License to Bill

24Oct13
Nearly Dry

Nearly Dry

Attorney manages town’s legal costs
By Greg Reilly on October 24, 2013
http://www.stratfordstar.com/13438/attorney-manages-towns-legal-costs/

Seriously?

Stratford Town Attorney* FY 2013-2014 $1,537,000

City of Milford Law department FY 2013-2014 $527,457

Town of Fairfield Legal Department FY 2013-2014 $620,000

Can we send our legal cases to Fairfield or Milford?

*Not counting the extra $300,000 in legal costs buried in the HR Department’s budget.

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11 Responses to “License to Bill”

  1. 1 nedsmithy

    And just wait until Chief Murray is done with his case!!!!! Should add to the “blood flow”!!!!

  2. 2 jezebel282

    You can’t blame Tim Bishop for this one. This is all Harkins & Ing.

    http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=FBTCV136038783S

    But yeah, this one will cost us big.

  3. 3 jezebel282

    This “story” is exactly why people hate politicians. We are treated to a lengthy display of numbers and percentages all designed to persuade us that Town legal expenses are being “managed”. Yet the simple fact is that the Town of Stratford’s legal expenses are three hundred percent more than the next highest town’s expenses. Three hundred percent. Why is that? Well, the only one who can answer that is the person who appoints the Town Attorney, approves all legal expenses and is the only person the Town Attorney answers to; the mayor. Don’t expect an answer soon.

    It’s not that voters are mad at being lied to. That has been going on since politicians came into being. It’s that the lies are really insulting our intelligence. Do they really think we are that stupid? If we don’t vote intelligently they are right.

  4. I agree that you cant blame Tim. He broke my heart when he seemingly opportunistically changed teams – but he is a good levelheaded attorney. (If one could say such a thing)

    Im no longer in CT but I truly hope Stratford votes out Harkins. I haev little complaints with the councilmen running again, I respect Budnick, Catalano etc but Harkins really was useless and the town needs more balance. Harkins was not as dramatic as Miron, but he has been the polar opposite. Completely absent. Stratford needs a visible mayor with an anger management plan. lol

  5. 5 jezebel282

    Paradise,

    “I agree that you cant blame Tim.”
    Sure I can. Everyone blames lawyers. LOL!

    But in this example we see a major flaw with our poorly crafted Charter. The Town Attorney serves at the pleasure of a mayor. The only direction a Town Attorney responds to is from a mayor. In essence we do not have a Town Attorney, we have the Mayor’s Attorney. Sadly, the Council turns to a Town Attorney for legal opinions which they then treat as settled law. The TA issues whatever opinion the mayor wants. Who then tells the Emperor about his latest fashion choice? No one.

    And as we have seen, this is why mayors fail.

  6. The best thing Stratford could do on November 5th is get Harkins out!

    There’s a ton of changes needed – and I don’t agree that changes don’t need to be made on the Town Council either. Get Kubic, Connors and Dempsey out. Three “good ole’ boys” who could care less about Stratford or making any positive changes.

    I know there are naysayers and I heard that Harkins publicly stated he wants to make the theatre a “bandshell.” Huge mistake if that’s his (and his good ole’ boys) game plan. For the naysayers – Waterbury recently had a run of Jersey Boys. It took in almost $1 million! Harkins doesn’t want to give anything a try that is not going to put money in the pockets of the lawyers, contractors, realtors, etc., on the RTC. The threatre could succeed and be the foundation for great things in Stratford. Doesn’t need taxpayer money, just resident and taxpayer support!

  7. 7 appalledandamused

    “Sadly, the Council turns to a Town Attorney for legal opinions which they then treat as settled law. The TA issues whatever opinion the mayor wants.”

    Absolutely the truth.

  8. 8 jezebel282

    Just a little respect for the truth:

    According to Harkins, he has “hired Democrats in his administration including the town clerk, finance director and town attorney in order to work in a bi-partisan fashion.”

    The truth is that Pawluck, the Town Clerk, was hired by Miron after he managed to remove Pat Ulatowski. Collier was a through and through Miron crony who happened to be assistant Finance Director when Harkins took office and was trying to figure out where the money was. It’ll take a financial zen master to straighten the current books out. And, of course, Tim Bishop was a third of Bishop Kelly & Jackson. Kevin Kelly being the RTC elected State Senator.

    “He listed the new I-95 interchange”
    Seriously? Taking credit for a Federal interstate?

    “Exxon Mobil building has been sold”
    After Bruce Allessie (appointed even before Miron) worked on it for years.

    And regarding the WPCA (sewer plant) “To say no to privatization is absurd. If it makes sense we’ll do it. The town should look at every opportunity to save the taxpayer money. We need to think creatively.”
    The “creative” part was to raise the sewer use “fee” and siphon $1+ million directly into the General Fund. Turning control of public utility to a corporation that only answers to shareholders is not very “creative”.

    So please, it’s not nice to beat up the truth and leave it lying in the gutter.

  9. 9 jezebel282

    “Stratford Town Attorney Tim Bishop said he believes the issue of neglect should be adjudicated further. He did not say if the town plans to appeal the ruling nearly two years after the charges were brought on the Perreiras.”
    http://stratford.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/a-costly-animal-cruelty-case-for-stratford

    The Town Attorney’s primary legal strategy (and maybe the only one) is to continue to litigate and delay until the other side (who is usually not funded by tax dollars) simply withers away and gives up. The problem with this strategy is that the money to pursue this strategy always comes from you and me.

    Let us remember that our Republican Town Committee Council gave the Town Attorney authority to settle any case on his own if the amount was $50,000 or less. How many times has this happened in the last four years? We’ll never know.

    The Town’s legal fees remain at 300% more than any surrounding Town. Any questions?

  10. 10 mikereynolds

    Its ridiculous. A lawsuit over 4 freaking cats. Jesus let it go. They dropped the criminal charges. Enough is enough. This is the kind of shit that drives me crazy about John Harkins. Its stupid. I don’t understand why he allows this to go on and tarnish his office.

  11. 11 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “This is the kind of shit that drives me crazy about John Harkins. Its stupid.”

    And expensive.

    $1.8 million or more per year…every year.
    This is a direct result of our lopsided Charter. The TA answers to the mayor and only the mayor. There is no legal committee, no council power, no taxpayer review. Just the TA and the mayor.

    (Wait till you see the bill from Assistant Fire Chief Tom Murray.)


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