Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Scold Then Fold
At last night's Common Council meeting, council member Thomas Serra admonished fellow council member James Streeto when Streeto introduced a motion to allow city staff directors to leave the meeting after a standing meeting segment called "Questions to directors."
Serra noted that directors might be needed at any time during the remainder of the meeting to answer questions on resolutions before the Council.
"And it must be said," Serra said. "That these are city employees who are paid for 40 hours but work 35."
The council voted to keep the directors at the meeting.
In fact, Serra's warning proved true when two city directors were called well after 11 pm, at the end of the long meeting, during a meeting segment titled "Questions to directors on non-agenda items."
However, as one of those directors was being questioned, Serra stood, put on his coat and left the meeting before it was adjourned. He was accompanied by several other Council members including Hope Kasper, Joe Bibisi, Grady Foster and James Streeto.
When council member David Bauer reminded Streeto that the meeting had not been adjourned, Streeto replied, "I know we're not adjourned, but I know what a late night is." He then left the Council chambers.
The director under question, Finance Director Karl Erlacher, was being asked by Councilman Vincent Loffredo about the affect of the impending departure of Aetna from their Middletown headquarters.
Erlacher said that there was not enough information to make a definitive statement, and that Aetna was still in negotiations with GE Capital. Under followup questions from Loffredo and Councilman David Bauer, Erlacher admitted that the city needed to take the impending departure seriously, and that plans should be made for a significant drop in the grand list when the departure occurs.