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Agenda for June 13, 2016 Meeting of Town Council

The agenda for the June 13, 2016 regular meeting of the Town Council is available here.

Agenda for May 9, 2016 Meeting of Town Council

The agenda for the May 9, 2016 regular meeting of the Town Council is not yet available on the Town website, but is available on Open Stratford here.

2015-2017 Committee Appointments

There are a number of appointments on the agenda for a special meeting of the Town Council on Thursday, March 31, 2016. If you’re wondering how people are chosen, you can now view multiple revisions of a memorandum regarding nominations for these public offices drafted by Council Chair Beth Daponte with additions made by several Democratic members of the Town Council. You can view the various revisions to it here. Former Democratic Town Committee Chair Leonard Petrucelli and Vice Chair Emma Brooks were authorized to make recommendations to the online list, but it does not appear that input was sought from the sole remaining Democrat on the 2013-2015 Town Council, recently elected DTC Chair Stephanie Philips.

There is also one notable name missing from this list, Michael Griffin, who was nominated for the Disability Review Board on January 11, 2016 without the members of the Town Council being provided an application form or background information on him prior to the meeting — as has customarily been the practice before appointments made by past Councils. When members of the Council asked about his qualifications, his nomination was tabled. It appears that Mr. Griffin, whose nomination was supported by the Council Chair, may be a former Town employee with a criminal conviction.

Shakespeare Theater Legal Opinion

You can find Attorney Christoper Rooney’s opinion on the Shakespeare Theater RFP and Stratford Stage Group proposal here.

Agenda for March 14, 2016 Meeting of Town Council

The agenda for the March 14, 2016 regular meeting of the Town Council is not yet available on the Town website, but is available on Open Stratford here.

Town Council Pony (Mar., 5, 2016)

The following was sent to current members of the Town Council:

Town Council Pony (Feb. 26, 2016)

The following was sent to current members of the Town Council:

Vote Yes, Pay More Per Vote

During the WPCA referendum campaign, I posted the campaign finance filings for the referendum committees here and here. The two committees have since submitted their “January 10th” filing, which are linked to below:

The Vote Yes Pay Less PAC spent $48,115.56 for a grand total of roughly $19.46 per vote.

Interestingly, Pullman & Comely LLC gave the Vote Yes, Pay Less PAC a $5,000 donation on October 28, 2015 — less then a week before the election and after the “7th Days Preceding Election” was filed. The contribution was conveniently timed so that voters would not know about the donation before casting their ballots

Pullman & Comely LLC represented the Harkins administration when five citizens sought a court order to force the Town to count the petition signatures that ultimately led to the referendum. The firm billed the Town $338,391.37 in FY2015 and 68,287.43 so far in FY2016 — although not all of that work was related to the WPCA sale and litigation.

Yet another loss for the Town before FOI Commission

At the February 8, 2016 meeting of the Town Council, Assistant Town Attorney Bruce Jackson insisted that the Council was legally allowed to discuss the proposed lease of the Stratford Festival Theater in a closed-to-the-public executive session. The previous Town Council listened to similar advice back on May 11, 2015 and I filed a complaint with the Freedom of Information Commission asserting that the May 2015 executive session violated Connecticut’s open meeting law. Attorney Jackson’s law firm defended the Town in that appeal.

On January 27, 2016, the Commission ruled that I was correct (and Attorney Jackson was wrong). Attorney Jackson’s firm received a copy of that decision the week before the February 8, 2015 Council meeting. During that meeting, I pointed out that Town had lost cases on this very issue already after the Council Chair asked for a motion to have the Theater discussed in executive session. Fortunately, a majority of the Council voted to discuss the contract in public despite Jackson’s bad advice. You can read the full FOI decision here.

So it is another day and another loss for the Town of Stratford up at the Freedom of Information Commission. Makes you wonder why the Harkins administration is paying so much for all of these lawyers — and whether they’re wrong about other legal issues as well.

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