year costing the town $2 million at the rate we’re going.

    Now, some will argue that the Town Attorneys are simply churning these suits and dragging them out to be able to bill more hours. That is patently false- at least in this Administration. Mayor Harkins hired Tim Bishop for a reason- to clean up the mess in the Town Attorney’s office. Tim has done an exceptional job thus far streamlining the town’s legal operations, avoiding exposure, and holding the line on billable hours to only that which is necessary because he too HATES to have issues linger and subsequently throw money down a rat hole. However, the reform he is undertaking in that office will not be realized in the upcoming budget year because, simply put, it took us longer than one budget year to get to the mess we’re in. Tim believes that through restructuring and some basic common sense, he can cut the operating budget of the TA office in half over four years. It’s a question of trust on y’all’s end: whether or not you actually believe the Mayor has directed his Town Attorney to do right by the taxpayers. I’d submit that this trust would be well placed.

    (2) Human Resources: A lot of the increase you see here is due to the fact that the projected costs of workers comp, CHRO, and other contract settlements were built into that office’s budget. Again, these expenditures will go down when Ron gets done mopping up the mess left for him- but in the meantime, he’s got to play the hand he’s dealt.

    (3) Mayor’s Office: The Mayor’s Office budget is on par with what it had been before last year’s Council cut it in an effort to put the former Mayor on notice that they didn’t like the alleged political activity being conducted by his former aides. As of right now, I am the only personal staff person the Mayor’s office is paying for (the receptionist is being paid out of the CAO’s office- an arrangement devised by Mayor Harkins’ predecessor). Simply put, this arrangement is unsustainable. Not only is Mayor Harkins’ staff much smaller than those of other municipal CEO’s of similar sized communities, but there is an expectation by residents that this Mayor be more accessible, responsive, and open than in previous years. In order to ensure that constituents are taken care of, communications are prolific, the trains run on time, and the Mayor is still able to actually get work done- the Mayor has asked that staffing be restored. Simply put- one person can’t do it all (though I wish I could).

    (4) Other, random issues: It’s worth noting that the entirety of the mill rate increase requested by the Mayor in his budget is attributable to the following factors: pension obligations, healthcare obligations, contractual obligations by the previous administration, the BOE (even after cutting $1.5 million from their request), and the revaluation. Not a dime is added discretionary expense. However, the bottom line is that cutting a position here or a position there is nibbling around the edges of a problem nearly exclusively driven by poor past decisions and the cost of employee benefits. These problems did not arise in a day, and they won’t go away in a budget cycle- particularly when they must be negotiated with our bargaining units.

    I know that everyone hates this budget. The Mayor hates this budget- but it is brutally honest, lives up to previous commitments in the name of fiscal responsibility and maintaining our bond rating, and desperately tries to retain the tools the Mayor needs to improve the Town’s prospects for economic development. It’s an ugly document, but it is real.

    I’ll end with this: the Mayor is open to suggestions and legitimate criticism. However, the days of governing through rumor, innuendo, folklore, and the front page of the Connecticut Post are over. The Mayor is committed not only to doing the right thing, but doing it the right way and in a manner that does not leave the town exposed to liability. It may feel good to shoot from the hip and say “everybody knows this or that, so just DO IT already”- but if something is not documented or investigated in the appropriate manner, it isn’t actionable. Answers may seem obvious to any one person, but the law doesn’t always care and sets a higher burden of proof- lest the town continue to expose itself to the needless legal liability and attorney’s fees that are eating up resources from other, legitimate projects that could improve Stratford.

  32. 33 1george1

    Adam,

    Very well writen.

    My prime criticisms with the Mayor are the Fire Truck NO BID and
    retaining Berchem in any capacity.

    When I spoke to Esq. Bishop last month, Esq. Burturla still retained
    a bulk of the open cases in his PC and not, safely, in Town Hall.

    I believe both Kelly and Burturla bilked the Town and between them
    and Florek have cost Stratford over $ 1 Billion in a 60 year window in
    unnecessary waste, costs, and lost revenues.

    Unfortunately Esq. Bishop is Esq. Kelly’s partner.

    As you know, I met with the Mayor on March 12, and made many
    suggestions related to cost savings and revenues. I also spoke to
    the Town Council. I honestly believe the Budget should and can
    be kept under 1 Mil increase.

    Also unfortunately when I came home March 12, my door was slightly
    ajar, and I found a pile of Town Attorney opinions missing and my
    computers proved to be tampered with.

    Adam, you and I know politics, where the left hand sometimes does not
    know what the right hand is doing.

    One opinion remains missing, yet what I have recovered is sufficient for
    my needs.

    Appealing to the Stratford Police Chief, State Police, or FBI is akin to
    DREDD SCOTT seeking redress from the KKK.

    It appears Joe McNeil, officer O’Meara, myself, and others “appear’ to be
    chasing a cheshire cat, down a rabbit hole.

    I take NO comfort in knowing those who betray, shall be betrayed.

  33. 34 1george1

    Adam,

    I note that your first item which you attacked was the mismanagement
    of the Town Attorney’s office and I loved the term “rat hole.”

    Since Berchem’s office (Burturla, Holcomb, others) was involved in the mismanagement and extra costs like:
    Animal Shelter $ 300,000 Project Manager Contract
    Hanney 14 negotiations + KKP 9 month negotiations for 90 day window
    Shakespeare 3 bidders, about to be # 4
    AVCO 3 bidders, likely to be # 4
    RAYMARK “stop Action” worsen ground water – no resolution toxins
    Pensions up 42.5% in 43 months jan 2006 – july 2009
    Fire House + EMS + Fire Truck over runs
    Health Insurance is dispropotionately high compared to elsewhere
    Pensions, Cash out, annuity is dispropotionately high compared to elsewhere

    Why?
    1. Allow any Town cases to be handled by Berchem’s firm?
    2. Allow any BoE cases to be handled by Berchem’s firm?
    3. Not recover costs over runs caused, if there is malfeasance by
    Berchem’s firm, Florek, Kelly, and others.

    I would like to have each of them justify their charges.
    Actually Florek seems to keep a low profile, and I wonder if he has
    business steered to his firm, or likes to be low paid for incompentence
    or misdirecting Town Assets, all in my political opinion

  34. 35 sudds

    Umm….

    Mr. Bauer,

    Why is this coming from YOU… and NOT the Mayor himself???

  35. 36 jezebel282

    Mr. Bauer,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. As you will note, most of the readers and bloggers prefer facts and do not tolerate spin very well. Ask Gavin Forrester.

    That being said, since it is our money, perhaps you can elaborate on “Mayor Harkins inherited a lot of lawsuits and other matters requiring the attention of attorneys from years (we’re talking in some case decades) of poor decision-making and management”? LBW is done. Shakespeare is done. What other lawsuits are coming or already instituted that require $1.2 MILLION in legal fees/salaries?

    You seem to refer to them in your statement but offer no detail: “Mayor Harkins has no choice but to defend (or settle) suits that were handed to him, seeing as they won’t just go away because the budget is bad.”

    No one is accusing ex Mayor Moron of knowing what he was doing or behaving legally. I simply can’t find that many lawsuits.

    “Again, these expenditures will go down when Ron gets done mopping up the mess left for him- but in the meantime, he’s got to play the hand he’s dealt.”
    The hand he was dealt included a face-card named “Linda Loschiavo”. Does he intend to keep that card in the hole?

    “Not a dime is added discretionary expense. ”

    Oh there are plenty of dimes. There is a 14.6% increase in Police payroll and a 63.3% increase in supplementary police payroll. Despite the elimination of 8.5 positions.

    “the Mayor is open to suggestions and legitimate criticism. ”

    1. Get some control over Donna Best and recruit/maintain volunteers. $600,000 is a lot of money.

    2. James Cavanaugh should, at the very least apologize to the taxpayers and his own staff, for repeatedly lying and be forced to remain on duty during emergencies.

    3. Terminate John Buturla. (Do you really need an explanation?)

    4. Captain McNeil and Lieutenant Soto’s status should be changed immediately to suspended with pay pending the outcome of their trial.

    There’s more, but for now, those are the ones that threaten residents the most.

  36. 37 adambauer

    Ok- here goes. First off, though, something additional (really, a corollary) to the ground rules. I will not comment on internal personnel matters that have not risen to the level of official complaint or action- as part of the no commenting on personal attacks/personalities policies. When decisions are made regarding personnel, they are done so first with the relevant party and then publicly. This Administration does not conduct business through the press.

    (1) We’re talking about things that mostly do not hit the papers… CHRO complaints, workers comp, pension disputes, etc. The biggies, in some ways, are easier. We literally have grievances, pension disputes, workers comp, and other issues that have been around for longer than the Town has had a Mayor. Not everything is a court suit or something that most folks would even know about. However, they require an immense amount of legal attention. That’s not spin- it’s the truth.

    (2) Payroll/supplementary payroll are contractual issues to which I referred. Overtime policies are under review by the CAO and will be altered to the extent that they can be without contractual negotiations. However, the solution is going to be holistic- not piecemeal- and done with a full understanding of the process- not just sporadic complaints. That’s not to say various complaints lodged are or are not meritorius… however, anything worth doing is worth doing right and completely.

    (3) EMS revenue does not have one iota of impact on the mill rate. It is, by law, a separate “enterprise” account that cannot be swept at the end of the fiscal year. We are able to charge EMS ground rent for their use of town owned facilities (which we do, and just increased) as well as for administrative functions (payroll, etc.) that are conducted by other town departments. The Mayor has proposed, and the Council is likely to approve, the expenditure of $5000 from EMS funds for a professional EMS consultant to review Stratford EMS operations and recommend how the department should be restructured. This proposal was agreed to by both professional and volunteer EMS leadership (Gavin Forrester, for example), and is strongly supported by the Council. Again, the whole picture needs to be addressed and addressed fully.

  37. 38 jezebel282

    Mr. Bauer,

    Again thanks for the swift response.

    (1) We’re talking about things that mostly do not hit the papers… CHRO complaints, workers comp, pension disputes,

    Sigh…this is not a sufficient explanation for the doubling of legal fees/salaries. Unless you have made a giant error in anticipated liabilities/contingency, legal fees are exactly that; fees paid to attorneys. If it it your intent to settle/close these undescribed and uncounted cases then the legal fees should be fairly small and the Liability account much greater.

    (2)However, the solution is going to be holistic- not piecemeal- and done with a full understanding of the process- not just sporadic complaints.

    These are not “sporadic” complaints. They are issues that require explanation. Your term was “not a dime is added”. You cannot address each valid point with, “It’s too complicated for mere mortals to understand”.

    (3) EMS revenue does not have one iota of impact on the mill rate.

    We know that. The POINT was that there are serious recruitment and morale issues in EMS that effects our safety and the funding of EMS. We didn’t elect another consultant. We elected a mayor to fix these problems. Mr. Forrester and others in this town have YEARS of first hand knowledge and management experience. Hiring another consultant to tell you that there are serious recruitment and morale problems at EMS is…well….wait a minute! I have an idea! Jezebel’s Management Consultation Services, Inc. Just send me the check and I’ll mail you a report.

    And then there is:

    1. Get some control over Donna Best and recruit/maintain volunteers. $600,000 is a lot of money.

    2. James Cavanaugh should, at the very least apologize to the taxpayers and his own staff, for repeatedly lying and be forced to remain on duty during emergencies.

    3. Terminate John Buturla. (Do you really need an explanation?)

    4. Captain McNeil and Lieutenant Soto’s status should be changed immediately to suspended with pay pending the outcome of their trial.

  38. 39 adambauer

    Jeze,

    The number allocated in last year’s budget was not real. If you had read my first response accurately, you would have seen that the budget was reduced, but no savings were identified (i.e. how are we going to get there?), nor were the actual cost of dealing with outstanding issues considered. To say that legal costs “doubled” would require the previous year’s number to be even remotely within the realm of possibilities. Also- the liability account does not include all settlement issues.

    As to settling or closing suits/issues- it’s all contingent upon the plaintiff agreeing. Better budget high and return the money next year than budget low and end up short in the end.

    Nobody disputes the EMS recruitment and morale issues. It is a question of how to fix the entire system which is bigger than any single individual or complaint.

    The Mayor reduced discretionary Town Expenditures by $1.6 million. He did not, on a net basis, add discretionary funding to the budget. Increases are contractual, legal, or BOE based.

    As to the rest, read my corollary to the ground rules.

  39. 40 jezebel282

    Mr. Bauer,

    So you’re not going to send the check?

    “As to the rest, read my corollary to the ground rules.”

    When a department head goes out of his way to lie to the public and call members of his own staff liars in print, I think that goes beyond a private personnel matter.

    As for other chiefs, see https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/police-chief-buturla-running-on-empty/ that seems to be pretty public too.

  40. 41 1george1

    Mr. Bauer,

    Stratford insiders have told me for over 2 decades there are histories of paperwork missing from files,
    paperwork being replaced in files,
    contracts being changed after the fact,
    tax records missing.

    You just had a prime example where Miron – Justin alledgedly had a secret
    agreement, surface.

    2 Democratic Town Councilors from years past told me of paperwork missing
    from a ranking police official’s file about a pre-existing medical condition.

    I did not follow through, because it was Police Chief Mossman’s widow
    who would have lost partial pension.

    The guy cost me loved family members, parents of friends and over
    $ 30,000 of out of pocket cash and heart aches.

    Sylvia told me she wished she knew me then and might have been able
    to help.

    I spoke to Jason and told him Sylvia had many good friends and some
    who did not deserve her friendship. But Sylvia was the type who opened
    up to everyone, until they proved they did not deserve her trust.

    Jason also appreciated the fact that when Sylvia apologized for her
    often repetition in her e-mails, I had replied that I KNEW SHE WAS
    TELLING THE TRUTH, because her STORY NEVER CHANGED.

    The trauma I experienced in the USPS is not dislike trauma in WAR or of
    HOLOCAUST VICTIMS. WE REMEMBER!

    WE REMEMBER SPECIFIC DETAILS!

    OUR STORY NEVER CHANGES because the TRUTH and HORROR needs no
    embelishments and are far too easy to remember,

    Like ELIE WEIZEL, I REMEMBER.

    Sylvia would send HOLOCAUST PHOTOS.
    I asked her to CEASE. She CEASED.
    Unlike Halloween, I knew those were people.
    My dad was a WW II VET.
    He and I were psychologically tortured by psychic ghouls of sadism
    and schadenfreude.

  41. 42 cstratct

    Sudds,

    Why do you think Mayor Harkins should be responding to a blog where a majority of the posters are anonymous? I think Mr. Bauer explained himself and the issues at hand in a very forthright and consistent manner.

    Jezebel,

    As far as the legal fees and cases pending, just running a simple lookup on “Town of Stratford” on the Civil Inquiry page shows more than 25 cases. We as citizens have access to this information if we care to look for it. It’s not like court cases are cookie cutter and can be simply disposed of by paying out a few dollars.

    Frankly I’m surprised Mr. Bauer has taken to responding to a web blog. It’s welcome certainly, but neither he nor the Mayor is under any obligation to respond to every question or issue posted on an anonymous blog. If someone wants to ask a question of the Mayor or someone in his administration, they can contact that person directly.

    I for one respect his position on not responding to personal attacks. People may have their own grievances with certain officials, and if those grievances are put forth in a formal complaint it should be handled exactly as Mr. Bauer suggests. It most definitely should not be a spectacle carried out on a web blog.

  42. 43 jezebel282

    Cstrat,

    “just running a simple lookup on “Town of Stratford” on the Civil Inquiry page shows more than 25 cases.”

    And if you click on many of the cases, they have been withdrawn or a judgment has been issued. Once again, I am seeking clarity here which neither I nor the taxpayers are getting.

    Let me make the question clear: Are we allocating $1.2 MILLION for salaries/legal fees or for anticipated settlements?

    “Frankly I’m surprised Mr. Bauer has taken to responding to a web blog.”

    Me too.

    “but neither he nor the Mayor is under any obligation to respond to every question or issue posted on an anonymous blog.”

    No one is obligated to post here. Even me.

    “If someone wants to ask a question of the Mayor or someone in his administration, they can contact that person directly.”

    As we learned during the administration of your favorite mayor, what is said in private is very hard to dispute. If you are going to formulate a public policy then public discussion is required. Mr. Bauer is a professional communicator. That is his job.

    “I for one respect his position on not responding to personal attacks.”

    No one his asking him to attack anyone. For instance….Fire Chief Cavanaugh wrote a public letter in the Connecticut Post and it was proven (by his own words in testimony before the Council) that he lied in that letter regarding public safety and went even farther and accused an honorable and trustworthy member of his own staff of being a liar. What should be done about this? Attack James Cavanaugh? No. Again, at the very least (despite his utter lack of credibility) Chief Cavanaugh should be directed to apologize to us and to Asst Chief Murray (the grey haired one).

    “It most definitely should not be a spectacle carried out on a web blog.”

    I am not a big fan of dramas (I prefer comedies). Clear statements of policy would be appreciated.

  43. 44 1george1

    Predicated on Mayor Harkins comments in a CT POST story and Mr.
    Bauer’s comments on this blog, why hasn’t any action been taken to
    have Esq. Burturla compensate town for the mess he was responsible
    for managing?

    Why are the open Town Attorney cases still NOT on Town Hall property
    and exclusively in the computers of the lawyers’ offices?
    All of that work has been paid for by tax payers!

    If Mayor Miron can come up with a surprize “Justin agreement,” what other
    “professional” surprizes await Stratford from the lawyer’s office computers?

    None of these attorneys will starve at $ 100,000 a year or even $ 60,000,
    since nothing mandates exclusivity.

    When people ask me what I think of Mayor Harkins …..?
    He is a gentle man.
    He is highly polished and intelligent.
    He may have the best interest at heart for Stratford, however I do not
    respect the key people in the RTC or DTC who raised and supported him,
    including making Jimmy as a 180 degree counter point in image.

    The Fire Truck NO BID said volumes about the Mayor and Town Council.

    However the most telling obvious situation where there really is
    NO DIFFERENCE in MAYORS or TOWN MANAGERS or TOWN COUNCILS
    over the PAST 10 YEARS and 20 years, is that we have the same attorneys
    and the same KEY party people.

    PERSONNEL is POLICY
    PERSONNEL is POLICY
    PERSONNEL is POLICY

    They can change the guards, make new elected, and appointed, yet until
    they KEY people are changed, we will have the SAME STUFF .. different DAY.

    Monday night at the DTC, the Mirons, Burturla, and a few others were not
    present. However there are the same loyal members.

    One person asked Rick Marcone if there have been any resignations of the
    Town Committee over the last few months. Rick said there was only one.
    Later Rick also said that there was a suggestion that a smaller active DTC
    might be better than simply replacing members, who do not help …..

    …..

    I did not hear the music from Jaws

    I did not hear nor see the mayham from the Terminator

    However, if anyone wants a (legal) piece of the action,
    I think the .. dicks and jim ….. will be baaackkk!

    —-

    Meanwhile Ed Hargus’s greatest generation continues to die off from the
    political malfeasance of the local, state, and national party animals….

  44. 45 1george1

    WWSS?

  45. 46 1george1

    Adam,
    You were willing to debate Jeze, but have yet to answer me.

    Perhaps we can add Mr. Jasinski’s bill to McNeil, Soto, & Farmer bill
    to the Berchem / Burturla costs to Stratford.

    They do have malpractice insurance, correct?

    They could be working for FREE for Stratford for the next 3 1/2 years,
    saving close to $ 1 million a year.

    No one disbarred or jailed or losing jobs …

  46. 47 jezebel282

    George,

    “You were willing to debate Jeze, but have yet to answer me.”

    Perhaps if your questions were focused and to the point?

    It’s worth a shot, right?

  47. 48 mayor2013

    Adam,
    I’m most pleased that you will be blogging – even with all of your “ground rules.” I will from time to time respond to you. Right now I want to ask a question about the town attorney’s budget/office/staff etc. I know Tim Bishop and I do not doubt that he will try to accomplish all that he has proposed to the mayor. However, I am confused about the status of Buturla’s law firm. Is he still engaged in active files? Are we still paying him for services?

    Is the town attorney’s office investigating this private agreement between Miron and Loschiavo? Is it a legal contract to the fullest extent of the law? Can the town take action against Miron for this action?

    And, here is one for you Adam. Did you know that Kevin Kelly, Bishop’s law partner is seeking the Republican nomination for State Senator from the 21st Senatorial District? How does that play into his role with Bishop and the Town Attorney’s office? This is the kind of stuff that raises the eye brows. If he is succuessful, he will have a state office that requires his time and one from which he will received a salary????

  48. 49 1george1

    Hi Jeze, If Adam chooses to answer Mayor 2013, it would be a nice start:

    Both Mayor 2013 and I raised issues about:
    1 – Burturla’s Law Firm
    2 – Miron – Loschiavo
    3 – Tim Bishop – Kevin Kelly (Mayor 2013 scooped me on State Senate)

    To Mayor 2013 – As of 1 month ago, I spoke to Esq. Bishop who still used
    Burturla’s firm. Those files were NOT in Town Hall. Esq. Bishop was thinking
    about” cloud memory storage” and security needs to limit access.

    Further, I spoke to Ben and Irene @ last month’s Budget Work shop.
    Esq. Cornish handles some legal issues. Berchem is BoE’s Law Firm.

    We lose $ 83 million in ECS, while Berchem has over 25 Boards of Ed?
    We lose minimum $ 5 million annually on Town and BoE from UNFUNDED
    MANDATES while BERCHEM / BURTURLA made minimum 6 figures since
    1996 from the Town and/or Board of Ed.

    Yo Jeze, Is that focused enough for issues / questions, in these 14 lines? 8)

  49. 50 jezebel282

    Phin,

    Given my OCD nature, I’m responding here in this topic.

    “The real issue is the BOE is OVER 52% of the budget and there are many things that are BOE expenses that the town still absorbs.”

    Actually the real issue is that the BOE budget increase is <1% from last year with the exception of health insurance premiums which have been arbitrarily raised by Connecticare by an astonishing 62%. See: https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/tell-us-again-why-the-public-option-is-a-bad-thing/

    As for PW maintenance, Miron made a point of withholding maintenance from the BOE for four long years. Remember the Miron/Cornish wars? In addition, every "surplus" Miron declared was generated by returned funds from the BOE.

    Nonetheless, I agree with your position that there are far too many principals and assistant principals at $100,000+ each. We need more young teachers than assistant principals.

    "now that LL is going to be out for a while(and if we are lucky forever)."

    I've been somewhat distracted lately. WTF? Are you kidding me?

  50. 51 phineast

    Jez-All kidding aside..the stress is just TOO much!!! Doesn’t matter that she was one of the originators of it….at least a month I’m told. There must be time that she can’t cash out that she is using up, if you know what I mean.

    As far as the budget issue with the BOE, thier budget shows me there was a lot of padding built in and there is probably more-we are in complete accord about the top heavy admin. They still have some work to do.

  51. 52 jezebel282

    Phin,

    “at least a month I’m told.”

    Just to make sure (although by now, who would be surprised?), we have a non-union at will employee in HR that decides the “stress” of the job is too much and decides to leave the brand new HR Director on his own for a month or more while she recovers in her Florida condo?

    Umm…I gotta ask; are they having a fund raiser so they can all go?

    “the top heavy admin. They still have some work to do.”

    There is no principal or assistant principal that earns less than $100,000 plus benefits. Some earn more than $120,000.
    That translates to three (count ’em, 3!) young innovative teachers that can teach (on average) 30 kids each. Now, imagine those three teachers that we don’t have specializing in mathematics, chemistry, biology….and those 90 kids who won’t learn from them.

    Is anyone still wondering why the United States lags behind the rest of the industrialized world?

  52. 53 phineast

    Jez- actually there is a fundraiser coming up-but save your money-if you want to donate go directly to the Boston University web sight and make it DIRECTLY to them. It will save that very expensive middle man cost that pays for those trips!

  53. 54 1george1

    Stratford is either 14 or 18 sq miles. with no schools above the merrit
    and only one in Lordship.

    Several years ago, I asked why do we need principals and assistant on
    site at every school?

    Better to have teachers than excess administratrators?

    ————————————————————————————————-

    I wonder where adam went?

    ————————————————————————————————-

    At the BoE Budget Workshop, superintendent cornish stated she
    believed the cuts requested by Mayor Harkins were do-able.

    I also spoke to Ben about the Continguency Fund from $ 24,000
    to $ 300,000. Ben could not come right out and say.

    It is the same game as played at Car Dealships,

    They posture for the highest possible price, with a pullback they
    know where they want.

    I would be surprized if the planned increase exceed a Mil.

    However, the Town Councilors seem genuinely worried and none
    expects to be re-elected, from what I can see,
    And Harkins told me he was a 1 term …

  54. 55 jezebel282

    Update:

    Council to hear comment on budget

    Written by John Kovach
    Saturday, 10 April 2010 10:04

    The Town Council is scheduled to hear comment on Stratford’s proposed 2010-11 budget Monday night (that’s tonight) in Council Chambers in Town Hall.

    Comment can be offered during the public forum, which begins at 6:45 p.m. The regular meeting is slated for 8 p.m.

    Mayor John A. Harkins has proposed $1.6 million in cuts, but said fixed costs will still raise the average taxpayer’s bill more than $500.

    A second hearing, at which residents can respond to changes proposed by the Town Council, is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, at Stratford High School.

    The final vote is scheduled for Wednesday, May 5.

    Advice to readers: you may as well go and see how your money is spent. As the saying goes, “You bought it”.

  55. 56 1george1

    Miron’s Law firms
    Brechem Moses Devlin
    Bishop Kelly Jackson
    Florek O’Neil.

    Harkins Law Firms
    Bishop Kelly Jackson’
    Berchem Moses Kelly
    Florek O’Neil

    Money still goes same places.
    Order on Town side different.
    Berchem has BoE

  56. 57 ronmoreau

    George,

    So true….

    ….and there is nothing anyone can or will do about it.

  57. 58 ronmoreau

    Although I have more faith in the new order.

  58. 59 ronmoreau

    With the exception of Florek and O’neil being on the bottom.

  59. 60 jezebel282

    Update:

    Stratford residents oppose Mayor Harkins proposed 3-mill tax hike during first budget hearing
    Richard Weizel, STAFF WRITER
    Published: 11:35 p.m., Monday, April 12, 2010

    STRATFORD — Surprisingly, there wasn’t a whole lot of complaining Monday night during the Town Council’s first public hearing on Mayor John A. Harkins’ proposed $184.5 million municipal budget for 2010-11.

    The budget would be financed by a nearly 3-mill tax hike, or about $519 more for the average taxpayer, raising the tax rate to 33.16 mills.

    But the lack of complaints likely had more to do with the council’s format change than a lack of displeasure by residents with the budget.

    The council scheduled the first of two public budget sessions Monday night prior to its regular monthly meeting, with the second hearing set for May 4 at 7 p.m. at Stratford High School. In recent years the council has held two separate hearings on the budget — one at Stratford High School and one at Bunnell High School, usually during the same week….”

    As I have said, part of the problem is that this year’s budget is the same as it always has been, only the numbers have changed slightly (Except for the Town Attorney, of course).

    A budget, even in the best of times, is a vision of the future or a statement of purpose. This years budget lacks either. There are no reorganizations, no innovative programs, no new cost saving measures, no new efficiencies and no new direction. In fact, the allocation for the mayor’s office is back (maybe a little higher) to where it was during the bad old Miron days. It even contains the same tired tricks Miron used of separating the CAO allocation from the mayor’s allocation and “labor negotiations” from “legal fees”.

    In the end, it is plainly underwhelming. We are left with a nearly 30% increase in property tax during the last 5 years. Is it just me, or did everyone else get a 30% pay increase over the last 5 years?

  60. 61 sudds

    Brace yourselves people…

    I have to agree with Jez on this one!!!

    It appears as though the Harkins administration has taken the “last year’s budget +5%” approach towards their budget.

    Current Grade Mayor Harkins —> F

  61. 62 1george1

    I agree with Jeze AND Sudds.

    This must be a 1st.

    March 18 – I met with Mayor Harkins 11:40 – 12:10
    I came home 12:45.
    My front door was slightly opened.
    Town Attorney opinions from Burturla were taken.
    Mossman Civil Trial records were deleted from my files.
    Personal Data from my file records deleted from 2008, including notes
    / FBI contacts.

    I stated on camera and into the micro phone all of this.
    It will be interesting to watch to see if it will be deleted?
    Then I can monthly make an issues about editting comments
    and repeated the same situations.

    I noted why bother with a police report when John Burturla is
    the police chief and records taken were from and about Richard
    Burturla, U. S. Attorneys, and the FBI.

    Last week, GAVIN’S email sent me a TROJAN and a VIRUS the day
    after I handed information to Democratic Candidates for Atty
    General, Senate, and Governor …… criticizing Stratford parties,
    and CT / FED political misdeeds.

    Late last month my elderly materal uncle, husband of my godmom
    suddenly died and there was an oxygen machine issue.
    He was about 90,

    The week before, my paternal aunt – wife of my deceased uncle /
    godfather / best friend had a defective oxygen machine in the
    nursing home. She will be 95 this week.

    About FEB 16 I e-mailed DeCilio I heard rumor about potential
    violence to be discussed as a non agenda item by some people
    at the FEB 25 RTC meeting. He naturally reacted ….
    Sylvia happened to die Feb 24.

    I am not a professional investigator, nor do I have forensic tools
    of police or pattern analysis …..

    Because my job is to visualize and project concepts related to
    marketing and sales, I think in different terms than many.
    Because of my life experiences, which NONE of you are close
    to having, I perceive subtle nuances, differently.
    Because I do not have daily family or other distractions, I focus
    differently.
    Because my life experience taught me certain patterns, icons,
    touchstones, I can perceive confluences of commonality in some
    of the national/international and local (criminal) “acts”

    Most unconnected and many partially connected can not see
    the bigger picture, not because they are unintelligent – in fact
    the opposite is true – they just do not have the receptiveness
    to accept attacks on their belief structure.

    —–

    To Ron

    Why do you post 3 or 4 word posts?
    This has the effect of moving other posts off the screen.

    Whereas most of my posts are very long and multi-topics.
    Your posts are short and usually all the same topic.
    Just curious why you post 3 or 4 posts of less than 1 line?

  62. 63 cstratct

    George,

    I can’t speak to any of the other stuff, but I received the same emails from Gavin’s account. I didn’t open them, never clicked on the links, and deleted them immediately. You weren’t the only one to receive those emails, and I’m certain Gavin wasn’t aware of what was happening. His account was either hijacked or he opened an email that spread to his contacts, neither of which would be deliberate on his part.

  63. 64 sudds

    “I agree with Jeze AND Sudds.”

    @#%$… thank God I met that therapist at the bar on Saturday night!!!

  64. 65 jezebel282

    Sudds,

    Whew! I thought it was me. Lemme just put this bottle of thorazine away….

  65. 66 jezebel282

    George,

    “Whereas most of my posts are very long and multi-topics.
    Your posts are short and usually all the same topic.”

    Ron is not a bad example for you to follow.

  66. 67 starlooker

    I also received not one but 2 e-mails from Gavin on the same subject matter…. I scanned my computer right away and it was placed in quarrentine so I was lucky. I went OMG why is Gavin sending me this? Then I went OH NO…. and immed. scanned.

  67. 68 sudds

    I too received the same e-mail…

    …only I opened it and ordered a whole bunch of ummm… “stuff”…. from Canada!!! 😈

  68. 69 1george1

    If you notice I had put the e-mails from Gavin’s computer into context.

    I was dumb enough to trust the link – my fault.

    I am glad none of you opened the link.

    the general tone of the replies about this situation was informative,
    as was my attempt to let you know of the situation – thank you

    sudds turns to beer
    jeze turns to perscription drugs
    I turn to ice cream or sweets

    today’s ct post letter to editor wrote about
    “pharmakos”

    The term is related to Greek scapegoat belief analogous to
    Book of Job and certain masonic / jewish / christian /
    catholic / other beliefs.

    The word closely resembles the greek word similar to pharmacy
    or spanish “p harm a cia”

    A little more revealed truths ….

    Justin admitted to FELONIES = Why wasn’t he arrested?
    Dick plead guilty to FELONIES = Why no jail time or fine?
    McNiel grieved vs DeLieto = Why wasn’t DeLieto arrested?

    As a former union steward, I believe discipline should be
    corrective in nature and not punitive.

    Even if jail was 24 hours and fine was minimal w public service
    to local charities, it would at least make it appear Dick and
    Justin were not above the law with political connections?

  69. 70 phineast

    Jez and Sudds- Maybe you both can enlighten us as to exactly what you would do in this budget???? Other than privatize-because that is NOT a money saver-it ends up costing more. I am curious as to what you would do department by department and also curious as to how you would reorganize. Sometimes great ideas are born from these discussions.
    I know one thing I would do, I would figure out the total cost of maintenance to school grounds and buildings and that is an amount that I would deduct from the BOE and put it back into public works so the work that needs to be done in the Town can get done. We know that the BOE eats up about 40% or more of the PW money and that is the account it should come from. Next I would immediately ground the take home fleet of vehicles. Some say this is a negotiated item..but I believe it is discretionary. I would be willing to allow it if the vehicle was only used for a first responder that LIVES in town that will actually be a first responder, but beyond that the is absolutely NO justifiable reason for a take home fleet. There is no need for a take home car for a police chief that lived more than 40 minutes away-he is not and will never be a first responder unless he is in town on duty. It saves us gas costs, wear and tear and insurance costs. Sounds like nickle and dimes to some I am sure but those nickle and dimes add up to dollars and lots of them…
    I know there is strategy being worked on for reorganization of several areas but it will not be complete for this budget season. When Miron the moron took office he had a solid intelligent and experienced manager to help him navigate his first budget season. Harkins did not have that same professional experience to help him through. All things considered, while the projected increase is awful-I actually thought it would be worse. Harkins finally has some intelligent life in some key offices and he will be able to streamline administrative activities and have a better management of the worker’s time. I also believe he will make a big difference ultimately in how each department communicates with the others.

    Seriously-exactly what would you do if you were in Harkins shoes? What are your solutions?

  70. 71 jezebel282

    Phin,

    “I would figure out the total cost of maintenance to school grounds and buildings and that is an amount that I would deduct from the BOE and put it back into public works so the work that needs to be done in the Town can get done.”

    Honestly, sometimes I am very puzzled by this maintenance issue you keep bringing up. The buildings and grounds have to be maintained. If not by PW then by the BOE custodians (of which there aren’t enough). Do we duplicate the equipment necessary? Will the PW union agree to let someone else do the work? Would the property ownership revert to the BOE and not the Town? Or would the Town rent the buildings to the BOE? Of course, then the BOE could demand repairs according to State and Federal regs.

    The first thing I would do? As I have said many many times I would make the Town Attorney a full time paid position with perhaps a legal secretary and paralegal as staff. Any “outside work” would require approval from the Council. Most of the cases involve tax collections and slip & fall cases. That sort of legal work does not require trials. I will give you nice odds that we can keep this line item well under the proposed $1.5 million.

    The second thing I would do is undertake a forensic audit to find the places we are hemorrhaging cash. If it were the result of wrong-doing, I would contact the State Attorney’s Office (who seem ready to pursue anyone Buturla points his finger at) or the FBI and catch the bastids.

    Third, I would get rid of dead weight administrative position such as deputy chiefs.

    Fourth, I would eliminate almost all of the assistant principal positions saving millions.

    Fifth, why am I doing this? I wasn’t elected mayor.

  71. 72 ronmoreau

    “To Ron

    Why do you post 3 or 4 word posts?
    This has the effect of moving other posts off the screen.

    Whereas most of my posts are very long and multi-topics.
    Your posts are short and usually all the same topic.
    Just curious why you post 3 or 4 posts of less than 1 line?”

    George,

    It’s all I want to say.

    It’s my way of saying it.

  72. 73 ronmoreau

    ….and I want people to read it.

  73. 74 phineast

    Jez-Why are you doing this? (Simply put you care about the Town.) The same reason I am I would think-we both want the best services for our tax dollars. While you may not have been elected mayor there are times that even a good mayor needs help-and if you only criticize you become more a part of the problem than part of the solution. My asking you the question was to provoke some thought to solutions.
    There is no question that Stratford is in serious trouble financially. Both the Town and it’s citizens. Everyone needs a little help-whether it is in solution ideas, or just reaching out to a neighbor in need-the need is there. Your ideas are are pretty good. Maybe Harkins will use them in streamlining and maybe the BOE will too-who knows? But at least they are out there if anyone from those “offices” cares to take them under advisement.
    The maintenance issue that you say I am “harping” about is putting information out there for people to understand that while the BOE has their own budget they also reap many many benefits from the municipal side in the PW line. In my humble opinion that is a line that should be shared between the 2 budgets-tax dollars pay for both sides-but it is a sticking point that the municipal side spends a ton of money on snow removal and grounds and building care some of which involves OT-the work needs to be done but both sides should share the burden. Over 20 years ago when PW was at full compliment there was a dispute on funding capital equipment for PW or fully funding the BOE. The capital equipment was purchased and the trade off was the PW at full staff would maintain the fields. The public works dept. staff since then has been decimated and they still have the work load plus some. The are constantly beat up over things that are out of their control. My point is: it is time that the BOE needs to share in the costs via a budget cut….some of those AP positions being cut will fund it. See-2 ideas put together that create a possible solution to a problem!

    I have a long list of things I would alter and change-the first being how interdependent departments coordinate jobs and talk to each other. Opening this communication on a clearer connective process would save a ton of time on jobs within certain departments.
    I would also bring EMS into the 21st century with leadership that understands the importance of good communication and computerized scheduling access for volunteers. We have a fantastic group of volunteers that don’t ask for much-but maybe access to scheduling beyond “office” hours and a leader that is a great volunteer recruiter and PR person. They try to be self sustaining-but you need informed and cooperative leadership to do it. It is not a job for an administrative assistant…
    I would also find a way to reward town employees who reside in Stratford. These are the people that will truly want the town to be at it’s best because they are paying for it.

  74. 75 1george1

    Answers to why Town Budget is out of control
    These are the 4 main areas of spending

    BOE Budget

    TOWN Budget
    CAPITAL BOND
    PENSION

    Compare the O. T. and Benefits Costs and you will find a
    forensic audit rabbit hole’s main entrance.

    The problems in Stratford are simple greed and fiduciary abuse.

  75. 76 jezebel282

    Phin,

    Actually, I didn’t say “harping”. I said I was puzzled. It seems to be as much of a concern to you as the Town Attorney salaries are to me. I think the difference between your maintenance issue and the TA is that at least with maintenance the grass gets cut. The TA & the other law firms are just a black hole we pour money into.

    My last words on the BOE maintenance issues are that the Town over the last four years has certainly not gone overboard maintaining schools or grounds. Miron made sure of that. It’s not like Franklin School has been painted in the last ten years or so. Either way, it still has to be paid for. Kids can’t walk through knee high grass to get to class. Running in the playground full of broken bottles and trash is not acceptable either. So, we either take the money from your left pocket or right pocket. In the end, it still costs money. I don’t think many custodians are taking it easy.

    “Maybe Harkins will use them in streamlining and maybe the BOE will too-who knows?”
    Maybe I’m getting a little pessimistic in my old age. For one thing, a politician will never admit that a good idea actually belonged to someone else first.
    Secondly, this blog has somewhat of a reputation. About 3/4 of the readers love it and the rest absolutely hate it. The ones that hate it the most are the ones with the names that are published here repeatedly and their supporters. You know, like the membership of the Democratic Town Committee? Nonetheless, it is a blog.
    No matter how well thought out or how much common sense it makes, to get an elected official to act upon it is a Sisyphean task (look it up).

    “I would also find a way to reward town employees who reside in Stratford.”
    You may already have your wish. Most of the Town employees already live in Stratford. Except, of course, for almost every Department head.

  76. 77 sudds

    Phin…

    “Jez and Sudds- Maybe you both can enlighten us as to exactly what you would do in this budget????”

    I think you actually said it best…

    “I know one thing I would do, I would figure out the total cost of…”

    As one who prepares budgets for a living… I can tell you that going to “the powers that be” with a budget of $XYZ that has NO details would result in me being unemployed within 13 seconds!!!

    My budgets provide DETAILS AND CALCULATIONS for EVERY number within it!!!

    Simply saying “we’ll use last year’s budget” (which it appears they did for about 90% of the lines) does NOT cut it in the real world… so why should it cut it when it comes to OUR tax dollars being spent???

    Furthermore, how about issuing financial reports (Rolling Forecast for FY09 vs Budget 09 would be a good start… but by line item/department)… comparing the FY10 requested to the FY09 approved is assine without the expected FY09 actual!!! We can compare the FY10 proposed to the FY09 approved all we want… but what good is it if we don’t know how the FY09 actual is going to look versus the FY09 approved budget!!!! Saying that the Town is $XYZ over/under FY09 budget is USELESS unless we know where/why we are under budget!!!

    Lastly, (sorry, I’ll stop after this… it’s just that coffee with no breakfast gives me a caffeine rush) Harkins submits a budget to the Council to approve with MINIMAL justification… and they are supposed to approve it??? The fact that the Council has ever passed one of these is a JOKE!!! I think that the time for “Change” (how’s that Jez… do you get a tingle running down your leg like Chris Matthews when I reference Obama? But I digress…) has come… Harkins said it would offer full disclosure… it’s time to put the money (no pun intended) where his mouth is!!!

  77. 78 sudds

    “The second thing I would do is undertake a forensic audit to find the places we are hemorrhaging cash.”

    Heck… I’d settle for some “budget versus actual” financial statements… or maybe even putting a “rolling forecast” on the budget request!!!

  78. 79 jezebel282

    Sudds,

    We are in violent agreement.

    In 35 years I have never ever, not once, submitted a budget to anyone (from CFO’s to Boards of Directors to Vulture Capital companies) that didn’t include actuals, worksheets and statements of risk. It sounds like both you and I are painfully familiar with 10Q’s and 10K’s. And that is for public companies with less than 50,000 shareholders.

    We have no idea whatsoever what happened to the money from the 2009-2010 budget.

    “NO details would result in me being unemployed within 13 seconds!!!”

    That’s a pretty generous estimate. Can you imagine what would happen if someone said, “What did you do with the $180 million we gave you last year?” and you just shrugged and said “All gone!”?

    How are we supposed to make a $184 million decision with no valid data at all?

  79. 80 jezebel282

    Sudds,

    “do you get a tingle running down your leg like Chris Matthews when I reference Obama?”

    About the same tingle you get when Glen Beck says Social Security is a communist plot.

  80. 81 sudds

    It doesn’t happen often, but the only tingle I get is from seeing Sarah Palin…

    …with her mouth SHUT!!!

  81. 82 jezebel282

    Around what?

  82. 83 1george1

    Jeze & Sudds,

    Please e-mail me the gist of the arguments that Jeze and Sudds make
    about Transparency, Actuals, Worksheets, Statements of Risk, 10Q,
    10K, Budget request vs. actuals, rolling forecasts, DETAILS and
    CALCULATIONS and the VOID of INFORMATION about the 2009-2010
    BUDGET.

    The Milliman Actuary report is about 7 months over due. However,
    the Pension was FUNDED almost $ 7.5 Million in January Pension
    shortfall deposit + $ 9.2 Million PENSION BOND repayment.

    The information in the Milliman Report is the year numbers effective
    Jan 1, 2009.
    The Financials officially closed June 30 – July 1, 2009.
    Historically the Milliman Report has been September / October or
    maybe December. It is mid April. The Financial Budget Workshop was
    Last week.

    Does it appear the Finance department is intentionally understaffed
    so there is an excuse to NOT have PUBLIC INFORMATION available to
    honestly debate the foundations of BUDGET ASSUMPTIONS.

    Jeze and Sudds – I understand your positions.

    However I lack the specific abilities each of you has to be able to
    place these crucial questions to the Public via Letters to the Editor.

    Letter have to be 500 words or Less, for the Star and the Post prefers
    250 words or less, yet does give leeway to socalled experts and the
    Mayors Miron and Harkins, among others.

    I can submit the letter(s) in my name from anonymous source(s),
    simply to raise these questions, if you choose to remain anonymous,
    unless you can get someone like Eric (Sudds) Booth or one of Jeze’s
    many friends to submit in their name?

    We do not need to make any attacks on Miron, Harkins, or others.
    Simply raise questions about BEST PRACTICES versus PRACTICES and
    INFORMATION known and unknown in Stratford that should be clear,
    plain, evident, and available under FOI.

  83. 84 jezebel282

    George,

    “Please e-mail me the gist of the arguments that Jeze and Sudds make
    about Transparency, Actuals, Worksheets, Statements of Risk, 10Q,
    10K, Budget request vs. actuals, rolling forecasts, DETAILS and
    CALCULATIONS and the VOID of INFORMATION about the 2009-2010
    BUDGET.”

    Huh?

  84. 85 mayor2013

    Phin,

    This one is for you. When Justin refused to come to town hall to learn his fate; the town called him and gave him the news. He immediately dialed mommy. She got up marched into the HR Director’s office and screamed and yelled at him and told him among many things that she was going out on sickleave for stress. Presents her doctor’s note – and, bingo she is gone, off to Florida and collecting her very generous $64,000 every week.

    Now, I ask you – she is an “at-will” employee and screaming and yelling at your direct supervisor is a behavior that the director does not have to tolerate. She should have been immediately, terminated by the mayor. But, this is typical of the Loschiavos – they do what they want, tell you off, and continue to reap the benefits from the Stratford taxpayers.

  85. 86 1george1

    Jeze
    Related to # 84.

    You and Sudds used every one of those financial terms in your posts above.

    I admit can not put them in the proper context for a letter to the editor.
    Apparently, I didn’t do a very good job in the blog post either.

    Either separately or together or both, a letter or letters to the editor could
    inform the public as to what is being done and not done.

    It was Stephanie who decided to hot have a public hearing at Bunnell.
    They had low notice Public comments Monday night, a month after the
    Town Council reduced comments from 5 minutes to 3 minutes.

    It is Sue Collier who has been holding back 2009 – 2010 actuals and does
    not have the MILLIMAN ACTUARY REPORT before the FINANCIAL WORK
    SHOP or 1ST Budget Hearing.

    It is John Harkins who delayed filling posts HR and CAO, and leaving
    finance short handed, which is either mismanagement OR intentional
    delays to cause unavailability of KEY financial information.

    The first is either a Miron minion or want to be.
    The second is close to Miron / Burturlas. (I’m losing patience + respect)
    The last promised certain things and decisions on Attorneys, Fire Trucks,
    Finance Department, and the March 18 meeting …. sad that people who
    told me that Harkins was a sleeze or just public image are starting to look
    like they may be correct.

    I do like John, Sue, and Stephanie as people.

    Their political decisions or actions are difficult for me to respect
    or to not question. And we have 3 1/2 years ……

  86. 87 jezebel282

    George,

    “You and Sudds used every one of those financial terms in your posts above.”

    You don’t need financial terms, you just need common sense. When a teenager asks for $20 from the Bank of Mom & Dad it is reasonable for the loan officer to ask what it is for. For example “How much did it cost last time?” If the borrower simply says, “that should cover it” the loan officer immediately knows that something is wrong.

    Same thing. Except we have no idea how much it cost last time. What is scarier is the thought that the mayor doesn’t either.

    Mayor Harkins holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. I am sure he learned what the term “generally accepted accounting principles” means.

  87. 88 1george1

    I welcome the letter by David Blumstein about Tombstone Dick in the
    CT POST, which rarely published anythin but their preferred positions.
    I noted the letter contained some points by Jason. Me thinks it bought
    a smile from Sylvia, who predicted dirty dick would walk free.

    Eleanor Burke finally got published today but did not realize there will be
    NO BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING at BUNNELL this year!! NONE @ BUNNELL!
    The MAY 4th BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING will be at Stratford HS.

    Some much fluff and lack of substance in most letters

    The CT POST editorial board hates me almost as much as I am hated in
    Town Hall, certain government offices, and this blog.

    Oh Well …. At least my dog lubs me …..

    Oh Wait …. I forgot ….. I dun hab a dog … 😦

    If I did had a dawg, he would be able to create a more credible Budget
    and document it better than stuff we have been seeing and hearing.

    It has actually been funny hearing department head not able to answer
    legitimate questions posed by people who actually want legitimate
    answers?

    I was able to get my idea forwarded and advance to the Library about
    HIRING 2 EXTRA PEOPLE with $ 200,000 extra BUDGET as SEED MONEY!

    BARNABY, CATALANO, SANTI, MALLOY, MEUSE, PHILIPS and others touch
    bases on it. I was able to explain it to Barb Blosovern and the Trustee.

    Tammy Trojanowski and a couple others (Health Dept) get key portions
    of their Budget from Bonding, which laid foundation for Catalano to make
    a nice twist on my suggestion to the Council and Mayor.

  88. 89 jezebel282

    George,

    “about Tombstone Dick in the CT POST,”

    As I noted yesterday, Richard Miron apparently still sits on the Short Beach Commission. It happens to be an enterprise fund generating $350,000/year in cash receipts. I guess it pays to be friends with Bob Connally and Tony Ross Sr.

    We have also heard nothing from Rick Marcone and the Democratic Town Committee about the resignation or ousting of Richard Miron.

    It does say one thing positive about the Republican Town Committee; They, at least, have no known felons as members.

  89. 90 sudds

    “Mayor Harkins holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance”

    Really??? And THIS is the best he can do with the budgeting process??? Seriously???

    Man-o-man… I think I may have finally lost all hope for this town!!!

    Anyone wanna buy a 3-bedroom, 2 bath Colonial in the Paradise Green area???

  90. 91 sudds

    According to the CT Post:

    ….Harkins said years of bad fiscal decisions by “leaders of both parties” have left Stratford facing “a perfect storm.”…

    And yet our budget does NOT compare what the Mayor is asking for versus what “the perfect storm” is???

    How can anyone (are you listening Council members???) approve a budget when they don’t know what the CURRENT expenses are???

    Here’s an easy one for you Council Members that may still be clueless… our oil budget for FY2010 is being compared against the actual for FY08. Does anyone remember what gas/oil prices were like in FY08? (hint: they were 33+% higher than they were last winter) So, if we base our FY10 budget on FY08 actuals (since no one is giving us an FY09 rolling forecast) then can’t we significantly CUT the expense???

  91. 92 jezebel282

    Sudds,

    That doesn’t even include numbers that appear nowhere in the budget…like “consulting” fees.

  92. 93 sudds

    baby-steps Jez… baby-steps!!!

  93. 94 jezebel282

    Sudds,

    “baby-steps Jez… baby-steps!!!”

    Fine.

    Authorized expenses will do.

  94. 95 1george1

    The POST printed my Letter to the Editor today?
    Now I have to go outside to get the CT POST.
    They actually printed me?
    I wonder how many of the 500 words are in it?

    Most of the Town Council are walking around with a dazed look
    or are very ticked or have completely given up after being briefed
    in the Budget workshops.

    I overheard kidding aboud puddles from a slush fund about money
    that is NOT in
    The BUDGET
    The CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL REPORT.

    Actually it is in the Budget, but under a mislabled line item …..

    Jeze and Sudds, you would be doing a great service to the town
    if you could author your BUDGET ISSUES and have ANYONE submit
    for PUBLISHING ….

    I gave David Blumstein props.

    PCS gets in a few good shots occasionally.

    Syl wrote a couple times.

    But we really need INTELLIGENT and SPECIFIC DETAILS (redundant)
    to be present CLEARLY, PLAINLY, EVIDENTLY and SIMPLY for the
    (Ed Hargus) SENIOR CITIZENS, LOWER + MIDDLE CLASS, and KIDS,
    to have / get a break.

    I am pro union. Even the union guys know they are stealing and would
    love to find a way out. I left a way out to BLAME Management/Lawyers.

    Unions do not grant this stuff. Managment / Town Committees / Lawyers
    have MORE FIDUCIARY BLAME.
    I left a way out to partially BLAME the past people + CT + FEDS.

    How BAD have the BUDGET workshops been going?

    Several of the DEPARTMENT HEADS, including LIBRARY are volunteering
    the importance of GRANTS to their positions / BUDGETS and several of
    the Town Councilor have been probing my idea to give extra money to
    the LIBRARY ($ 200.000) to HIRE 2 research Librarians with MASTERS
    DEGREES in LIBRARY SCIENCES specifically to FIND, but NOT WRITE for
    GRANTS / LOANS / FREE STUFF from FEDS / CT / UTILITIES / PRIVATE
    SECTOR / GOVERNMENT SECTOR / BUYING GROUPS.

    I spoke to head of Library + a Trustee and several Councilors.

    If I gave you $ 5 million, would you give me $ 200,000.

    (Everyone says yes!)

    Several years I asked Town Councils to do the above for BUDGET.
    JIM MIRON’S GRANT WRITER and PREDECESSOR found $ 6 million
    in GRANTS / STIMULUS MONEY for this BUDGET and minimum
    $ 4 million for NEXT YEAR.
    1/4 of BoE BUDGET is STATE GRANT MONEY – NOT Town Collected

    I believe it is very possible to find $ 5 million in REVENUE / SAVINGS
    via GRANT RESEARCHERS.

    Iasked Matt Catalano to raise the issue to the Library and he improved
    the idea, but held back from pushing too far.

    Give them $ 200,000 for 2 research Librarians with MASTERS DEGREES in
    LIBRARY SCIENCES specifically to FIND, but NOT WRITE for GRANTS / LOANS
    / FREE STUFF / etc.

    To keep their jobs they must find $ 600,000 for received GRANTS for
    TOWN / BoE / LIBRARY

    LIBRARY keeps whatever they find just for the LIBRARY NEEDS.
    If they find $ 1 million = that equals 1/3rd of their total Budget.

    ANY GRANTS received over $ 600,000 for TOWN / BoE the LIBRARY
    gets 5 % boost in next year’s BUDGET.

    What is the NET if LIBRARY finds $ 5 million in REVENUE / SAVINGS?
    1 – Cost $ 200,000 this year BUDGET for 2 research Librarians with MASTERS
    DEGREES -who can rotate in / out of Research Desk and others can also
    look for money to help the LIBRARY assets / pay-bonus + benefits + pensions

    2 – Cost $ 200,000 next year BUDGET for 2 research Librarians with MASTERS
    DEGREES -who can rotate in / out of Research Desk and others can also
    look for money to help the LIBRARY assets / pay-bonus + benefits + pensions

    3 – From $ 5 million found deduct $ 600,000 minimum to justify their jobs =
    $ 4.4 million x 5 % = $ 220,000 to the LIBRARY next year’s BUDGET = helps
    defray Health Insurance increase / other costs.

    4 – Matt Catalano came up with a twist, where I suggested giving Bonus to
    those who find money others write grants for getting. He looked to see if’
    we could set up an incentive based plan for GRANT FINDERS = GREAT IDEA!

    5 – I forgot – there are grant finding and grant writing companies who
    work on commission = added idea.

    You KNOW things are desparate, when my whacko ideas look like the
    only “reasonable” alternative to “partially” off set increasing cost ! 8)

    Folks – put on your tin foil hats, like I do.

    Come up with some Revenues + Savings.

    They life you save could be a family member, neighbor, or family member
    of a neighbor or friend or coworker … God Bless.

  95. 96 jezebel282

    Update:

    Yet more consultants:

    Consultant sought to help reopen Shakespeare Theatre

    Written by John Kovach
    Tuesday, 13 April 2010 09:47

    Efforts to revive the Shakespeare Theatre followed familiar scripts and storylines Monday night.

    The Town Council voted 9-1 to re-issue a request for proposals originally prepared in 2007 by Jim Volz, called by Councilman Matt Catalano (R-3rd) “one of the foremost Shakespeare experts in the country.”
    The 9-1 vote followed debate over the process.

    Stephanie Phillips (D-2nd), who cast the lone dissenting vote, wanted the matter tabled because she said she received the proposal during Monday night’s meeting.
    Phillips wanted time to review the document and to have questions answered.
    Scott Potter (D-6th) agreed with Phillips, but voted in favor of the proposal while expressing his reservations.
    Jason Santi (D-4th) passed when it was his turn to vote, but voted for the request after other members had voted. He, too, said the proposal should have been submitted earlier.
    Catalano, who has taken a lead role in efforts to reopen the theater, said he did not get authority to proceed until Friday, after a conference call involving him, Volz, Mayor John A. Harkins, and council members Christian Barnaby (R-1st) and Kimberly Meuse (D-7th).
    The request approved Monday differs from that issued by the previous council in that it seeks a consultant to advise the town on a course of action to open the theater. The last time bids were sought the request was revised into a call for someone to renovate and operate the venue.

    Now, as Catalano said Volz intended, the request seeks consultants who will guide the Town Council in the establishment of a non-profit Shakespeare Theatre.
    Many questions Phillips had, including deadlines, cost and timetables, would be answered by those who submit bids, Catalano said.

  96. 97 sudds

    Here we go again…

    Richard C. Levin, President
    Yale University
    PO BOX 208229
    New Haven, CT 06520-8229
    Email: presidents.office@yale.edu
    Telephone: (203) 432-2550
    Fax: (203) 432-7105

  97. 98 1george1

    My impression at the Town Council Meeting was that Stephanie’s
    request was reasonable and it appeared to put Catalano in a bad
    light, as not being reasonable about a short delay to review.

    I had not known about the phone call the prior friday, nor last
    minute changes. Nor did I know how it was materially different
    since neither I nor any of the public had an advance copy.

    There are processes and they should be respected.

    In light of the vote and the bipartisan active involvement and the
    request for PROPOSALS for GUIDANCE, effectually information, I
    and Stephanie may be wrong, after talking to several bipartisan
    Town Councilors separately?

    There is a process and it includes giving information in advance for
    review and public posting and awareness.

    Regardless of intent and quality, Matt and the 9 affirmative are likely
    correct in the nature of the vote, but it did not appear proper.

    Then again, most people believe Miron won most of the Debates
    and quite handily. However _________ ___ ____________!

  98. 99 jezebel282

    But really, folks, back to the budget.

    “Many questions Phillips had, including deadlines, cost and timetables, would be answered by those who submit bids, Catalano said.”

    Are there consultants that work pro bono? Do we even know how much we’ve already spent on consultants studying this theater that has been closed for nearly 30 years? A hundred thousand here, a hundred thousand there, pretty soon it adds up to a $500+ yearly tax increase.

  99. 100 1george1

    Jeze,
    The consultant who created the RFP did it PRO BONO.
    There is NO mandate to use the results of this RFP.
    It cost something to create / post the RFP format to be diseminated?
    They can accept any or none among the replies.

    Do we even know how much we’ve already spent on consultants studying this theater that has been closed for nearly 30 years? A hundred thousand here, a hundred thousand there, pretty soon it adds up to a $500+ yearly tax increase.

    Don’t even know how much was paid to ATTORNEYS for:
    Shakespeare # 1 SFT
    Shakespeare # 2 KKP
    Shakespeare # 3 HANNEY
    Shakespeare # 4 CATALANO
    AVCO # 1 HOCHMAN
    AVCO # 2 MONTIPOSILLICO
    AVCO # 3 AREA 51 NATERA
    AVCO # 4 DOGSTAR
    RAYMARK SUPERFUND – PRECAP
    RAYMARK SUPERFUND – CAP
    RAYMARK TOXIC DUMP SITES
    RAYMARK TOXIC GROUND WATER
    AIRPORT – pending PURCHASE
    AIRPORT – Main Street
    AIRPORT – acre to Bridgeport
    AIRPORT – related litigation
    LBW – Refuse $ 40 million from cottage owners
    LBW – Trust – negotiations
    LBW – Cottages fired / made useless
    LBW – UNDER $ 10 million value – approved by Tax payers
    LBW – Pending trade for Airport
    PENSIONS
    LABOR NEGOTIATIONS
    AVALONE BAY – Why not enjoin the from town
    UNFUNDED MANDATES
    Board of ED
    ZONING
    LITIGATION
    SETTLEMENTS (under seal for Justin & Christian)
    SETTLEMENT McNeil/Farmer/Soto – others wrong terminated
    MORE

    Jeze – how do YOU spell M A L P R A C T I C E ??

  100. 101 cstratct

    Let’s try and get the terminology correct shall we?

    There haven’t been any consultants involved in the last several attempts. The BL report was strictly an engineering report looking at the structural integrity of the building and offering scenarios for the renovation of the facility. It had nothing to do with feasibility or business planning.

    I’m sure there were many hours spent negotiating the contracts, but there were no strategy consultants (as far as I can tell) involved in feasibility or planning.

    Sudds, I understand your suggestion, but simply turning the facility over to Yale (or any other university) simply isn’t a viable option at this time. Not to mention there’s no indication Yale would have the capacity (human, financial or otherwise) to take on a project of this magnitude.

    Let’s take the time to do this right so we don’t end up with another Hanney situation.

  101. 102 1george1

    I nelieve DOGSTAR will become involved in Shakespeare Theater regardless
    of PROFIT or NON PROFIT.

  102. 103 sudds

    1) THANK GOD I can say that I voted for Mulligan!!!

    2) “Sudds, I understand your suggestion, but simply turning the facility over to Yale (or any other university) simply isn’t a viable option at this time.”

    WHY? (hint: “because I said so” only works with 3 year olds)

    3) Not to mention there’s no indication Yale would have the capacity (human, financial or otherwise) to take on a project of this magnitude.

    Did you REALLY just write that??? So, you’re telling me that having 16.3 BILLION dollars isn’t enough for them to afford the necessary renovations???
    http://www.yale.edu/investments/Yale_Endowment_09.pdf

    4) see #1

  103. 104 sudds

    Furthermore on #2 above…

    “Sudds, I understand your suggestion, but simply turning the facility over to Yale (or any other university) simply isn’t a viable option at this time.”

    So, let me get this straight… the Town/State/Country is in the middle of an economic “crisis”… the Town/State/Country has seen our property values drop x-teen percent… the Town/State/Country is trying to cut taxes…

    now let’s review:

    your plan: costs the town $50k +, and only offers a POTENTIAL plan as to what needs to be done

    my plan: costs the town $0, and actually gets the theater open

    OK, ok… in all seriousness… THANK GOD I CAN SAY I VOTED FOR MULLIGAN!!!

  104. 105 jezebel282

    Sudds,

    The problem with your proposal is that it only benefits residents. There is no money in it for members of the RTC, DTC or the connected law firms.

  105. 106 sudds

    ~slapping myslef in the head~

    D’oh! Sorry… I forgot about that!!!

  106. 107 jezebel282

    It’s OK. Happens to me all the time.

  107. 108 sudds

    Hmm…

    I wonder what the Yale Drama Department is up to THIS WEEKEND…

    (any ever hear of the author?????????)

    http://drama.yale.edu/onstage/0910studioseries/midsummer.html

  108. 109 sudds

    UPDATE:

    “The Yale School of Drama’s 2009-10 Studio Series performances are FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.”

    Catalano’s Plan: costs the town $50k +, only offers a POTENTIAL plan as to what needs to be done, and tickets will cost residents $30+

    my plan: costs the town $0, actually gets the theater open and tickets are appearantly FREE!!!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Umm… I believe that is called CHECKMATE Councilman!!! 😛

  109. 110 1george1

    SUDDIE,

    Ya made my day!

    Can ya give Rocki a little extra catnip with her beer?
    Ya does share a wee bit o beer wit her, dun ya?

    Then again, lookin at # 1, maybe ya gots too klose to da catnip yarself?

    JEZE,
    Could you post the Star Letters to the Editor by Dave Mortensen,
    Russ Hayden, and myself?
    My points – counterpoints to those Letters?

    1) Fundamentally Mr. Mortensen is correct.
    However I want to minimize the taking away,to a legitimate and
    sustainable quality compensation for retirees, while the real
    answer is to increase revenue to social security recipients and
    the private sector employed pay and benefits.
    That means national / international / state policies changes.

    2) Fundamentally Hayden is correct, who wants to replace ALL
    INCUMBENTS, not just in Stratford.
    Like my posts, he makes a case for linkage between National,
    State and Local policies. Except he writes more clearly.
    His numbers validate my numbers in my Letter to the Editor directly
    below.

    3) I know the unions know they are stealing.
    They do not know how to get out of what I believe is a trap.
    I also believe the RTC + DTC were also entrapped by a much higher
    level of government which has the ultimate end game.
    As a means to protect themselves, they need to corrupt everyone
    who can arrest or prosecute them.

    Further, causing national violence or national throw out incumbents
    works to the advantage of PLANNING and OPERATIONS.

    Simplest terms.

    A syndicate owns all the RACE TRACKS.
    Do they care WHICH ASSES win the RACES?
    The importance is getting attendence and action.
    The higher (or lower) the attendence and action then — what follows?

    At the highest levels, all financials are funneled and controlled such
    as we have seen in the last 10 years, after 10 years of remarkable
    growth where it was foolish NOT to LIQUIFY ASSETS like Real Estate.

    Create a Real Estate bubble, causing a major percentage of businesses
    and home owners to be underwater, by pulling the plug.

    ALL of the FRONT PEOPLE are BLAMED and huge desire to dump them
    all violently or non violently. Waiting in the wings to replace them are
    people chosen for the tasks, and many are probably unaware of….

    ===========

    Jeze on 105

    Thinking in strictly local terms, your last post,
    coincides with the “apparent” direction of my Star “Letter to the Editor.”

    If my theories are valid and canbe proven, I can protect LOCAL

    – Police / Fire / Unions from prosecution – 100 % loss of pensions
    > Cuts have to be made to abusers < so they do not go to JAIL

    – Business people in the DTC / RTC < who need to make major restitution

    – State Judges / Police / Attorneys / Legislatures / Executive < who need
    to make major restitution.

    – Federal Judges / Police / Attorneys / Legislatures / Executive < who need to make major restitution

    – Corporate leaders & major investors < who need to make major restitution

    – Certain huge private entities Once targets are identified, listening devices can be planted in a home
    or office or on telephone poles / utilities.

    So far, it appears the bad guys control everything.
    In fact, it appears there are no good guys at the top of the pyramid.

    Since April 15 has passed, 18 months after T.A.R.P. 1 and 14 months after
    T.A.R.P. 2.

    Since a Stock Market crash is over due …..

    Since the powers that are made it a point to conect Obama with certain
    anarchists and others …. appearances deceive and can be plants for ….

    —-

    Unless there are affirmative changes and soon, more people will die and/or
    be foreclosed-dispossessed due to the decisions of people in government
    …. that invites violence ….. soooo many better alternatves

    soooo many sitting on the shelves …..

  110. 111 jezebel282

    George,

    “Could you post the Star Letters to the Editor by Dave Mortensen, Russ Hayden, and myself?”

    No.

    They are not online. But feel free to re-type them yourself and post them in the appropriate topic.

  111. 112 sudds

    George,

    1) Rocki does NOT drink beer (heck, I don’t even drink beer at home… that’s what Copper Tavern is for!!!)

    2) this was not meant to be humorous… I just hope that Councilman Catalano treads lightly… rumor has it that he has a LOT of contacts within the theatre world… if I find out that he as much shared a public bathroom with Mr. Volz I’ll be submitting a Ethics Complaint form!!!

  112. 113 1george1

    Suddsie and others:

    HUGE SHOE DROPPED on National scene, day after Tax Deadline:

    Remember Goldman Sacks?

    Remember Hank Paulson and Bush / Cheney looking for BLANK CHECK
    from the SENATE SEPT 2008?

    HEADLINE:

    “The government accused Goldman sachs of defrauding investors by
    failing to disclose conflicts of interest in mortgage investments
    it SOLD as the HOUSING MARKET was faltering.”

    – paragraph

    – paragraph

    “the goldman client implicated in the fraud is one of the world’s
    largest hedge funds …… (Drum Roll, please) ………….

    Paulson & Company

    Which paid GOLDMAN roughly $ 15 Million for structuring deals in 2007.

    — then the story writes about the big hit in the DJIA this am …..

    SHOE DROPPED

    I am expecting a “WALL (Street) of SHOES to DROP!

    This has potential to do huge damage to the American economy,
    just as it was starting to stablize.

    Conversely, if the RATS NEST is found and cleaned out …. ?

  113. 114 matpcat

    Dear Sudds,

    First of all, we saved the town millions by getting a contract thrown out for a guy who had no plans and no architect.
    Secondly Mr. Volz consulted with the town gratis and donated his services to draft an RFP that would attract people with PROVEN not-for profit experience. All my idea costs is the cost of advertising the RFP. I don’t know what your $50,000 number aludes to. We also reserve the right to reject all proposals.
    All politicians and beaurocracy has done for the ASFT is 25 years of shuttered mess. What a novel idea I thought, to ask for help from actual professionals in the field.
    My idea of a reasonable proposal would include developing relationships with institutions such as Yale, Juliard etc. to round out programming and help shoulder cost.

  114. 115 1george1

    Matt,

    There are very rare occasions Sudds chooses to be NOT sarcastic.
    This is only a blog for opinions.

    However Sudds and Jeze had made points about not have 2009 ACTUALS
    from which to BASE a 2010 – 2011 BUDGET.

    From Sudds post # 91
    How can anyone (are you listening Council members???) approve a budget when they don’t know what the CURRENT expenses are???

    Here’s an easy one for you Council Members that may still be clueless… our oil budget for FY2010 is being compared against the actual for FY08. Does anyone remember what gas/oil prices were like in FY08? (hint: they were 33+% higher than they were last winter) So, if we base our FY10 budget on FY08 actuals (since no one is giving us an FY09 rolling forecast) then can’t we significantly CUT the expense???

    From Sudds post # 77
    As one who prepares budgets for a living… I can tell you that going to “the powers that be” with a budget of $XYZ that has NO details would result in me being unemployed within 13 seconds!!!

    My budgets provide DETAILS AND CALCULATIONS for EVERY number within it!!!

    Simply saying “we’ll use last year’s budget” (which it appears they did for about 90% of the lines) does NOT cut it in the real world… so why should it cut it when it comes to OUR tax dollars being spent???

    Furthermore, how about issuing financial reports (Rolling Forecast for FY09 vs Budget 09 would be a good start… but by line item/department)… comparing the FY10 requested to the FY09 approved is assine without the expected FY09 actual!!! We can compare the FY10 proposed to the FY09 approved all we want… but what good is it if we don’t know how the FY09 actual is going to look versus the FY09 approved budget!!!! Saying that the Town is $XYZ over/under FY09 budget is USELESS unless we know where/why we are under budget!!!

    Lastly, (sorry, I’ll stop after this… it’s just that coffee with no breakfast gives me a caffeine rush) Harkins submits a budget to the Council to approve with MINIMAL justification… and they are supposed to approve it??? The fact that the Council has ever passed one of these is a JOKE!!! I think that the time for “Change” (how’s that Jez… do you get a tingle running down your leg like Chris Matthews when I reference Obama? But I digress…) has come… Harkins said it would offer full disclosure… it’s time to put the money (no pun intended) where his mouth is!!!

    From Jeze post # 79
    We are in violent agreement.

    In 35 years I have never ever, not once, submitted a budget to anyone (from CFO’s to Boards of Directors to Vulture Capital companies) that didn’t include actuals, worksheets and statements of risk. It sounds like both you and I are painfully familiar with 10Q’s and 10K’s. And that is for public companies with less than 50,000 shareholders.

    We have no idea whatsoever what happened to the money from the 2009-2010 budget.

    “NO details would result in me being unemployed within 13 seconds!!!”

    That’s a pretty generous estimate. Can you imagine what would happen if someone said, “What did you do with the $180 million we gave you last year?” and you just shrugged and said “All gone!”?

    How are we supposed to make a $184 million decision with no valid data at all?

    – PHIN POST # 74 – Has his points

    From George:
    I actually feel sorry for the Town Councilors who relaced all incumbents
    who either could not run, or for some reason choose not to run?

    I also thought that Stephanie had made Matt and the entire Town Council
    look bad on the Shakespeare RFP because there is a process and there is
    transparency, and there is informed decision.

    Subsequent to the vote of 9 – 1 and the Kovach column posted here in
    the above, there is a good case for moving forward.
    However, it is too bad the phone call with everyone could not have
    been earlier the prior week and the RFP could have been on the agenda
    and more transparent.
    Because of past abuses in Town, it caught the ENTIRE TOWN COUNCIL
    and Mr. Catalano in a somewhat awkward position.

    I am very, very interested in the questions and getting answers to what
    Sudds, Jeze, Phin, and Chris raised about the BUDGET ACTUALS and more?

  115. 116 sudds

    Councilman,

    “First of all, we saved the town millions by getting a contract thrown out…”

    So now you can “rest on your laurels”???

    “Secondly Mr. Volz consulted with the town gratis”

    well I guess I owe you an apology!!!

    “All my idea costs is the cost of advertising the RFP”

    then again… 😛

    “All politicians and beaurocracy has done for the ASFT is 25 years of shuttered mess.”

    So the last 25 years has taught us not to trust politicians!!! Ummm… aren’t YOU a politician???

    “My idea of a reasonable proposal would include developing relationships with institutions such as Yale…”

    No, no, no, no, no… repeat after me… “Hello President Levin. Here are the keys. Will you be paying your $1.00 annual lease by cash or check?”

  116. 117 jezebel282

    Wow!

    Sudds must be exhausted. I’ve never seen him type so much.

  117. 118 ronmoreau

    Jez,

    …and not a bad idea. Worth investigating.

    Sudds,

    Looks like Yale took a $5 Billion hit last yeear as well.

  118. 119 phineast

    2013-re:post #85—-she should have been canned the minute she exhibited the insubordination, though I believe it should have happened years ago for abusing her authority.

  119. 120 phineast

    George-re: post # 115 thank you.

    With regard to actuals…there are actuals and then there are the real actuals….
    Let’s just say I have grave concerns over some account lines that are buried so deep that only Collier knows where they are and how much is in them. That is unacceptable to me. It makes it impossible to discern exactly how much a department really needs vs. how much they can cut vs. how much they bring in in some cases.

  120. 121 1george1

    Phin re: post # 120
    1 – You are welcomed
    2 – I completely agree.

    I like Sue, as a person, but as a financial fiduciary …… ??
    1 – However, NO Miliman Actuary Report due this PAST OCT?
    2 – Limited or questionable actuals

    I like John Harkins as a person, However,
    he is responsible for ALL of his DEPARTMENT HEADS
    and their competence / lack of / questionable ……

    NOV, DEC, JAN, FEB MARCH, APRIL

    MAY – JUNE 30 = BUDGET / FINANCIALS

    LIMITED TRANSPARENCY
    NO ACTION on STRATFORD DAY

    TOWN COUNCIL = MALLOY + PHILIPS – Others
    NO BUDGET HEARING @ BUNNELL
    FIRE TRUCKS
    12 % BUDGET INCREASE proposed?

    —-

    There have been good things.
    However, now is not the time.

  121. 122 phineast

    George- Collier says all the numbers can be seen on the actuary reports–so does that mean that they are done?????

  122. 123 1george1

    No Phin – I do not believe the Milliman Actuary Report
    is available yet! Sue’s part in it may be finished, however,
    I believe Milliman has some calculations to crunch, a report
    to compose after triple check and then go to the printer
    for copies to be reviewed / proofed, before bring released.

    The cynic in me figures it would be released about July 1.
    I think that is the Thursday before the July 4th weekend
    and the day before this year’s BUDGET must, BY LAW, be
    passed. I believe Sue is a political appointee who served
    at the pleasure of Mayor James Miron and now at the
    pleasure of Mayor Harkins …..

    I am unsure, specifically who Mayor Harkins takes his direction
    from? However, I do know he has gotten some surprizes.

    Has the Town Council gotten surprizes?
    At least six of them are in shock. Or are very good actors.
    Two do not seem phased by anything.
    Two seem politically astute and appeared to decide to play roles?

    I asked Sue for a copy of the actuary report 2 weeks ago.
    Sue told me that when she gets it, I will gey it.

    Norko / Sue prepare the numbers for the Actuary to place the
    numbers in their slots to come up with the fully funded number.

    I guessed in October to be $ 245 million for fully funded as of
    July 1, 2009, for calendar year ending Dec 31, 2008.

    Before the approximate $ 7.5 million pension short fall deposit
    in January, the portfolio was about $ 85 million range.
    Adding in about $ 9.2 Million for the 1998 Bond, this year’s out
    of pocket cost is about $ 16. 6 million (+ Market revenues)
    The actual obligation was $ 17.4 million as of October and
    $ 17.23 million as of late July.

    – Guessing the Dec 31, 2009 fully funded number for the NEXT
    (future) Milliman Actuary Report:

    Because the prior year fully funded number was $ 219 million,
    if I am coorect that the new number, ending Dec 31, 2009 will
    be north of $ 270 Million?

    EVERY BODY is expecting a correction to test the Market this year.
    It almost never comes when people expect it!!

    Nothing goes straight up. When things go south, they can head
    south in a big hurry. Right Suddsie?

  123. 124 cstratct

    Sudds,

    I had thought you were one of the more rational posters on this site, but I’m quickly coming to a different conclusion based on your recent statements. Do you know anything about establishing an arts organization? How about programming an arts venue? Do you know how institutions of higher education operate? Do you know the inner workings of Yale Rep or the grad program at Yale? How many people work in the program or for the Rep? Just because Yale has monetary resources doesn’t mean they’re equipped to take on a project of this magnitude.

    You and some others may find your sarcasm amusing, but unless you can provide some specific details with regard to who and how, just saying Yale has x number of dollars means absolutely nothing with respect to properly renovating and running a facility like the Shakespeare theatre.

    Yale may have money, but that doesn’t mean that money is available for this type of project or that they have the human resources to do what you’re proposing. The last thing that is needed is another “plan” that lacks consideration and planning.

    So if you want to continue your obnoxious sarcasm that’s fine. But realize that your “solution” is no better then the various failed attempts that have come before. It’s easy to lob verbal grenades. It’s quite another to actually engage in a constructive dialogue.

  124. 125 sudds

    OBNOXIOUS SARCASM???

    Just because my plan would not allow you and your little friends to play dress-up anymore does NOT mean that it is obnoxious or sarcastic!!!

    The simple fact is that every day that this theater is shuttered the restaurants in town have less customers, the stores in town have less customers, heck even the emergency car repair guy is probably losing business. This is called an “opportunity cost” (hmm, maybe the MBA is finally paying off…Wanamaker would be proud!!!)… and the people of this town DESERVE BETTER!!!

    And as far as “just saying Yale has x number of dollars means absolutely nothing with respect to properly renovating and running a facility like the Shakespeare theatre.”…
    …SERIOUSLY??? Have you ever seen Yale’s buildings, and the restoration work that they do on them??? And how about the Yale Rep… has that been shuttered for 25 years??? I truly believe (and how can anyone doubt?) that they have the resources (financial, human, etc) to do a job that is INFINITELY better than anything that a bunch of VOLUNTEERS (the Town Council, Arts Commission, etc) can EVER do!!!

    Quite frankly, you might think that my postings are obnoxious and sarcastic… but I call it trying to service the ENTIRE town. Which you would know NOTHING about… because your postings are nothing but SELF-SERVING!!!

    Furthermore, I think that it’s pretty obvious that the self-serving B-S of people like yourself is one of the main reasons why this theater is still shuttered!!!

    As such, I challenge you to put aside your ego (and desire to play dress-up) and truly work to do what is best for the ENTIRE town…

    Richard C. Levin, President
    Yale University
    PO BOX 208229
    New Haven, CT 06520-8229
    Email: presidents.office@yale.edu
    Telephone: (203) 432-2550
    Fax: (203) 432-7105

  125. 126 cstratct

    Sudds,

    You impugn my motives yet you have no idea what my motivations are with respect to the theatre, so yes Sudds, in this case your posts are obnoxious and sarcastic. The only agenda I have is to see that this theatre is revitalized and benefits the town both financially and artistically for years to come. I’m familiar with the numerous attempts to re-open the venue and the last thing I want to see is another failure, because I’m well aware with what’s at stake should this latest attempt fail.

    Your MBA means squat in this case. An arts organization doesn’t operate like a department store. Opportunity cost? Do you even have any idea what the available options are and what might be most beneficial for the town? The previous council appeared to make the type of decision you’re advocating here and look where that got us. Your plan appears to be to dump it off to someone or some other entity and let them deal with it. Why should we rush into something like you’re proposing without the benefit of information regarding other revitalization efforts?

    You post this:

    “The Yale School of Drama’s 2009-10 Studio Series performances are FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.”

    Catalano’s Plan: costs the town $50k +, only offers a POTENTIAL plan as to what needs to be done, and tickets will cost residents $30+

    my plan: costs the town $0, actually gets the theater open and tickets are appearantly FREE!!!
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    Umm… I believe that is called CHECKMATE Councilman!!!

    You leave out a lot of information about the Studio Series performances. Why do you think the Studio Series performances are free? A university drama program isn’t run like a professional theatre. There are different sources of revenue, which is the most important difference in this case. How would Yale keep the lights on at the Shakespeare Theatre if the performances are free? Who’s going to pay the bills? And do you really think free student-led performances are going to stabilize the finances of a theatre of this magnitude?

    And how does your plan “get the theatre open”? Now you’re sounding like Hanney. The facility still needs to be renovated. Are you expecting Yale just to pony up the money needed for that when they already have facilities on campus?

    Could (and should) a partnership with Yale be explored? Absolutely. I stated as much on this site in the past. But simply turning the theatre over to a university (any university) is short-sighted and is no guarantee for success.

  126. 127 jezebel282

    Cstrat,

    “Do you even have any idea what the available options are and what might be most beneficial for the town?”

    Actually, we don’t. Maybe you could help us out here a bit?

    Aside from pouring our property tax dollars into the theater in return for vague promises of marginally increased business for local merchants, could you describe some of the options and benefits? No one has ever done that intelligently.

  127. 128 1george1

    From Jeze,
    Aside from pouring our property tax dollars into the theater in return for vague promises of marginally increased business for local merchants, could you describe some of the options and benefits? No one has ever done that intelligently.

    George reminders related to Shakespeare Theater:

    1) Disney paid $ 4 Billion to Marvel Comics for 5,000 characters.
    A) Shakespeare created over 1036 independent characters.

    2) Video games are among the best grossing supplemental income
    for plays, movies, TV.
    A) Shakespeare wrote: xx plays
    B) Shakespeare wrote: xxx sonnets
    C) Shakespeare wrote:

    3) There are a variety of Merchandising opportunities related to the
    “Brand” Stratford, CT., Shakespeare Theater.
    A) Clothing
    B) Toys
    C) Memoroabilia
    D) More

    4) There are a variety of and niche markets for Shakespeare related
    writen works

    5) There are a variety of and niche markets for Shakespeare related
    writen works, which evolved from the originals.

    6) Shakespeare Theater has one of the largest seating capacities of
    any Theater in New England and the Tri-State.

    7) Shakespeare Theater has a history of being successful with a wide
    varieties of Broadway Road shows, Original works, Concerts, Others..

    8) I proposed in my mayoral campaign literature the potential for the
    Shakespeare Theater to be a TV – RADIO – CABLE Station.

    9) I never claimed to be the SOLE SOURCE of a PLAN using some or all
    of the above as a planned use for Shakespeare Theater.
    A) However I did lay out specific ideas on being able to monetize the
    Theater, as a means to attract a monied interest.
    B) Miron – Harkins – dom – have yet to propose anything competative to
    some of my original combination of unoriginal uses for the Theater/

    10) More

  128. 129 cstratct

    Jezebel,

    I’m going to preface my comments with the following disclaimer: I’m not advocating for any particular scenario because we don’t know right now what would be best for this venue. I’m simply identifying some possible options, and the list is certainly not exhaustive.

    Option 1: A regional performing arts venue with multidisciplinary programs and events. Competition is going to make this a challenge, but given the right programming mix and marketing it could be viable. Could be not-for-profit or commercial. Think Waterbury Palace Theatre.

    Option 2: A regional professional theatre. This would most likely be not-for-profit, similar to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (http://www.osfashland.org/about/). Don’t be mislead by the name. They present a variety of shows both classical and contemporary and operate 8 1/2 months out of the year.

    One of the challenges in the arts industry is vocabulary. Festival doesn’t always mean two or three months or summer only. Repertory (as in Yale Rep) doesn’t have the same meaning as it does elsewhere. True repertory companies often have resident actors who perform in the shows (which are usually presented in rotation) throughout an entire season. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repertory) This type of company is rare in the US.

    Option 3: A hybrid. Summer Shakespeare festival, multidisciplinary programs during the “season” (September through June).

    These are just a few ideas and there are variations on all these. There would likely be educational programs in each of these scenarios, and the potential for a partnership with a university program such as Trinity Rep/Brown University (http://www.trinityrep.com/education/mfa_program/mfa_program.php).

    There is also the potential for additional amenities on the grounds which could provide a revenue stream that would help support the venue and limit (or eliminate) the need for taxpayer assistance. A banquet facility or restaurant that could be open even when the venue is dark. Facility rental for meetings or conferences (although there would likely have to be other facilities available for meetings and such).

    If you look at many arts and cultural facilities and organizations today, they work hard to make themselves part of the community by engaging in a variety of activities and opening their doors to non-arts groups.

    I hope this is helpful as a starting point to the discussion.

  129. 130 1george1

    Chris,

    I have been hearing the BUDGET is going up over 3 mils.

    I have been hearing the Shakespeare Theater will be whatever the
    RTC + DTC want it to be will DOGSTAR at the top of the pyramid.

    New Yahoo poll is 4 out of 5 Americans don’t trust Washington.

    New Stratford Town Hall poll is that 7 out of 5 Stratford residents
    are content to pay a 13 % Tax increase with all of it going to the
    retirees, conditioned they use certain.
    Law firms; Accounting Firms; Architects; Construction Companies;
    Pension Administration / Investment; Insurance Companies; Real
    Estate Developers;

    The Hank Paulson $ 1 Billion windfall for betting against the US Economy
    in 2007 through Goldman Sachs is in relative check so far.

    A reliable source suggested we watch out for Magnetar.

    This weekend we were treated to KICK ASS
    and Cable had LORD of WAR, SHOOTER, BOURNE, BOND and more.

    Things are getting so bad, REX gave me PROPS?

    Things are getting so bad, some people tell me I may have
    understated situations, and I am the one who appears SANE?

  130. 131 jezebel282

    George,

    “and I am the one who appears SANE?”

    Appearances can be deceiving.

  131. 132 1george1

    8) 🙂

    Jeze – I LOBBED a SOFTBALL, expecting to be nailed.
    It was simply a question of how many would comment
    and what the comment would be.

    Your reply bought a BIG SMILE.

    It was not a personal attack, but a comment with an opening
    too good to pass up.

    However, if the Town Council does pass a 12 % increase,
    then they and Harkins might be considered … insane 😉

    or corrupt ….. 😦


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