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Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Well, the first year of the Bronin Administration has passed, and it is time to evaluate what has changed. Sadly, I think very little. We still have a city government that is broke and I don't see any plan to restore sustainability. Some of Bronin's attempts have failed miserably. (remember the Senate Bill 464 mess)  

I am not sure if those failures are because of inexperience or attitude, or a combination of both. The "sky is falling" mantra by Bronin worked in the beginning in drawing attention to our problems as a City, but you can only play Chicken Little for so long before it becomes tiring as well as ineffective.

Although Bronin's first move was to slash City jobs through lay-offs, many of those laid off were some of the lowest paid employees, and the ranks of high priced management positions, some of them actually residing  in the Mayor's Office and throughout City Hall, have continued to grow.

Claims of inviting the Union's to the table to be part of the solution seemed as though those invitations got lost in the mail, and aside from a new Fire contract, nothing much else has changed. It doesn't appear as though Hartford has made any moves to restructure cost associated with employee benefits such as moving to HSA's  as the City of New Britain recently did.

Although Bronin did promise hiring of Police and Fire personnel to reduce overtime costs, none of that has happened . The October Police Academy class that was promised has never happened and the January recruit class that was promised isn't even any where near close to happening, and the attrition draws the numbers at HPD lower everyday.

Luckily, even with a thinly stretched Police Department, it is still functioning and Hartford saw one of its best years in lowering Homicide numbers in a few decades. Hartford finished the year with 14 total Homicides for 2016 compared to 31 for 2015. Those reduced numbers though had very little to do with the current Administration and more with the creative efforts of HPD and its leadership under Chief Rovella, although I am confident a press release will be out any day by the Bronin Administration taking credit for reduced crime.

Those efforts still include the results of the Shooting Task Force and the creation of C4 under Rovella's creativity. C4 is the acronym for the Capitol City Crime Center, which has blanketed the City with technology to reduce crime, including cameras, Shot Spotter technology and license plate readers scanning for criminal activity. Imagine what could be accomplished with the additional Police Officers promised by Bronin if he only came through on his promises. The efforts of C4 have been very successful in reducing crime and identifying violent criminals on our streets

The Bronin promise of hiring 45 firefighters also appears to be a pipe dream of broken promises. Although Bronin had held a dog and pony show last fall to proclaim his plans to hire  45 fire recruits, he knew, or should have known at the time of his announcement that his request for the FEMA grant for the hiring had been rejected and no money was available for the 45 new hires.

And just as a thought, can we also push for regional cooperation and tell our neighbors that they are not eligible to apply for our Fire Department if they aren't Hartford residents. That sounds a little hypocritical. Lets find the best candidates we can, no matter where they live, and then make it inviting for them to move into Hartford if they wish

Now I know that Bronin inherited a mess, including the baseball stadium, but after a year of failed or poor decisions, Bronin now owns all those  messes. Where are the solutions? What is the plan besides the "sky is falling"?

Regionalism? Good idea but we need partners to buy in on that. Bronin may actually have the right idea moving in that direction, "as goes Hartford, so goes the region" .  The problem being, I would expect more from an attorney who should know he needs to make his case first. Bronin seems to be going around asking for the Jury's verdict before he even has laid out his case as to why the Jury needs to rule in his favor. It isn't working and the script never changes.

Walk out to the podium , take off the suit jacket roll up the sleeves and start proclaiming "Hartford is broke" . Where is the leadership by example? Build the case that the tough decisions are being made and Hartford is on a path to tightening its belt and becoming financially responsible and we want our suburban neighbors to buy in as equal partners. We haven't done that yet and shoving our MDC responsibilities down the throats of our suburban neighbors isn't going to help.

The cutting needs to continue in every corner of City Hall and nothing should be off limits, if that means bankruptcy to get at Union contracts and benefits , then do it, and shut up. Stop leaving our employees in a state of suspended animation as they await their future. They will get out of here at the first chance they have if they are kept in the dark and we can't afford to lose any more good employees.

I personally don't think bankruptcy is the solution as business as usual  remains the same at City Hall and it would take us years to recover from a bankruptcy filing. I think we now have half the members of the Hartford County Bar collecting paychecks from their jobs at City Hall and I have to ask if that is money well spent?

We all know the State of Connecticut is probably in worse shape than Hartford, and we can't count on any financial help from the Capitol. We also know that City hall didn't campaign for our next President, so that might be a tough sell to get Washington to open their wallet for us. ( Elections have consequences)

We elected a Mayor to bring leadership to City Hall during what we knew were going to be difficult times, now it is your time to come through with a plan and some workable solutions and put aside the Chicken Little act, it is wearing thin.


Anonymous said...

I left hartford got tired of the shenanigans and BS the mayor did layoffs but laid off working poor and middle class people single mothers and those living paycheck to paycheck other than those in the six figure range and why would any town agree to regionalization when you got officers firemen city employees retiring with six figure pensions and the guy making 10$ hour at subway in Albany Ave while living in Albany Ave is paying towards their pension and like you said you have to be a resident to be on the fire department the bar is extremely low in today society id tell my kids to go to college or corrections before I'd tell them to join law enforcement in Hartford this is truly sad god fordid the day when hartford turns into Detroit and police and firemen are making 15$ an hour because of bankruptcy smh

Alyssa said...

It's a HAPPY New Year now that you're writing again, Kevin!!

Great piece. Well said. My only disagreement is, there will be no bankruptcy on Matt Ritter's watch as the new Majority Leader. His grandfather "invented" the PILOT payment for state-owned properties as a state rep [Payment In Lieu Of Taxes] and Matt's father Tom, came through with Mayor Mike and Rowland back in the 90's to address unpaid PILOT payments and economic aid to Hartford. At the time, a tiny regional or state tax was also discussed to help make up the difference. That finally needs to be implemented now.

We were all warned of the cumulative impact of removing so many commercial buildings from Hartford's tax rolls and turning them into state buildings, such as: the huge Columbus Blvd complex, 55 Farmington, 410-460 Capitol Ave, Hudson Street, Xerox building, portions of GFox, etc... adding to the other big state buildings on Elm, Washington, Trinity, Capitol. So now the Legislature will have to come up with some formula to make up for the paltry 20% PILOT reimbursement rate to cover Hartford's shortfall this year. They will do something else creative for the following year as in a special tax, to cover that bigger projected debt of $40+ million.

No city or town could exist as we do, with so much exempt commercial property, non-profits, hospitals, schools, non-buildable land around the river, giant trash mountain, MDC, energy plant, major parks, you name it. We're now at 52% exempt. The state's property tax system is entirely discriminatory as regards Hartford, so that's why it will have to be addressed by the Legislature once and for all. Stay tuned . . . deals will be made.

Anonymous said...

Um, you a**holes complaining about HFD pensions should do your homework. HFD just took a beating with the newly signed contract. Spend as much time finding and reading said contract as you do whining about it and then repost your thoughts on WTP.
One of the "lures of the job" used to be good benefits, not anymore. Let's not forget that a firefighter works 24 hour shifts, year round, in any weather, through every holiday. Every guy/girl on the job is going to get hurt, nobody goes 25 yrs without getting injured.
This is not a pencil pushing office job where you have holidays off with your families, sleep in your own bed every night, hide in a heated or air conditioned cubicle staying nice and clean on your easy 8 hour days. You only chance of getting hurt is a paper cut.
Every one has the same choices in life, some choose HFD, some choose cubicles. Those who bemoan HFD benefits should have taken the entry exam. Instead you went the easy route. That's your fault, not mine.
These benefits are legally negotiated and agreed upon by the city and the union, both sides agree to these terms. Take away these benefits and nobody will want to be a Hartford Firefighter anymore.
If your lazy office dwelling fat ass is ready for a change, you can have these benefits too. Start getting in shape, apply, and stop your whining.

Anonymous said...

The buildings mentioned in the previous post were removed from the tax rolls due to failing commercially. The Xerox building was developed by Nick Carbone and his protegee William DiBella and was heading towards bankruptcy when it was purchased by the State's pension fund. All these buildings were in distress and were purchased by the State as a life line to the city. If not, more than likely they would be vacant today.


What lifeline? All the State's purchases did was remove more property from Hartford' Grand List without replacing the possible revenue

Failing Courant said...

I couldn't agree with u more 7:33AM. Same goes for the HPD. These tough guys work M-F 8-4 with weekends and holidays off, in heated and air conditioned cubicle. Anyone has the option of getting a city or state job but not everyone wants to make the sacrifice......and possibly the ultimate sacrifice.
After 20-25 years of hazardous duty, you definitely deserve a decent pension with healthcare. If you get hired at 21 and retire healthy at 41 or 46, god bless you. It's very sad how public service has become so crapped on.

Anonymous said...

When I originally got hired I took a cut in pay in liue of benefits. Yes a pension was lucrative but for me the medical was key... Free. Years later I pay approx $500/month for a family plan and pay over 7% of my salary towards the pension plan. As you can see it's no longer free and I'm not bitching at all... But for Pete's sake leave my pension freaking alone or else I would of never come one board and would of stayed at my previous employment years ago.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brookman, let me start by wishing you and your followers a Happy New Year. Bronin claims the city is on the verge of bankruptcy. How can we really push for more police officers and firefighters? Lower minimum staffing levels for both. A couple hundred firemen and a couple hundred police officers equals huge savings in benefits and salary. Eliminate shift minimums so there's no overtime. If there's a major fire or major police incident, call for mutual aid from surrounding agencies, they will always respond to help. In this financial crisis we can't expect to have CSO's and specialized luxury units. Back to basics no luxuries. Bronin also needs to trim his fat along with city council and their assistants. HPD and Public Works also needs to step to the plate and do their part with concessions like HFD did.

Anonymous said...

I want to say I appreciate the sacrifices that HFD and HPD make to Hartford and the state of CT. With that said, both unions can't expect a blank check for their pensions b/c they made such sacrifices. It's obvious that HPD pensions are bloated b/c of the OT loophole that pads their pensions. These maneuvers are killing the City! Lifetime benefits are also costly and this City cannot afford them anymore. I know HFD is unhappy with their recently approved contract, but it was necessary as their contract was too rich for our City. HPD is next up on the chopping block and similar union concessions are needed. If the City is truly in dire straits, it would behoove Bronin to reign in control of non-union pensions and benefits too. Fair is fair Mayor Sara!

General Grievous said...

Hartford gets more than half its budget paid by the state, so saying that because half of city property is tax exempt is the root cause of problems is nonsense. That dog don't hunt. Pensions such as Spell on $129,977/yr from age 46 are for sure a big issue. There is absolutely zero chance of a bailout (by state or regionalization) while such obscene economic stupidity is ongoing. People are informed and watching.

Bankruptcy and forming a line of creditors, with Spell at the very end of the line, looks like a good way out. Maybe the only way.

Anonymous said...

HPD never had lifetime benefits in form of healthcare. They've always paid, and quite a bit. HFD had lifetime healthcare from Eddie Perez as he loved firemen.

Anonymous said...

The key to your response concerning my post is revealing-" possible revenue" The G Fox building was vacant for years. There hasn't been a rush of private developers in Hartford for years. All the development has been for the most part funded by the state and federal government. When Goodwin College moved into the G Fox building I don't recall any objections from city taxpayers. You know as well as I do, that the buildings listed would still be vacant.

richardforster said...

You are very ill informed general. You make it sound as if Hartford is responsible for fully paying all pensions. Very inaccurate, they pay partial. All employees contribute a percentage of their pay throughout their career that goes into the municipal employee retirement fund. The fund (thankfully) is privately managed. Through low risk portfolio management, employee funds, and city contributions, the fund is well funded and vibrant. No COLA's, no free healthcare. City benefits aren't even close to that of state benefits. By NO means is the city broke because of pensions.

Yardgoat said...

Would the city still be in this fiscal situation had the stadium not been built?

COH Treasurer said...



Probably not as soon, but yes. The years of incompetence and poor management are now catching up, the Stadium just escalated it and highlighted the incompetence of City Hall

Ernie said...

So Eddie is finally collecting his pension. Wasn't it supposed to be rescinded when he got convicted?


The conviction was thrown out pending a new trial

Anonymous said...

8:52 If the evidence holds as it did in the first trial, little Eddie Perez will be pealing potatoes or have latrine duty for a time. The charges are strong and serious. On to Hartford. I always maintain that a city does not exist to employ people. It exists to offer services. Offering generous retirement and health benefits has never been confronted until now because any leader would have been reducing benefits to friends and neighbors. Additionally, Hartford has spent a billion dollars on rebuild of schools hoping test scores would rise. After 25 years has it ever dawned on anyone that the schools and teachers are not the problem. It's the parent or parents that are to blame. Babies having babies which creates dysfunctionalism and all the learning disabilities in the home. And those children grow up to repeat the cycle. And this is what has happened. But city council only wanted to spend more and more. Miss Jennings, councilwoman extradinaire has wanted to spend and spend like the good old school liberal she is and she makes liberals like me ashamed of themselves.

So now the townspeople are rising their pitchforks and like the witches of Eastwick, accusing each other of heresy while the money runs out. I appreciate Alyssa's view. Always on the right track. Hey Alyssa, why don't you run for mayor? Oh wait, maybe you are the wrong color or ethnicity. Can't have two pale faces back to back. Because we often vote with those qualifiers. Bronin is an unusual pick for leadership in Hartford. But he had to promise a whole lot of bennies to get the votes.

In conclusion, I am less optimistic then others that problems can be solved. Everything is spiraling downward. The state doesn't have the resources. But if the city goes into receivership, then the state will by law, take over. And all the pension and bennies will be renegoated. Better to let the state take the hit instead of Mayor Bronin. No one can get through this without mistakes and Bro in is doing his best. I don't think this position will be a springboard for him like he originally thought.

Life goes on within you and without you.

Union audit ??? said...

Hey holton, i enjoyed your hate mail this morning with my free coffee. I hope the money did not come out of the union already shady budget to pay for your long winded self assuring rebuttle.
The u haul boxes will be at 20 sergeant soon enough for you and jonah hill.
Now on to more important things.
The circus like union debate. Is it true that B Y O B is in affect ?

Shevchek- has the desire but lacks understanding.

Vinni- has no real plan, but speaks well and can harvest the morale of the troops ( go )

Nick - who ? Exactly Holtons little vegas trip pal. Who gets the window seat
Plus nick has made some pretty disturbing socialist remarks concerning pay.

But anyways, gotta get 25 yr guys in there.

Anonymous said...

If the state takes over the only bennies that will be changed are for those that are still working. Neither the city or the state own the pension fund, the employees that put into it do. Mr. Bronin found that out from the city treasurer and the state council when he tried his takeover bill. Even the people on the state level told Bronin that the cities problems are mismanagement, not it's workers.

#MHPUGA said...

It's so sad.....the only thing Holton has done in the past 2 1/2 years is write this 8 page distasteful, disgusting attack on union members running for office. Thank God Holton is done, he's robbed us for his entire term. ANY change will be welcomed change and good change. Here's to a breath of fresh air, best of luck Vinny, Nick and John. Holton has no class.....never has.......Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

Tired of all these cry-babies about pensions, Nit whits think the pensions are given, NO WAY, the average firefighter is paying at least $125.oo per WEEK, not bi-weekly, not monthly, but WEEKLY, and we also pay partial for our medical coverage, so it not a gimme, as so many of you complainers think, Yrs ago NO ONE wanted to work for the city, as the big bucks were at pratt, or now cant get a city job with their lovely criminal records. Sooooo many jealous ones out there.

Anonymous said...

The HFD received paid retiree health benefits in the 1994 contract. Perry was the mayor, not Perez. In return, overtime and private jobs were removed from final earnings for pension calculations.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely correct. Bronin also found that out when he wanted to "borrow" money from the pension fund to balance the budget, like many municipalities have, to their own demise.

Anonymous said...

Hey holton,
You really have " left the reservation.." and have no right to spend my contributed union donation towards your 2 weeks worth of work bookreport.
You have some nerve to not allow the guys running to go to union contract talks. Is this some type of glorified run for you to throw your own golden parachute.
Im glad you put my union symbol. Yes. That is mine. I pay my dues and have not been invited once to join you and your candidate .
You should have just gone out respectful. But i guess that is what happens when greed and power craving takes over your brain cells.
Fig. You were the best. A starting QB on a 8-8 jets team. God bless you.
And the two others. Earl was always good with the money.
The last one is far worse then all combined. Sit in your cubicle big boy. Hang up on people because you lack basic 3rd grade manners.
So long union board

Anonymous said...

Sounds fair to me. All these political and outsider cry babies. Bottom line is nobody wanted to work in this city. The HFD and HPD deserve every dime they've earned. They are truly heroes.

Anonymous said...

Holton really has the nerve to take credit for the last contract!?!? He was the president at the time, and was doing nothing like always, contract negotiations were going no where. Like most, Segarra didn't care for him. It was not until Chief Rovella said he would get the PD a contract, and had everyone sit together, was it that a contract was ratified. NOT Holton!!! Thank You Chief!! Stop the lies Holton- just leave already. You've accomplished nothing- worst president in HPD history. You've failed every union member. The worst of the current members running for president will be better than Holton.

Anonymous said...

As far as the vacancies in HPD / HFD why doesn't Mr. Bronin and the unions hammer out a deal for a drop pension program that basically brings retirees back to fill vacancies. This eliminates the costly and time consuming issue of training "green " new recruits.
There are many rules involved but if the city is truly in dire straits they better get creative.
You could bring back qualified experienced members that already know the system, area, and community with little more than an hourly wage without all the fringe and benefit additional costs. All but eliminating costly OT and beyond that mandatory 212 OT.
Other depts do it
Research "Drop Pension"
Hartford , Bronin. WAKE. TFU

Anonymous said...

Shefshcik - competent, professional. The only one who looks long term. He's been talking about the pension lockout for years after Holton screwed us. Plus he just got an indemnification bill no one could do that. The guy is obviously smart and very funny if you get to know him. Richie head for the hills and don't forget to take Fraggel Rock Canoli with you

10-50/56 said...

Please remove Holton from NCIC as missing!!!

Holton, you could have revamped your dying legacy into something great. Instead you gave into your ego. Did you think we wouldn't see through that scathing "rebuttal" on every candidate except yours golden boy's? Even more insulting it was on the union's dime.

Who ever wins has a daunting task. If Triglia wins, he'll have to cut the umbilical cord to Holton, or it'll be his demise (hint: he won't). Vinny and Szewczyk will have to overcome the sabotage of the ex-union board, as people see how much better it can be, and ex-union board will attempt to cover up how terrible the last 3 years have been.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between a state takeover, such as what was done in Waterbury and bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is filed in federal court and everything is on the table including retiree pensions and health benefits.

Anonymous said...

Holton, once again, dropped he ball on the drop plan. He never even entertained it or presented anything. Complete dud. The last time Holton was "active" was when elections were up last time. He fooled all of you. Not me.

Anonymous said...

True. However, unlike many other municipalities across the country that went broke because of lucrative pensions and healthcare benefits, that is not remotely the case in Hartford. But that would be for a bankruptcy judge to decide. But that won't happen....... Bronin's buddy Malloy is going to raise everyone's taxes and funnel more money to Hartford and other urban ghettos and send less to the affluent suburban areas. Not that it's hard to see, but Malloy is going to "bail out" Hartford (and Bronin).

Anonymous said...

I think holton should be banned from the debate. Im sure he will have his minions installed in the audience to ask nick some easy questions the rest of the 8-8 jets union board should just stay home.
That is pretty horrible and obtuse if holton used union money to make that nick for union flyer. 8 pages of bathroom reading that made me sick.
Holton, time to hit the road. And take fragnoli the hut with u. He has limited interpersonnal skills and cares about nothing but himself.
Fig will get several handshakes from guys he helped a plaque and maybe even a massa made poker table for his loyal service and actually helpful acts as vp. Fig. U get the deflated union game ball. And a thank you from several members including myself for your help.

Jack said...

11:41 posting. What are you saying? Cancel our contactual agreement of a pension after 25 plus years service and get paid minimum wage with no benignity at all just for the sake of bailing out a city that created this problem with their own two hands? You want to have a city that is run by liberal democrats who only care about minority's then you got it and it's problems. This retired fighter is not stepping one foot into Hartford to help out unless its in my best interest. We give up nights weekends birthdays holidays weddings you name it and have even gotten injured and bled for the city. Now you want us to give up more. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Hey nick ,
Sell me. Why should i vote for you ? Lets hear it. You monitor this blog. Lets hear what u have to say ? I dont mind that holton was your pal. You better have learned something from him. Why do i vote for nick ?

----------Shady days ahead for this dept........ im nervous when the cream of hpd guys like cachioli, r allen, long, bremser, etc. retire proudly. these guys run this place. ----------

Rendoc xmas hayride said...

Vinni for union Prez. Hes got the look in his eye!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Jack Murph would have a heart attack!!!! Guys collecting a pension and also earning an hourly wage from the same municipality!!!! Won't happen, the city and liberals don't want to see you even retiring with a livable pension, let alone collect a pension and work for hourly pay. Let the city rot. Eventually the tide will turn again.

Anonymous said...

This is what frosts people ... "Section 3.6 Pensions ... 6. Final average pay will be computed on the basis of the employee’s highest three (3) of the last five (5) years earnings and shall include all earnings inclusive of overtime and private duty work."

So someone works for 22 years and pays in to their pension at normal rate (8% for 1994 to 1999, etc.), then work excessive hours for the next 3 years and boost the pension to Spell-bound $129,777 levels, far above their regular salary (approx. $90K) and all out of whack to their lifetime pension contributions. Not acceptable on any level. People are watching, they are madder than hell.



People should be upset with the incompetent leadership at City Hall that has approved these deals over the years without any concern for the future or the sustainability of lucrative pensions. Police Officers and firefighters can't just create their own pensions, they need to be negotiated and approved by Mayor's and City Council members over the years and that is where the blame should lie for their lack of vision for Hartford's future

Anonymous said...

Kevin: Why wouldn't the council and mayors approve, their all eligible for the same benefits.They even changed the the pension language to allow Mike Peters to receive a twenty year pension when he wasn't eligible for one when he retired. The twenty year pension was originally for fire and police only, but over the years everybody who worked for the city became eligible. Political appointees with as little as five years became eligible for lifetime health benefits.

Anonymous said...

People should've been watching before, not after. And the pensions are for life. Maybe instead of seeking a private sector job back then to make what you thought was big money, you shoulda sought a government job. And once again, that is an old contract. You blew it cry baby. These men and woman earned their pensions.

Anonymous said...

Completely acceptable on all levels if you were the one who worked in the top 10 most violent cities in America for 20+ years. No health bennies. No COLA. That was the agreed upon contractual agreement. Once again, pensions did NOT make the city broke.

Anonymous said...

They all "became" eligible because the wanted the same or comparable pensions to police and firemen without risking their lives or doing nearly 20 years, because of a sense of entitlement.

Anonymous said...

But Mister Brookman, look at the cast of clowns we've had in the past on city council and for mayor. These are the same clowns city residents voted for. I'll guarantee you the "complainers" are not city residents.

GG1036 said...

I will honest.
Audit the dept with a third party company. There is not a doubt in my minds that several Lts, capts, and other house mouse personnel probably only put in about 15 minutes worth of actual work in an 8 hr shift. Then my favorite, big take home suvs. Run those miles up when i see one on the weekends cruisin the silas deane highway. Maybe an uber job?
Put the special troopers who trip on a banana peel to not go work the streets in patrol and make them take complaints over the phone. Cut some of these buttercup calls and save the troops for the 1080 codes.
And who has the tickets to the union debate 50/50 raffle ? Is there a VIP viewing area? Giv'em hell vinni!!!!