Sunday, March 30, 2014

Musings from a former elected official!

Okay it’s Sunday again and I’ve finally got time to think about the past week. 

First off, I’ve just finished reading Anne Perry’s 5 book series on WWI.  I have to admit that I am somewhat ashamed that I really haven’t thought about what a horrible war that was.  My grandfather was in Europe during that war and I regret that I never talked to him about it.  The books were very moving, disturbing and extremely thought provoking.  One of the points that I brought away from the reading was that power is dangerous but you cannot force people to submit to what is against their nature; you may be able to “rule” them but there will also be some who rebel.

The Middletown Press has an article about the start of the job search for a new Fire Chief.

Problem is I think that’s a bit wrong.   According to the article, the list of candidates has been reduced to three or four and an interview committee has been formed.  That surely doesn’t sound like a start to me; I wonder how they got the list??  I checked the City’s website for open positions and Fire Chief is not listed??  The new additional position of Deputy City Counsel / Attorney is listed though.

Although I would have liked the Press to give more information about the search process for these positions such as where did they advertise, how many responded, what are the job descriptions and have there been any changes recently.  More information is always appreciated but the main question that I’ve is regarding the issue of residency.

From what I am aware of, all non-union directors must reside in Middletown.  The retiring Fire Chief moved to Middletown just prior to his appointment to the position.  Do all of the candidates under consideration currently live in Middletown or have concrete plans to move here? Same question for the Deputy Assistant Counsel position.

Although I do have to say that it’s refreshing to think that in Middletown, we’ve got such a deep pool of qualified candidates.


  1. There is a City Ordinance on the books requiring non-union directors to live in Middletown. Over the past 2-3 years, that has not been an issue with the Common Council or the current Mayor.
    Both the Director of Human Resources and the Director of Human Relations live out of town, and not a single Councilperson has an issue with it.
    How can you enforce this Ordinance on the Fire Chief position if it was not followed for these two directors?

  2. Director of Human Relations is a union member and per the union contract not required to live in the city. I am not sure if the new position of Director of Human Resources is a union position or not. Will need to look at that.
    The Manager of Human Resources is a union position.

  3. Both town hall directors are non-union.


    The above is the link to the portion of the Charter that addresses residency of non-union directors. Not all directors are required to live in town; only those listed. The Director of Human Resources is a new position as of 5/13 and the employee in the position has been grandfathered as to not having to live in town. Any new employee hired would have to live in town. That position replaced the prior Director of Personnel.

  5. I attend most Common Council meetings, and knew they consolidated certain departments. What I am curious about is when did the Mayor and the Council appoint and approve the new Director of Human Resources? The Charter states: "Each Department shall have a department head who shall be known as director and who shall be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council." I may have missed that meeting. Was it prior to 5/13? I know it could not have been after that date, as I have seen all meetings since.

  6. As I result of the study done per instructions by Mayor Drew regarding consolidating and streamlining City Government, the Personnel Department no longer exists as the Parks Department no longer exists (part of Public Works now). The report has never been formally presented and accepted by the CC however.

  7. Why is the BOE posting a grants manager position as a school employee so they can get around the charter rule that its a city job. Unlike teacher jobs the state does not require certification for a grants manager so why are they being allowed to get away with it? Didn't the teamsters argue this and win it a few years ago?

  8. If the CC has not formally voted on the consolidation of departments, and the new positions which includes director of human resources was never appointed and approved, how does the position exist? How did the person holding the position get hired? Was the job advertised and interviews held? How have past directors of departments been hired? This is most confusing.

  9. If the Common Council has not adopted the reorganizations then they legally cannot exist! I do believe they did vote on the merger of Personnel and Legal to the land of titans called Office of the General Counsel. But, no employee can be anointed a "director" by virtue of the Mayor's fairy wand. Residency can be waived by waiving the Ordinance but the Charter requires ALL director's to be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council. That was not done. Someone at City Hall needs to dust off some Ordinances and the Charter. How about those new great Attorneys that were brought but a 3rd one is now needed because of why???? Saw the new budget has funding for outside legal counsel so perhaps its time to spend more money that was supposed to go away and get an opinion. What a joke this City has become.

  10. It's rather scary that there is in the works a Charter Revision Committee with a proposed budget of $25K to perhaps make changes to the charter. This is one way to cement the power more firmly into the hands of the majority and / or the Mayor.
    Really really scary in my mind.

  11. The joke is that not a single Council person will publicly question what has transpired. Not one of them will dig into this issue or question the illegality of it. Sad state of affairs here in Middletown.


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