What's ahead for Bridgeport's new cou...

What's ahead for Bridgeport's new council?

Posted in the Trumbull Forum

bpthoodnews

Matawan, NJ

#1 Nov 10, 2013
BRIDGEPORT -- There's a new City Council in town.

Voters chose nine freshman to serve for the next two years, and the expectation is they'll shake things up.

The prior council -- 20 Democrats who frequently partnered with Mayor Bill Finch in governing Connecticut's largest city -- have been infiltrated by some independent Democratic voices and one very critical Republican, Rick Torres, R-130.

As they begin to meet, here are five things to watch out for:

More debate

Many freshman council members campaigned on making the legislative body more transparent.

Incumbents argued the council has never shied away from asking questions during committee meetings.

But that often meant the full council meetings, presided over by Finch, had little debate or dissension.

"Things were way too pro forma," said Donald Greenberg, a politics professor at Fairfield University who lives in Bridgeport.

"Going to a council meeting did not give a citizen a sense of what was going on with the issues."

He and others said that is bound to change, particularly because some of the new faces are "gadflies."

Lennie Grimaldi, who ran Finch's successful 2000 race for state Senate and runs the Only in Bridgeport website, expects that some incumbents, who in the past displayed independence, might feel more emboldened.

"Finch still has control on most votes, but with this makeup, he loses just a couple of members (and) he's going to be sweating out getting stuff approved," Grimaldi said.

`Fusion caucus'

When council members of the same party huddle privately before and during regular meetings, it's a caucus.

Since the last council was all-Democrat, all 20 members attended.

As the lone Republican, Torres wants the more independent Democrats to join him in a "fusion caucus."

More pressure

Thomas Hennick, a spokesman for the state's Freedom of Information Commission, said Torres' plan could work, but Democrats would have to submit letters to the City Clerk agreeing to the arrangement.

"If they did that, they could form their own caucus, but it would have to remain thus for the remainder of their terms.

"They couldn't switch back and forth," Hennick said.

Council President Thomas McCarthy, D-133, who hopes to retain that title, said, "I'm pretty confident the great majority of council members will continue to caucus with the Democratic Party."

McCarthy said he's not sweating the election results. "People come in every two years and go out. And whenever you deal with 20 different people, you have 20 different personalities," McCarthy said. "You're trying to get the members to work well together for the city."

Ex-Democratic Mayor John Fabrizi, a former council president, said, "I wholeheartedly believe Tom is great for that council (and) truly believe that he will continue to be the president."

But, Fabrizi added, "Over the next two years he's going to be tested."

Critics, including some Democrats, have been accusing McCarthy of a conflict of interest because he is deputy director of the city's labor relations office.

Those charges aren't going away and may now even grow louder, particularly with Torres joining.

And, Fabrizi said, McCarthy has not displayed the independence from the administration some want to see. "Tom just has to be more independent," said Fabrizi, a possible rival for Finch in 2015's mayoral primary. "But that may cause a rift between Tom and the powers that be at City Hall."

Keeping his cool

read the rest http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/What-s-ah...

Since: Aug 10

Location hidden

#2 Nov 10, 2013
More corruption in Bridgeport means more money for these crooks.
Julio

Trumbull, CT

#3 Nov 11, 2013
YEAH>>YEAH>>YEAH >>>When your done talking this is the way it will be...Copies of the next years agenda and decisions are avilable from the Bartender at [email protected]@@'s restaurant. There is a $5 copy charge...
America Gentleman Samuel

Waterbury, CT

#4 Nov 11, 2013
I wish they would do something about the parking at the Elton John concert. It was $25.

Since: Jun 14

Stratford, CT

#5 Sep 28, 2014
Answer; More corruption.

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