Friday, February 01, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Mayor Daniel Drew’s Bipartisan Task Force on Efficiency in Government: A Commentary

Report of Mayor Daniel Drew’s Bipartisan Task Force on Efficiency in Government
A Commentary

First, let me credit the Mayor and council for looking for ways to save money and make city government more efficient. 

Second:  The composition of the commission:  Bi-partisan?  One Republican doesn’t make a commission bi-partisan.  That’s tokenism.

Competence.  Of the 9 members there are 3 attorneys.  33% of this commission were attorneys.   I would have expected a higher percentage of individuals with management and organizational expertise, and maybe one attorney for legal advice.  Where is the management experience? I see one business owner, who is an IT person.
Gerry Daley, Chair/Common Council
Todd Berch, Common Council
Joe Bibisi, Common Council
Dan Ryan, Corporation Counsel
Dennis Murphy, Deputy Commissioner of Labor for the State of Connecticut
Quentin Phipps, City Treasurer
Mike Gaudino, IT Expert/Middletown Business Owner
Jamie Mills, Labor Attorney, Middletown resident
Carl Chisem, Transportation Professional, Middletown resident ·

Commission first met in January 2012, and completed the report in April.  That was quick.  Was it thorough?

Recommendations – there were 15 Recommendations contained in this report.   Some good, some incomprehensible.

1.       Replace Engineering Technician and Drivers – The committee consulted with the Director and used his recommendation.

2.      Change the way the city fills vacancies, to include a review for alternate staffing, and include impact on health/safety, revenue, etc.   I’ll take this to mean that the impact to Public Health, Public Safety will be considered.  I hope these two concerns would rate higher in the decision matrix than cost and possible revenue to the city.

3.      Vital Statistics – No change here.  I don’t see the significance of the presence of Middlesex Hospital in Middletown has on who keeps vital statistics within the city.  But, again, the commission reviewed the issue with the Town Clerk and Health Department and took their recommendation.

4.      Information Technology Advisory Committee – I offer my services as a member of  this committee.  I have over 20 years’ experience with information technology, from building and programming computers, to designing and building networks and databases.

5.      & 6.  Performance Planning and Measurement – an excellent recommendation and brings the city in-line with current business practice.  When do we get a status update?

7.      Supervisory/Management Skills Training – ditto.  When do we get a status update?

8.      Personnel Rules Review and making them available on the city web-site.  Excellent.  All city documents, rules, ordinances, job descriptions should be easily available on the web-site.  When do we get a status update?

9.      Internal Controls and Fiduciary Responsibility – see comments above.
10.   Information Technology – merge into the Finance Department.  In the past that was where most corporations located the IT department, since the Finance Department owned most of the computers and software.  As computers have evolved, most corporations have separate IT departments which serve all other departments.  If the IT department is short of staff, I’m not sure how that will be helped by this merger.  If the issue is staff shortage, add staff, don’t merge it into another department.  This is a step backward in organization, but it is not without precedent.

11.  Financial Management – Buried in this recommendation is the new position of Grant Writer.  Is this the Grant Writer that Mayor Drew hired as soon as he took office, or is this a second Grant Writer?  Either way, I would be interested to get a report on the success of the this new position, i.e. how many grants have been applied for count and amount, how many have been received, count and amount.  Has this position increased the amount of money received by the city compared to past years?

12.  Merge the Legal and Human Resources Department.  This is the ugly one.  I’m not aware of any major corporation where this is the organizational structure.  Our new city attorney claims that Adidas, Citrix, and multiple municipalities in Michigan operate this way.  They may, but they are the exceptions, not that standard practice.  Law and HR are two different skill sets.  The Human Resources Department needs to be run by a Human Resources professional, with appropriate staff.  The legal department needs to be independent of and an advisor to, all other city departments.  The organization chart shows a Director of Human Resources with one-half of an administrative assistant.  In contrast to recommendations #1 and #3, there is no mention here about consultation with the HR Director.  I don’t see how an office of  4 is cut down to 1.5.  That math doesn’t work.  I’ll point out, again, that three of the nine task force members were lawyers.  I know lawyers are intelligent, highly trained people. But, they are trained in Law.  Not Human Resources.  This is not the place to try and shave costs.

13.  Merge Arts and Culture and the Building Division of Public Works to Planning and Zoning.  This one I don’t understand at all.  Arts & Culture, Buildings and Planning and Zoning?  Let’s use some actual logic here.  Put Arts and Culture with Recreation and Buildings with Public Works. 

14.  Merge Parks Division and Parking Department into Public Works – this makes perfect sense.  Facilities and property all under one director.  Good recommendation.

15.  Merge Senior Services into Recreation – makes sense. Programs for recreation in one area. This is where the Arts and Culture belongs.  Not in Planning and Zoning.

One recommendation I don’t see: Merge Water and Sewer under Public Works.  This is a logical combination.  It would consolidate vehicle service and maintenance, allow for close coordination of maintenance of streets, buildings, underground utilities and water & sewer.  I would also eliminate a Director and one or more deputy positions, saving the city a significant amount in salary and benefits. 

And before I sign off, I have to comment on the title:  “Mayor Daniel Drew’s Bi-partisan Task Force”?  Isn’t that a little grandiose?  In the past, it was sufficient to say “The Mayor’s Task Force”.

Ken McClellan
Chairman, Middletown Republican Town Committee

Editor's note:  Want to know more about the Government ReOrg?
Read the Insider Staff's analysis of the Government ReOrg here:  

The misleading merge of City Legal & BOE Legal:
John Milardo spoke of the downsides of the Governmnet ReOrg in a previous Guest Blog piece here: ://
Councilmember Linda Salafia also comments on negative aspects here:

Read the full report for yourself here: and packages here:


  1. Dan Penney offers the following comments:

    Excellent summary . I also offer the following OPEN LETTER opinion,for additional comment. Significant opportunity for expense reduction that appears to have been overlooked. A win win for all.

    January 25,2013

    An open letter to the South Fire District (SFD)Board Of Fire Commissioners(BOFC):

    The SFD BOFC has recently posted notice that they will conduct a SPECIAL MEETING/EXECUTIVE SESSION on Monday ,January 28,2013 at 6 pm to review Fire Chief’s Position.

    For the following noted reasons and in the best interest of SFD taxpayers including the the more than seven thousand voters of the SFD,it seems that the BOFC of the SFD will want to assure they have extensively reviewed and evaluated throughly every option that reduces any unnecessary and duplicative administrative functions. Additionally,such significant matters should be vetted with the public,as I’m sure the BOFC welcomes such participation.

    Recently, Mayor Drew and the Board of Education ( BOE) have developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which commits the city legal department to provide legal counsel for the BOE. Such a consolidation of duplicative city services represents significant cost savings that will not only assure that much needed funding can be best dedicated to our teachers and education but also helps taxpayers during these most difficult fiscal times.The Mayor and BOE continue to aggressively pursue other such opportunities. Such esprit de corps is unprecedented and certainly demonstrates what positive outcomes can be achieved when these relationships exist.

    Along these lines,similar opportunities exist for the SFD Board of FireCommissioners. A conservative estimate of annual taxpayer burden for this position is some $175,000 when one considers the annual salary,fringe benefits,dedicated vehicle,travel,private office space and other associated expenses being overseen by the SFD BOFC to maintain this duplicative management function.

    Its time for the SFD Board of Fire Commissioners to work with the city to develop a MOU that would have these services provided by the city. Certainly both the city and SFD taxpayers could realize significant tax relief,while capturing critical fiscal resources to better support our firefighters. Additionally,with such a unified command structure these emergency response services would be enhanced,in the best interest of public safety.

    Dan Penney
    1101 Chamberlain Hill Road
    Middletown,CT 06457

  2. Thank you for the letter Dan~! Just an FYI, merging of the legal department with the BOE legal ain't quite what it seems- and Mayor Drew didn't wave a magic wand concerning grievances either- just food for thought-

  3. Mainstream RepublicanFebruary 1, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    I totally disagree. I'm a Republican and I think Mayor Drew is doing a phenomenal job. I didn't vote for him the first two times but I sure am this time around and I'm telling all my friends and coworkers to do so as well.

    It has occurred to me that the Republicans in Middletown resort to acting like school children. They don't like Mayor Drew "just because". I'm sure that if Drew delivered goldbars to every citizen you people would still come up with reasons to hate on him.

    Do you even have someone to run against him? "All Talk" Giuliano is too much of coward to follow through and run again because he knows he will get beat.

    As a Republican I'm embarrassed by your dirty tricks and shady tactics and I for one am demanding new leadership in the RTC.

    1. Please your no more a republican than I am a democrat.
      This is suppose to be the most transparent mayor and yet I am still waiting for an FOI report on the mayor's documents prepared by the architect hired by the Mayor to do drawings of a proposed addition to house the senior center at City Hall.

  4. What a Crock:

    You are not a Republican, trust me, you are not. Nobody starts a letter that says "I'm a Republican and I think Mayor Drew is doing a phenomenal job. I didn't vote for him the 1st times.... etc."

    Lisa, or whomever: This blog scares the living beejesus out of you- trust me. For years the DEMS controlled everything for 1 reason: NUMBERS! That is it: NUMBERS! People are reading the blog.

    What's RTC? We have somebody to run against DD, but the question is will he do it? The answer is NOPE!

    WEre you embarrassed when O'Rourke killed that girl or Gaffey double dipped?

  5. Mainstream RepublicanFebruary 2, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Frankly, I'm offended by the accusations that I'm not really a Republican. I think before casting my vote, and I vote for the person -- not the party.

    Someone asked about O'Rourke and Gaffey. I never liked nor supported either of those guys. O'Rourke is just another tax and spend liberal, and I've know Christie Carpino for years. She is a fine attorney and I even urged her to run for the seat. Being in the minority in Hartford, she has still become a strong voice and rising star for the Republican Party of central Connecticut. Gaffey always came across as extremely arrogant to me and I never felt like he cared much for Middletown. It was always about Meriden with him.

    Public office at the municipal level is much different than at the state or national levels of government. Dan Drew has been mayor now for just a little over one year and you people aren't giving him enough credit. Your arguments don't hold together and you never gave him any sort of chance. You just want your beloved Seb Giuliano who I think was much too reactive -- the total opposite of what I see from Mr Drew.

    And another thing -- keep posting his O'Reilley factor video. Any well-educated person can tell from watching it that Dan gave well thought out coherent arguments when questioned by O'Reilley and was even complimented by O'Reilley, a man who is probably a HERO to the people who run this news site (where the very same people who drop the word socialist all over the place like to moderate and block comments much like Stalin). Dan was invited by the show because he worked for the student newspaper. The STUDENT newspaper. He was in college... you know, as in 21 years old? I wish I was that impressive at that age and so do you people. Each time someone watches that video, Dan Drew gets one more vote in 2013.

    I'm deeply offended by the people who have hijacked the Republican party - it's not the party I joined in the mid 70's and it's not the party that elected Reagan twice. I respect the folks who choose to have this website but I don't have to agree with you and HOW DARE YOU accuse me of not being a real Republican because I was fighting for this party when many of you weren't even born yet.

  6. Why does it "make perfect sense" to place Parking Authority and the Parks Division under Public Works? The Parks Division performs a more diversity of trades work, maintains more buildings and grounds, and does most of them in-house with less and for less. Why then couldn't Public Works and the Parking Authority be consolidatede under the Parks Division?
    Anyone can hire an engineering firm and contrators to perform work for their department which is filtered down to the taxpayer.
    The Task Force wouldn't know that though, because they didn't ask, or didn't care? They already knew where and who these departments were going to go under.

  7. Dear MainStream:

    I wouldn't take the anon comments super seriously if I were you. As for the Mayor's record in office, if you feel that strongly about writing us an article for our guest blog section we will print it. We have accepted and printed articles that represent the left, middle, and right.

    What is your feeling about Drew's Chinese trip? Do you think it was wise to go?

    Councilman Pessina, a Republican felt it was a good idea.

    Giuliano in 2013: Do you have any information about his political plans in November? We don't have the faintest idea, so if you do let us know.



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