Problems? What Problems?

29Nov11

Administration Flow Chart

“I am so flippin’ tired of the bullsh*t spewed out of the mouths of most of the politicians in this Town!”
– Patricia Clark Sperling, 2011

That struck us as a very observant statement of how citizens and taxpayers feel in this Town. With the singular exception of raising property taxes year after year nothing seems to be accomplished by the mayor, Council nor Board of Education. As far as we can tell, the only time anything is finished is when the Federal or State government requires it or citizens band together and make it happen themselves. Every once in a while an emergency occurs and the Town is literally dragged kicking and screaming to a decision. The borrowing of firetrucks from anywhere on the east coast is an example. Raybestos waste is another. The lack of trust and faith in the leadership of this Town is apparent on every level. From Town and BOE employees to volunteers to citizens who just hope for the best.

The Republican Town Committee has placed 8 out of 10 members on the Council and a formidable majority on the Board of Education. They are beside themselves with giddiness. They should enjoy the victory…for another week. Already there is conflict about who gets to sit in the big seat in the middle of the Council. There is even talk of swapping elected positions. It makes you want to shout “HEY! Remember us? We are the residents that voted for you! Do you think you can take a minute and do something?” Sadly, 2012 is not an election year so our taxes will undoubtedly rise again. In 2013, the Republican Town Committee will rightly bear the blame for everything. We are sure that the Democratic Town Committee will remind us of that quite often. (If only they could somehow make us forget Miron).

While problems abound there are no real goals set by anyone (see chart above) to accomplish anything. And who bears the responsibility and authority to set those goals?

John Harkins and Irene Cornish.

Raise your hand if you feel good about that.

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34 Responses to “Problems? What Problems?”

  1. 1 1george1

    While problems abound there are no real goals set by anyone
    (see chart above) to accomplish anything.
    And who bears the responsibility and authority to set those goals?

    (IT COULD BE WORSE)
    .
    .
    .
    (AND PROBABLY WILL BE)

  2. 2 jezebel282

    George,

    Sometimes when you type less you say more.

    Here’s one problem that could be addressed; At a payroll cost of $573,472 per year (not including benefits) the response of “I’m just swamped” is NOT a generally accepted accounting principle. The next time a Finance Director says that she should be fired on the spot.

  3. 3 ronmoreau

    Jez,

    It’s not an administrative flow chart.

    It’s a Town Council flow chart.

  4. 4 ronmoreau

    Every 2 years.

  5. 5 jezebel282

    Ron,

    Problem number one is the lack of any goal at all. Not a single politician of either Town Committee has uttered the statement “reduce taxes”. We don’t even get as close as “critical audit”. As long as the cash register remains open it’s only a question of how much change anyone can grab.

    But hey, the CFO is just swamped. What can you expect?

  6. 6 jezebel282

    We have a similar situation at the BOE.

    “About $216,000 would be saved in fiscal year 2013 if Lordship school closed and the sixth grade was adopted into middle school, the report states. Shuttering Franklin school and moving sixth grade out of the elementary schools would save about $34,000 next school year, according to the report.
    Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Stratford-school-closures-loom-2308071.php#ixzz1fHhYZGdE

    Really? At an average salary of $110K/year those savings would be achieved by a reduction of 2 of the 27 School Administrators.

    Sample test question:
    How many angry overtaxed parents equal two administrators?

  7. 7 ronmoreau

    Jez,

    Construction Costs at Middle Schools

    “The report said it would cost about $455,000 to renovate Flood and Wooster middle schools to hold the 6th grade. Flood would have to add 11 classrooms and Wooster would have to build six more.”

    “The report by the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee said the Mayor’s office has confirmed that the $455,000 could be offset through the school board’s existing bond allocations.”

    A member of the BOE told me it costs $1,000,000 to add a classroom to Stratford High. The $455,000 does not compute. 17 new classrooms @$1,000,000 each=$17,000,000. How could they come up with the $455,000 figure?

  8. 8 ronmoreau

    Sounds like a bunch of crap to me.

  9. 9 ronmoreau

    Or is the $455,000 the finders fee?

  10. 10 jezebel282

    Ron,

    Maybe the BOE should invite a math teacher to grade their numbers?

  11. 11 1george1

    cute.

    Would they grade on a curve?

  12. 12 jezebel282

    George,

    I’m not sure what the curve would be for a committee of special needs members.

  13. 13 1george1

    Special needs curve?

    We could throw in the fastball, change up, slider, knuckle ball, & spitball.
    Aren’t each a different course in the curriculum?

    Then there is the screwball.
    LOB ALERT ..

  14. 14 jezebel282

    George,

    “We could throw in the fastball, change up, slider, knuckle ball, & spitball.”

    The problem is that these “leaders” don’t even know where the plate is.

    The Town has a budget of $189 Million plus whatever it can borrow plus whatever it can beg. The only goal seems to be how much of it they can spend on their own little agendas.

  15. 15 1george1

    The Town has a budget of $189 Million plus license and
    other income found in the Consolidated Financial report.

    That is NOT insubstancial amount of money!

    It might be another $ 50 million = $ 230 million.

    Within the Budget there are identified SLUSH FUNDS.
    Most people have NO IDEA about monies in the CFAR!

    The PLATE?

    Or do you mean the HOG TROUGH?
    SSSuuuuuuuuUUU ieeeeEEE

  16. 16 jezebel282

    George,

    The only goal I can discern is the singular effort to spend every dime of it.

    Blunders are rewarded with even more money (see Ron Ing and the number of Assistant Fire Chiefs) and incompetence is expected (see Sue Collier: “Report? I’m just swamped right now.”).

    The path to accountability just grows longer with a mayor. Now it’s supervisor —-> department head —–> Chief Administrative Officer —-> Chief of Staff —–> Harkins secretary ——-> supervisor.

  17. 17 1george1

    The path to accountability just grows longer with a mayor. Now it’s

    supervisor —-> department head —–> Chief Administrative Officer —-> Chief of Staff —–> Harkins secretary ——-> supervisor —-> department head —–> Chief Administrative Officer —-> Chief of Staff —–> Harkins secretary ——-> supervisor —-> department head —–> Chief Administrative Officer —-> Chief of Staff —–> Harkins secretary ——-> supervisor —-> department head —–> Chief Administrative Officer —-> Chief of Staff —–> Harkins secretary ——-> supervisor —-> department head —–> Chief Administrative Officer —-> Chief of Staff —–> Harkins secretary ——-> supervisor —-> department head —–> Chief Administrative Officer —-> Chief of Staff —–> Harkins secretary ——-> supervisor —-> department head —–> Chief Administrative Officer —-> Chief of Staff —–> Harkins secretary ——-> supervisor —-> department head —–> Chief Administrative Officer —-> Chief of Staff —–> Harkins secretary ——->

    Isn’t this like the other merry-go-rounds?

    Town Committee ————> BoE ———–> Town Council ————> Zoning ———-> Council Appointed Committee / Mayor Appointed Committee ——————-> Hired by BoE or Town or Contracted

  18. 18 jezebel282

    George,

    Yes it is.

    However, we were promised “accountability” by a “strong” mayor when we were flim-flammed with this new Charter.

  19. 19 1george1

    Jeze.

    “We were promised?”

    “We were promised?”

    “We were promised?”

    Who promised this?
    Jim & Dick Miron?
    Joe Crudo & Norm Aldrich?
    Dick Burturla & Kevin Kelly?

    Isn’t that like election OILMEN Bush & Cheney to be President / VP,
    while JAY ROCKEFELLER headed the Senate Intelligence Committee
    and wonder why Heating Oil went from 50 to 62 Cents in 1998 winter
    to over $ 3.50 a GALLON now?

    Or why Gasoline went to $ 4.40 a GALLON

    Or why OIL reached $ 145 a BARREL?

    “We were promised?”

    “We were promised?”

    “We were promised?”

    “We were promised?”

    Reminds me of the line from high school about vitamins from
    oral sex helps develop larger breasts for women …

    No offense to ladies who might be offended.

    Or to guys, still using the line.

  20. 20 jezebel282

    George,

    We didn’t even get dinner & drinks…..

  21. 21 1george1

    George, We didn’t even get dinner & drinks…..

    Jeze, Dog day afternoon quote related to “kiss me!”

  22. 22 kimmeuse

    “Jezebel”, you seem tapped into town issues, enough anyway to speak intelligently to them. You are also continually critical of the leadership that is elected to office in town. So, I have to ask….have you run for office, ever? If not, why?

    There are those who sacrifice much to step up for the town, and there are those who do nothing but yell at them from the back of the room (cloaked in anonymity). It would arguably be more helpful to the town as a whole if you were to stop the peanut gallery heckling and step up to the plate.

  23. 23 jezebel282

    Ms. Muese,

    “have you run for office, ever? If not, why?”

    I am glad you asked.
    Holding an elected office does not imply the ability to correct a problem nor resolve an issue. For example, you cannot correct the behavior of an organization, let’s say an organization like the Bloods or Crips, by becoming a member. In that instance you would properly inform an authority like the police. Admittedly, that might be an extreme example, but you get the point. In politics, as I am sure you would agree, the only real solution is an informed electorate and open debate. That is pretty much the way most of us believe that any government should operate.

    “There are those who sacrifice much to step up for the town, and there are those who do nothing but yell at them from the back of the room (cloaked in anonymity).”

    There seems to be two issues here. Lets take the former first. Do not assume that this blog is the only thing that captures my attention nor is it my only contribution to the Town. There are many (although not nearly enough) that do what I do on a regular basis for free. Some are even politicians. Likewise, there are many posters here that donate hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to this Town. In my own personal instance, I choose to make my contributions (in terms of time, labor and education) anonymously.

    As for the latter, let me refer you to http://www.jud.ct.gov/ You can see for yourself how many lawsuits have been filed for and against vindictive politicians and citizens in this Town. Why in the world would anyone expose themselves to that expense and aggravation? Nonetheless, as I have said so many times, anonymity has nothing at all to do with right or wrong. Everyone is entitled to express an opinion whether it be anonymous or not. It is the value of the idea that is important not the source.

    “It would arguably be more helpful to the town as a whole if you were to stop the peanut gallery heckling and step up to the plate.”

    Seriously, what evidence can you provide for that? The Financial Advisory Committee who’s recommendations were completely ignored? The Public Safety Committee who wholeheartedly approves of Harkins’ looting of the EMS Fund? Or even the Town Council who has yet to lower property taxes by a dime?

    On the other hand, there are non-elected citizens that actually do things to make Stratford better like http://www.savestratford.org/ and PYE. Our most outstanding citizen, in my opinion, is Marcia Stewart of PYE. To my knowledge she has never held any office. Ever.

    In the end, I am not sure what your point is in a society that extolls the right of free speech.

  24. 24 1george1

    My political heroes were/are:
    1) Ed “Beefy” Hargus who was patron saint for citizens and
    especially seniors.
    I believe Ed served on appointed Commissions.
    Like Walter & Rita Rimkunas, Ed didn’t miss many meetings.
    I don’t believe Ed was elected.

    2) Diane Buda & Eleanor Burke created the 1991 PUBLIC INITIATIVE
    which “created” PUBLIC PETITIONS, which created REFERENDUMS
    for PUBLIC VOTE, which created TOWN ORDINANCES.
    Diane & Eleanor ran for Public Office.

    3) Marcia Stewart who is the Stewart of the Marshes, PROTECTOR
    of the ENVIRONMENT, and front person for some LORDSHIP issues.
    Marcia serves/served on appointed Commission.
    To my knowledge, she never was elected.

    I have run for Town Council and Mayor.
    I didn’t even register a blimp on radar screen of the electorate.
    I was appointed to a Commission, whereas I always expected that
    Commission would be rigged, to try to entrap me to endorse the
    position of the political allies.

    Despite not being elected to anything, I speak at Public Forums,
    write letters to the editor, and have tried to engage the electoriate
    and government towards good government.

    I am not capable of being a doctor or a nurse / medical worker
    such as Gavin.
    We each contribute in different ways.

    Despite my admiration and respect for Mrs. Meuse, there are
    legal and practical reasons for some people to NOT ADMIT who
    they are related to a BLOG NAME. I have experienced reprisal.

  25. 25 mikereynolds

    When are the Democrats going to learn that attacking online anonymity is never going to work? They’ve been doing it for years and it gets them nowhere. Maybe its me but I never heard the Stratford Republicans attacking anonymity. Why is that? Address the issues not the person.

  26. 26 1george1

    Portia is a Stratford Republican.

    Lou Decilio is Republican who writes ATTACK Letters to the EDITOR.

    If Republicans wrote attack Letters or attacked on line, wouldn’t that
    make them vulnerable to be appropriately countered?

    Mike, you might want to review the PATCH about the AVALLON
    BAY story where JIM MIRON, KENT MILLER, & a FEW Democrats
    went after Kevin Kelly?

    Ask Jeze about the result of them raising issues where they were
    equally or more vulnerable to the truth?

    Seriously, Mike, do the Republicans want to attract attention to their
    record in Stratford?

    Mike – I hope Santa brings a hole in one to both you and your son
    in 2012.

  27. 27 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “When are the Democrats going to learn that attacking online anonymity is never going to work?”

    Be careful what terms you use. I would not necessarily call members of the Democratic Town Committee “Democrats”.

    Members of both the RTC and DTC prefer to know the identity of posters so that they can change the discussion and attack the poster personally.

    My personal preference is to discuss the opinions themselves. I have little interest in who it is that has them.

  28. 28 mikereynolds

    Ok sure, members and supporters of the Stratford DTC attack anonymity but the members and supporters of the Stratford RTC don’t. Why?

    When have you seen Lou Decilio question one of your online opinions just because you don’t use your real name? Has Matt Catalano ever complained here that someone isn’t using their real name when they criticize him for being too focused on the theater?

    I agree with you that its not who the poster is but what they are saying.

  29. 29 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “the members and supporters of the Stratford RTC don’t.”

    It’s sad that you have to compliment someone for pretty normal behavior.

    I would much more impressed if the RTC’s goal was a bit more than maintaining “civility” and business as usual.

  30. 30 mikereynolds

    I’m not really complimenting them; just pointing out that they don’t attack anonymous bloggers as opposed to members of the DTC who use anonymity as a reason to attack people who don’t agree with them.

  31. 31 1george1

    I am not anonymous.
    They choose to NEVER challenge anything I post.

    Brill & Pedoto challenged me.
    Due to an oversight on my part because of word limit,
    Pedoto was technically correct about the “volutary”
    evacuation of Lordship.
    This is despite the word “voluntary” was NOT on the
    POLICE Electronic sign across from AVCO.

    Both Jeze & John Kovach were able to confirm.

    I have made errors in posts, but never intentionally
    and never did not try to correct when I realized.
    I am investigating a possible error and delayed info.

    John Dempsey, who rarely says anything, was the ONLY “R”
    to actually campaign for his election.

    As another blog / blogger posted about Boss TWEED

    “It ain’t who votes!
    It’s who counts the VOTES!”

    The Republican are the stealth party.

  32. 32 1george1

    Barbara Cadranel’s mezuzah will get to stay where it is:
    On the doorpost outside the front door at her Stratford
    condominium.

    Much ado about nothing ……

    Making a fuss about flag or religous symbol on a door or window
    in a condo is absurd & regretable.

    Another massive headline over what should be a non issue,
    while the real issues go uncovered ….. by the press, and covered
    up by the political infrastructure ….

    Much like the phoney outrage by certain police & fire against
    Burturlas and Mirons, who helped create the Defined Benefit
    Pension Plan,

  33. 33 jezebel282

    Update:

    Councilor to Mayor: Unlock Shakespeare Theatre [Updated w/ Mayor’s Response]

    In a letter to Mayor John A. Harkins, Matt Catalano (R-3) asks why the mayor’s office ordered the locks on the theatre be changed, all keys surrendered and all work suspended.
    April 13, 2012
    http://stratford.patch.com/articles/stratford-councilman-to-mayor-unlock-shakespeare-theatre#photo-9240481

    How to avoid looking like you have to prove how powerful you are:

    From John Harkins:

    Hi Matt,

    I know you have been real busy with plans to get things started again at the theater. Someone in the Health Department mentioned to me that after being closed up for 30 years, there might be a mold and other health issues that may come up with opening it to the public. In any event, I’m thinking about spending some money and letting the Health Department do some testing. They tell me it needs to be completely secured during testing.

    The problem is that no one seems to know how many keys are out there, so I’m gonna tell Mo McCarthy to change the locks just to keep people from going in during testing. If you have any problems with this lemme know right away. OK, Buddy? And thanks again for spending so much time and effort on this.

    -John.

    Of course, this never happened so now we have something else to shake our heads in disbelief about.

  34. 34 1george1

    April 9 Town Council: Councilor Catalano offers Resolution to
    Remediate Stratford.
    Kubic & Florek got Town Council to Table Resolution.

    Supporting Catalano Resolution:
    Tom Smith of Save Stratford spoke, directly from his NY Commute.
    Neighbor – Mother of 4 children 4 to 17 spoke
    Neighbor – Has Pregnant daughter coming to live with him.
    I spoke.

    April 10 Harkins changed locks. Coincidence?

    April 11 EPA host 2:30 pm Birdseye Meeting.
    Harkins, Kubic, Stephanie, Matt, & Dempsey there
    Tom Smith & Holroyd from Save Stratford.
    Ex-Contract Plating owner and few others there, inc Health dept.
    About 7 EPA + CT DEEP present.
    CT POST Brittany Lyte next to Mihaley
    No other press.
    I had emailed JIM MURPHY – EPA who replied meeting was OPEN
    to PRESS & PUBLIC.
    I had emailed EPA + CT DEEP the Oct 30, 2011 Brittany Lyte story
    about Ground Water affecting 500 acre gound water
    1. Health & Safety concerns
    2. Property Values

    After EPA presentation, I raised my hand to be recognized.
    Jim Murphy asked me to speak LAST?
    IF I could JUMP …. I would have JUMPED at it … I agreed.

    Kubic asked Jim Murphy to keep me from speaking?
    I pointed to Murphy, who just made it a point to remind others
    that “he was running the meeting.”

    I told Kubic – pointing to Murphy – “He’s running the meeting.”


    OOooops, Off another Christmas Card list…..

    The POISONED GROUNDS ISSUE is convoluted due to variables,
    like NOT wanting ASBESTOS exposed to the AIR – so RAC + EPA
    want to leave them in place.
    However, SOLVENTS, PCBs, even LEAD leaches into GROUND WATER,
    which can cause VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds = poison gas that
    like RADON can get into homes through basement from grounds.


    I pointed out the Ground Water could always be treated in place
    and now millions of gallons can be piped to the WATER TREATMENT
    PLANT working at 30% capacity, and lower concentrations of poisons,
    thus lowering POISON AIR DANGER.
    .
    The TEMP CAP on the BALL FIELD allegedly has cracks in it and some
    dirt can keep ASBESTOS in place, cost effectively, until GROUNDS
    REMEDIATION can be approved.

    EPA Division Head Patrick Bowe had made issue about
    1 – MONEY to PAY for REMDIATION.
    2 – EPA LAW limits RAYMARK waste to places already contaminated
    by RAYMARK (Dumpsites)

    My solution? Change FEDERAL LAW related to
    1 – RAYMARK, CONTRACT PLATING, TILO, ASHCROFT, LORDSHIP
    BOULEVARD-HONEYSPOT-SURF areas, AVCO, AIRPORT, SIKORSKY, etc
    2 – Chance Vought WW II employed 12,000 – 24/7/365 with only office
    building having workers on a 2nd floor.
    Textron employed 10,500
    AVCO employed 8,000
    – REMEDIATE STRATFORD can mean 20,000 jobs, more property/
    income Tax, more prosperity.
    – REMEDIATE GROUND WATER, allows for safer, healthier properties
    and higher Tax Bases, which is Business Friendly of lower Taxes.


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