The Middletown Insider has become aware of rumors afloat that there will soon be a special council meeting called to vote on the appointment of a new city attorney. The city attorney position has been vacant for several years now since the retirement of Trina Solecki. Deputy City Attorney Tim Lynch was appointed Acting City Attorney under Mayor Giuliano's administration. When Mayor Drew took office, he decided to advertise for the position which the Personnel Office did. There were applicants who were certified as qualified by the Personnel Department including the current Acting City Attorney. At the June Common Council meeting, the job description for the city attorney position was changed in that the required number of years of experience was reduced from 7 to 5 years on the premise of widening the recruitment pool with no change in salary.
This was passed by a vote of 7 to 4 (Serra, Klattenberg,
Bartolotta, Daley, Santangelo, Kasper and Berch in favor; Faulkner,
Pessina, Bibisi and Salafia dissenting and Kleckowski absent). The new
job description reads: Jurist doctorate with five years of municipal
law related experience with an emphasis on employment law, labor
relations experience. It would be now assumed that the recommended
candidate is going have a very solid 5 years of experience in that
area. It should be noted that the acting city attorney has indicated
that he will be retiring from city service and had withdrawn his name
from consideration. Please note that there is also residency
requirement attached to this position.
At the time the job re-posted, the qualifications were still the
more stringent, seven years' experience in municipal law, labor
relations version. The Council, over the objections of the Republicans,
led by Councilwoman Linda Salafia (if you recall, it was she who asked
whether Dan Drew had someone specific in mind, as there appeared to be
no other reason why anyone would lower the bar when there were three
candidates who already met the higher standard) reduced the seven-year
requirement (which had been inserted two years earlier at the insistence
of Councilman Loffredo) to five years. Because this was done AFTER the
posting was published, the posting had to be extended.
Also, rumors are out there about the Council being asked to approve
a job description for a second deputy city attorney. This is coming
from the recommendation of the Mayor's Bipartisan Task Force on
Efficiency in Government, April 2012. However, this we believe will
require an appropriation as only one Deputy Attorney was budgeted. After the interview for the City Attorney position, that Attorney Phrances Leverton Szewczyk was
the choice along with the Michigan candidate and another attorney "from
Middletown" (what that means is unclear, as it does not appear that it
is currently a resident, but is someone who is "moving in.” The Insider reported before that Szewczyk does not appear to meet even the lowered qualifications, however, is a member of the Democratic town committee.Reader here. Readers
should not that Councilman Tom Serra made on the record comments
regarding appointed Chief Patrick McMahon as not being a Middletown
resident even though he bought a house here and was in town 5 nights a
week- Serra objected and said on record that McMahon wasn’t a true
Middletown resident because he “didn’t worship here.” So kind how is
someone from Michigan going to fit the precedent of strict enforcement
of residency Serra set forth in the past?
This report has not been officially presented to the Council, vetted
by the Council or accepted by the Council; however, the Council is
being (or as rumored d going to be) presented with accepting one of its
recommendations that being the hiring of a second deputy city attorney.
This in effect would increase the legal staff in the office from one
currently to three. According to the report issued, the Task Force
consisted of three members of the common council and 6 other members of
the public plus Attorney Ryan Barry and Joseph Samolis as staff for the
From the second paragraph of the final report: " Mayor Drew also
asked the Task Force to make specific recommendations for consolidations
and efficiencies within city government to the Finance and Government
Operations Commission of the Common Council, and to make specific
recommendations regarding the structure and hierarchical organization of
city government." It would seem that this was not an unbiased study of
the mechanisms/ structure of the government operations. The report
indicated how much was spent on outside legal services during the past
three years however, it was just a number inserted in the report without
detail or explanation or history or comparison to current outside
expenses or part expenses. Oh, and no report or receipts from China...
There is a special council meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 7 to
appropriate funds and approve a settlement agreement between the City
and Local 466. This settlement agreement will basically draw a line
from which the city, the BOE and the union start fresh. We could spend
hours and hours debating the history behind the need for this settlement
agreement and probably never come to a consensus on the cause. We've a
new administration now at the BOE with a new Superintendent of Schools
so we hope that the atmosphere of intimidation and retaliation has ended
and it seems as if it has. However, this agreement comes with a dollar
cost attached which is not insignificant, but again we will probably
never be able to all completely agree as to responsibility. Many hours
were put into coming to this agreement and much discussion, it was not
easy but a settlement agreement has been worked out that both sides seem
to be able to work with. Thankfully the despicable work environment that some of the men and women of 466 had to endure is over, they should be applauded for coming forward and being whistle blowers and doing what is right!
story broke today with headlines the Mayor Drew settled 30+ grievances and that according to him "the slate is clean."
However,this is highly misleading. Basically, the City has chosen to
pay out to the Union for the BOE administrations mistakes and
infractions that the State Labor Board declared the BOE administration
under Dr. Frechette did in fact commit. As readers should recall,
Frechette refused to pay workers who were part of emergency operations
at the storm shelter during last summer’s hurricane, and communicate at
all with former Mayor Giuliano when he called for an investigation into the missing $1 million dollars from the BOE budget. Read past explanations of the confusing paradigm here.
Other grievances and lawsuits against the BOE still exist and have not been resolved; Drew's statement that they all have is false.
Part of the deal is also that Councilwoman Hope Kasper's son in law illegal hire- Josh Berger, former real estate agent, gets to keep the job as Business Adminstrator at the BOE that was created for and given to him by a hiring committee that Kasper was on.
Last week the Insider published the Superintendent's contract ( here) Dr. Patricia Charles .
The legalese is not always easy to understand; so we have broken it down below and done the yearly percentage increases:
2012/13 Charles will receive: Base Salary $187,000 + $15,000 to her
retirement fund, $3,000 bonus for having a doctorate degree + $6,500 for
mileage = $211,500.00 for the year
2013/14 Charles will receive: Base Salary a minimum of $191,675 +
$19,168 to her retirement fund, + $3,000 for having a doctorate degree +
,$6,500 for mileage = $220,343 for the year
2014/15 Charles will receive: Base salary a minimum of $196,467 +
$19,648 to her retirement fund, $3,000 for having a doctorate degree and
$6,500 for mileage = $225,615 for the year.
base salary for the last two years is tied into the district’s highest
principals' salary. The principals’ contract is up as of 6/30/2013,
so school principal's will be negotiating a new contract; basically if
they get a raise, Charles will probably get a raise too; to keep the
spacing the same. It appears Charles makes $50,000 more than the top
high school principals, and because the contribution to the retirement
fund for her is 10% of salary that would also go up.
Frechette also got a payment to a retirement fund in addition to his
salary plus money for being a phd, and the mileage stipend. Charles is
getting credit for the previous time that she worked for the BOE towards
her retirement for medical insurance, plus the BOE are giving her back,
reinstating, previously accumulated sicktime that she lost when she
left her principal’s position.
superintendent contracts and salaries from Ct are available online,
and it is a positive note that Charles chose to release the terms of her
contract to the public. Superintendents in Ct are typically paid in the six figure range; Frechette's highest salary was approximately $154,000.
Common Council will also decide on upcoming Deputy Police chief position soon. Read background information & one reader's concerns here: