Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beware Malicious Individuals

I've been accused of many things since I got into East Haven politics over 15 years ago. Most of the things I've been accused of aren't even true. In today's post I received a letter from Attorney John Williams who represents DePalma and Maisano in the case involving the release of student records. Attorney Williams wrote the letter to the Freedom of Information Hearing Officer for the request I filed in June. In the letter I am accused of "colluding" with the defendants in the case (Serio, Palladino, DeNuzzo)and Attorney Dolan to conceal the FOI request. I think Attorney Williams also called me a "malicious individual" on page 2 of his letter.

I'll take a plea under the Alford Doctine so far as being a malicious individual goes. However, it appears my powers of colluding to conceal needs some work since I've posted about my FOI request at least 4 times since June.

Original Request - June 25th

Police stopping by my house - July 1st

Filing an appeal with the FOI Commission
- August 8th

FOI Hearing Date - December 24th

To paraphrase President Wilson, this may be a case of "open collusion, openly arrived at."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

East Haven in The Washington Post

Looks like an AP story about East Haven made the Washington Post online edition today. Probably not the kind of story the Economic Development Commission is looking to use as an advertisement for our fair town.

Friday, December 24, 2010

FOI Hearing - Student Record Investigation

I received the hearing notice from the FOI Commission for my appeal of denial to receive a copy of the student record investigation report from Superintendent Serio. The appeal was filed in August. The hearing notice arrived yesterday. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 9:30AM in Hartford.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quid Pro Quo?

Was the hiring of Nick Palladino's son as a Grade C Police Officer a payback for the BOE hiring of Chief Nappi's relative?

Maybe it is just coincidence.

Police Comm. 12/20/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

EH News 12/16/2010

Marilyn and I went into the studio on Thursday night just hours after Lawlor announced he was taking a job with the Malloy administration. What had already been a very full show was made more full with the last minute addition of an interview with James Albis who was announcing that he was interested in running for Mike's seat.

After I started editing the show, I noticed that the XMAS tree was causing issues with the autofocus on the camera. So, if you see the video get blurry from time to time it isn't your eyeballs or your computer. It is just the camera.

EH News 12/16/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

James Albis - Dem for Lawlor's Seat

James Albis intends to run for the seat in the Connecticut House of Representatives being vacated by Mike Lawlor. Albis, son of Judge Michael Albis, is a long time resident of East Haven and attended East Haven schools. James is a graduate of New York University with a degree in Economics. A well known musician, has performed in many venues including the East Haven Fall Festival. Since coming back to East Haven after college James has been a substitute teacher at EHHS and is currently the Community Development Coordinator for the Town. As part of his job he administers the Housing Rehabilitation Program which provides interest-free loans to low- and moderate income residents.

EH News - James Albis Interview from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Candidates For Lawlor's Seat

James Albis is throwing his hat into the ring for Mike Lawlor's seat in the state legislature. On EH News this evening Albis announced his intention to file to run for the seat Mike Lawlor has held for 24 years. Look for the video soon.

On the Republican side, names mentioned are Joe Maturo and Linda Monaco.

Board of Finance - 12/15/2010

Here is the video from last night's Board of Finance meeting.

Board of Finance - 12/15/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Lawlor Taking Job in Malloy Administration

Mike Lawlor has accepted a job in the Malloy administration. To accept the job he has to step down from his seat in the legislature. This means a special election will have to be held in the next couple of months to fill the seat in the legislature. Let the speculation on who is going to run begin!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

BOE 12/14/2010

Before I start my rant I should disclose that my sister-in-law has been a member of the BOE's Food Service union for a couple decades.

Last night's Board of Education meeting was one of the more gruesomely ridiculous BOE meetings I've attended in a couple of years. The Board voted last night give new contracts to a series of employees, including some highly paid administrators and support staff. They also started a process that will lead to busting the food service workers union. I expect Republicans to vote for things like that since their party is, on the whole, anti-union and pro-corporations. Maybe I fell into some weird parallel universe last night where the Democratic party was taken over by members of the corporatist wing of the Republican party. The food service union is the lowest paid of the BOE employees. They have not had a contract since 2008. Unless the BOE is going to not make and serve lunches there is going to be an ongoing need for food service workers. No one offered any suggestion about potential savings. The only reasonable savings will come from paying the outsourced workers less and cutting their benefits. The EH Democratic Party's new motto, "If you are on the bottom rung of the ladder, we are going to kick you in the teeth." Way to go Democrats on the BOE (with the exception of Laura Kluth and Patricia DePalma).

Beyond taking money from the cafeteria workers and giving it to the administrators, the BOE managed to spend 4+ hours arguing about paying bills, getting into a fight over accepting the roofing work as completed and generally being the kind of Board I would expect to see on "The Simpsons". The one thing they did accomplish is giving 10's of thousands of dollars to attorneys because they undoubtedly need it more than the cafeteria workers. Don't forget to thank Ray Pompano for making sure the lawyers got their money.

One item that did not come up last night was any discussion of anything having to do with educating the children. I can easily see how 4+ hours would not leave you any time to discuss education if your priority was making sure you filled the pockets of the well connected. Way to go BOE!

Since it was such a long meeting I will be posting the video as it gets uploaded.

Part 1:

BOE 12/14/2010 Part 1 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Part 2:

BOE 12/14/2010 Part 2 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Part 3:

BOE 12/14/2010 Part 3 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Part 4:

BOE 12/14/2010 Part 4 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Part 5:

BOE 12/14/2010 Part 5 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FInkle Mayoral Announcement

John Finkle announced that he was running for mayor last night at Antonio's on Main Street. With 50-60 people in attendance, Finkle gave a short speech announcing his run and thanking his supporters for coming out on such short notice.

finkleAnnouncement12132010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bonding for Settlement Costs

In the agenda for this week's Board of Finance meeting there was this interesting item:

An Ordinance Appropriating $ 1,250,000 For The Settlement Of Litigation Against The Town And For Related Costs And Authorizing The Issuance Of $ 1,250,000 Bonds Of The Town To Meet Such Approciation And Pending The Issuance Thereof The Making Of Temporary Borrowings For Such Purpose.

I spoke to Paul Hongo about this and he told me there were 3 large cases that are outstanding that are being settled. The Self Insurance Fund is virtually empty. This is not any money for outside counsel on the EHPD case or for representing the officers being called in front of the grand jury in February. The outside counsel for those matters is expected to run in excess of $500,000.

Politics for the birds...

I've been trying to get a picture of this bird for a couple of weeks. Every time I got the camera out the bird had already taken off. Today, however, he was perched in a tree across the street from my office. The first segment of the video is taken from inside. The second, shorter, segment was taken from outside. However, he saw me taking the video and took off down my neighbor's driveway after a few seconds.

Large Bird 12/13/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This Week in East Haven Politics

This is going to be busy week in East Haven. On Monday John Finkle is announcing his campaign for Mayor at Antonio's at 7PM.

On Tuesday there is a Board of Education meeting at 7PM. Before that meeting there is a joint meeting of the Personnel and Legal subcommittees at 6PM. The subcommittee will be discussing a long list of individual employment contracts in Executive Session. These contracts include:

Senior Technology Specialist
Technology Specialist
Help Desk Attendant
FRC Teacher Facilitators (2)
Discussion of One-Year Contract Extension for Assistant Superintendent

They are also going to get an update on expulsions. Once they return to regular session there is going to be a discussion of the Superintendent's goals. Having seen the form the Superintendent wants to use to evaluate his performance I am expecting this to be a joke. He, apparently, wants to be evaluated on such things as logging the number of meetings he attends.

On Wednesday there should be a Board of Finance meeting. However, the agenda for that meeting has not been published yet. All are waiting with bated breath for the completion of the 2009-10 fiscal year audit to see how big the budget hole is.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

School Building Committee - 12/7/2010

It was a tossup whether I was going to tape the Town Council or the School Building Committee last night. I decided on the SBC with the hope that they would not drone on as long as the Town Council normally does. While the SBC did take longer than normal it was not nearly as bad as some of the recent Town Council meetings. As a side benefit there was some useful information provided at the SBC.

First, the roof repair projects at the 3 elementary schools are substantially complete. Once all the paperwork is finished and the BOE votes to accept the work then the town can apply to the state for the money for those projects. Second, the electrical work at the middle school is going to be done the weekend of the Martin Luther King holiday. They chose that weekend to give themselves an extra day in case some problems arise on Saturday or Sunday. Finally, the wiring in the middle school is old and in need of replacement. The SBC is recommending that the work not be neglected for a long period of time.

SBC 12/07/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

EH News 11/29/2010

Marilyn and I went into the ETV studio on Monday and taped the latest addition of EH News. The big issue was the JMMS test scores. As I noted in an earlier post, JMMS ranked next to last in performance gains measured by the ConnCAN website. At the time I wrote the original post I saw that JMMS was at 175 out of 176 middle schools in the list. However, I didn't realize that all the schools that had the same performance gains (or losses) were assigned the same ranking. Therefore, if 5 schools showed a performance gain of 7.7% then they would all be listed as being in 59th place. Naturally, this leads one to believe there is only 176 middle schools in Connecticut. However, once I downloaded the list to a spreadsheet it became obvious that there are 376 middle schools and JMMS comes in at #375. Marilyn and I discussed the terrible performance at JMMS and what should be done about it. You can see the pdf file with all the middle schools ranked from top to bottom here.

We also discussed the budget deficits of the BOE and the Town and the ongoing revenue shortfalls. The topic of the solar panels came up since they will be live very soon. Enjoy the show.

EH News 11/29/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Police Commission 11/30/2010

The Board of Police Commissioners met on Tuesday night. Mayoral candidate John Finkle came to ask some questions regarding an intern program run by area police departments for allows Criminal Justice majors at local colleges. East Haven ran such a program and John's daughter applied for the internship with the East Haven PD. When all the paperwork was finished she was notified that the program had been suspended. When John FOI'ed the paperwork about the program there was none available which seems kind of odd to me. The Commission Chairman, Fred Brow, is going to look into the circumstances of the program being suspended.

The other big item on the agenda was a vote on an order to stop some members of the force from harassing other members of the department in person or online. It appears that there is some disquiet about the ongoing US DOJ investigation which has led to the harassment. As such, management (Chief Nappi and Paul Hongo) thought a standing order from the Commission would help eliminate the chance of a hostile work environment.

The meeting was mercifully short at around 35 minutes.

Police Comm. 11/30/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.