Do you eat with two forks?
Let’s see now, that allows for some pretty good surf and turf action, no? A stab of filet mignon on one fork, a little lobster tail on the other. How about a glass from a 1982 Lafite to wash it all down? Careful now, just don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
Well, that’s what the city’s $55,000-a-year legislative lobbyist Jay Malcynsky, a well-connected seasoned operative in Hartford, has done to the one that feeds his firm Gaffney, Bennett & Associates, and it’s caused a lot of back biting between the Bridgeport Port Authority, a quasi-city agency, and the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamship Company that docks its ferries at a terminal downtown.
The port authority serves as landlord to the ferry company and they’ve been at odds for some time over a variety of issues including the ferry company wanting to move its operation across the harbor to the East End where it can build a modern terminal while chopping 10 minutes off the cross-sound trip to Port Jefferson.
In the yawning hours of the state legislative session that was completed about two weeks ago, an amendment was quietly slipped on to an existing bill that gives the state Department of Transportation the power to veto a municipality dissolving a port authority. Why? Well, Mayor Bill Finch, as well as some members of the Bridgeport City Council, believe it may be in the city’s best interests to dissolve the port authority that was created by council ordinance in 1993, and place the more than $1 million in docking revenues (that go to the port authority) into the general fund. The big question: can they?
The council’s Ordinance Committee Monday night, in fact, voted to abolish the port authority and Finch hopes he can get his arms around what, if any, financial repercussions would occur to the city before sending the measure to the full council for a vote. He’s also hoping Governor Jodi Rell does not sign the bill until the city completes its research work.
Now, here’s where the two-fork menu pukes up a mess. Malcynsky also serves as a paid lobbyist for the port authority that supports the legislation in question, understandably, out of self preservation. City officials are gagging that the guy they feed submarined them in an attempt to aid another (that feeds him too) in which they have a direct conflict.
The city, City Council members as well as members of the city’s legislative delegation that voted for the surreptitious bill say Malcynsky has a lot of explaining to do. I wonder if he’ll be talking with his mouth full.
(Connecticut Post reporter Bill Cummings has a related story today. And when you’re done checking out the Post visit my daily blog at www.onlyinbridgeport.com )