Wednesday, December 26, 2007

'New Milford Hospital Loses Doctors...Make Your Voices Heard'

New Milford Hospital announced this month that three of their finest onocology doctors will be leaving the hospital. They want us to believe that all three doctors decided to leave at the same time and that it was a coincidence.

New Milford is still a small enough town where we either all know someone who works at the hospital or know someone who knows someone who works there. I suggest that you start asking for yourself why these excellent physicians left the hospital. Do not believe the positive spin control the administration has tried to put on it.

The replacement doctors are very well qualified, I am sure, but will never fully replace these three excellent individuals who made the Cancer Center what it is today. Patients that are battling a life threatening disease now have to deal with the loss of their doctors as well. It is unfair and I really hope the public makes a lot of noise about this.

This hospital depends on donations from the public and an upset public does not feel quite as generous. This is not the only hospital that has a cancer treatment center.

The hospital did not value its wonderful doctors but we, the public did and do. Make your voices heard.

Judy Moskowitz
New Milford

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ASFCME: Correcting the Record

It is important that the AFSCME Membership know the facts about the conduct of their "attorney" with respect to the deposition of former Personnel Director Paula Kelly. The word "attorney" is in quotes for reasons that follow.

Some time ago, I wrote that she didn't appear for it and that is a fact. However, in response to a comment by Paula Kelly, Union VP Martha Sanford wrote, "As for attending [the] deposition the Town Attorney could have given the Union adequate time to make arrangements. He called our Rep and not our attorney and that was only about twelve hours in advance."

Section 13-27 of the Practice Rules requires 5 days notice to an adversary prior to the taking of a deposition. The Notice of the May 7, 2007, Deposition was received by AFSCME "Attorney" Victoria Lynn DeFrank by fax on May 2, 2007. Five days, as required.

The Record discloses that Ms. Frank did not appear at the scheduled time. After waiting for her for some time, the Town's Attorney, Scott McCarthy, called Ms. DeFrank's office and left a message for her that he, Paula and the Court Reporter were waiting for her.

The Record further discloses that someone from Ms. DeFrank's office called back within five minutes and told Mr. McCarthy that she would not attend the Deposition.

But here's a curiousity. A check of the on-line directory of Connecticut Attorneys discloses that no one named "Victoria DeFrank" is admitted to the Connecticut Bar. However, a woman named Victoria Lynn D. DeFrank was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar on December 1, 1989, having an address at 87 Maplewood Avenue in West Hartford.

It is a very serious issue for an attorney to practice law without a license. Attorneys who are not admitted in a particular State but may be engaged in activity that might cause confusion about that status are required to disclose that fact. Referring to Ms. DeFrank as AFSCME's "counsel," it appears from the record that Mr. McCarthy was led to believe that she is licensed in Connecticut.

Ms. DeFrank's lack of a Connecticut license explains why she is listed on the AFSCME site as a "Staff Representative" and why an attorney who is licensed in Connecticut represented the Union at the State Hearing.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ruggiero Quits BOE; Diamond Elected Chair

Republican BOE Member Robin Ruggiero resigned yesterday. Who will be appointed to fill that seat?

As expected, Lisa Diamond was elected Chair, Tom McSherry Vice-Chair and Dave Lawson Secretary.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Martha Sanford: 'AFSCME Contract Matter Resolved'

I am pleased to let you know that the AFSME contract matter has been resolved. It should have been resolved a very long time ago.

At the appearance yesterday, the State's intervention representative said although he thought that we had the winnable side there was no guarantee of the panel's decision. He also said that the decision could take up to a year. He approached both sides for a last ditch effort. AFSCME was agreeable. The Town proposed that we withdraw their proposal for 120 banking of sick days. The Union had to think of its members and all that was lost already by continuing the process so we reached an agreement. It took longer because the lawyers had to make their money writing the agreement to be read into the record. I couldn't have been prouder of the Union's Attorney who watched out for us in light of the change.

I think you have to understand why the banking of sick time is important. We did want a bank but it was the Town's fault that they didn't think it through enough. Did we need 120 days - probably not - but it wasn't our proposal. I honestly thought they would offer less than we had in our last contracts.

I came away with the knowledge that we did the best we could for our Members but also with the feeling that we were the ones that let them withdraw THEIR proposal. At least the contract is only good until July 2009 so the whole process will begin again.

I do thank the Mayor for the atmosphere we negotiated in. When Lawyers get involved they try their hardest to drag things out and intimidate. With this contract we had no caucases because things were discussed and agreed upon by give and take.

The Town Council should realize that a lawyer is not always the best way to go.

The contract gives us twelve days sick time, three of which can be used as personal days. If the time is not used then we are reimbursed 25% of the sick time left at the end of July. Most employees found this ridiculous because why be paid 25% when you could use all twelve. In order to correct absences banking the time is the easiest alternative. This time would only be reimbursed 100% to spouses or civil partners. An employee who worked twenty years would be reimbursed 50%, thirty years 100%. This time could be used for short term sick leave to ensure the employee would receive the whole amount of their paychecks. Some employees are single and the prospect of being sick with partial pay could mean much to them. I will always believe that something is needed to address this area.

I'm glad that we have resolved the matter and I look forward to working with the Mayor in the next negotiation.

Martha Sanford, AFSCME VP
New Milford

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

'Mass Hysteria' Over FAA Proposal

Like so many Chicken Littles, many of our local politicians seem to have whipped themselves into mass hysteria about the FAA's proposed airspace changes.

I suspect that few if any of them are aware that major FAA Airways, Reporting Points, Fixes, Holding Patterns and Feeder Routes currently exist over New Milford and surrounding areas.

In fact, many residents probably don't even notice all this activity continuously going on in the skies above New Milford.

Before jumping to conclusions on the mistaken belief that disaster is imminent, politicians should first become familiar with the current airspace over western Connecticut. This can be easily accomplished by getting briefed by one of the many commercial pilots who live in the area (myself included).

Prior to spending $85,000 tax dollars on fighting the FAA proposal, our politicians should at least have some understanding of what FAA airspace currently exists over New Milford, and what it is they're actually fighting.

Tom DiCandido
New Milford

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Faulenbach Says 'No' to Another Term As BOE Chair

It is rumored that three Democrats are vying for the privilege with Diamond the odds-on favorite.