Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Failla Takes Council Seat

Last night's vote was 5-3, with Democrat Walter Bayer breaking ranks and voting in favor.

John Lillis addressed the Shelly Pruss issue saying that the reason he didn't vote for Joe is that he didn't want to make the same mistake twice. You may recall that at the last go-round, John said that he wouldn't vote for Joe because "the voters didn't elect him" to the BOE. A peculiar position in view of the fact that he voted for fellow Dem Shelly after "the voters didn't elect him" either.

I wonder how Shelly feels this morning, knowing that his Party Chair thinks that it was a "mistake" to vote for him.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

BOE "Returns" Surplus

In today's News-Times, you can read Nanci Hutson's story about the Board of Ed's decision to return its $741,000 to the Town's General Fund. In her lead, Nanci wrote, "Tuesday night's split vote of the Board of Education will send the district's $741,000 balance back into the town's general operation fund rather than the board's capital reserve account."

What's wrong with this picture? Simple. BOE Member and attorney Bill Wellman was absolutely right when he said that the BOE had no legal right to have any say whatsoever about the disposition of this money. It had no legal right to keep any of it for its capital reserve fund or for any other purpose. Not $250,000. Not $200,000. Not one cent.

That unexpended money belongs to the taxpayers and should have been "returned" to the General Fund immediately without a stop at a BOE Meeting. And what's amazing is that there isn't a person in the BOE Finance Department who doesn't know it, including old-timer Tom Corbett. Before even allowing it on the Agenda (prepared by the Administration), Board Chairman Lisa Diamond should have asked the Board's attorney about its rights. If he's worth his salt, he'd have confirmed my claim.

Further, the idea of the Board putting the money into its Capital Reserve is illegal. See Section 10-241 of the Connecticut General Statutes and Board of Ed v. City of New Haven 237 Conn. 169 (1996) in which the Supreme Court distinguished between capital and operating accounts. The Town Council controls for former, the BOE the latter. If the BOE wants to add money to its Capital Reserve it must seek COuncil permission as it has done in the past.

Kudos to Chairman Lisa Diamond for breaking with her party and a "thumbs down" to Dave Lawson, Tom McSherry and the other Democrats for their hubris and utter failure to pay attention to their legal obligations and their obligations to the taxpayers-at-large. It just shows you the mind-set.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Failla Withdraws Council Bid...For Now

Joe Failla withdrew his name last night, facing a negative vote from all four Democratic Council Members and an absence of two Republican Members.

The Democrats said that the voters didn't elect Joe to the Board of Education. Apparently they forgot about Shelly Pruss (D).

Calling it "politics at its worst," Mayor Pat Murphy said, "This is the Town Council, not the Board of Ed. Joe is qualified, I think he'll do a good job and he has the unanimous support of the Republican Town Committee."

Without doubt, Joe's name will be brought up again when Republicans Pete Bass and Bob Guendelsberger return. The Mayor will vote to break the likely 4-4 tie leaving the Dems in a very uneasy position when he sits at their table.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Volinski Resigns From Council, Failla On Deck

Republican Town Council Member Terry Volinski submitted her resignation from the Town Council. Joe Failla will likely be recommended by the RTC to fill her seat. An attorney who practices in New York, Joe is a former Member of the Ethics Commission and Board of Education.