Below is a essay by John Milardo. All opinions expressed are that of the author and not necessarily that of the Insider staff. The essay in its original format can be downloaded here:https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1OYjxtLEgUwYmItWUpkc1FmTWc/edit?usp=sharing
The Common Council will the vote on Mayor Drew's proposed budget just around the corner, the Council will be voting on the government re-org soon. Milardo discusses the impact below. See the Editor's note at the end of the article to read our past posts on the same subject for further background. Past newsletters from Mr. Milardo can be accessed on our site by typing in "And Justice for All" or "John Milardo" into the search area at the top of the page.
“And Justice For All” is a newsletter involving my opinions, views, and commentary as a life long Middletown resident. In my capacity as a former employee of Middletown (retired) for over 41 years, I have a different perspective regarding how and why public figures do what they do.
Each year, City departments are asked how they could downsize, consolidate programs, improve maintenance and performance, reduce overtime, and every other related issue. Over the years, there has been a reduction of budgets and employees. Most – and I say most, departments are operating with skeleton crews and the minimal budgets. There isn’t much fat to remove from most, while other departments get nearly everything they ask for…or pretty damn close to it. These same departments are always receiving the lion’s share of LOCIP funding (State grant money awarded to municipalities), millions of dollars in bonding for construction and improvements, and Capitol Budget funding to ensure their department has the proper equipment, vehicles, buildings, and whatever else needed for upkeep, maintenance, and service.
The report recommends the Public Works Department to oversee the Parks & Recreation’s Park Maintenance Division, and the Parking Authority. Currently, the Public Works Department entails the following divisions: the Building Division, Engineering Division, Sanitation Division, Recycling, and Construction. Rumor on the street is Mayor Drew is also entertaining the thought of having the Publics Work Department take over all Board of Education custodial work and employees. The other rumor on the street is the City will be looking into contracting the Board of Educations cafeteria services very soon. If I remember correctly, past history with the privatization of BOE custodial work failed. “Let’s try it again…we’re going to make our own history!”
Then, there is the Planning, Conservation, & Development Department being recommended to oversee the Building Division Inspectors, and Art’s & Culture Department. Planning, Conservation & Development is already in charge of the following Board and Commissions: Application Review, Citizen’s Advisory, Conservation, Design Review & Preservation, Economic Development, Planning & Zoning, Redevelopment Agency, Wetlands & Watercourses, and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Divisions of the department are: Community Development, Economic Development, Environment, Planning & Zoning, and Zoning Enforcement. Whewwww!! Isn’t that enough for one person to oversee? How can adding more divisions make this department work more effectively and efficiently for the public?
The lowly Recreation Division will keep to themselves and maybe inherit the Senior Center programming. (Since they’ve been doing it for the past several years anyway) What will happen to the employees of various departments if these consolidations take place? From my past as a Union Representative, there are many questions to be ironed out – and I know the public hates to hear this – through negotiations with the two (2) respective Unions; AFSCME and the Teamsters – it’s called Impact Bargaining, and part of our labor law here in Connecticut. Unless Mayor Drew is advised by the new City Attorney from Michigan, where \ labor organization members lost the right for collective bargaining?
The misleading merge of City Legal & BOE Legal:http://www.middletowninsider.com/2013/01/apple-oranges-boe-budget-hikes.html
John Milardo spoke of the downsides of the Governmnet ReOrg in a previous Guest Blog piece here:://www.middletowninsider.com/2013/01/guest-blog-his-town.html
Chairman of MRTC Ken McClellan discusses the reorg here: http://www.middletowninsider.com/2013/02/letter-to-editor-mayor-daniel-drews.html