Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Superintendent Presents 2017-2018 Budget To Common Council Members

In my memory, it was the first time I've ever attended a Board of Education Budget meeting and had trouble finding a parking space.  The meeting drew around a hundred educators and residents.

Full disclosure, as a former chair of the BOE Budget Committee, I know how few people are willing to come out and slog through the details of a complex budget, and this was a departure from the norm.

But at Woodrow Wilson Middle School on Tuesday evening, School Superintendent Michael Conner presented his first budget to invited Common Council members, and an interested crowd.

Republican members of the Council were in attendance (Seb Giuliano, Deb Kleckowsky, Linda Salafia), as were members of the Democratic party (Gene Nocera, Grady Faulkner, Carl Chisem).  Absent were Democratic leader Tom Serra, Deputy mayor Bob Santangelo and other Democratic council member Mary Bartolotta.  Democratic council members Gerry Daley and Rob Blanchard were facing off in Hartford at a State Central Democratic party hearing on the controversial DTC slate.  Republican council member Phil Pessina was also absent.

Conner made a cogent plea for a 2.2% increase in the operating budget.  Conner made it clear that the budget he was presenting was based on education strategy and goals he has developed after month of meeting with stakeholders in private and community meetings.

Conner's budget completely separates the operational budget which, in his argument, covers the cost of contractural, facilities, technology, staff development and special education costs with grant dollars going to support strategic educational goals and improvements.

Conner outlined his ambitious goals for closing the achievement gap, weaving equity as a major value into the system, and raising the educational bar for all students.

Council member Gene Nocera was the first to respond to the budget proposal saying that he was in full support.

"But I'm only one seat on the Council," Nocera said.  His support was quickly seconded by Council member Carl Chisem.

On the Republican side, Council member Giuliano was lukewarm to the proposed budget increase indicating that the grand list, while increasing because of the new construction at the FedEx facility, was not increasing enough to cover city costs, and that taxpayers would be facing tax hardships.  His concern was shared by Council member Kleckowsky who explained that she was questioned frequently by residents on fixed incomes about the need to avoid increase in taxes.

Board of Education members Lisa Loomis and Sean King praised Conner's budget and educational goals.  King noted that the the 2.2% increase to the operational budget was in line with increases in recent previous years and that Middletown's share of educational costs was less than in Connecticut cities of similar size.

"I invite you to attend our budget hearings so you can understand the needs of other city departments," Kleckowsky said.

Conner listened to the concerns but stood firm in the need to have the necessary increases to create the kind of schools and education that would make Middletown a place that people would want to move to.

In addition, Conner explained that he had spent two months listening to residents, parents and educators and that they were telling him that they wanted to see change and improvement in the schools.

"The community has told me they want this," Conner said.  "If you're saying you can't support it, then you're saying you can't support what the community wants."

State Democratic Party Hears Town Committee Dispute

A State Democratic Party "Dispute Resolution Committee" held a hearing last night, to determine the validity of the January 9 caucus for the city's Democratic Town Committee, in which a younger, more diverse, and more progressive slate defeated the entrenched incumbent slate by a vote of 118 to 41 (Progressive Slate Overwhelms Drew Team).

The hearing was triggered by a letter from Democratic Town Committee Chair Sal Nesci and Councilman Gerry Daley, in which they questioned the validity of the caucus (Daley, Nesci Attempt To Invalidate Progressive DTC slate). In this letter, they asserted their belief that the only valid slate was the one put into nomination by Nesci.

The hearing was held at the Hartford State Democratic headquarters, in a sparsely furnished room whose walls were adorned with the lawn signs of past state campaigns. The respondents to the complaint were Councilman Rob Blanchard, and Chair of the Board of Education Chris Drake, who served as chair and secretary of the caucus, respectively. A large column separated their table from that of Daley and Nesci. They faced a table with the committee of Tom McDonough, Joseph Stafford, and Alfred Onorato, with Kevin Reynolds as an attorney for the State party.

Daley opened by saying that he has been a Councilman for 25 years and that he had served on the DTC for at least 20 years. Nesci also emphasized how long he had served on the DTC.

Daley described the caucus in stark, negative terms, "There was a great deal of chaos and disarray, ... a number of procedural flaws."

He stated that his concern was over the validity of the DTC, he wanted to make sure that whatever DTC was seated would be immune from challenges. He was at party headquarters, he said, for "an objective review ... [to] give us a solid defense against any challenges". 

In a DTC meeting immediately prior to the January 9 caucus, the DTC had voted to change its bylaws, in order to raise the number of DTC members from 70 to 75. The Nesci slate had 75 members, while the progressive slate had 70. Nesci and Daley argued that the change in bylaws took effect immediately, while Blanchard and Drake cited state party rules, and state statutes that stipulate that the caucus must operate under rules filed 60 days earlier.

McDonough, a committee member from Waterbury, pointedly asked Nesci about nominating 75 people, when the rules on file with the state stipulate only 70 positions, "How can you elect people to an office that doesn't go into effect for 60 days?"

In their brief to the committee, Drake compared the two slates, "... on the one hand you have a slate that complied with the law and won the vote and on the other hand you have a slate that did not follow the law and lost the vote."

Daley raised another problem that he felt the committee should consider: when Blanchard opened the caucus, he misstated the year, referring to it as the caucus to elect the 2016-2018 DTC.

In summarizing his opening statement, Daley emphasized, "We're not just here to cause trouble, ... we just want to clarify things."

Each of the parties was given an opportunity to directly question the other. Daley used this to advocate for a change in the process of electing the DTC in our city, because of the failures of this year's caucus. He also asked Blanchard why it seemed that there were "preferred people" who were informed about their inclusion on the new slate, while others, like himself, were not informed.

The Committee cut off each of those lines of questioning, saying it was not germane to the issues under dispute.

The Dispute Resolution Committee will issue a written finding within a few days. The new DTC term begins on March 7th.
DISCLAIMER: Stephen Devoto is a member of the recently-elected Democratic Town Committee.

Oddfellows Playhouse auditions for Shakespeare play

Submitted by Kristen Palmer, Executive Artistic Director, 
Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater
The Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Company will be holding auditions for William Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL on Monday, March 5th and  Wednesday, March 7th at 6:00pm, with performances opening Thursday, May 3rd at 7pm.

Performances will continue through May 12th. Full schedule available.

Open to all actors aged 12 –19, interested teens should plan to come both nights of auditions. Expect to join into games, read from prepared texts and get to know other young actors in the

This production will transport audiences to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater along the Thames in London for an evening of “traditional” theater – loud, fast-paced, and riddled with hilarity!

Appropriate for all ages the production will feature set, lighting, costume, and sound design by
professional theater designers. All performances will be at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128
Washington Street.

Tickets are $8 for students and seniors, and $15 for adults.

“Shakespeare is often associated with being boring, uptight, and difficult to understand, but the
original purpose of his plays was to give the general public a means to poke fun at the
aristocracy and upper class. The goal of this show is to bring that energy back and give both our
performers and audiences a new outlook on the accessibility, timeliness, and humor that keep
his plays relevant more than 400 years after they were penned,” says director Chris Coffey.

The Teen Company at Oddfellows Playhouse is open to youth ages 12 – 19. The company
produces 2 – 3 mainstage productions each year, auditions are open to all and actors who
commit to the process are cast in a speaking role. Sliding scale, work-study, and financial aid are
available to any student in need. The next project this season is The30 th Annual Children’s
Circus of Middletown, a co-production with the City of Middletown Commission on the Arts.

Visit or for more information.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Medical marijuana zoning code change on the agenda at Wednesday P&Z

7:00 P.M.

1.  Pledge of Allegiance
2.  Roll Taking
3.  Items removed from the agenda and why
4.  Public comment on items on agenda which are not currently scheduled for a public hearing
5.  ZEO Certification that all public hearing signs have been properly noticed (when scheduled)
6.  Public Hearings (when scheduled)

  1. Proposed Zoning Code Text Amendment with regard to Sections 61.01.58 to allow standalone dispensaries for marijuana sales. Applicant/agent Praveen Dhulipalla Z2018-3  A COPY OF THE PROPOSED TEXT IS ON FILE WITH THE OFFICE OF THE TOWN CLERK (Date of receipt 2/14/18) 

7.  Old Business
8.  New Business
  1. Request for a G.S. 8-24 Review for a lease agreement with CHC on corner of Main Street and Grand Street. Applicant/agent City of Middletown/PCD Dept. G.S. 8-24 2018-2
  2. Request for a public hearing and workshop for the Newfield Street (NPC) Zoning Regulations. Applicant/agent City of Middletown PCD Dept. (Date of receipt 2/28/18; To be scheduled for a public hearing)
  3. Request for a public hearing and workshop regarding Section 40 of the Zoning Regulations for review of the parking requirements. Applicant/agent City of Middletown PCD Dept.  (Date of receipt 2/28/18; To be scheduled for a public hearing)
9.  Public comment on topics which are not or have not been the subject of a public hearing

10.  Minutes of the Regular Meeting, Transcripts, Staff Reports and Commission Affairs

  1. Minutes of February 14, 2018
  2. Other Commission Affairs
  3. River-Cog Report

Cats in the Castle - Annual Fundraiser for Cat Tales - 4/14/2018

Inaugural TedXWesleyanU on April 7 to Feature All-Star Speaker Line-Up

From: Lauren Rubenstein
Wesleyan University
(860) 685-3813

Middletown, Conn. – A group of students is organizing the first-ever TEDx conference to be held on the Wesleyan University campus. It will take place April 7, 1–6:30 p.m. in the Ring Family Performing Arts Hall at Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts.

Launched in 2009, TEDx is program of locally organized events that bring the community together to share a TED-like experience. Some of the best talks from TEDx events have gone on to be featured on and garnered millions of views from audiences across the globe.

The event is open to the public. Tickets go on sale at midnight on March 1; ticket information is available at

The event will feature talks by many high-profile Wesleyan alumni, local leaders and others. Speakers include Maria Santana ’98, correspondent for CNN en Español; Connecticut State Representative Matthew Lesser ’10; Middletown Mayor Dan Drew; National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita ’71; national radio host Angela Yee ’97, and many others.

"The conference is composed of incredible speakers who have such great passion for their work and will be sharing their thoughts with the Wesleyan and greater Middletown communities,” said Melisa Olgun ’20, one of a team of six Wesleyan students who is organizing the event.

Lead organizer Eunes Harun ’20 notes that tickets are extremely limited due to official TED rules, and urges community members to secure tickets at their earliest convenience.

Press are welcome at the event with advance notice. No photography, audio or video recording is permitted, per TED rules, but Wesleyan will provide photography upon request.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)
About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today's leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED's annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED's open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a "wish," or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at, on Facebook at or Instagram at

Opinion: Name the MHS Arts Center after Santo Fagilio

Letter to the Editor, from Frank LoGiudice.

Fragilio performing at a
 2009Art show at Zilkha Gallery
Last summer a beloved former music teacher and band director at Middletown High School died.  I am talking about Mr. Santo Fragilio.  Mr. Fragilio was employed as the music teacher and Band Director at Middletown High School for the Middletown Public Schools since 1948.  He retired from teaching in 1984 when the two public high schools merged but was asked by the former Superintendent of Schools to work part-time as an Arts Consultant for the Middletown Public Schools which he did until 2015.  At the February 13, 2018 Middletown Board of Education meeting the Board unanimously accepted the Ad Hoc Naming Committee's recommendation to name the Performing Arts Center at Middletown High School after him and they referred the matter to the Middletown City Council for discussion.  The City Council will take up this matter at the next council meeting on March 5, 2018.

Mr. Fragilio was an exceptional music teacher, band director and musician.  The Performing Arts Center should carry his name.  He was dedicated to the music students at Middletown High School and the music students in the Middletown Public Schools.  He worked tirelessly on behalf of the students.  He put the Middletown High School Band on the map having brought the band to many places such as the World's Fair in New York in 1965 when the MHS Band and Chorus performed there.  In addition, the Middletown High School Band toured Europe in 1972 where they performed at the International Music Festival in Vienna, Austria.  Mr. Fragilio was well known throughout the Greater Middletown community and beyond having established the Middletown Symphonic Band in 1979 which is still going strong.  He served for many years as the Director of the annual Christmas Sing on the South Green.  He received many awards for his musical talents too such as from the American Council of Learned Societies, Bennington College’s Department of Music Studies, the Middletown Commission On the Arts, and the Connecticut Music Educators Association.

I encourage all former students of Santo Fragilio, former colleagues of his and fellow musicians to call and write to Mayor Daniel Drew, members of the City Council and to show up at  the March 5, 2018 City Council meeting at 7 strongly urge them to name the Performing Arts Center at Middletown High School after him.  If you cannot make the meeting please call the Mayor's Office at 860-344-3401 or send him a letter either via e-mail or U.S. mail. The mailing address is 245 Dekoven Drive and the mayor's e-mail is and e-mail the city council at to let your opinion known.

Thank you.


Frank LoGiudice
Ad Hoc Naming Committee Member.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Jim Bransfield: A Remembrance

By Geen Thazhampallath

About an hour ago, I read of the death of my old US History and American Politics teacher Jim Bransfield. Jim died on February 24, 2018 after a battle with an illness.
Like, many of his old students might be feeling in these hours after his death, I felt the need to remember Jim and the powerful voice he was in our collective young lives and on so many of our young minds.  I can only swear to you that he was such a force for truth and goodness in my life.  I’m hoping he’ll forgive me for using his first name. Rule #1 of student journalism was to use last names and to spell names right.
I should share that Jim was the faculty advisor of Blue Prints, a nationally award-winning student newspaper. That may seem like something small to you but boy, that newspaper was a big deal to us and to Jim.  He was our greatest advocate, defender, protector, publisher, cheerleader and counselor rolled into one.
I’m not sure how many decades he served as advisor, but Jim was the one that led that band of would be student-journalists, year after year, through late night typing sessions at the old Middletown Press building on Main Street, layout and design sessions until the early morning hours in the old MHS drafting room and to through those six delivery dates of our hard-hitting editions meant to shake the world of Middletown politics and public education. Like I said, we took it very seriously.
You should also know that my high school days and my days as Blue Prints editor are 30 pounds, 6 jobs, 3 kids, 1 spouse and 25 years behind me. But even with that passage of time and life, Jim’s life lessons and morning musings are worth remembering and applying today.

1.     Be a truth seeker. That’s what good journalists do. Never give up on the truth.

2.   Never surrender your own integrity. Never compromise it.  Be ready to walk away from a job if someone wants you to do the wrong thing.  Always do the right thing.

3.     Ask good questions and you’ll be amazed what you’ll find out. And when the powerful don’t answer, keep asking. Never quit or give up because it’s a sign you are on the right track.

4.     Great stories are all around us so always keep your eyes open and train your ears to listen and take a lot of notes and like I said, spell their names right! It matters.

5.     People are the center of great newsworthy stories and in reporting never lose sight of the fact we are all human beings. I was a student in Jim’s class when Jim lost one of his son to childhood cancer.  He taught us in those months to love, hurt, lose and still keep going. Or in other words, what it means to be a human being.

6.     Push those in power to be better---better Principals, Superintendents, Mayors or whoever it may be with whatever title. Especially push government.  As I mentioned at the beginning, Jim was a US history and American Politics teacher.  Why do I love working for government today? because of Jim. Why am I an advocate for good government? Because of Jim. What do I think good government means?  Fair, honest, open, just and not for a few but for everyone. Because of Jim. Idealistic you say. Yes, because of Jim.
I hope every kid in this country has the chance to have just one teacher like Mr. Bransfield. By the way, all these years later, I still called him Mr. Bransfield when I’d run into him somewhere.  I’m also hoping I paid Jim justice in this final column. I’m hoping through it you see the impact the man had on so many of us.  I hope this final column is one that would have made him proud. But knowing Jim, he was proud from day one of all things Blue Prints, all things and kids Middletown High and all things and people Middletown.  And yes, all things New York Yankees.  

Friday, February 23, 2018

Inside Town Hall: Opinion by John Milardo

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this newsletter reflect the opinion and view of the author, and should not be construed as fact of advice.  The author is a lifelong Middletown resident and taxpayer, and is sharing his opinion as such.  The opinion and commentary do not reflect of any political party, organization, or citizen group.  This commentray reflects opinions which the author wishes to share and are not necessarily the opinions of the editors or writers of the Middletown Eye.

Middletown managers’ Union, UPSEU (United Public Service Employees Union) has filed three (3) Union violation complaints against Mayor Daniel T. Drew.  The complaints are on behalf of three (3) female Union members regarding alleged discriminatory practices due to gender, Union and/or political affiliation, and/or favoritism, or other reasons. 

Since the filing of the initial complaint by Board of Education Resource Director Michelle DiMauro, two (2) more female Union members have come forward to file similar complaints. 

Debra Stanley of the Recreation Department, and a female from the Planning, Conservation and Development Department have filed the other two (2) complaints.

Ms. DiMauro’s issue began as a violation of the contract concerning a process for requesting upgrading and job duty changes.  Ms. DiMauro was interviewed by the proper committee, and said committee recommended changes to her job duties and wages.  The next step was for City Human Resource Director Thomas Tokarz, the Chairperson of the committee, to present and support the recommendations before the Common Council for their vote.  The HR Directors support of the recommendation is a mandatory requirement for this committee.  Instead, Director Tokarz took it upon himself (which I don’t believe was his decision) to present Ms. DiMauro’s recommendation to the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) Committee for review and approval.  

The OGC downgraded the Management Study Committees recommendation by two (2) paygrades.  Why?  Contractual language is specific that it goes directly to the Common Council.  Presenting it to the General Counsel office is what is called a “pass through”.  No action can or is taken by their office because the contract language doesn’t allow for it, it’s more of a courtesy.  Why was there a deviation for Ms. DiMauro’s position? 

When Director Tokarz was interviewed before the Common Council and asked multiple questions of why this position was treated differently, there was no specific or legitimate answer from him.  Just so there is clarity for my readers, Director Tokarz and Ms. DiMauro’s positions are very similar, with the nod going to Ms. DiMauro.  Why should she be paid differently than her male counterpart?  Additionally, two (2) male employee upgrades recommended by the Management Study Committee were approved during the Common Council meeting.

Now to the grievance hearing part of this story.  UPSEU’s contract language for an employee grievance has criteria regarding who the Mayor wishes to be the hearing officer.  It can be himself or his designee.  Mayor Drew did not want to be the hearing officer, so he designated Faith Jackson, who is the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity Management.  Ms. Jackson heard the City and Union sides of the grievance.  Next step was for Ms. Jackson to render a decision regarding the issues.

What transpired next is, for lack of a better word “sketchy”!  A City Attorney, who was not present at the grievance hearing, later intervened and attempted to take over the decision-making process from Ms. Jackson. After back and forth with the Attorneys office, Ms. Jackson prevailed.

Ms. Jackson’s decision favors the Union, and her recommendations reflect the fact that there was wrong doing on part of the City.  Ms. Jackson recommended that Ms. DiMauro’s wage complaint was legitimate, and she should have been awarded a three (3) grade increase, which would make her equal to Human Resource Director Tokarz. (Ms. Jackson’s decision also  indicates one of the male employees should not have been given the pay grade increase) Let’s see if the City will adhere to the contractual process and agree with their own designee’s decision favoring Ms. DiMauro.  Or, will the City contest the decision?  If they don’t abide with the grievance hearing decision, it will only prove their disdain for female employees and bargaining in good faith. It’s wait and see time. 

Mayor Drew stated he has “complete confidence” in the work his Human Resource Department does.  How can you say that with a straight face!

Mayor Daniel T. Drew will try to distance himself from the claims that he had anything to do with these three (3) female employees’ allegations.  (My bet is Director Tokarz will be the fall guy.)  It is what it is!  Drew’s behind the closed door ruthful behavior and retaliation is well known throughout the City workforce.  His public persona is very cool and calculating.  Employees are afraid to disagree and get in his crosshairs, because they know how he will react.  He will make life miserable for them.  He will attempt to trump up charges and allegations against them.  Either you are loyal to Dan, or you will be broken down until you are fired, or you quit.  Some have chosen the latter.

Mayor Drew uses the Office of the General Counsel to do his dirty work for him.  The General Counsel’s office is supposed to do what’s best for the City, not profess their loyalty to a Mayor because they’re afraid he will terminate them if they don’t. The OGC is supposed to stop unlawful issues from occurring, not promote them.  
I’m aware Danny needs just cause to terminate an employee.  Tell that to someone who he unjustly fires, and has to wait two or more years for their case to be heard while waiting in the unemployment line.

Because the Mayor and General Counsels Office stuck their noses into the fray, UPSEU President Geen Thazhampallath believed that Common Council members should know what was happening to his Union members.  The Human Resource Department and General Counsel’s Office are owned by Drew.  President Thazhampallath informed the Common Council members of what was going on, and the Council felt there was enough evidence to react.

The Common Council has hired independent Attorney Margaret “Penny” Mason of the firm LeClair Ryan to determine if the female UPSEU employees’ complaints are legitimate claims.  My understanding is that Attorney Mason will begin interviews with complainants soon.  Both the Mayor and General Counsel’s Office are to be investigated.  The OGC’s office includes the Human Resource Director.

The three (3) UPSEU employees who have filed Union complaints tells a story of how Mayor Drew views the female workforce.

  Michelle DiMauro:  Job duties are the same or more than her male counterpart, but is paid three (3) pay grades lower.  In the past year or less, Ms. DiMauro has received 124 emails on her work computer from Mayor Daniel T. Drew regarding donating to his failed gubernatorial campaign (I requested this information through FOIA).  Is this a reason Drew has it out for her?  Because she didn’t give him a donation?

  Planning, Conservation & Development employee:  When first hired, the City sent her a “Letter of Intent” with salary, benefits, and other employment related information in it.  She asked if she could start at a higher salary step other than Step 1 as it was less than what she was earning from her former employer.  The City, and then Human Resource Director told her she could not, that she must start at Step 1 of her wage scale.  Dan was Mayor at this time.

Cut to now.  The PD&C female employee transfers to a new position within the City workforce.  Her vacancy is filled by a new male hire at three (3) pay steps higher than what she was hired at.  What happened to you must start at Step 1? 

  Debra Stanley:  Ms. Stanley has been a Recreation Department & Community Services employee for almost 25 years.  She was appointed from Deputy Director to the Acting Director of Recreation when Director Raymond Santostefano retired almost five (5) years ago.  To be placed in the Acting capacity, one must be “qualified” to hold the position.  Ms. Stanley applied for the vacancy when it was posted, but someone from the Wesleyan University was hired.  Ms. Stanley was informed by someone on the interview panel that the process was rigged for the new Director.  The new Director of Recreation & Community Services is a female, whom was hired at Step 6 (maximum) of the salary scale.  Ms. Stanley did not receive the same courtesy when she was performing the job.   

 There has been a vacancy for the Director of the IT Department for a couple or more years.  The Assistant Director (must have been qualified) filled in as the Acting Director until recently.  Mayor Drew hired another Wesleyan University connected person to become the IT Department Director.  A male, starting him three (3) paygrades higher than the initial starting salary step.  Seems like Dan doesn’t like to hire from within.  He has a knack of demoralizing the workforce. 

Mayor Drew owes Wesleyan University.  Perhaps after his political career is over he can continue teaching political courses for them like he did a year or so ago.  Violating the City Charter is nothing new for Dan.

 Don’t forget the Mayor’s hire of non-qualified Planning, Conservation & Development Director Joseph Samolis.  Samolis was Drews political aide in the Mayor’s office and not an employee.  Joe started the PC&D job at maximum salary.  The Mayor is now going to hire a Deputy Director for Joe, one with credentials’ he doesn’t possess.  Word is out there that it will be a politically connected contributor.  I’ve also heard this department wants to hire a Zoning Enforcement Officer who is not qualified for the position.  Way to go Middletown.  One of the most important departments being orchestrated by non-qualified people.  Bring on the consultants please!  They don’t contribute big money to Dan’s campaigns for nothing. 
I understand that Mr. Samolis is in attendance during the interview process.  He was in attendance when the City was looking for a PC&D director too, then decided he should be the next Director, and Dan obliged.

  Just so you all know, there is a vacancy for the Deputy Director of Central Communications.  A female employee outside of the bargaining unit was given a Conditional Offer of Employment by Mayor Daniel T. Drew.  She accepted.  (A conditional offer means background checks have been completed, references were called, employers were contacted, and so on.)  

Now, Mayor Dan has asked his own nominee to voluntarily withdraw her name for this job.  She declined to do so.  Why did he make this request?  Because he is appointing a male employee from Central Dispatch as the Deputy Director in her place.  A candidate who has no supervisory experience, which the position requires, and been there for only a few years.  

I smell another lawsuit coming on!

How can I say that Mayor treats women differently than men?  Currently, there is a City employee who has been suspended with pay for over a year.  Claims of harassment were made against him by several female employees.  How and why do you leave someone on paid administrative leave for this long?  A decision to either keep or release this employee hasn’t been made in over a year?  Is Mayor Drew waiting for this person to be eligible to receive a pension?  Ridiculous!  A female employee would have been terminated very quickly. 

All I know is that Middletown’s workforce are dedicated public sector employees and should not be treated this way by a Mayor, or anyone else.  After Attorney Mason completes the Common Councils investigation into these allegations, and individuals are found guilty, ALL of them should step down.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Man Crashes Car Into Hospital's ER Entrance, Sets Self on Fire

A car crashed through the Emergency Room entrance Thursday morning, starting a fire and forcing patients to be evacuated.

Patients were apparently being evacuated by LifeStar helicopter to Bridgeport and other hospitals.

Officials are expected to have a press conference at noon at City Hall.

UPDATE: 12:25
Mayor Drew, Police Chief McKenna says just before 10 a.m., a man in his 20's intentionally drove into emergency room entrance, then set himself on fire. He was flown to Bridgeport Hospital burn unit; in critical condition. Gas cans were visible in car; bomb squad called in 'out of an abundance of caution' according to Drew.  Chief says driver is known to police; in their system multiple times. They have called in state and federal law enforcement to assist.

Conversations on History Mark First Church 350th Anniversary Year

Conversations on Middletown's Past
in February, March, and April

The Rev. Julia Burkey, pastor of First Church (UCC)
in Middletown.
The ongoing series of conversations hosted by First Church continues, to celebrate our history and open up conversation about various episodes in our history. 

The series culminates in April with a special ceremony of  truth & reconciliation led by activist Rev. Juan Carlos Areán. The hope is that the conversations and the ceremony may serve all of us as a starting point for developing stronger and more honest relationships among people of all faiths, colors, and ethnicities throughout our community and the wider world.

Rev. Julia Burkey, and the First Church staff & congregation, invite you to attend these events for a look into our history and the story of how our society evolved, as reflected in events in our church and our community.

February 25, March 25,
April 22
11am to noon

Second-hour forum after the church service features speakers, musicians, authors, dancers, lecturers, and others invited to enrich our Sundays.
Historian and writer Dione Longly will lead three second-hour conversations on First Church early history. An independent historian and writer, Ms. Longly served for many years as director of the Middlesex County Historical Society, and has published widely on Connecticut history. Her second-hour presentations occur on February 25, March 25, and April 22 and they are free and open to all.

First Church is an open and affirming congregation at 190 Court Street, Middletown, CT. For more information see First Church in Middletown

Come to church, stay for coffee & snackand Second Hour. Then have lunch at one of Middletown's fine restaurants just a block away on Main Street.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Russell Library Welcomes Author Ibi Zoboi February 20

Author Ibi Zoboi will be at Russell Library February 20 at 1:00pm
Russell Library welcomes author  Ibi Zoboi to Middletown! 
American Street author will be reading from her book on Tuesday, February 20, 1:00 – 2:30pm in the Hubbard Room of the Russell Library

Ibi Zoboi was born in Haiti and immigrated to New York with her mother when she was four years old.  American Street tells the story of a young girl that immigrates to the U.S. from Haiti. It was published in February of 2017 to great acclaim. It was Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and ALA Booklist Editors' Choice of 2017.

Ibi's middle grade debut, My Life as an Ice-Cream Sandwich, and her next YA novel, Pride, are forthcoming. Patrons are welcome to bring their copies of American Street to be signed by the author.  Copies of the book will also be offered for sale at the reading.  Light refreshments will be served. For all ages.
Drop in; no registration required.

This event is sponsored by a grant by the Connecticut Humanities.