Wednesday, March 7, 2012
THE REGISTRAR'S RHETORIC
If you listen to, and believe, the latest coming out of the Republican Registrar in Hartford, the GOP in Hartford is having its rights trampled on by the Hartford City Council.
Like I said, if you choose to believe it. The fact of the matter is that maybe this will make it clear that both the Republican and Democratic Registrars are the last bastion of political patronage in Hartford City Hall. It also points out that we don't look for the best or even competent individuals when filling one of the most important positions in our democratic process.
It might be that the Republicans have relegated themselves to "nothingness" when it comes to any political power or clout. Are they now are relying on any means to keep the defibrillator charged for that last chance at getting their political pulse going...even if that means lying and untruths?
The nonsense spewing forth from Republican Registrar Sal Bramante is the result of his incompetence, not Mayor Segarra and not the Hartford City Council. Because Bramante and Democratic Registrar Olga Vazquez are elected and essentially allowed to run unsupervised, doesn't relieve them of the fact that they are Department heads and need to be professional and manage their department the same as any other department Head at City Hall.
Last year at budget time the Registrars submitted their proposed budget to the Mayor and Council based on their needs and obligations to perform their duties. The budget was approved and now, bottom line, they need to live withing the budget they requested.
We are now being told by Bramante that the City Council has refused to fund the Republican Presidential Primary, and he is actually going to be shouting his message from the steps of City Hall tomorrow at 5:30PM. Hopefully someone will be there to ask the tough questions as to how less than two months before the Presidential Primary Bramante has come out of hibernation in the basement of City Hall to realize they have overspent their budget recklessly at a time when every penny counts.
The PDF file below is directly from the Budget Book submitted by Mayor Segarra to the Council last April. Under the topic on the first page Of the "Registrars of Voters" section, second paragraph in is the section "Significant Features". It states that the Registrar's operations will be impacted by "state legislature redistricting requirement and the upcoming of November General Municipal Elections, Presidential Preference Primaries and Town Committee Primaries".
It is right there in black and white in the Budget book. The Registrars knew what they had upcoming , asked for the funding that they thought was appropriate and were granted that funding. It is now their responsibility to live within that budget and barring any unforeseen obstacles, get that job done on budget.
When it became clear that the Registrars had been reckless with their budget and had not properly projected their spending, now it is the Council's fault. I don't think so, not this year, not with this budget. Their requests for additional funding essentially amount to more than 25% of their total approved budget. No other Department head would even come close to be allowed to overspend by that amount and neither should the Registrars be allowed to.
Imagine if the Police Department were to come forward and demand another $8 million dollars to be able to keep operating because they had overspent from their authorized budget and didn't keep their spending under control. The blame for this needs to be put squarely where it belongs, on Bramante and Vazquez. You may note that I haven't mentioned Working Families Party Registrar Urania Petit. It has nothing to do with Urania being a friend of mine, the fact is that the "D' and the "R" do not include her in any budget maters or spending issues so I think it is fair to give her a pass on this one.
Even though Hartford is cash strapped now and headed for a large deficit this year and a monstrous deficit next year, the Council did approve a supplemental appropriation for the Registrars Office last week. The Registrar's (the "D" and the "R", not the "WFP"") had asked for over $200,000 dollars to close their incompetence gap...I mean their budget gap.
The Council actually asked for reasons behind the request and one of the things they found is that Hartford is actually using more than double the poll workers and election workers required by Connecticut law. In reviewing the Registrar's request for funding, the Council saw fit to approve an additional $175,000 for the Registrar's Office. In the memo below from Council President Shawn Wooden, he details the $55,000 given for activities associated with re-districting and $120,000 for the administration of BOTH the March 6th Democratic primary and the April 24th Republican Presidential Primary.
I'm not sure what Mr. Bramante is reading, but it doesn't sound like a refusal on anyone's part to fund the GOP primary. Maybe Mr. Bramanate should admit that the ROV's office has mismanaged their budget and now is potentially broke. That is more accurate of what is going on, not a sinister plot by a Democratic Council to squash the Republicans in Hartford.
And I know you can't put a price on democracy or voting, too many people have fought and died for that right for us. But look at the proposed budget below for the Republican primary. Close to $100,000 being spent on maybe 300 or 400 voters that might actually turn out seems wasteful. There has to be a better way. Maybe some changes in the Registrar of Voters system statewide would be a good start.
2012 BUDGET BOOK
Budget Book Registrar of Voters 2012
COUNCIL PRESIDENT WOODEN'S MEMO
RoV Budget Memo
REPUBLICAN PRIMARY BUDGET
Rep Pres Primary 04-24-12