Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Zimmitti Relieved of Assistant Registrar Duties by Dem Chair Russo

Admittedly, it's a patronage position. While Republican and Democratic registrars of voters are elected, their assistants are appointed by the elected registrars.

But it was with some surprise to Democratic Assistant Registrar of Voters Maria Zimmitti that she was told yesterday that she would not be reappointed when her term ends in January. Zimmitti is paid by the city.

"I've never done anything but a triple-A job" Zimmitti, an 8-year veteran, said today in the office of Mayor Sebastian Giuliano. "I've never done anything to embarrass the Democratic Party. I've worked very hard on elections. I voted for Dan Drew for mayor, and I worked for the Democrats during the last election. I don't get it."

Zimmitti found out about her dismissal when Democratic town chairman Dan Russo walked into her office Monday, and informed her that she would not be reappointed.

"It's a politically appointed position," Russo said in a phone interview Tuesday. "And I told her she was not being reappointed."

Russo refused to comment further on reasons why Zimmitti would be relieved of her duties.

Tuesday, Mayor Sebastian Giuliano appointed Zimmitti as the Assistant Clerk of Records in the Police Department. Giuliano said he was impressed with Zimmitti's work ethic and her record.

"She never received anything but a positive review," Giuliano said. "You can't terminate someone at Christmas. It's just not done."

When Zimmitti inquired about the reasons she would not be reappointed, she was not provided any background by Russo, or by Democratic Registrar Sandra Faraci. However, Zimmitti spoke with Common Council member Ron Klattenberg.

According to Zimmitti, Klattenberg said that he was told that Zimmitti had been disloyal to the party during the last election, and was accused of discarding Democratic campaign signs in her garbage.

"That's untrue," Zimmitti said. "And can you imagine someone going through your garbage to come up with this?"

Klattenberg, in a phone interview, explained that these accusations were rumors he had heard that were being spread about Zimmitti.

"I thought she needed to hear them," Klattenberg said. He also noted that there was "more to the story" that would eventually come out.

In a written statement, Giuliano said: "I am appalled at the back room politics that just played out here - no reasons, no consideration in this economy, no conscience - just 'see you - you're done.'" This is the type of politics that played out in the 30's and 40's."

He also indicated that the dismissal may be illegal by statute. Giuliano indicated that it is the sole responsibility of the Registrar to appoint and terminate assistants, and that it is not within the authority of the Democratic town chair to do so.

"I informed her," Russo said. "But the Registrar was in the room with us."

"I cannot comprehend how or why the Democratic Town Chairman, with obvious support from the elected leaders, would eliminate an individual who has worked tirelessly in the position of Assistant Registrar," Giuliano wrote in his written statement. "Nor can I comprehend how the Democratic Town Chairman could at in violation of the law."

Asked whether his appointment of Zimmitti to a permanent city position would be a problem, Giuliano dismissed an anticipated controversy.

"The Council will tell me it's a frozen position," he said. "But it's a funded position. If a position is open and funded, I can fill it. They're going to be upset, but they can take a flying leap off a rolling donut on that one."

Asked if she would be switching parties as a result of the action, Zimmitti said she no longer felt a loyalty to the Democratic party.

"I'll be loyal to the mayor," she said. "He's been loyal to me."


Anonymous said...

It did not take long for the Democratic leadership to show their true colors after the election.
The good ole boy network still exists in Middletown politics.
The author of the article does not shed light on why this happened to Ms. Zimmitti? The answer will be discovered when they name the person who replaces her.
Ruthless, is the only word to explain their actions. The entire Democratic party in Middletown must have have neck problems. How can you possibly function properly for the voters, when you throw your "own" out to the curb for no reason at all?

Anonymous said...

This Democratic Town chairman is a disgrace. One thing after another. He was one of the very few Lieberman supporters among Middletown democrats a few years ago. That he keeps getting selected to head the party is amazing. almost as amazing as the Democrats keeping Lieberman as a Senate committee chair!

Elizabeth Bobrick said...

Good work, Eye, for reporting this one. If only the zeal for party loyalty we find in the Middletown Democratic Town Committee were shared by our D.C. Democrats! I hear some of them have thrown their "Yes We Can" signs in the trash.

Elizabeth Bobrick

Anonymous said...

What type of person is Russo? Maria has long been a bright star for the democratic party. This action by the Town Chairman and Registrar of Voters is simply appauling. How do you people sleep at night? And what about the leadership within the party. Are you okay with the release of a veteran employee! Shame on all of you and oh by the way Merry Christmas. Maybe Santa will bring all of you a pretty pinkslip wrapped in a bow!

Anonymous said...

But elizabeth. Their is no honor amongst thieves. This is why most dems walk with a limp caused by excessive shootings of ones foot!

David Bauer said...

This story is bizarre even by Middletown political standards.

I don't want to be associated with this kind of party politics. However the appointments are made, anyone visiting the Middletown Registrar's office should be able to get unbiased service from anyone working in the office.

What seems to be missing is a statement from the Democratic Party Registrar of Voters. This is the elected official that is responsible for the appointment of their respective Assistant Registrar.

What does she have to say?

Anonymous said...

Not having seen Ms. Zimmitti at Democratic Headquarters in the last several elections, one wonders where she has "worked very hard on elections"... perhaps at Republican Headquarters????

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that these comments are being directed at the Middletown Democrats when only the Town Chair and the Registrar, Maria's supervisor, were involved in removing Maria from her PATRONAGE job. A job that does NOT have an evaluation process. This is an issue between an employer and an employee. If Maria wanted a secure city job, she should have competed for one. Interesting that the Mayor was able to find one on short notice and in defiance of City ordinances.

Anonymous said...

I Is quite clear that Ms Zimmitti is only interested in supporting whichever political party that is capable of furthering her employment within the City, And since that office is held by a republican, She is doing whatever it takes to put herself if good graces with the mayors office. Anonymous City resident

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I absoletely believe Maria's position will be filled by Dan Russo's wife! Let's be real people, it's all about power-nothing more, nothing less.

Give me a break Dan Russo! You care only about youself.

Anonymous said...

It is an embarrassment to be a registered Democrat in this city...keep it up Mr. Russo and you will have turned all the Democrats away. This Democrat keeps voting for the Republicans.

Anonymous said...

So what if it goes to someone's wife? It's a patronage position. However, the position given to Ms. Zimmitti by the mayor, is not! He just chose to make it one. Furthermore, Seb is doing the same thing to his administrative assistant. Hypocrite! Seb, what happened to you? You must be taking advice from the wrong people.

Anonymous said...

This will probably not be posted...but it is interesting that Ed was invited to the Mayor's office for the picture of Maria. Wonder how many other out of work residents would be better qualified if this clerk's position were open to competition.

Anonymous said...

The job has health benefits!! I agree with the previous post about Judy Russo getting the job; this would allow Dan and wife to get benefits by knocking Maria out of the box. Perhpas the job will go to another well placed Democrat.
"Well she had Dan Drew signs in her trash can," said Klatenberg. What a crock!
Kudos to the Mayor for taking care of loyal employees regardless of their party politics.

Et Tu Tommy?

Anonymous said...
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Bob Eubanks said...

Seb has to right to fire his administrative assistant whenever he wants to as does Sandy Faraci, the Dem Registrar of Voters. The question is, why was Dan Russo involved in this process? Mmmm?? Is Sandy too weak to fire somebody? She is never there and has been phoning it for years, but she does put 1,000 Democrat signs in front of her house, so I gues this makes her qualified to keep her job.

50-50- Dan Russo's wife gets the job or Sandy's daughter..

Elizabeth Bobrick said...

First, let me clarify that my comments about the zeal of the Town Committee in deciding who is a good Democrat was meant to be sarcasm.

I was kicked off the Democratic slate for the Board of Education in 2000, after five years of service and a very strong showing when I was elected. The reason they gave me? I wouldn't spend the summer going door to door for city councilmen, because my kids were little and at home. The real reason? I didn't take orders from headquarters. Not a single elected Democrat would back me up publicly, although several assured me privately that they felt *just terrible* about the whole thing.

Which leads me to my main point: why are so many people posting complaints anonymously? Come on, folks! This is America! It's easy for politicians to ignore anonymous postings. You can't out them if you won't out yourself. Let them know when you don't like the way things are being done. You have the rights of citizenship. Exercise them. Make yourselves known.

Elizabeth Bobrick

Anonymous said...

I agree with Elizabeth. Far too many posts on the "Eye" are anonymous. It is very irritating. I suppose we are involved in something of a morph between "Letter to the Editor"and blogger posts. still anonymity does weaken the message that one is trying to deliver in a political conversation. Bob Reutenauer

Nathon Lupino said...

Question:What do Dan Filer, Elizabeth Bobrick and Debbie Klekowski all have in common?

Answer: They were all dismissed from the Middletwon Democrat Ticket for free thinking.

Anonymous said...

John Milardo said....
Has anyone ever heard of the words "due process"? If an employer has issues concerning performance of an employees job, it must be documented, and a legitimate reason must be given to the employee regarding why they are being released. You just don't fire someone because you can. There is a person behind the job, who has bills to pay, kids to put through college, rent, taxes, and everything else associated with life. My understanding is there were no issues of work performance, and it was just a big "I'm big,your small" moment, so a political friend can get the position.
Does anyone else have problems with Mr. Russo? Oh, yes; Debra Kleckowski did. He told her she should stay home and take care of her kids instead of running for elected office.
These are the Democrats of the future? Save us all!

Anonymous said...

Due process? The only due process that calls the question here, is just how can a termination from a political/patronage appointment equate to a union job? Especially one that wasn't posted or competitively filled. Phhhttttt!

Anonymous said...

City taxes pay for the registrars office employees. The Democrats fire an employee performing all her duties and following all the rules. The Republican Registrar allow their Assistant Registrar to live out of town, which is a violation. Why does she still have her job? Clean house downstairs.

Fred Culver said...

Who is actually suppose to appoint the assistant registrar. The Dem Chair should not be involved in this process. Mr Russo should be responsible enough to explain his actions to the public but we all know that in politics one puts on a facade.

Anonymous said...

Any open position will be posted. It goes to qualified in house employees who wish to apply first then the public.

Anonymous said...

That's the way it should have been done. If you read the article, that did not happen. The job was handed over to Zimmitti before any such posting or opportunity for anyone else.