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Friday, March 18, 2016

CITY OF HARTFORD LAYOFF'S HAVE BEGUN

According to sources, layoffs have begun for City of Hartford employees. At least  four and possibly as many as seven employees in the Development Services Department were  given layoff notices yesterday.

Another source this afternoon said that supervisors were telling employees at the Department of Public Works that their paychecks were  late being delivered Friday afternoon  because layoff notices were being attached to some of them. No further information or possible number of layoffs in DPW are available at this time.

These staff cuts appear to be cost cutting measures by Mayor Luke Bronin to deal with Hartford's impending budget deficit Earlier this week, Senator John Fonfara was reportedly introducing a bill in the Legislature to establish a Financial Sustainability Commission to deal with Hartford's finances. A public hearing before the Legislature's Finance Committee is  scheduled for Monday at 11:00am at the Legislative Office Building.

According to numerous legislators I spoke with Friday passage of the legislation in its current form and with its current wording and makeup seems unlikely at this time.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

See, we don't need no Commission, Luke can do it on his own. Also hearing the Mayor's Communication Director quit today.

Anonymous said...

Where are the layoffs for the Council Assistants? there are at least 7 positions that should be cut . LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Anonymous said...

Here is a thought how about if the 50 percent of the properties in hartford that pay zero dollars in taxes start paying taxes

Anonymous said...

When a person is having a stroke or heart attack, minutes count. Mr. Brookman, you should be aware that there are rumors to close the firehouse near you. I sincerely hope that if that should happen, the residents of Asylum hill can wait an additional five or more minutes for the next closest fire truck to respond. In your case, Engine 11 from Sisson Avenue, Engine 14 from Blue Hills Avenue or Engine 8 Park Street (which is also rumored to close) which will give you Engine 1 from Main Street. Add rush hour traffic or less than optimum weather conditions and you can double that response time. I understand that the city is in dire financial straits, but lives are at stake here. I can't even imagine that Bronin would consider closing two of the firehouses that are in the most densely populated ares of the city. I hope that Mr. Bronin at least leaves Chief Freeman with a couple hundred thousand for body bags. We're going to need them.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

I am well aware that no one wants to see firehouses closed, but the reality is that we have a mess on our hands and difficult decisions need to be made, and all options need to be on the table and open for discussion. The time for the "untouchable" sacred cows are over. And those decisions need to be based on rational decision making based on facts, not gossip, rumor and emotions. Are people in the suburbs less safe because a fire house may be a few miles away? I know minutes count in an emergency, but what worked 50 years ago and what we can afford now are very different. The time to start looking at regionalization of services is now. How often does HFD respond to West Hartford now for mutual aid, Is the City less safe when we are covering West Hartford fire houses because they have reduced their numbers?

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

5:07pm

How about if we got the State to properly fund PILOT or tell the non-taxable's to start looking for another town that could afford them

Anonymous said...

Bottom line Hartford is a product of liberal democratic politics. I've always been a independent. Bottom line the good citizens of Hartford who voted for Mayor Bronin got duked. The elected officials will have no say in city government. I was really hopefull when a new city council was voted in and a new breath of fresh are from the elected who actually cares about the city. Really Bronin bottom line kissed the north end democrats ass and got elected. Hartford will be the next Detroit. All the state iron workers carpenters teacher fire police janitor refuse unions watch out.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brookman, I would like to answer the questions asked in your 6:15 post. In a word, YES people in the suburbs are less safe if they live farther away from a firehouse and Yes the safety of the people of Hartford, residents and visitors alike is jeopardized when companies are out of the city on mutual aid calls. There are plenty of statistics to back my statement as well.
Now, I would like to ask you a question. If the city was in a sound financial state would you support the closing of firehouses?

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

Probably not, but I am not sure if there is overlapping coverage that might make more sense to realign resources to maximize the benefit to the people of Hartford,. especially since many of the firehouses were located and built quite some time ago and the makeup of the City and its neighborhoods has changed significantly since then. Like the Mayor said, everything needs to be on the table.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

7:06PM

The more I think about it, the more I think we could make a lot more sense with House locations. Do we really need two fire houses in a short distance from each other on Blue Hills Avenue- especially since one (Engine 16) is probably close to 100 years old or older and inefficient ( energy wise) and a newer facility (Engine 14/Ladder 4) is at Blue Hills and Albany. E-16 essentially covers the northern end of Blue Hills and is almost located at the City line so most of its call would most likely be to the south and west of the Firehouse, and much of that could overlap with E-14 without large delays in travel time. The same could probably be said about Engine 2, a house with structural issues and Engine 1, a house that is also probably over 100 Years old . Since both are on the outskirts of down town, I would imagine the call volume is larger than many neighborhood houses, but maybe looking at a newer facility more centrally located would make sense for the long term. (I know, more money, but when does consolidation savings outweigh the construction costs) I am no expert, but I think we can always look at ways of being more efficient and to not be open to change because "this is the way we have always done it" New England type thinking is foolish. There are other locations, such as Engine 9 on New Britain Avenue, a short distance from Engine 15 at New Britain and Fairfield Ave.

peter brush said...

If the city was in a sound financial state would you support the closing of firehouses?
------------------------------------------
I have no understanding of public safety operations, how they are done or whether they are done efficiently. However, there is no question that the most important functions the City performs are fire and police. They meet a critical need, especially in our rather dysfunctional social environment, and they are depended on by everyone who lives, works, or visits here. Our budget for public safety is about $74 million. Throw in another $13 million for public works. Wouldn't ya think we would be ok with that $87 million expenditure given that the general fund is $534 million? (I grant that half of our revenue comes from "inter-governmental" sources, but that's another issue.)

The main problem is that the City is required contribute to the State schools; $285 million, essentially half of our general fund. How do the schools compare to public safety? They suck unless illiteracy is the objective, and only a portion of the population is subjected to them. Not only that, but it is the schools that drive the middle class to the suburbs, and have done so for decades.) If it were me, and I had the power to cut or retain, I'd pay far fewer educationists and keep the cops, firemen, and garbage engineers.

Anonymous said...

Things should be on the table but in a fair way. Bronins' way of putting things on the table is only fair to one side. It was Hartford leaders that screwed up , not union workers. The first cuts should be in City leadership positions. If Bronin is talking about the state coming in it should be to help because half of City hall is being let go. If we are going to call on the aide of other towns why don't we borrow a treasurer that has a better record than to catch a thief Cloud. Our pension system has only one problem, people feeding off of it who barely or don't put anything into it. If only the 20 plus yr. people who the pension fund was set up for, and who make the contributions to were the only ones collecting there wouldn't be a hint of a problem. The City has gotten away for years with not funding their fair share of the fund and now boy wonder wants to punish the people that were putting their part in. Are you sure this clown is a Democrat. Before one part of our benefits are taken away the state should send in investigators to find out where the money went. These terrible city property deals weren't made for no reason at all. People in city hall and their relatives benefited. Look at the deals Cloud has gotten for his family and crooked business partners. But Bronin has no problem with him. That's because he was sent here by Malloy from the get go to help him break the unions just like Malloy is trying to do at the state level. If you and our Mayor think that Police and Fire workers are part of a cash cow than there shouldn't be anyone at city hall sitting behind a desk making more money than those who must risk their lives. How hard could Bronin and his staff have tried to come up with real solutions if they threw in the towel less than 2 months after this super team was assembled.The first person to go should be the Mayor that taps out as soon as he did.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Bronin has a little sense and Laid off Tom Baptist the racist... Bronin got many complaints about him. Chapman elevated h to his A Team and the Talker Gift of Gab, absent from the Community no knowledged "recycled" fake Acting Director Cruz Aponte relies on him, what a Team. Way to go Bronin, key decision. Wait until Cruz Aponte "Recycles" her Boy friend John McGrane, yeah John McGrane, the ship jumper when things get tough..... check your sources on that story Brookman.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brookman. Next time you speak with Chief Freeman, ask him about standards of cover and percentage of availability. I'm sure that you will have a better understanding of how these things come into play when determining the amount of resources needed to provide adequate services.

Back in the days of Mayor Mike, by referendum, the taxpayers approved the construction of a new firehouse that would have combined several companies and administrative offices, upgrading the facilities from the days of horse drawn apparatus. It would have allowed the closing of the Sigourney Street and Pearl Street firehouses. Somehow, the funds were hijacked to build a Public Safety complex which houses no fire apparatus. That was the last time that anyone thought about building anything for the HFD.

In the last 50 years, HFD has already closed two firehouses, numerous Engine companies, one Ladder company, one Rescue and a District Chief. Another firehouse that was supposed to be built in the Northeast neighborhood was never built. The HFD has been responsive in terms of adjusting to the changing times. We are very lean by national standards. There is no fat left.

Over the course of the same period of time, the HFD call volume has increased. The mandates of training and safety standards have increased, but our staffing has not increased. We have been doing more with less for years.

You made the statement that, "everything is on the table." Well, there hasn't been any substantive discussions regarding standards of cover yet the Mayor has asked to close three companies. How is it that the Mayor, however well intentioned that he may be, make any demands to close firehouses without taking nationally recognised standards into account?

To make those types of cuts without taking the adverse impacts into account is straying into the realm of willful and wanton disregard for public safety.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 4:55 p.m. It's hard to believe the mayor's Director of Communications quit, when she only came on board in January. How sure are you?

Anonymous said...

100%, several people got phone calls and text messages from here confirming/announcing it

Anonymous said...

@8:50: what is wrong having a boyfriend? Are you jealous of her? You sound like an old bitty sowing a sweater by the radiator.

Anonymous said...

Peter brush, the. City does NOT contribute 285m to city schools. The city gets 191m from the state for the schools and for only the schools. Those funds pass through the city and make it appear the city contributes far more than it actually does. The city contributes about 94m from city tax payers. Just about what it contributes towards public safety and soon to be LESS than it contributes for city employee benefits.

Anonymous said...

All the churches that live tax free must contribute something, 10% or so, to the city. They raise money, they make money, they have to contribute some money.

Anonymous said...

Aponte Cruz? She and her ex are the biggest gold diggers in Hartford. Together with BFF Sandy Kee-Borges also the most corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, a bravo, well said. This mayor has not put one real solution on the table, its slash and destroy. He duped a lot of people and they should be pissed. When its trash pick up once a month, and the streets are not plowed, and your 911 call takes hours to get a response then maybe the community will wake up. He's is going to take a beating at the public hearing and his political career as well as anyone who support "his" idea of oversight will be over. Yes the city is in Finicinal shambles but it is not anywhere close to an oversight or a Waterbury situation. Bronin's new motto is " its my way or the highway". The effect of his lack of true leadership and inclusiveness to solve this problem will destroy not only the city but it's work force. The ripple effect will be huge. It's time to examine the budget really hard and trim the fat and look at the BOE who's budget is 420 million plus as well as think outside the box, the last resort should never be the first and only resort.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly correct the City budgets 110 plus million for the BOE 94 million goes to the board and the city picks up the 10 million dollar tap for their debit service and another 5 million for "in kind services" which is basically paying for them to run the technology services for the city and other things. So the city's eats a 15 million dollar cost when the over all BOE budget after pass thrus grants, etc is 423 million dollars with a less than successful graduation rate and failing schools, talk about greed that's the fist thing that should be cut, let the BOE pay for their own school building if they want a new one, I bet you see how fast they consolidate and make things better.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous says - that the best thing that has happened to the City of Hartford is the diligent work by the Aponte family. Unfortunately narrow minded, racist people, are too blind to see the good that they do. Next time the naysayers, know nothing idiots should look in the mirror and see the real problem in Hartford. Oh I forgot, they are blind so they won't see the truth. Remember there is no so blind as those whose hatred does not allow them to see.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

Anonymous 10:21 am.

I am hoping you mean Marilyn Cruz-Aponte (who I have never met) as opposed to Councilman Aponte who collected a salary as a Councilperson for years and did very little to benefit the City, but he did play a key role on our road to bankruptcy, not to mention his role in a Food stamp fraud Federal investigation in which he paid tens of thousands of dollars in restitution (at least payment was supposed to be made, if the check ever cleared the second time)

Anonymous said...

Most churches and private schools have been screwing the city forever. Only the house of worship is supposed to be tax exempt. When churches own lots of properties and rent them out for prophet, that is taxable income. Which means the properties should pay property taxes.

peter brush said...

My main point, ad nauseum, is that the School District is the State. The School Board is an agent of the State. The Municipality has no, zero, nada control over the schools, but are forced to contribute towards their financing. I realize that education apparatus involves much passing of money back and forth from local to State to the Feds... The City's budget numbers I got were taken from them internets. I defer to those with greater understanding of the intricacies of the fraud perpetrated upon the taxpayers, the students, and society at large.
A couple of years ago, when test fraud was exposed at Betances School, the Board let the two perps leave the District with no report, let alone restitution of the fraudulent bonuses the women cooked for themselves. I realize that there is often less than efficient operations of any government entity, but the cops and firemen perform a real service; the school system has destroyed the City and continues to abuse its kids.

http://www.hartford.gov/images/budget/15-16/16_Education_FY2016_Adp.pdf

Anonymous said...

11:14;
There's nothing wrong with having a boyfriend... expect when he is a married man and your Boss; your actions are indicative of who you are at work & play.

When it walks like a ##, talks like a ##, it's a ##.

Anonymous said...

3:21

And how would you know? Are you in the room bearing witness? Or worse, have you climbed Jack's beanstalk and peeped into the window? You sound like a character from Salam Village,1692. Oops. No, just Hartford's Village. Same difference.

Anonymous said...

Any idea why Samaia Hernandez resigned from the Mayor's Office? Inquiring minds want to know who the new communications director will be...

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

Not sure, the reason, but seems odd her replacement has already been chosen, so it must have been in the works. He will be announced Monday, a guy from Bridgeport from what I am hearing, not much on Google about him

Anonymous said...

Re 4:10PM

The unelected, her-majesty Emelda Marcos la chiquita had alot to due with this development. Samaia Hernandez was not good enough for the royal.

Anonymous said...

Did Samaia H. resign or was she forced to resign? What exactly was going on there?

Jim Ring said...

I definitely could /would be affected by any "gutting " of existing benefits with which I retired with after 34 years as a firefighter in the city of Hartford.These benefits were negotiated by Local 760 and the City of Hartford in good faith and thus fair each party has upheld their respective responsibility. If the current administration wishes to change policy,the responsible way,is to negotiate with the present officers of local 760 and it's membership in order to reduce,suspend or attempt to "steal" a benefit or two. It has always been part of America that existing negotiated contracts were not to be just "thrown aside" because someone has the whim to make a name for himself.I hope the "new administration " can find a better way to right their ship. Funny I was listening to t.v. while writing and a commercial came on about phone networks. The guy says "you wanna change your network,but,you're locked into a CONTRACT"! He didn't say wait I'll go to the legislature and get you out of your contract!!!

Anonymous said...

Kevin, the only thing I can say about Aponte the ex councilman is that he doesn't like to pay his fair share of taxes. I can't go any further than that. He liked pulling cash out of his pocket in order to avoid sales taxes. Being an officer of the court and a public figure, I developed a diminished view of him. Second rate all the way.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Jim Ring:
With all due respect, the city of Hartford is broke, the city is drowning in debt and may be forced to file for bankruptcy.
We all have to understand the situation, appreciate the efforts to save this sinking ship and sacrifice whatever is necessary.

Jack said...

Quick fix to the problem. Shut stations, decommission engine and or ladder companies. Reassign those firefighters to other stations. Lay off those recently hired and when members retire or quit working for a city that could care less about its employees, rehire those who were laid off. The Fire Dept. contract expires in June 2016 so here's the cities chance to renegotiate in good faith both benefits and pay while leaving the contractual benefits of those who retired prior to the new pending contract. You want fair and impartial, I just explained fair and impartial.

Anonymous said...

I believe taxing the churches in accordance w/ statute (portions thereof) would be a great start, of course would possibly be a PR nightmare even though allowed (or maybe required) by law. EVERYONE, needs skin in the game!

Anonymous said...

Kevin, HFD members contribute a percentage of funds into the pension account for their retirement years from their weekly paycheck deductions.The city is suppose to match every dime put in to the fund, but hasn't for years if not decades (typical city behavior, say one thing and do the opposite). The Union has stated that the pension fund is doing extremely well being a self sustaining entity, in fact its done so well, the city approached the union hierarchy and wanted approval to us this account to issue loans to individuals....like a bank or credit union would. Needless to say this was shot down, never agreed to. So if the pension fund is doing so well, why is the city crying poor mouth regarding the pensions being paid out? It isn't their money. The percentage a member receives at retirement is negotiated at contract time and agreed to by vote by department members. The current contract expires June 2016, some 3 months from now, why doesn't the city just renegotiate in good faith the benefit package the department members are to recieve while active and retired instead of crying poor mouth every time a contract is up for renegotiation.

Anonymous said...

He always avoided paying sales tax, didn't he?

Bryan Halay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anyone want to explain why we the taxpayers need to keep paying for these lazy entitled Hartford employees who latch onto these jobs and completely do nothing? This legislation will take care of the waste .. it essentially will be taking out the garbage

Anonymous said...

She was caught with meth ... Big difference ... facts will come out

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

Bryan,

I must have missed that one..."and frequently plowing over innocent people with fire trucks"

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

8:51PM

Because the duty of municipal government is to provide services. Why don't you identify the waste and maybe some suggestions on what to change

Anonymous said...

Kevin, here is one suggestion that actually came from YOU. This proposal will not only save money, it will set an excellent example coming from the City Council members.
Currenly each member has his/her own assistant. This waste must be eliminated. They should have 1 assistant to each 3 council members, therefore a total of 3 assistants instead of 9. Plain and simple.
More suggestions to come soon.

Anonymous said...

Close 4 firehouses reduce manning on each fire truck to 3 or even 2 for more savings and less future pensions to be paid as well as medical. Give EMS back to the cops and save a bundle on fire budget. It all depends on the amount of risk or loss you are willing to accept.
No more interior attack, don't need all those fireman. The down side is property destruction and a lot of it. Even if they don't burn down do you know what happens to a building you throw water at for 2 or more hours. Oh yea and you can probably expect the buildings on either side to be damaged and go vacant as well.Thats why Detroit has entire zip codes of vacants.save on Ffs but in long term won't do your tax base any good.
Cops will do EMS but all those new cops you hire to fight crime will be mired down on med calls while thugs operate as usual, sure seems like a waste of guns and pepper spray.
Lukey you have a fire department that has a history of aggressive internal attack that don't mean schit to you I know. What you should consider is HFD has a rate of knockdown in the room of origin in under 6 minutes second to none in the country. That is directly proportional to life safety and property conservation.

Anonymous said...

I agree, lay off the useless council assistants, lay off the lazy dpw workers, and get rid of the all the deputy chiefs in the police department. Why are they still in those positions? All you need is a chief and an assistant or a captain. To fill in when the chief is not around. That's a few hundred thousand there. Same with fire and I'm sure no need to close the fire houses. Also get rid of the city cell phone for everyone except essential people.

Anonymous said...

We need to elect 3 republicans to replace the union socialists aka Working Party. You think "no?" Wait till they vote for higher taxes to pay for the benefit packages.