Bridgeport Council members in Beantown for national conference

Over half of Bridgeport’s 20-person City Council was either in Boston today or en route for a National League of Cities’ conference.

“There are a number of us on committees. I’m on the Economic Development Committee and we determine at this meeting what is going to be the priority lobbying for the next year,” Council President Thomas McCarthy, D-133, said by phone Wednesday night. “The other thing is it provides a lot of training for council members. It gives you best practices … And part of it is making sure the city of Bridgeport’s concerns are being lobbied for on a national level.”

Their bills are paid with the $9,000 stipend each council member receives annually for work-related expenses.

I asked whether council members really have to head to these conferences. Can’t a lot of the same stuff get accomplished back home on a computer?

“They’re trying to do some online stuff, but never underestimate the power of sitting in a room of people that are in a similar type of situation, throwing out a problem, and having a similar discussion going to lunch later with those people and saying, ‘How do you guys solve this?'” McCarthy said.

For example he noted one subgroup is composed of elected officials from cities that host universities. Bridgeport has a handful.

“So, say, how do you deal with college students living in neighborhoods?” McCarthy said.

The Bridgeport delegation should ask how their peers deal with a mayor who has 20-year feud with a local university.

Here’s the list of city council members McCarthy said are also attending the NLC event, which runs into the weekend:

Susan Brannelly, D-130, Denese Taylor-Moye, D-131, John Olson, D-132, M. Evette Brantley, D-132, Michelle Lyons, D-134, Amy Marie Vizzo-Paniccia, D-134, Carlos Silva, D-136, Lydia Martinez, D-137, Robert Curwen, D-138, Richard Paoletto, D-138, and James Holloway, D-139.

Brian Lockhart