CT Conference of Municipalities opposing Bpt. government reform bill

Bridgeport Democratic state Rep. Jack Hennessy’s push to put an end to the practice of allowing city employees to also serve on the city council has gained a bit of momentum.

His bill’s got a page on Facebook and a date for a public hearing – March February 13, 10 a.m. in Hartford.

It’s also got the attention of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, and not in a good way.

CCM head Jim Finley told me tonight the group plans to testify against Hennessy’s proposal.

Finley said it is not uncommon for municipal employees to hold elected positions and Hennessy’s bill would further limit the already shallow pool of folks who want to enter local politics.

I noted that Hennessy’s bill as written appears narrowly tailored to Bridgeport. The city’s charter actually prevents employees from being elected to the council but they get away with it using a loophole in state law.

Hennessy wants to close that loophole IF a municipal charter is intended to keep public workers off the council. Bridgeport, that means you!

So, I asked Finley, why does CCM care?

“We work closely with the current Bridgeport City Council and have always had a great relationship,” Finley said. “It seems odd to have a state legislator target one municipality.”

But Hennessy argues the potential conflicts-of-interest and cronyism that can arise from Bridgeport’s situation are what have held the Democrat-dominated city back for so long.

Categories: General
Brian Lockhart

6 Responses

  1. Also, the date of the public hearing is February 13 – people of the sate – we need to make sure our voices are heard and not let a paid spokesperson for the City of Bridgeport keep the status quo going – if you support a non confict goverance in EVERY city in CT – please sign this peititon! http://www.change.org/petitions/state-of-ct-senate-and-house-of-representatives-vote-yes-for-hb-5724?utm_source=guides&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_created

  2. Concerned Taxpayer says:

    Oh – – and also – – for we concerned Taxpayers in the Park City, we have a grassroots petition site set up to let the General Assembly we need passage of this important bill to get our democracy back and to fight against the hired guns, who, incidentally, are fighting to keep the status quo. The irony. Please sign the petition!


  3. Concerned Taxpayer says:

    The hearing date is on FEBRUARY 13th – – NOT March 13th as listed erroneously above.


  4. And maybe Jim Finley should also make public in his statements – Jim Finley, executive director of the municipal support group Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, thinks conflicts of interests on the Bridgeport City Council are good for city taxpayers. He ought to know what’s good for city taxpayers, his organization has received a lot of dough from city taxpayers throughout the decades to advocate on behalf of the city.

  5. Maybe CCM head Jim Finley does not realize that Bridgeport has a provision in the city charter that prohibits city empolyees from serving on the City Council. Maybe CCM head Jim Finley does not realize Bridgeport is the only major city without a separate finance board, maybe CCM head Jim Finley does not realize the city moved the goverance of the finance board into City Council when they eliminated that board in 1997. Maybe CCM head Jim Finley does not realize how no other viable city operates with municipal employees having any voting rights on city budgets. Maybe CCM head Jim Finley does not realize the City Council votes on the city budget, and the members of the city council have the abilty to vote on their own salary, benefits and their department budgets. Maybe CCM head Jim Finley is not aware this is not only bad goverance, and this is also a very serious conflict of interest. Maybe CCM head Jim Finley does not realize the State Statute as it is written does not allow the City of Bridgeport to adhere to its own city charter. Maybe CCM head Jim Finley does not realize how many citizens of the city of Bridgeport would like to see the city of Bridgeport adhere to and govern by its city charter. Maybe CCM head Jim Finley does not realize the citizens of the city of Bridgeport are desperate to have a city that is free from even the hit of bad government practices, and that even the hint of the possiblity of conflict of interest is something we must eliminate by passing this Bill.

  6. Snow Man says:

    that’s because most other municipalities in CT are run by crooks. There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of people willing to run…