Norwalk Letter: Common Council Not Wrong To Table Police Item

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To the Editor,

Last month, the majority of Norwalk’s Common Council voted to table an item without first discussing it.

Because tabling motions cannot be debated, the council has maintained a tradition of not making such motions until after there has been some discussion. This legislative courtesy not only provides the public with information about the goings-on of the body, it also allows members to make their views public before the agenda item is removed from the public eye.

However, on Oct. 9, I voted to immediately table a resolution that was presented to the council by five Democrat members. The resolution called for the Police Commission to rescind its decision to eliminate the position of captain in the police department and to begin promoting officers to that rank. The resolution rejected the recommendation contained in a study done by the International Association of Police Chiefs in 1997, and updated in 2007, that urged the city to eliminate those positions by attrition.

According to this study and the update, eliminating captains would create a flatter, more agile organization better able to deal with gun-related crimes. The Norwalk police chief has stated that elimination of those positions would ultimately allow the department to deploy more officers on the street.

So why did council members violate the tradition of allowing discussion prior to making motions to table?

Some members believed the captain issue was none of the council’s business and that it should never have come before the body. I disagree with that view because over the years a variety of resolutions have been debated and voted on by the council that did not relate to the usual business of the body. These were generally recommendations for other legislative bodies, what I call “sense of the council” resolutions.

Other members noted that the resolution contained a number of factual, even absurd, statements, such as comparing the organizational structure of our police department with cities of 3 and 4 million people. The resolution also ignored the fact that the responsibilities of captains in other cities are far different than in Norwalk, that in many cities captains are part of upper management. (In Connecticut, captains must be part of the police union.) Still, I do not believe factual errors, which can be easily removed during debate, are sufficient reason to stifle debate on an important matter.

My concern with the resolution, and the primary reason I voted to immediately table it (instead of allowing debate and then voting against it), was only partially related to jurisdiction or content. I believe the majority of council members, along with a large section of the public, plus other city officials, were deeply disturbed by the ugly tone of recent council “debates.” We were tired of the insults, interruptions and name-calling.

This is my fifth term on the council. Although I have been involved in a fair number of heated discussions, I have never witnessed anything close to the nastiness of current members. I have never seen nastiness become a substitute for reasoned discussion on such a regular basis.

For me, the question was straightforward: In light of all the recent ugliness, why follow tradition and extend the legislative courtesy?

Bruce Kimmel

Common Councilman, District D

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Comments (64)

OLD TIMER:

Certainly on the national level Tim is absolutely correct. Reagan campaigned on how horrified he was that the national debt was "approaching" a trillion dollars and, if elected, he would reverse that trend. He was elected and the debt tripled while he was in office, but the idea has persisted in the party. Republicans have taken the theme of claiming Democrats are the spendthrifts and the Republicans are the fiscal conservatives who can fix the resulting problems. It is, of course, not true, but it sounds good and gets republicans elected. The only president in recent history who really accomplished anything about reducing the debt was Clinton, and, with all his faults, he was not a republican.

dunnebster:

Because of Reagan's low-tax policies, the economy boomed and revenues into the federal treasury doubled. Repeat: revenues doubled! The problem -- and the reason the national debt increased -- was because Reagan was dealing with a Democrat-controlled House during the first six years of his administration. Democrats being Democrats, they always found ways to spend more money than was coming in. During the last two years of his administration, Democrats ran both the House and the Senate. To say it was Reagan who "tripled" the debt is either ignorant or deliberately misleading.

OLD TIMER:

"For me, the question was straightforward: In light of all the recent ugliness, why follow tradition and extend the legislative courtesy?"
Maybe because you were elected based on your promises to do the job. Are you now amazed that sometimes requires a little work, gathering facts and then voting for what your analysis of the facts leads you to support ? Are you lazy, or is there some other reason you take orders from, and vote with, the great OZ ?
Do us all a favor and look behind the curtain before you vote with the other party again.

Norwalk Native:

Old Timer, why do you feel the need to minimize the credibility of Councilman Kimmel? Your comments here are off the chart. Where do YOU get the audacity to invalidate Mr. Kimmel's stellar representation by encouraging bad manners on the council floor? Does the fact that Mr. Kimmel maintains a cool head pose a threat to your skewered perception of healthy debate? Lazy? Are you serious? At least Mr. Kimmel is volunteering his time and energies to Norwalk unlike the usual armchair critics. With your seemingly high interest level, why aren't you currently on a city board or agency? Care to share the real reason for the depth of your anger?

sononeknows:

Thnak you for the history lesson Bill I'm sure your not privy to the day to day crime for those who voted you in.

We have what 174 police officers 120 on the street and the call volume for crimes has what added over 15 calls a day this year to that volume.

Its nice that you think this was the only problem Norwalk has captian rank for a department that has seemed to have lost the edge in crime fighting.

why follow tradition? When you find a councilor who is up to speed with whats going on around you and your not listening and asking questions maybe its time to find another hobby.

Is the real problem the police department?

Your making decisions all the time based on whos facts,has you seen the reports generated over the years the city has paid for?

Last time the police department went and had a report done the day it was finished as the tead from DC was leaving someone was leaving by the back door who had attemtped suicide in the holding area maybe lack of manpower we will never know its in the past.

Maybe you now can keep the eye on the ball over the winter and see how you can help in the hear and now your votes have become slightly questionable as it is now we are hearing something in the past.

Why not write and tell us about up and coming issues like the captians position and it seem the 122 out of 174 could use the help of a captain at times and those positions likely come from witin ot typical of a chief in most cities.

Norwalk needs to see questions on the floor providing us with facts on each issue.

What yoiu consider absurd is what some of us are seeing in this banter on a subject that truly is over until we can vote in new leadership.So enjoy your term and see if you can leave the city in beter shape than you started.

Could I do a better job absolutely not I usually use more than one source and never rely on city hall for all the facts so yes I would be useless siting on any board in Norwalk.

You have done well defending yourself and your vote now is somewhat late.Bob fluff use to drive around in police cruisers learning what they do when was your last trip out with the boys in the blue?

OLD TIMER:

Ken
Tripled ? The last time the debt tripled in one administration was during the Reagan Administration.
The debt increased in the president's first administration, and will probably increase in the 2nd, but not as much. A lot of the increase was paying the bills for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, started before this president's administration. The real numbers are easy to find online. Get the facts before you say something that ridiculous.

sononeknows:

some talk cars some talk politics some actually know whats going on in Norwalk.Are we to check all the cars sold out of LaBlancs and Lajoies to see if they went to city employess who have a position in community safety?

This simply seemed to be an old jab with a new face.

Ever since the election the working poor seems to have a voice and its not going over well with a lot of councilors who are not as versed well in Norwalks issues as they should be.The divide down the middle of the council floor has become old the city councilors need to listen to its voters or more so the taxpayers who host a lot of voters.

david.a.watts:

dunnebster:

Lets talk about the Mayor spending 30K on a brand new SUV. This issue is fair game because, your tax dollars paid for it. How many people can trade their car in with less than 40,000 miles on it?

Whats wrong with the mayor using his personal car and putting it on the city's grand list like council members. People do not take government serious when the Mayor is driving a high end SUV. When I got elected they gave me some business cards and told me to kick rocks. Not, really but you get my point.

I think we need a modern government with green ideas and true spending reform. I am being attack because the status quo will do anything keep business as usual. The only problem is- we can no longer afford the status quo's horse and buggy approach to government.

Ken, outlined the major problem with spending- when you don't hire local people the city does gain. For example, the city hire's a Norwalk company named xy and z'services that business is paying into the system. When you do not hire local business our money is used to build other communities. It's like opening all your windows and turning on the heat.

Paige:

David,

You need to check the requirements for City contracting.

Many smaller Norwalk contractors simply aren't interested in bidding on City projects because the City requires that they be bonded. Becoming bonded requires a significant amount of time and money, something a smaller contractor does not have, and if he does have it, he wants to use that time and money on the job site, not filling out paperwork.

Secondly, even if a Norwalk contractor is awarded a contract, you are making the assumption that all of his workers are from Norwalk. They are as likely to be from other communities as the competing non-Norwalk firms are.

The City has some kind of regulation that Norwalk labor be hired for the Fire Department construction. An outside contractor would come in and hire Norwalk residents to build the new station. Wrong. Well, you should talk to Alan Lo or Bruce Kimmel about this. It sounded great on paper. The contractor has employees already, ones that are trusted, that he knows, and that know what his work standards are. So, for a job like the electrical wiring of the station, he's going to send someone he knows. Oh, Bartoli may subcontract on that, but then you get right back to the old situation I outlined in the earlier paragraph.

Once upon at time, in this country, there were factories and mining companies that had employees. Those employees got their housing from their employer and were paid with company dollars that they could spend at the company store. Problem was, they were always in debt to the company and never could save up enough to buy out. While the idea of having Norwalk municipal employees live in Norwalk sounds really attractive, it actually is heading down that path.

If you want to see more jobs in Norwalk, you need to work on making Norwalk a place where smaller businesses can flourish, where the tax base is lower, and believe me - we are quite a bit lower than Bridgeport, but I don't know about Stamford. I've been in a number of zoning meetings and sometime it seems like the zoning boards are looking for more ways to say no than they are to encourage businesses.

You can talk about "green" businesses all you want, and keeping the money in Norwalk, but it's the economics that drives the engine.

Oh, and about the Mayor's car? Uh, when Mayor Knopp was in office, he ordered the first SUV for the Mayor to use. Unfortunately, he was not re-elected and when the car arrived, it was Mayor Moccia who was given the keys. People were hysterical over it, but it wasn't Mayor Moccia's doing. The fact that the vehicle only has 40,000 miles on it says something. Either it's a lemon and he needs something reliable, or he's only been using it for official business. I suspect the latter is true. If this vehicle is the one that Knopp ordered, it's probably due for some major work such as drive train, timing belt, and possibly the catalytic converter. While I'm just guessing here, it might be wiser to put the money that will cost with the trade in value towards a new vehicle. Other towns have a periodic refresh policy for their vehicles, which helps reduce repair costs. Even gently driven vehicles, as this one appears to be, need to be updated. I got no problem with the Mayor having a newer vehicle. None at all.

OLD TIMER:

Paige
You said many are not interested in bidding because the City requires they be bonded. What makes you believe that ? Have you been told that by many contractors, or is that the party line when contracts are given to out of town contractors ?
There can be plenty of excellent reasons contractors are not interested in bidding for City work and it is wrong to assume you know what they are. It is also wrong to assume anyone in the administration really knows why City business does not attract more bidders.
I know contractors who never consider bidding for City jobs only because they make more profit working on smaller jobs and bonding is not an issue.

Paige:

I first heard about this from Deborah Caveriness, who works for the City of Bridgeport in Minority Contracting and then heard several others in Norwalk say the same thing. Everyone talks about having the smaller local contractors bid on City jobs, but you yourself pointed out that some of the contractors don't bother to bid because they make more money on the smaller jobs. Everyone has different reason for bidding or not bidding on the jobs, I never said it was limited to just the bonding issue.

david.a.watts:

Paige,

First, I would like to thank you for your service to Habitat. I also worked for them during my college years. It is a great organization that provides new homes to working class families.

I agree with your assessment that we need to make sure small business flourish. I would support tax incentives for businesses that hire city residents. Together, we can! We can no longer afford to ignore the economic engine of our country- the small business person. These folks, create a lot of jobs and the city should be partners.

I know we disagree about residency requirements. However, the current department head payroll is 2 million dollars. All of these folks could afford to live in this city but, pass on the idea. Why, this is a great town!

The mayor should buy his own car and put it on the city's grand list. People, do not take government serious when the mayor drives around with a 2012 SUV.

Paige:

David,

I'll bet dollars to donuts that the Mayor has a vehicle that for personal use. That one is probably leased. This is an official car for City business and it should have the seal of Norwalk on it, as it does. His vehicle probably will have some of the latest technology, such as speaker phone, dashboard GPS and OnStar. I don't begrudge him the least. After living here 30 plus years, I've gotten lost here in town and thanked God for my cell phone. He's still on call during the worst weather and the largest calamities. Quite truthfully, the year, make and model of the Mayor's vehicle is the LEAST of my worries.

I guess the issue here is really not the car, but the grand list. However, I would like to point out that the Mayor's salary is probably about half of that for the former Superintendent of Education - or it was last time I checked.

As for the other department heads, I've heard how people talk to and treat Hal Alvord, and Tom Hamilton. If I were them, I wouldn't want to live here in town either. Also, there is an issue of privacy. They should be allowed to have a life with their families that isn't involved with their jobs.

OLD TIMER:

Paige
Dollars to donuts maybe, but don't put any real money on it. If he did, he would show on the city website as a taxpayer. He doesn't, or didn't last time I looked.

Privacy ? Back when cops and firemen were all required to live in town, privacy was not an issue. Cops were expected to be armed 24/7 and to take action as needed.
When Sgt Nick Fera was killed and one of the suspects was still on the loose, every cop in Norwalk showed up at the police station within an hour, to help find the suspect, except two who were a long way off on vacation trips. Every cop in Norwalk had friends in neighborhoods where he worked who would call at home with information on serious crimes. We lost a lot when police work became so impersonal.

david.a.watts:

Paige,

I think department heads should have "skin in the game" and be required to move to the city within a reasonable amount of time. The state and federal courts have ruled that towns can do this.



Paige:

Uh, I think your response was actually to Old Timer's post further down the thread, as I never questioned the legality of having a requirement that department heads live in Norwalk. I already knew it was legal. I just think it's not going to work out nearly as well as you think.

Look how it worked out with Dr. Marks . I happened to see her just before she left and I asked what her plans were. She said, "I'm going home." Simple words, but the way she said "home" told me clearly that Norwalk was anything but.

Tim T:

WOW Paige Wrong on all points yet again.
The mayor does not have a car for personal use and if if does he doesn't seem to use it as I have seen him in the city owned and paid for SUV at Walmart. Also the mayors car does not have the city seal on it.
As far as you hearing how people talk to and treat Hal Alvord, and Tom Hamilton. Did you ever stop and think its because of how Hal Alvord, and Tom Hamilton talk to the taxpayer..Paige you make yourself look foolish with your never ending support of this failure of an administration..

Paige:

So, you saw the Mayor at Walmart. I saw former Mayor Alex Knopp at Shoprite and former Police Chief Rilling at Stop N Shop. I've seen Chief McCarthy in a variety of locations. It doesn't mean the Mayor doesn't have another vehicle for personal use.

You can be free to be as rude and nasty as you want to be to Hal or Tom. As for me, I've always spoken to them respectfully and they have NEVER been rude back. It's a two way street.

As for my support of this administration, I call them as I see them. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe Hal was hired by the previous administration and Tom may have been, also. So because I think they are being treated rudely by people, does that mean I support the previous administration? Or maybe it's just that I've been present when Norwalk residents treat these men disgracefully and I am personally glad they can go home to a location outside of Norwalk to relax and get away from it all?

OLD TIMER:

Paige
Explain to us sometime how you tell somebody politely that he/she is a liar ? Or, are you such a believer that it never occurs to you when one of them is lying ?

By the way, the tipping fee is going up on Jan 1st to $85 a ton. There has been a legal notice published. Who gets that money ? Who voted for it ? The tipping fee is what garbage trucks pay to dump their loads.

lwitherspoon:

Mr. Watts,

I noticed that you didn't answer dunnebster's question concerning how it is that you can call yourself "working poor" while driving a fancy BMW. Would you please be so kind as to answer the question.

dunnebster:

When you don't like the question, you don't answer it, you change the subject.

Tony_D:

Wouldn't the mayor get a car regardless of who it is? Who cares? We spends money for fire cars, cop cars and the mayor gets a car.

Working Poor Watts drives a BMW? You can't make this stuff up. Have you no shame, Mr. Watts? No shame at all...

david.a.watts:

Tony D,

Yes, my wife owns a 2005 BMW with over 100,000 miles on it. I own a 2004 Toyota with 174,000 miles on it. It gets back to my main point how many Norwalk residents could afford to trade their car in at 40,000 miles?

I lost my job, during the economic downturn and had to take a position for a fraction of my pay. Non Profits do not pay very well but, I love working with people. I am working and attending Fairfield and Southern Connecticut State University.

A lot of families are like mine working to put food on the table until things get a little better. I see a lot of college educated people working in retail for the holiday's to pick up a few bucks to help make ends meet.

During the campaign season I would knock doors and see families with a big home, a few cars but no food.

Tim T:

Has anyone notice how the Great OZ behaves when he is challenged..It seems like he is the one that has started all this nastinesses and disrespect..He really should do the right thing and step down.

Sally_V:

Furthermore, if ten people align against you and all you got is "their cutting off my free speech"? C'mon...do like the other guy did. He wrote his say in the paper. It boiled down to this, if you missed it, "I couldn't convince anyone to vote my way, so that means the mayor is mean"

George.Papandreou:

Mr. Watts...what fighting for the working poor are you doing? What issue are you working on that is helping me? Trying to get police captains who make 200K and are the top paid people in the city every year is not helping me! This is a fraud!

What job do you have? What taxes do you pay? What buisiness have you built in this city?

sononeknows:

wow someone who clearly is jaded and doesn't know how the system has worked for years in Norwalk,watch your firefighters they also are making big money.

If your truly interested in where money is going ask the parking Auth why are they doing curb cement work around the city doing a poor job where it has to be done again because LAZ employess are not masonary gifted.

Worried about $200,000 ask what its going to cost Norwalk to run its new fireboat it came with strings and to date no media has been able to tell us or even suggest Norwalk is in for a bill for its new free fireboat.

You want to talk waste that you pay for lets talk,you seem to think everything else in the city that our Mayor deems a good idea is not wasting money.

It seems this new trash contract came with strings as well where its going to cost the working poor care to tell us what you know,its my money not Davids is going to go to city carting how special is that?

Good luck in bashing David meanwhile Norwalks esculating costs for things we all wanted fought on the floor was silenced until now.

This is making alot of sit back and wonder when the real crash comes and sweatheart deals are over for those enjoying the ride,as in city position not not David car.

david.a.watts:

Mr. Papandreou,

You have some great questions.

I am also a member of the working poor. One of the first things I looked at- 2 million dollars in salary from department heads. Only a very few live in the city of Norwalk. Thats right. We pay for these high paying jobs and these people will not share the burden.

Why does this matter? Well it grows the grand list which helps ease the burden on the working poor like you and I. Moreover, making sure the city hires firms that will honor our living wage agreement. When some in my party did not want to continue with the Fire Station project. I supported it, with the understanding that local business would hire local people.

As a parent, I focused on supporting the teachers, Why? School districts that our not funded properly cause property values to dip.

Why support Captains? I supported the police captains because we want to recruit and promote the best. Why cutoff someones career?

Personally, I have not built any business, However, I always shop local and plan to stand up for the business community. I would like to see tax breaks for the small business person.

In fact, I spoke to Congressman Jim Himes about inviting the SBA to Norwalk to meet with local business people. Several months later that meeting occurred at City Hall.

A few years ago I worked with Alex Knopp and others to provide jobs for local school age kids (summer youth employment program).

In 2003, I graduated from the Yale Divinity School not because I wanted to go to Wall Street but to serve the public. My wife is a teacher for a private tech school and I work for a small non profit in New Haven. We both are taking college classes to improve our professional careers. Currently, I attend both Fairfield University and Southern Connecticut State University.

I have given a lot to this city from the Human Relations, Zoning Commission and now the Common Council. In fact, I do not accept the 50.00 per month that the city pays council members. Saving Taxpayers $1,200 over the course of my term.

I have lost some battles but I always keep people like you in mind when I make and vote on policy.

Email me @ watts203@optonline.net or give me a call anytime.

Ken P Jr:

Working poor dont go to Yale and find it very hard to fund adult educations to further their careers. I'm always amused to see obviously sucessfull people try to act like they are the working man. I dont begrudge anybody anything, but honesty & humility are things quite lacking in politics.
You speak of hiring local, well I was at the beach the other day & a company from Brookfield was doing cleanup. What an excellent opportunity for Norwalk to put its money where its mouth is, cept we didnt.
Thank you for the $1200, but what have you done to keep taxes down in Norwalk? How would you feel about a ordinance requireing municipal employees live here? Or more important how about an ordinance requireing all common council members be Taxpaying Norwalk property owners? Im not talking about motor vehicles either. How can it be fair for people representing us not having to fund the things they dream up?
I live here, work here & pay taxes here & I dont feel like taxpayers get near fair services & representation for the money it costs to live here. If you have a choice between supporting a $200,000 position we dont need that was deemed un needed by people specifically studying the concept, and eliminating it, and you vote to keep it, or them, then you in no way have the peoples best interest at heart. Your job is not only to do what you think people want, its to act responsibly with our money.

Paige:

Ken,

I've done a considerable amount of thinking about the idea of having the Department heads and other city employees live in Norwalk. It raised some questions in my mind.

Imagine a married couple. Spouse A has a house in Stamford that has been in the family for two generations. Spouse A also works for a major Stamford corporation that requires him/her to live in Stamford. Now, Spouse B happens to be a top notch administrator in a field that Norwalk has an opening. So, that person automatically can't be a candidate for the position even though he/she has all the skills because the family (kids, grandparents, pets, etc.) are all settled in Stamford. Are you absolutely, positively sure that you want to rule out all the talented professionals that don't live in Norwalk now and those who can't uproot their families for a variety of reasons?

Okay, the beach clean up crew....that job, if I am not mistaken, probably had to go out to bid. When you bid with the City, you have to be able to be bonded. Many of the smaller contractors either can't afford it, or don't even want to bother to bid because there's so much paperwork involved. Also, are you sure that Norwalk had a company that would be able to fulfill the contract? When you limit it to Norwalk companies, you also may be increasing the price because you limit the competition.

Bridgeport ran into this a few years ago when there was an upcoming project and they wanted it to go to a minority contractor. Well, there were only three minority contractors in the particular specialty on the East Coast. One of them declined to bid. The other two out of state bidders submitted what could only be described as lackluster bids (not covering all the issues listed in the RFP and providing very soft cost estimate numbers). However, there were at least two other firms in the nearby towns that had solid reputations for getting the job done correctly within the time frame and giving good value for their money. They were not, however, minority owned businesses, even though they employed a number of minorities on staff, some of whom ironically lived in Bridgeport. Okay, so who are you going to hire?

Requiring that Council members own homes in Norwalk is also very limiting. Not everyone wants to be a home owner. There are people who travel frequently for business and they are very content to live in an apartment or condo where they don't have to worry about getting the lawn mowed or the driveway plowed. Why rule them out? What if one of the the Norwalk Housing Authority residents decided to run for office? Would they be eligible? I have absolutely no idea if anyone from the NHA complexes ever did run for office and quite frankly wouldn't care one way or another. However, by requiring the candidate to be a property owner, a significant portion of Norwalk residents would not be eligible.

These are just some questions I have and I freely admit, I haven't arrived at any answers other than having residency requirements would most likely cause more problems than it solves.

lwitherspoon:

Good thoughts Paige. The idea of requiring new department heads and Police Officers to live in Norwalk seems like a good one to me, but I don't have any way of knowing whether or not it would sharply limit the pool of available talent in a way that would harm us more than it helped us.

Anyone with business experience knows that hiring great people is critical to success. I wonder if there are studies that look at cases where residency requirements have been implemented, and whether or not the results were positive. This might be one of those issues that sounds good on the surface but has bad consequences.

Paige:

Hey, Spoon,

How have you been? Good, I hope.

I would never have questioned the requirement of having police officers, fire fighters, teachers, etc. live in the community until I did a short stint working with Habitat for Humanity. While setting up a display, I was chatting with a woman who I later found out was someone fairly high up in the administration. I made an offhand remark about a particular parcel that was slated for a rebuilt and how I hoped it would be a police officer, fire fighter or teacher who worked in the community that got the housing. Major mistake. This woman turned and said that Habitat wanted people who would NEVER be able to afford home ownership to have the house. The group I named would be able to purchase a house either in the town we were in that day or a neighboring town on their own. The word "floored" didn't even begin to cover it.

Not too long after that, I happened to be visiting a friend in another town near Bridgeport and saw a Norwalk police officer at a store. We stopped to chat for a moment and he proudly explained that he'd just closed on a house in the town. I wished him the best and he commented that his property taxes had just been almost cut in half.

And finally, I was helping someone from Europe track down a relative here in the U.S. That person was astounded that we could chose to live in any community we wanted and work where we wanted. His relative had moved twice, but the letters updating the family in Europe hadn't arrived.

Unless one works for a company like IBM or are transferred from base to base like the Army, choosing which town one wants to live in locally shouldn't be a big deal. We're a much more mobile society than we were back in the 50's when people did live in the town where they worked.

Just a few thoughts.

Tim T:

The average cop in Norwalk is over paid to the tune of a six digit salary plus benefits..If they can not afford to live in Norwalk at that salary they need to get a financial advisor or cut down on the drinking ..Of course they can always quit and easily be replaced with someone that can actually do the job.

OLD TIMER:

The average cop in Norwalk is not paid a six figure salary. The police budget and the contract are available online. Why don't you look before making up numbers ? Captains, at top pay grade, get $98848 Patrolmen start at $59035 and at top pay grade get $71844. Some earn as much overtime as they can get and add a good deal to base salary, but most don't. The budget shows a salary for inspector, a presently non-existent rank, of $102982. That seems to confirm the rumors the police commission plans to appoint inspectors to replace the now extinct captains.

Tim T:

Police Officer Russell Ouellette and Schools Superintendent Susan Marks were Norwalk's top-paid employees in 2011, making $207,333 and $200,000, respectively,

Following Ouellette and Marks on the 2011 salary list were Police Sgt. Charles Perez, $199,292; Officer Gregg Scully, $197,214; schools Assistant Superintendent Anthony Daytona, $181,925; Police Lt. Michael Paul, $177,132; Officer Michael Bauer, $177,029; Officer George Daley, $175,680; Norwalk High School Principal Lenny Mecca, $174,744; and Officer Paul Larsen, $172,659, according to the Comptroller's Office.

Unfortunately the rest of the list is no longer online..
But I am sure you get the idea.

OLD TIMER:

For the cops, those are not salary numbers. They are gross pay and include salary and an awful lot of overtime at time and a half. It seems, over many years a few cops grab all the overtime they can get, working construction jobs, etc. I don't know what you do for a living or what opportunity for overtime you get, but guys like Oulette work an awful lot of hours. You could probably double your salary, if you could get that much overtime and had the endurance to put in the hours. Most cops do not work a lot of overtime or make much more than their base salaries. You do know the Police Dept does not fill it's roster and pays overtime to get cops to work a second shift because the bean counters believe it is cheaper than filling the roster when you add in the cost for recruitment, training & benefits, and cops working an extra shift have no say on where they work.

Paige:

The reason that Officer Ouellette's pay was so high was that he worked every available bit of overtime he could. As I understand it, when the officers are doing road jobs, they are paid by the contractor, but it goes through the Police Department. I also believe that the former DROP retirement program we had has something to do with it. I don't pretend to understand the ins and outs of retirement packages, but apparently the average salary range of a specific number of years is part of the calculations.

As for Dr. Mark's salary, you need to speak to the Board of Education about that.

OLD TIMER:

Paige
For the record, all that overtime does not figure into an officer's pension. Pension is calculated on base salary and years worked and is fixed, meaning there is no adjustment for cost of living each year as there is in federal pensions and in some municipal police pensions in CT, but not in Norwalk.
If Norwalk had lived up to it's contractual obligations when pensions were first incorporated into contracts, there wouldn't be any unfunded or underfunded pension liabilities. The cops put a percentage of pay into a pension fund each payday and the city agreed to match that, but didn't for years and now the pension fund is less than it should be and some people blame the union rather than admit the cheating. The cheating started long before this administration, trying to blame the unfunded liability on the union continues, but efforts are finally being made by this administration to fix the problem by paying a lot of money into the pension fund.

Tim T:

The bottom line is this that the cops in Norwalk are very very well paid and when the highest paid city employee list comes out in 30 days we will see that the cops are mostly all making 100,000 plus and many close to 200,000 plus benefits. These outrages amounts are paid by the taxpayer in one way or another be it through salary or construction contracts and MUST STOP ..I see no other city, town, or Moccia urban center that has a cop and a running city vehicle at each and every hole in town. In most if not all other areas they use flag men or traffic agents without a city vehicle and not at 60 plus an hour except at highly traveled roads..I doubt very seriously you need a badge to guard a hole...TALK ABOUT A COMPLETE AND TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY.
Also has anyone considered that when you have a cop "working" all these hours that they are too fatigued to work their regular shift with any real productivity. This may account for the dismal results of the NPD in solving or preventing crime.

Paige:

Tim,

Rather than laying the cost of having a uniformed officer at dig sites at Moccia's door, you need to speak to the unions. They are the ones that made that stipulation. And the contractor has to pay the cost of having the officer there.

As for the officers who work overtime, you as a private citizen don't have the right to determine if an officer can or can not take an overtime shift. There's most likely a protocol for those overtime assignments, and most likely it is handled by the union. As long as the officer is within his union's perimeters, he can take extra assignments. I believe this is all spelled out in the police union contract.

Finally, you extrapolate that overtime exhaustion is the reason why Norwalk Police do not solve crimes. I'd like to see some proof of your statement. Once again, I find that odd, as I have been reading both on this site and in The Hour about the various crimes that the Department has solved. And don't bother going off on a rant. The Voice now monitors these postings.

OLD TIMER:

Paige
Wrong again, the union had nothing to do with it beyond negotiating pay grades. Contractor's insurance companies insist on using cops, when available, because they figure it is inherently safer and limits their liability considerably.

If you drive, what slows you down more, a uniformed cop with a car he/she could use to stop you, or some entry level laborer with a sign ?

Tim T:

Old Timer
Afraid you are wrong
The average cop is paid 6 figures with overtime and benefits The numbers for 2012 will be out in 30 days..This insane overtime for side jobs comes directly from the taxpayer unlike the police union would have you believe..Do you not think when the contractors figures the bids the insane police overtime is not figured in. It is times that we the taxpayer stop providing unlimited overtime and police vehicles for a cop to guard a hole.

OLD TIMER:

You are now talking about more than salaries. You are including salary plus overtime plus benefits. That is a different number than salary. You would have to have total paid to all the cops, plus total benefits, and then divide that number by the number of cops. Getting all those numbers would be difficult and would still not come up into the six figure range for the "average" cop. I agree it does get well into six figures for some, but they are not "average". For many years the City has overstated the actual value of "benefits" and getting accurate numbers is very difficult.

david.a.watts:

Ken,

Thank you, for your questions! I think the voters should demand that department heads keep that 2 million dollars here in the city. Our money is leaving the city to fund other school districts, police and fire departments statewide. We need real leadership on this issue. These department heads have no skin in the game- yet they want to spend the people's money.

I would support an ordinance requiring city workers to live here, however, to run for office would be considered a poll tax.

Ken, the Captain positions would not be cut by the Moccia plan- just a change in title (Inspectors) from union to contract positions. It is not a cost saving issue but a span of control issue.

I would like to see Norwalk residents build successful business with the city's help- thats why I ask the congressman to bring the SBA here. Norwalk, citizens should have a right to bid and apply for city jobs. Period!

I asked, the personnel director for information on residency requirements and he emailed me all the information from other towns. I could send this information to those that are interested. Ken, we need real reform!

I am glad you saw this out of town company working at the beach. This is such a huge problem for our city and people like you can make a difference. Demand, Norwalk hire local people.

Maybe I could invite all who post here to have coffee with me. Come and ask questions and/ or yell at me.

I love this city and you have given me a chance to be your councilman and I love you guys for it. I do have some problems with the Mayor but, I have known him for years, it's ok.

Another way to save money is to cut down on paper and postage- in the era of email and pdf- why do we spend money on printing council packets and hiring someone drive them to council members home. Let's be green and save a tree!

Ken, I would like to wish you and your family a Happy Holiday Season. If want to email me the address is watts203@optonline.net.

OLD TIMER:

Ken P
I am not sure the city could legally do it, but I agree the City should require residence in Norwalk for Dept heads and for any city employees hired after such a rule is adopted. As far as requiring taxpayer status, that too sounds like an idea with some merit, but is probably illegal. The mayor is not a taxpayer here, nor the police chief, or the fire chief, or the heads of the health, parks, or DPW. A lot of city employees live out of town and pay taxes and spend most of their earnings in other communities.
A lot of benefits for the city would flow from having these people all have "skin in the game". There was a time when being a registered voter was a minimum requirement for any city job, and I, for one, think that was an excellent idea.
Don't be too hard on Dave Watts, he works hard for the city and has very little patience for some of the BS he has encountered as councilman. He, and others, are working hard for change and it should all be good. He is not looking to waste money, but he is opposed to some of the schemes to save it we have seen recently. He is also a strong proponent of treating people fairly, regardless of how far down on the ladder they are. That makes him unpopular with some people.

Sally_V:

I remember when you were in charge of the summer employment program, as I recall you were the one who when the kid got sexually victimized at the fish market you then tried to cover it up, right?

Here is the story
http://www.yourct.com/2007/05/norwalk-the-pagano-investigation-sort-of/

Sally_V:

It is a good program, my nephew's buddy was in it not too long ago, but you didn't make that.

I just meant that for you to have seen that kid put in that position and then not to have made sure the cops got involved and not to have come clean about everything that happened is wrong, and that's what I remember about you and that's why I won't vote for you.

You worked there, that's all, you didn't think it up, so don't start playing the martyr. If you want to hang your hat on filing a report and not following through, go ahead an sue me.

david.a.watts:

Sally V,

Using a victim to score cheap political points is very sad considering this family still lives in town. I would not accept a vote from a person, like you! People have called and demanded I bring you to justice.Your false allegations could hurt that kid all over again. I will file that lawsuit- so everyone in town could see the local low life. Any money collected will be donated to a victims fund.

OLD TIMER:

Tim
Why ? Facts don't really matter to some people. Her mission is to discredit David Watts. That seems to be the party line, ordered by the great OZ, no doubt.
David will not get shut down that easily. He will be around and insisting on his right to speak to the issues, long after the great OZ has retired and moved far out of town.

david.a.watts:

lwitherspoon,

You could be a ghost writer for Tom Clancy. Most of the council agenda's are approved without any debate. However, when my caucus fights for the working poor and/ or the middle class, things get heated.

Some people believe that the Mayor should be allowed to run the city without discussion- simply vote and go home. This way of thinking is not a democracy- it is a dictatorship and un-American. Each council member has to raise thousands of dollars, campaign for months and has earned the right to speak.

Mr. Kimmel could write all the letters he wants but failing to debate issues goes against the founders of this nation. What happen to the party of Lincoln? Why deny us a right to speak out against an unjust policy?

Democracy is messy, however, it is the best system in the world. I value your free speech and you have said some rotten things about me. I know that change is not easy- go ahead attack me. I will continue to support the middle class, the working poor, police, teachers, and the good men and women from 2405.

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