Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Your Daily Spin by the Middletown Mess:When the Numbers Don't Add Up

Daily Spin: Response to City & BOE Consolidation of Legal Services

There has been an article in some of the news outlets regarding a memorandum of understanding between the City and the BOE regarding the BOE using the City's legal staff rather than hire outside attorneys.
The article stated that the administration wanted to go back to pre-2008 staffing levels.  For this year, 2012, the City is increasing it's current staffing levels from an Acting City Attorney, vacant Deputy City Attorney position and a secretary to a City Attorney (already hired), two Deputy City Attorneys (one already hired and one scheduled to be hired in the spring) plus the secretary.  The Risk Manager's part of the department currently has three full time employees.  This is leading us to believe that the City previously had
that level of staffing.  However, in the approved budget for the year ending 6/30/2009, there was a City Attorney, one Deputy City Attorney and a Legal Secretary as had been budgeted for the year ending
6/30/2008.  A second Deputy City Attorney was requested but not funded.  At one time, for a short time, the office was staffed with a paralegal who first started as a part-time employee and then becamefulltime; after that employee received her law license, she was appointed as an additional Deputy City Attorney.  She subsequently left the City for other employment.  Should be noted that this former employee was one of the original applicants for the City Attorney position and not chosen.  The article is misleading in that except for a short period of time, the office has only had ONE Deputy City Attorney.
Also, the article claimed that the City has been able to settle some 30 some odd pieces of litigation stating further that numerous grievances and suits were settled by working with the Mayor, BOE and the union.  It should be noted however that the majority of the "30" legal issues were union grievances that did not necessarily require legal representation on the part of the City or the BOE.  These were grievances filed the employee through the union and were to be heard by a panel at the state labor board; the fee to do so is approximately $25.00 per party and did not necessarily rise to the level of requiring the attendance of an attorney at several hundreds of dollars per hour.  As part of the agreement the BOE insisted on keeping the illegal hire , Councilwoman Hope Kasper's son inlaw, whom she had a direct hand in hiring. Hmm. The hearing of grievances by the Labor Board is a matter of stating the facts and the specific part of the union contract violated to the panel and then waiting for their response; sometimes, the panel will request that the positons of both sides be submitted in writing
but generally it's straightforward: how did the employer violate the contract??  BTW, there is still a grievance out there to be heard and also an outstanding law suit not settled as of yet.

According to the paperwork handed out by the BOE at the workshop regarding their budget for object code 392 Legal Services for 2011-2012 the actual expenditure was $147,177.48; $100,000 was
appropriated bor the 2012-2013 budget and for the 2013-2014 budget $154,220 is being requested, an additional $54,220.00 over the current budgeted amount.  In the overall budget for the BOE, $147,177 doesn't seem extreme but it should be noted that much of what was paid for the outside attorneys for services rendered for the issues between the BOE and the City were paid for from the City's Insurance and Claims Fund and not the above referenced object code in the BOE's budget.  Monies in the Insurance and Claims Fund are reserved generally for payment for pending claims and suits against the City plus claims resulting from storms etc. and deductibles, and should the fund be insufficient after the payment of funds not planned for, an appropriation from the General Fund will be necessary to meet those obligations when and if
they arise.  If the BOE is expecting to have to pay less for legal expenses, one would assume that we will see the request for $154,220 be reduced.  Right??


  1. When you consider the city bookkeeper doing the math at the BOE is a former Finance Department employee that they couldn't wait to get rid of, is it any wonder the numbers don't add up?

  2. There's several lawsuits that haven't been settled, including the one where Gene Nocera didn't report the teacher who was arrested for having physical relations with a student.

  3. GEE, didn't Giuliano want to take over some of thje "non teaching" positions from the boe, and the Dems wholehearditly fought him on it??? I guess noe igts a good idea.

  4. What's John Milardo's comp record with the City? SEEK THE TRUTH?

  5. What about all the new grievances that 466 and Bourne have filed since the settlement of the 30 grievances? So much for the labor peace that drew and nocera tried to tout. Seek the truth!

  6. HOw about the payout to SHannon B L A IR

  7. Drew should be careful. He's gonna lose the next election for the dembs and hand the power back to Guiliano. The poor guy is out of a job and hey let's face it, an unemployed homeless man can do a better job running the city than the current mayor. And when the last clown gets back in power, he will have everything the council denied him.

  8. I was just looking at the BOE budget. I know medical benefits are insane and I don't have a problem with teachers having good benefits but how can the city pay $1,666,000 for Dental benefits? This is insane. Is everyone getting veneers for free?

  9. Unicorn! What the heck? I love it though, the CC and Myr are in the next LORD OF RINGS film...

  10. Maybe the same two ladies who couldn't explain dental benefits to the council put this together.

  11. Not in this article is how the administration is on the lower end of the pay scale statewide. Of course when you look at the facts You see that Middletown is on par with Glastonbury, Waterbury, and a few others.

    Middletown can't afford $5+ million increase in education "which means a mill in a half increase to your tax bill". That is not counting whatever the city side ask for. We the taxpayer could be looking for a two mill increase which equals about five hundred dollar increase per year on a two hundred thousand dollar house.

  12. Why the Unicorn. Is Drew showing up in the next Neverending story film?


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