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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

HAVE A SAY IN HOW YOUR MONEY IS SQUANDERED

DAVID TANNER BOUNCED FROM HARTFORD DPW

It appears that the incompetence of Hartford's Deputy Director of Public Works, David Tanner, has finally caught up with him. Correction, make that Hartford's former Deputy Director Of Public Works.

According to sources at City Hall,  Tanner has been removed as Hartford's Deputy Director of Public Works because he wasn't up to the job. But as is usual with the City of Hartford,  Tanner's incompetence has been rewarded by burying him in another City Department while he still  collects his large City salary.

Tanner can now be located within Hartford's Economic Development Department, where his wife is the Deputy Director.

You might ask why DavidTanner was given the City Hall shuffle rather than being shown the door if he wasn't cutting the job. Especially in a City where we lay off DPW low paid employees but then keep the $90,000 plus a year employee who has collected a salary for over a year while not being up to the job. The answer is simple.

David Tanner was (or is)  a POS. Not in the usual way you might be thinking of POS , but more appropriately a POS as in Pal Of Sara. Tanner and his wife both came in to the Bronin Administration because of their friendship with Luke and Sara Bronin before the election and that has apparently resulted in his survival on the City of Hartford payroll.

UPDATE:  April 18, 2017 6:0PM

Even though David Tanner is no longer working at the Department of Public Works Headquarters,  Tanner has been allowed to keep the title of Deputy Director of Public Works, apparently in order to be able to also keep the salary, even though he is not performing the duties of the Deputy Director. 

According to City Hall sources, Tanner is now handling some "clean up issues" related to the Dunkin Donuts Park completion. Dunkin Donuts Park was never under the control of DPW  and it is unclear why the so called Deputy Director of DPW would now be overseeing anything involved with the project. It is also unclear as to why, if there is any involvement in the Park by DPW.

 Why would Tanner have been moved out of DPW headquarters and now report to Constitution Plaza where the Development Services offices are housed and where his wife is the Deputy Director of Development Services. It is also unclear where Tanner's salary will be accounted for and budgeted, from Development Services or DPW.

More questions than answers right now. I guess sometimes it pays to be a POS.(that means Pal of Sara, as explained in the above posting)

IT IS TIME FOR GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS FOR LUKE

Well, Mayor Bronins 2017-2018 budget has been released. It is far from a done deal and will most likely be tweaked over the next several weeks as the Hartford City Council begins their work before submitting a final budget, probably tweaked to add more special favors and garner political support, rather than tough decisions to bring financial sustainability to Hartford.

But one thing is clear in the budget, Bronin has no trouble gambling with Hartford's future. Whether it is borrowing $20 million plus for "short-term" budget gap closing measures or failing to show any vision or leadership with budget cuts, Bronin's budget is short on vision and leadership for Hartford's sustainability.

Some days, I  expect Bronin to ask City Treasurer Adam Cloud for a sack of cash with a couple hundred thousand dollars so that Bronin can head to Foxwood's and put it "all on red" or maybe see him in line buying a couple hundred thousand Power Ball tickets at a corner bodega , hoping to hit it big to solve Hartford's deficit crisis.

The casino or Power Ball both have about as much chance of hitting it big as does Bronin's hopes of a huge windfall from the State of Connecticut next year. Much of that hope is based on revenue from the Hospital Tax being contemplated by the Legislature. I would go with the Power Ball option Luke, the odds of hitting that are probably better than the Hospital Tax passing.

But what the heck, lets borrow $20 million hoping it can be paid back. Bankruptcy is always an option for Hartford, so why not roll the dice.

I again have to ask, what is the plan and where is the vision? An $11 million dollar budget increase is reckless, especially when we keep hearing the threat of Bankruptcy. And the continued excuses really are wearing thin. It is time for tough decisions and that needs to be done now. It may not further the Bronin's political aspirations , but  Bronin wasn't elected because of where he hopes to be on the political ladder 10 years from now. He was elected to run the City of Hartford today and for the next two and a half years and some of those tough decisions he needs to make won't make him politically popular.

How does New Britain do it? Maybe Mayor Stewart would be willing to give some mentoring lessons to Luke

Really, $250,000 for heated bus stops and laptops in the libraries? Are we serious about positioning Hartford for the future or are we all about the feel good now? Can you hear our suburban neighbors doubled over in laughter. We can't even pay our sewer bills, but now heated bus stops? Are  the manicurists providing services at the bus stops going to be City employees or independent contractors? Just asking because I can see it coming. And will the bus stops have cable TV and internet ? I think many people using mass transit in Hartford would just be happy with a bus stop, period, heated or not.

Heated bus stops at the same time we lay off lifeguards at the City pools and contemplate cutting over $200,000 from senior Centers and programs for our senior citizens? Really Luke?

And just another quick observation, if the Citizen budgeting is supposed to encourage participation, then why in a City of over 120,000 residents did less than 1% participate. Apparently about 1,200 people actually turned out to cast a vote. But at least they could feel good when they did vote.

Those tough decisions are part of the strings attached to the $50 million pledge made by Hartford's Corporate leaders. One of the strings were that the money need to be accompanied by a Viable plan for sustainability for the future of Hartford. Increasing the budget by $11 million while revenue and taxes are pretty much flat and hopes of additional State funding are a long shot at best and the Union concessions we keep banking on don't seem to be coming through. These are not viable plans for sustainability.

There is still an awful lot of fat at City Hall, even though we keep hearing about the "bare bones". When is someone finally going to have the guts to cut the number of City Council assistants? That is not directly under the Mayor's control, but it would be a good spot to start. How effective is the Office of Corporation Counsel, and do we still need all those attorneys if just about everything legal is already contracted out to other outside law firms? The use of City cars is still an issue, especially with the number of SUV's in use as opposed to economy and energy efficient vehicles. And the City regulation that the cars only be used for City business seems to be about as much a waste as the paper to print the regulations.

There also needs to be better supervision to ensure that every dollar we are spending, especially overtime, is being used effectively. That includes people that are paid double time on holidays like Good Friday and then hide in a substation all day watching cable TV and drinking espresso, while their supervisors watch.

 Now is the time for effective leadership, not gambling with Hartford's future.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

MY SYMPATHIES TO MAYOR BRONIN

Last night at a community meeting organized by Council President TJ Clarke, I witnessed one of the lowest moves by a politician in Hartford that I can recall, and I have witnessed several gutter politicians over the years. Unfortunately it was Mayor Luke Bronin who went to the gutter level and his actions were directed at me.

Now I know if I dish it out I have to be able to take it back, but I don't deal in lies, and I wouldn't expect our Mayor to also. But what Luke did last night was pure and simple, the actions of a liar. He was trying to call me out because I called him out with facts.

Now I was ready to hit the keyboard last night and inject my venom into mayor Bronin's lies, but the better part of me told me to calm down and relax and wait a day. The facts will still be the same.
It started at the meeting when parent after parent were talking about City pools being shut down due to budget cuts. The parents described the pools as the safe zone for some of their children and asa place to keep their children off the streets and keep these kids alive.

Then Councilwoman rJo Winch got up and said the layoffs were necessary to close a budget gap of $60,000 dollars in the Parks budget. I understand the need to balance a budget, but where are our priorities? I had just been informed by someone knowledgeable at City Hall that Mayor Bronin had just hired a new Communications Director at a salary of $69,000 dollars.

At least he is getting more reasonable, the first two that quit and left the City were closer top $100,000 a year. But a Communications person over Lifeguards? Priorities Luke ...priorities.

I finished my remarks and then I sat down. Imagine my surprise when Luke stood up to begin his attack on me. Luke stood up and said that I needed to be honest with the people in the room and that the reason I was upset by the new Communications Director is because I applied for the position and Bronin wouldn't hire me.

Totally untrue Luke and you know it. Let me go back to that Mark Twain quote I frequently use. "if you always tell the truth, you never have to remember your lies"

And here is the truth. Shortly after my July 5, 2015 Stroke, I was going through Rehab at Mt. Sinai Hospital. On a Sunday afternoon, candidate Luke Bronin showed up in my hospital room for a "visit"
Luke and I were never friends so I was a little surprised during a campaign he would take the time to visit me, but I wasn't suspicious. During our conversation Luke brought up the subject of my support of Bob Killian and wanted to know if I would consider shifting my support to him.

Now I didn't think I had that much pull and that my support would matter, But Luke seemed sincere that my support was important to him, and even after my stroke and lying in a hospital bed, I still felt Bob Killian was the best choice Luke and I talked a little more and before he left, Luke said that if I decided to support him and he got elected that "there will be a spot for you in my Administration".

A few weeks later, Bob dropped out of the race and I did support Luke Bronin because I could not see the benefit or re-electing Pedro Segarra. I still wonder what could have been if Bob Killian stayed in the race and where we would be headed as a City under a Killian Administration. The man still amazes me with his knowledge of Hartford history, his vision and his skill for coming up with a reasonable solution for just about any thing I ask him about. And when Bob Killian tells you something, you know it is the truth. I can't say the same thing about Luke Bronin

And integrity matters to him, and his wife Candy and his daughters all reflect that and we have become close friends.

Like I said in the title, my sympathy is with Luke.  Really, it is. I can almost guarantee that the Mayor's job is not what Luke expected at all when he ran. Some days he must feel like a the Captain on the Titanic waiting for the end, because you know it isn't going to get better.  It was a big leap to go from writing policy under the dome of the Capitol to now being the Chief Executive Officer of Connecticut's Capitol city as it sits on the verge of bankruptcy and that is only the beginning of the problems.

A city with a baseball Stadium that mired him down for almost all of his first year in Office and has proven to be a huge embarrassment to efforts to prove we are legitimate to our suburban neighbors. A city that is  probably running close to Chicago with the most  per capita in our homicide rate. A city that can't find qualified police applicants to boost our dwindling Police Department, which is  on the verge of a crisis .

A City where the successes at City Hall are few and far between and hopes of greater political aspirations have been dashed in probably less than a year and a half. Dashed for Luke at least, others like TJ Clarke would be smart to build their image on the back of Luke Bronin and his failed policies and lack of vision, and organizing last nights meeting shows that he is more than capable.

It might also be time for Mayor Bronin to start demanding results from his inner circle. Another quote I  like is "the number one rule of management, is that you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with"

Who allowed the Superintendent of Schools process to get so out of control to become such an embarrassment? The Mayor appoints the Majority to the Board of Education. So a smooth process should have been a slam dunk. Unless of course you are playing Harlem GlobeTrotters ball, where everything is a joke or comedy act.  And the Bronin Administration has become a joke quickly

So Luke tell the truth. If you want to attack me personally, I can take it, it comes with the territory. But if you don't know by now , I detest liars,  just ask a couple of your predecessors.

ANOTHER COMMUNITY MEETING, ANOTHER HOMICIDE, NO BRONIN PLAN YET

Last night another community meeting was held to address the number of homicides in Hartford. Once again Mayor Luke Bronin showed he was short on solutions, or even ideas. Except maybe to try to discredit me, but that is another posting later for the details.

Hartford's homicide is skyrocketing this year under the leadership, or lack thereof ,of Mayor Luke Bronin. The Hartford Police Department is drastically understaffed and all we hear from Bronin are excuses as to why they can't hire cops. And the shrinking number of Hartford Officers available to patrol our streets is only going to get worse as more officers retire in June and July.. Mayor Bronin paints the image at all of the community meetings as he approached the head table and rolls up his sleeves, making it look like he is ready to do the heavy lifting required of a leader.

But that's all it is, part of a well scripted play in the Bronin's playbook for future advancement. In the meantime people are dying in our streets. And let me be fair, last nights community meeting wasn't even Bronin's idea, It was Council President TJ Clarke who organized the meeting, Bronin was just there to ride Clarke's coattails. Mayor Luke must have been surprised when he showed up and there were no TV cameras there to record his soundbites for future campaigns.  Surprise Luke, they were all at the Board of Education meeting.

I almost fully expect Bronin to go back in history to attempt to solve our homicide problem . Luke will probably take a page out of the Mayor Mike handbook and stage a dog and pony show with Connecticut State Troopers as the backdrop. My gut tells me that Bronin will announce that Troopers will be coming in to Hartford to save the day, at least for the summer

Again, no plan for sustainability, just the quick fix. No solutions from Bronin, just turn to Uncle Dannel for help when it gets tough. Troopers are not the answer, a fully staffed and properly supported Police Department is the solution.

We elected people to be leaders, It is time for Luke to start leading, if he is capable, I'm not convinced he has it in him


FROM HPD:

Hartford patrol units responded to the area of 42 King Street in response to Shot Spotter activation (#105750) that recorded six rounds. On arrival, a unresponsive male victim was located lying in the driveway of 38 King Street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper torso. The victim was transported to Hartford Hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 0130 hours. A crime scene was located and secured by patrol officers. Crime Scene Detectives and Major Crime Detectives responded and assumed control of the investigation.

The victim was positively identified as Jimmy Gonzalez, 23 year old H/M, DOB 1/25/1993, of 63 Webster Street Apt. C-3 Hartford, CT. Detectives Placzek and May were assigned as the lead investigators. Investigation is on-going at this time.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

YOU MAKE THE CALL

The video below is from the evening session held for the public to hear from the two candidates for Superintendent of Schools. See who you think is the best equipped to lead Hartford's Schools into the future.

 This video was posted by Stan McCauley to Youtube.com under a contract with the Hartford Board of Education