Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Guestblog: Reorganization Joke by John Milardo

The guest blog by retired city employee &  former union president Middletown resident John Milardo reflects his opinions, which may not necessarily be that of the Insider staff; guest blogs and letters to the editor are published as a courtesy to readers. 
The original piece by Milardo can be read and downloaded in its original format here:  
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."
 The consolidation of the Parks Division into the Public Works Department is coming!   
There is no stopping it!  The general public does not care one way or the other what happens with this merger.  There are those private entities that will benefit from the merger, and I’ll bet you they have 
already spoken with the administration to support it. 

      On July 31st, the Finance and Government Operations Commission held their monthly meeting.  
Mayor Daniel Drew presented the Commissioners his “Proposal for Merger: Public Works and Parks”.  
The report states there will be a savings of $150,000 due to the elimination of the Parks Maintainer IV/Working Supervisor position (retirement) an AFSCME bargaining unit job.  He also states the 
Parks Division Park Maintainer 3 employees will receive a one (1) pay grade salary increase due to 
added responsibilities.  Additionally, the Recreation Division, which will no longer be part of the 
department, is going to move into the Parks Division facility at Butternut Street, to save the cost of 
rent at their River View Center location.  (Recreation was moved due to lack of space 
at Butternut Street)  The Mayor states that combining Parks and Public Works will eliminate 
duplication of purchased items, and uses the example of a plasma cutter, used to cut steel, 
a $2,000 piece of equipment. 

     Christine Bourne, President of AFSCME, Local #466 spoke at the meeting and stated the Union
was not on board with the merger as presented.  The Parks Division has always been short staffed,
but is currently at an all time low.  At one time, there were eighteen (18) employees.  Currently, there
are eight (8) Park maintenance employees.  A far cry from the thirty (30) recommended in a job study
performed years ago.   According to the minutes of the meeting, Commissioner Thomas Serra asked
if Public Works Director William Russo could be brought forward to speak on what President Bourne
had mentioned. The minutes reflect Director Russo’s exact statement:  “the Mayor doesn’t want five
guys atthis level telling one guy at this level what to do, this is where the consolidation is coming in.”
WTF gibberish is that!? This isthe person who is going to be in charge of the new department
and get a big fat raise!  Director Russo also stated he spoke to Parks Division employees to find
out their concerns.  Has anyone ever heardof “direct dealing”? It is a violation of labor law to deal
directly with employees when they have a Union.The employer must only contact the Union’s
executive officers.  


    As a long time Union officer, I understand the employer has the right to reorganize.  If the employer
creates changes in job duties, hours of work, wages, benefits, and responsibilities, the employer must sit
down with the Union and formally negotiate such changes.  When the Water & Sewer Department
reorganized a few years ago, both AFSCME and the Teamsters were involved in formal negotiations with
 the City.  After reading the minutes of this meeting, it doesn’t sound like any formal negotiations have
occurred.


     As for the $150,000 in savings by not filling one (1) position, no cost breakdown was included
with the report.  The $150,000 figure seems unreasonably high.  If you do not fill a position there
will be a savings on paper but what is the effect of the loss?  How does the work of that position
now get performed?  If there are more positions unfilled, it compounds the problem.  How do you
compensate for the loss of manpower?  Do you contract more bargaining unit work out?  Do you
hire more part-time or temporary employees throughout the entire year instead of just during the
summer?  What is that cost going to be?A complete explanation is needed. 

     Unlike the reorganization of the Water & Sewer Department, the Parks and Public Works
 employees will not be cross trained.  No employees will work inter-departmentally.  The employees
will stay within their existing divisions.  The only thing that is changing is the person in charge of the
combined departments and some other supervision within the department administration.  They are
using the guise of shared equipment --- which has always occurred anyway --- to push through this
“reorganization”.Oh crap!  They should stop cooperating now!  Someone, please mind erase
all the employees so they can truthfully say the departments never share or shared equipment before!


     With a new Director overseeing the Parks Division, you can bet the cost of business is going to
 go way up.  More contractors, consultants and engineering firms will be hired for every little thing.
There will be a saving of one unfilled position with this consolidation, but there will be a high cost
for private consultants, engineers,and contractors.  That’s how the Public Works Department
operates, that is how the Director will want the Parks Division to operate. 


     The more consultants, engineers, and contractors hired the more perks and contributions to
election campaigns.  Once you get through all the BS, it always boils down to one thing---money!
Check the campaign donation lists this election year.  There are unmentioned costs other than
 the one (1) pay grade increase for Park Maintainer 3 workers.  The Director of Public Works job
 description has a two (2) word change in it.  The Deputy Director of Public Works has many
 changes which increased his duties and responsibility, and the Parks Superintendent position
has several changes.  There are office employees whose work will be changed, as well as
the responsibility and duties of the Manager and Budget Analyst of the Mayor.
Past City history shows these positions will receive pay grade increases and/or maybe even
 additional assistance; if not now, then very shortly down the road.


     So, what has the taxpayer gained with this recommendation to combine the Parks Division into
 the Public Works Department?
• You still have a Parks & Recreation Director on board, who will probably be in charge of
Recreation and Senior Services at some point in time, so there is no cost reduction there.
• No co-mingling of manpower for assistance to the Parks Division or the City Yard (Public Works)
employees, so manpower needs have not been met or addressed, work load and completion will
not change.
 • There will be big increases in pay for the Public Works administrator(s); sooner or later.
• There will be budgetary cost increases in the Parks Division, (work previously performed in-house),
for engineering services, private contractors, and consultants.


     Bottom line is the reorganization of the Parks Division into the Public Works Department is going to
happen no matter what!  Even if there is a large public turnout objecting to it, it will be approved by the
Common Council.  I believe the Mayor has the votes on the Council to push his agenda through.
The Mayor and those voting in favor of this reorganization can put a pin in their lapels exclaiming
 how they “improved services to the taxpayers, and reduced the cost to do so!”  It won’t happen
 without them throwing millions of dollars to ensure success.  In my opinion, it’s all a giant smoke
screen for the real reason(s). They are willing to approve this reorganization to monetarily take care of
one or two people who are loyal political friends.  All the other mentioned costs are just peripheral
 damage the taxpayer will have to pay for.
      There will be a cost increase to combine the departments, just as there was combining the 
Personnel Department into the Legal Department.  The premise of this new consolidation, according to 
Mayor Drew is to not duplicate items.  He cannot say there is a duplication of services because 
each division performs work completely different of the other.  There may be similarity with some 
of the equipment used, but the work is far different, as are the job duties of employees.  
The savings may be a $2,000 plasma cutter.

Stay strong. Stay involved. Stay together. Seek the truth. 
John Milardo, Middletown CT





 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What did you do over summer vacation in Middletown?


Kleckowski with campers at the
 Burlington DEEP fish hatchery.
Camper Danny Hibbard gets a percussion lesson
at the Salvation Army Summer Youth Program.
What did you do over summer vacation in Middletown? As students head back to school soon, this is a topic that may likely be a first writing assignment for many. Councilwoman Deborah Kleckowski (R) spent her summer vacation running the youth summer day camp for the Salvation Army of Middletown located on Main Street. The program provided day long child care and educational activities designed by Kleckowski. In this photo from the Salvation Army's public facebook page, Kleckowski and local campers  attended a day long educational excursion at the State DEEP's Fish Hatchery in Burlington Connecticut. Later, students showed off what they learned in a song and dance presentation.
Other activities included a  music lesson from Middlesex Music Academy ) of Middletown (Main Street), swimming at Crystal Lake, trips to Russel Library, visits with Middletown Police Officers Rowland and Wallace, and picnics at Wadsworth Falls. The Middlesex Chamber of Commerce over saw the youth summer employment program which provided teen helpers for the Salvation Army's day camp.

Check out more great photos from the summer on the Middletown Salvation Army facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheSalArmyMiddletown

If you did something exceptional in Middletown over the summer please email your stories and photos with us at middletowninsider@gmail.com
For every field trip or guest speaker the children had, they
 were responsible for writing thank you notes to those who donated their time,

 and completing other educational activities.

Guestblog: Why We Are Screwed by Tim Lenox

Guestblog by Connecticut resident and activist Tim Lenox. The Middletown Insider publishes guestblogs as a courtesy to readers, opinions expressed may not be that of the Insider staff.


For those who missed them ... Lenox's last three guest blogs are published here :

Welcome back Tim!
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Why We Are Screwed
By Tim Lenox, RUV
First a little history reminder --- Remember Black Hawk Down ???
Many will try to remember when that movie came out but I am talking about the actual event.  It is a sad thing but when movies come out that are “based on actual events” people who see them believe that the movie made is what really happened and any news stories covering the events are just movie reviews.  Reality TV is thought to be Reality and Movies are what people remember as History.  Then parents wonder why their children seem so “Clueless” (that was a movie too).
I leave it up to those who know how to do research to actually do some of it and I will focus on the most important points.
Bill Clinton was President, Wesley Clark was Supreme Commander of NATO (to hear him talk) and they ordered the US military to do something Veterans everywhere will consider anathema --- Leave soldiers behind …
As bodies of fallen US soldiers were dragged through streets and desecrated, President Clinton wrung his hands and Osama Bin Laden told all his friends that America was a “Paper Tiger”.  Paper Tiger was a termed first coined by Japanese Military Advisors to their Emperor when describing how America looked tough on paper but was too fearful of “World Public Opinion” to actually do anything but roar loudly.  “All Bark and No Bite” is another version of that saying.
The point is that a publicly weak America invites attack.  Terrorists had Declared War on the United States and the Clinton Administration (along with all other democrats) saw every terror attack as a crime to be solved the way it is on TV.  Series such as Law and Order, CSI, and NCIS have shown how Lawyers and Police can bring everyone to Justice.  The long list of victims just makes for better television ratings.
Every Terror attack was treated like a crime committed by isolated criminals who have to be found and brought to justice through the use of expensive forensics and courtroom drama.  This is how the War on Terror was fought and would have been fought if Al Gore had been elected instead of George W Bush.
It is also how it is being fought now.  Terrorism is not even acknowledged.  Even Major Nidal Hassan confessing to a Terror Attack against the US Military and begging for execution will not stop a Democratic Administration from referring to that attack as “Workplace Violence”.  Osama Bin Laden is dead and therefore the War on Terror is over.  (… and … scene)
So now we have the issue of Syria and the “Red Line” which has been crossed a year to the day after that “Red Line” had been publicly drawn.  Weapons of Mass Destruction have been used.  The President is preparing to attack a Sovereign Nation and take a side in a Civil War.  This is why Republican Presidents such as Richard Nixon are publicly denounced as warmongers.
The denouncers conveniently ignore the fact that it was Presidents Kennedy and Johnson who got us involved in that war because it was easier to hate and blame Nixon.  They also ignore the fact that the US Military won that war only to have the Democrats in Congress surrender it.
They used the same propaganda tactics to make it look like “Bush Lied” about Weapons of Mass Destruction even after it was determined that Saddam Hussein’s weapons had been shipped to Syria.  Now that those exact same WMDs that Bush was accused of lying about have been used by the Syrian Government against the Syrian people, those same denouncers are silent.
Did you catch that?  Saddam Hussein’s Chemical Weapons that Bush’s Denouncers claim did not exist are now being used by the Syrian Government as justification for US Involvement and Bush’s Denouncers are saying … what ???
I shall leave the rest of the comparisons to those who are making them and instead ask you all to focus on exactly why we are screwed no matter what happens.
If President Obama orders any attack then Governments around the world will see a repeat of the Vietnam War started by the Kennedy/Johnson administration and know that America will surrender and retreat just as during the Clinton Administration.  
Even if a Republican is elected in 2016, the War will be propagandized by the Liberal Media and surrendered by Congressional Democrats.  Maybe they can even get Jane Fonda to pose on another Anti-Aircraft Artillery gun just after it shoots down a US plane.  Hollywood will make another movie and the American people will blame the Republicans.
If President Obama does nothing after his “Red Line” has been crossed, then ALL of the other nations in the world will once again see America as a “Paper Tiger”.  The enemies of America will be planning the next attack on American soil.
They will be praising Allah (or whatever name they call their view of God) that this is only the start of Obama’s second term.
They will be hoping to launch that attack while he is still in office.
They will be praying that his successor will be another Democrat who sees War as criminal activity to be solved through diplomacy and court systems.
What they will not be doing is taking anything any American says seriously.
Remember, this is what you voted for … What? … You didn’t vote for this? … Well … Somebody did and it wasn’t me !!!
---Tim Lenox, RUV (Registered Unaffiliated Voter)

Guestblog: Conservative Round up by Palin Smith.

Guestblog by Connecticut resident Palin Smith. The Middletown Insider publishes guestblogs as a courtesy to readers, opinions expressed may not be that of the Insider staff.
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                                  GREETINGS PATRIOTS
Let it be known! Just because we are adamantly opposed to John McKinney’s misanthropic campaign does not mean we are anti-Republican. In our travels we’ve located principled Republicans whom we’ve encouraged to join Republican Town Committees.We support many new friends, not because they are Republicans, but in spite of it.
Certain old-time politicians do not understand the modern reality, and still cling to the Flying Dutchman party, even though they would drown as it sinks. The Tea Party is the buoy - the life raft. The Tea Party Caucus in Congress has bought us time. The Constitution is the repair manual.
We keep urging people to get involved politically. If ever there was a year to start, it’s 2013. All across Connecticut we’ve witnessed a rebirth of conservative values and intelligent logic. Entrenched incumbents in both major parties are feeling heat from within their own ranks and from several insurgent groups.
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Long-time Tea Party patriot Bill Heering runs strong in Plymouth’s First District. Last week Bill stirred the crowd of 100 at a Republican fundraiser attended by many Tea Party folks and some CT GOP dignitaries. Bill’s message stands on it’s own merits. His theme: ”Bring government back to the people”. http://youtu.be/2CFoHozBxTI
Join Bill’s campaign Face Book page and help him advance the cause of Liberty.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/361676667268735/
Pattie DeHuff is running a second time for Plymouth Board of Finance. She is a Sarah Palin “momma grizzly”. The good folks of Plymouth/Terryville have a gem amongst them. If only they would look closely. I caught up with Pattie at the Terryville Fair.
http://youtu.be/3v0iopKfFkk
Bill and Pattie are part of a team of Republicans.
See them all at a fundraiser a week ago.
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5wsVsNCEygrJZhiPrqFnIR3FswDErpgB
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Another of our good friends, Angel Fernandez, is on the Middletown Republican ballot running for Common Council (city council). Angel posted his name on his campaign Face Book page recently as Angel R. Fernandez. With his permission granted, I will refer to him as A.R. Fernandez, a man who will keep you feeling safe.
https://www.facebook.com/AngelforMiddletown2013?ref=hl
Everyone who wants to repair Connecticut must first start to fix its component towns and cities. Please forward these messages to your friends who feel like you.
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CCDL’s own Chris Duffy just became a father for the third time. Congratulations to Heather and Chris! The Duffy Face Book campaign page invites all to join. Duffy for Alderman. https://www.facebook.com/ChristopherDuffyforNewBritain?fref=ts
New Britain is a pivotal city in the 5th Congressional District. If conservatives make a good showing locally, New Britain may help a good Republican defeat first term Democrat, Elizabeth Esty. Congressmen are always most vulnerable in their first reelection bidMark Greenberg is the BEST choice for 5th district Republicans. Mention his name to at least one different person every day.
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This month you may have noticed groups of patriots manning highway overpasses in Connecticut and other states. “Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment” is a national movement that is gaining momentum. There has been at least 20 protests in CT. First on Aug. 6 and then again last Saturday, Aug. 17. We are editing a video essay of all the locations from our images and from a dozen other people who participated. We sent the Aug. 6 videos last week. Here’s a few of the most recent.
And our good friend and 2009 “Frankendodd”, Flagman Bill, portrayed America’s Rodeo Clown on the Howard Ave. overpass in New Haven, one of the sites for our upcoming Aug. 30 blow out. The first couple minutes shows the place.
http://youtu.be/oez6OEiRZcU
You can join the movement anytime. The Face Book page is the switchboard. We’re planning a concentrated effort at several key locations on the Labor Day get away day, Friday, Aug. 30.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/449760198456036/
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New Haven
We will be at the Howard Ave. location in New Haven. Follow this link to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/events/681778288516751/
If you run out of reasons to impeach Obama you got a resource here.
http://www.impeachobamacampaign.com/51-reasons-to-impeach-obama/
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On Aug. 22 at the Windham Regional Senior Center, we got a chance to confront Rep. Joe Courtney. It’s been a very long time since we saw Joe in this venue. His office has constantly lied to us about whether he was holding public forums or where they were. When you watch the Tea Party questions you will know why.
Joe just needs some strong opposition. We would hope the 2nd district GOP would get the message. But with the brain trust of Labriola, McMahon and Simmons we doubt they will.
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5wsVsNCEygpHCuVEq7NRboBmmJI1ytxQ
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At the Terryville Fair yesterday we briefly encountered two of Connecticut’s wondrous representatives in Washington. When we mentioned those magic words, “climate change at the LOB” to Senator Blumenthal we were ready to ask, “how did you like that Australian fellow, but he quickly turned. If you don’t remember the July 19 encounter, here it is. Look at Murphy and Blumy when Malcolm starts to speak.
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Windsor
We can have some good fun with John Larson Wednesday evening.
Bring a provocative question and follow up. We hope to see an overflow crowd.
These are the venues where we witness new patriots come of age.
Bring some friends. Larson loves victim stories.
If you have a good story you might get a tear out of him.
JOHN LARSON FORUM
Community Forum, Windsor
Wednesday, August 28th 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
LP Wilson Senior Center
599 Matianuck Avenue, Windsor, CT 06095
The first person who can get John Larson on camera to admit he’s a socialist will be treated to a dinner at Outback. Steak, shrimp and sweet potato fries.
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And be inspired to get out and help Ted Cruz’s prediction become history.
http://youtu.be/6jwV8EzZ1SM
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For a broad look at Connecticut political news be sure to book mark the Capitol Report, view it every day and post some comments on the many blogs. http://www.ctcapitolreport.com/
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It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. (Samuel Adams)
Pass the matches or get out of the way…..
Palin Smith

Planning & Zoning Dept. Asks Public to attend Riverfront Workshops

Press Release: SAVE THE DATES
Middletown Riverfront Planning Workshops
Internationally recognized planning and design firm, Projects for Public Spaces, has been working with the City’s Riverfront Development Task Force to develop a Vision and Concept Plan for the area.
 
Public input is critical to the success of the project.
 
Don’t miss this opportunity to share your ideas and help us build a vision for the Riverfront. We respect your time and promise a fast-paced, dynamic, participatory workshop. Bring your ideas and your walking shoes.
Refreshments will be provided.
 
Evening Workshop
Date     :        Thursday, September 26th, 2013
Time     :        6 PM to 9 PM
Location :       Common Council Chamber
and / or
 
Morning Workshop
Date     :        Saturday, September 28th, 2013
Time     :        9 AM to 12 NOON
Location :       Common Council Chamber
 
To help us prepare better to accommodate you, please RSVP with the date of the workshop you plan to attend at 860-638-4840 or riverfront@middeltownct.gov.
Find us on FACEBOOK at Riverfront Middletown Connecticut- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Riverfront-Middletown-Connecticut/456448574448563
 
 
 
 
Sincerely,
Michiel Wackers, AICP
Deputy Director of Planning, Conservation and Development
City of Middletown
 

News from South Fire : Memorial Update and 12th Anniversary of 9/11

SOUTH FIRE DISTRICT
445 Randolph Road
Middletown, CT 06457
860-347-6661

For Immediate Release:

For Information Contact:   Chief Robert Ross or Captain Michael Howley
860-347-6661

In two weeks, Middletown and the nation will pause to mark the 12th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA.   This year, Middletown’s remembrance ceremony will be held at the South District Fire Headquarters on Randolph Rd. and will coincide with dedication of the City’s permanent 9/11 Memorial and Memorial Garden.  The memorial, a joint project of the South Fire District and the firefighters union, has been constructed on the grassy area at the front of the firehouse on the corner of Randolph Rd and Lee St.  
Captain Michael Howley who heads up the Memorial Committee says the ceremony, which is open to the public, will begin at 8:30 am, with Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Mayor Daniel Drew, other city officials, Middletown Police Officers and Middletown Firefighters scheduled to be in attendance.  Howley said, “the ceremony will be interrupted for moments of silence at 8:46 am and 9:02 am, the exact times when the two planes flew into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center”.    As is the tradition for 9/11 ceremonies conducted by fire departments, the event will conclude with a special tribute to the 343 New York City firefighters who died that day.  A bell will toll a signal 5-5-5-5, which in the protocol of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) precedes reading of the names of those firefighter who have answered their “Last Alarm”.
Among the speakers for the remembrance ceremony will be Mary Canty of Middlefield whose brother was among the civilians who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.  The Wadsworth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will be on hand to present the South District Fire Department with a “We Remember 9/11” Flag.  The fire department plans to display the flag throughout the year inside the fire station and to fly it from the flag pole adjacent to the Memorial Garden, each September 11th.
The Memorial Garden has as its focal point a section of a steel beam from the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  The beam stands vertically atop a concrete pedestal at the center of the garden.  South Fire District has been designated as a curator for the 9/11 artifact which remains the property of the Port Authority of New York, the agency that owned the World Trade Center.
The final elements of the Memorial Garden, the engraved brick pavers that make up the walkway to the Memorial and the plaza surrounding it were set in place this week, according to Captain Howley.   
In recent days four Memorial Benches were installed and landscaping of the Memorial Garden has been completed.  Also installed in recent days was the lighting that now illuminates the Memorial and the Garden at night.
Public parking for the September 11th ceremony will be in the same field used for parking during the annual Open House in October.  The field is located directly across Lee Street from the firehouse.   Handicapped parking will be in a designated area on the west side of the South District Headquarters.
South District Firefighters, members of IAFF Local 3918 will continue to sell Memorial Brick Pavers for the Garden well into the future.  Captain Howley stated, “the paved area has been designed with many blank pavers that can be removed and replaced with engraved bricks as additional residents and businesses desire to add their names to the memorial”.  Information about purchasing Memorial pavers is available at the Randolph Rd firehouse and on line at the fire district website, www.southfiredistrict.com.