Story time kids! Word on the street is that Mayor Drew is trying to rid the City of two of his least favorite department directors, and to do so, he is planning to offer a golden handshake (read more details here) of gold shower caliber. Again this political punt is not only at the expense of hard working individuals who had in the past spoken their minds against the Drew regime, but it is at the expense of tax payers. One of the directors being offered this buy-out is the Personnel Director, former aid to past Mayor Dominique Thornton (D). The Personnel Director’s past actions dealing with the Water & Sewer Department's mismanagement were unfavorable in the eyes of certain key Democratic Council members who presumably felt sold out that the Personnel Director actually worked in a non partisan professional way with the then Republican Mayor and did not entirely do the bidding of the Democratic party who felt that she be indebted to them.
(We will explain the connection between the Council, Personnel Dept. & Water & Sewer below.) If half of the eligible employees take this early retirement package, resulting in about a dozen upper management employees cashing out, it will cost at least half a million dollars in bonuses. The pension fund is self funded; however, these bonuses will come from the general fund - tax payer money. That is not counting the retirement up to 85% of their pay for life which will put all current, and future retirees at risk of the fund running dry and not being able to sustain everyone it was set up to and had been able to. Dan Drew and the Democrats on Council raised your taxes once already and are about to do it again. Should the Mayor be tethering Middletown to inevitable tax increases for his second year in office with these uncertain economic times over his petty differences with a couple of people in management he wants out??
You seen your water bill?!?? If you noticed a huge increase double or even triple your last bill you are not alone. The Insider has received numerous reports of bills going out with huge increases, some without even a unit cost per unit shown on the bill! We have a few instances where businesses have be grouped in with other businesses and double billed. If this has happened to you speak up! In a brief synopsis here is why this is happening:
In 2009, then candidate Dan Drew stated on record in an interview with the Wesleyan Argus that:"Not to mention, our city's sewer department is in dire straits financially. If it were privately owned, it would declare bankruptcy. We don't know where we're going right now."
Why does the Insider bring up this quote? Fact is Drew acknowledges on the record that the W&S is f***** in 2009, but in 2011 contradicts his own statement by advocating for an investigation to prove that actions taken to remedy a situation he acknowledges existed should not haven happened. Huh? Yeah no kidding. After much resistance on the part of the Democratically controlled Common Council to remedy the situation, Mayor Giuliano, as any good teacher would with a wayward student- moved the pupil closer to the teacher's desk so to speak in order to keep a closer eye on the issues with the indebted and problematic department. Mayor Giuliano moved the managerial portion of the Water & Sewer Department from their location across town to City Hall. He then followed procedure with a indebted department and had the Finance Department monitoring funds to find out why the department was hemorrhaging money. Also at question was why changes that W&S was supposed to have made as of 2008 after the department had to be taken over by then Finance Director James Reynolds due to lost of funds, had still not been implemented.
In 2008 $100,000 had been spent to overhaul the department including a reorganization plan that according to Mayor Giuliano, was never enacted by W&S Director Guy Russo as ordered. In addition to the extreme departmental debt and numerous warnings to basically fix things before they hit the fan, an unprecedented number of grievances by employees were filed at this time and on the job accidents spiked leading to the logical conclusion that at the very least management needed to be scrutinized.
Flash forward to October 2011. In an attempt to legitimize Dan Drew as having some government experience (other than student government) 5 months before he is manufactured into their next Manchurian candidate, the Democrats pony him up to take the spot of Councilman James Loffreddo following his resignation. After this the Common Council, voted to spend $10,000 to do an independent investigation of not just of the Water & Sewer Department, but the Mayor's Office & Personnel Department to see why they had suggested the moving of the W&S Department, despite the fact that is was clear as day the department was mismanaging many areas. Dan Drew then is quoted extensively by the Press in no coincidence – as Viktoria Sundquivst is still editor of the Mess and lap dog of the MDTC. Drew went as to far as to accuse Mayor Giuliano of "grandstanding" by ordering the W&S to be looked into.
In March 2012 it was reported to the Common Council that the report was complete and that the Water & Sewer Department would be moving back to its building. Nothing more was said. No copies were made available to Council members, the conclusions were actually summarized to give the appearance of transparency but not full & lawful disclosure. The audit found that the department was in fact far in the red, taxpayers were still finding inaccurate billing incidences in large numbers, but other wise business as usual! The other recommendations by the independent auditors were never put in place, it would be nice to know what they were, but unfortunately this report has never seen the light of day - even though taxpayers paid $10K to find out why the W&S Department is bleeding money. What is there to hide?? How many chances does this director get?
Why is W&S allowed to be mismanaged as a dysfunctional and resource draining department? No one can be certain, but the fact that Majority Leader Councilman Tom Serra (D), a pivotal person & political puppeteer in the Drew regime, is the untouchable first cousin of W & S Department Director Guy Russo could be some cause for concern. Oh what a tangled web. Now in 2012 nothing has changed and taxpayers are getting screwed with outrages bills & W&S is still in shambles. What say you now Mayor Drew?
There is a special WPCA (Water Pollution Control Authority) Commission meeting this Thursday at 5:30 pm Water & Sewer Dept. located on Berlin Street where citizens can bring water bills they believe to be miscalculated.
Why 5:30 pm when Council orders are to hold all public meetings at 7:00 pm to allow the working class public to attend? Well, some Commissioners just care more about themselves and would rather the public NOT attend.Word on the street is also that the secret audit ( which by law the tax payers have a right to see since they paid for it!) will be the topic of discussion and with any luck there will be answers to what has been going so wrong in Water & Sewer.Articles for background information referenced above:
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
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