Republican Town Chairman John Slater is extremely unhappy about what he calls “illegally granted” raises given to some of Mayor Bill Finch’s top staff and two City Council members last year. The raises, some as high as $12,000, were given during the last fiscal year but not budgeted until this year.
Partly because of this, the Council raised the amount budgeted for union concessions from $1.6 million to $2 million. In part, they said, to make up for more than $95,0000 in raises to non-union workers.
Here is the release sent by the city’s Republican Town Committee:
“This is another example of this administration’s contempt for the Bridgeport taxpayers and the City Charter,” Slater said. “These raises were not included in last year’s city budget, but they were approved anyway. That clearly violated the charter and probably state law. IT also increased the city budget shortfall in the coming year by almost $100,000.”
Faced with the need to cover that shortfall the all Democratic City Council has added insult to injury by using potential concessions from unionized workers in order to pay for these raises. It is the height of hypocrisy for this administration and the City Council to ask hard-working, lower paid, civil service, employees to accept reduced pay and benefits, in order to pay for illegal raises, some of them in the tens of thousands of dollars, for the politically well-connected.
Slater said that instead of ratifying the Mayor’s illegal action the Council should roll back the raises and take action to prevent similar un-budgeted raises from being granted in the future.
The City can and should seek appropriate concessions from employee unions as part of a plan for addressing the city’s financial problems. But, any savings resulting from those concessions should be used to reduce the tax increase approved by the Council, not to reward friends and supporters of the Mayor.