Thursday, April 1, 2010

Auto Dealer to Donate Used Car to City for Use by Zoning Enforcement Officer

The Finance and Governance Committee met Tuesday to discuss funding resolution to come before the Common Council on Monday.

In one piece of business, Zoning Enforcement Officer Bruce Driska informed the F&G committee that a Newfield Street auto dealer wants to donate a used auto to be used as an official vehicle for the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

F&G chairman Ron Klattenburg asked Driska why the dealer was willing to make the donation.

"He thought it was a shame that an Assistant Director of the city was driving the kind of car I drive from the city fleet," Driska said.  "And because of the way dealers buy cars, he can take a write-off."

Driska currently drives an older city fleet vehicle with nearly 200,000 miles on the odometer.  The donated car only has about 70,000 miles on it.

"Let's be clear who's donating the car," committee member Gerry Daley said.  "Is he involved in any upcoming enforcement issues?"

"He was involved in a recent issue," Driska said. 

"He wasn't involved," interrupted committee member Phil Pessina said.  "It was the property owner."

"And who's the property owner?" Daley asked.

"Phil Armetta," Pessina answered.  "So it's the dealer donating the car, and not the individual involved in the enforcement issue."

Driska was recently involved in developing a mitigation plan to replace wetlands along Newfield Street filled by Armetta to expand the roadside parking lot for the car dealership.  The Zoning Enforcement Officer is also responsible to assure that the mitigation plan ordered by the Inland Wetlands commission is put into effect.  It was indicated at the meeting that as of May 1, Driska will become the new director of Emergency Managment, taking over the position from retiring director George Dunn.

"We need to make sure that the vehicle ownership is cleared," Pessina added.

Daley insisted that any auto accepted by the city had to have a cleared title.  Police Chief Patrick McMahon, who was at the meeting to discuss funding of overtime hours on the force said that he would be sure the title was cleared.

The Common Council will vote on whether to accept the vehicle for the city at Monday's meeting.

It was not the only donated vehicle discussed.  The Board of Education is donating a used pick-up truck to the Public Works Commission and the Council will also vote on whether to accept that vehicle at Monday's meeting.


Anonymous said...

totaly unethical

Anonymous said...
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Linda said...

clearly unethical; should not even be considered.

Anonymous said...

Not a good idea.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

agreed - completely unethical, appalling that the city is actually considering this. just say no.! outarageous and ridiculous. appalling. dont think there are enough adjectives in the English language to cover it.

Anonymous said...


dishonest, immoral
Synonyms: cheating, corrupt, crooked, dirty*, dirty-dealing, dishonorable, disreputable, double-crossing, fake, fishy, flimflam, fly-by-night, illegal, improper, mercenary, scam*, shady*, sharp*, slick*, slippery*, sneaky*, two-faced, two-timing, underhand, unfair, unprincipled, unprofessional, unscrupulous, wrong

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

To clarify: the car is being offered by the car dealership, and not by the property owner Phil Armetta.

Anonymous said...

Correct Armetta has nothing to do with this. Its the dealer trying to buy favor with the Zoning guy who makes him take down all those cheap signs and and tries to stop them from overloading the place with cars.

The dealer is new to this country and doesn't get it. I would have hoped Finance Committee would get the fact that its an inappropriate gift.

Anonymous said...

I can't even begin to imagine the Mayor and Bill Warner letting this happen Monday night.

Anonymous said...

This is highly improper and unethical and might prejudice any future city dealings and/or decisions with the auto dealership and/or property owner. There also could be insurance liability or recall issues involved with the purchase of a used vehicle with unknown prior maintenance or collision history. Also to be considered is the risk and exposure of a city employee using it and becoming injured as the result of an improper repair or defect. A CARFAX report does not necessary include ALL vehicle damage IF the damage isn't reported to an insurance carrier OR when the damaged used vehicle is traded-in without the damage being repaired. There is the potential for improper repair of such vehicles. Has the City Of Middletown considered a former state owned vehicle from this program:
"The Connecticut State and Federal Property Distribution Program"?
OR rolling over former police vehicles & offical vehicles to other departments? Better yet President Obama is using TARP monies to purchase 100 ALL ELECTRIC vehicles for the federal government. Why not check with the federal government to see if this program could be expanded to municipalites or see if TARP funds are available to towns/cities for such purchases?? On a side note...I sure hope that the city's auto insurance carrier ISN'T aware that city employees are driving vehicles in such poor condition and the possibility of the city purchasing USED vehicles for use by city employees/officials...because if so....the City of Middletown could be looking at a change in their rating and premium. City government is being short sighted here and not looking at the big picture....not to mention also being penny wise and dollar foolish.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this dealer has a used SUV he could donate to the South District Fire Department to save the taxpayers money they are going to waste on a new SUV they think they need because they wish to compete with the Middletown Fire Department.

Brian said...

Anon. 8:58--Let's see if I have this right. Middletown Fire gets a "free" 25 year old rescue truck donated to them. Middletown Fire has a 7-year replacement plan for all vehicles. In 7 years Middletown Fire "replaces" their donated rescue truck with a multi-hundred thousand dollar heavy duty rescue truck.
Enjoy the one mil increase in your fire tax!! Ha Ha.