Friday, August 3, 2018

Council Members Puzzled And Upset By Mayor's Facebook and Twitter Attack

January Common Council meeting at which the
investigationof the mayor was adopted.
Common Council members expressed dismay after reading a blistering attack Mayor Dan Drew leveled at a sub-committee charged with investigating the mayor for employment discrimination and gender bias.

"Why he would issue this halfway-delusional rant in a letter to the Common Council is a big question," Giuliano said.  "And why he would put it in social media posts is beyond question.  How unglued is he getting?'

That investigative report will be delivered to the entire Common Council in executive session at the regular Common Council meeting on Monday.  Information in the report has not been available to any Common Council members prior to the issuance of the report.  After the Common Council acts on the investigative report, it will be made public.

In a lengthy tirade Thursday, Drew accused the sub-committee of conducting an illegal investigation, spending money on that investigation without appropriate authorization, probing into the personal lives of those being investigated and conducting the investigation as retribution for not participating in patronage hiring.  In his post, Drew offered invoices from the investigating attorney as evidence, despite the fact that those invoices were clearly marked "Confidential."

The sub-committee was made up of three Common Council members, Democratic majority leader Tom Serra, Democratic council member Mary Bartolotta and Republican majority leader Seb Giuliano.  Serra, who led the sub-committee, has been unable to participate in the past two months as he deals with a serious illness.

"It almost sounds like he thinks we're saying 'The mayor is an S.O.B, let's impeach him," committee member and Council minority leader Seb Giuliano said.  "That's not in the cards.  It was not the purpose of the investigation.  We don't have the power or authority to impeach the mayor, and I wouldn't want it."

"Since the beginning, we have been diligent in steering a course that is fair and professional," according to Mary Bartolotta, Democratic council member.  "We've crossed every "t" and dotted every "i" to make sure we follow procedures, protect confidentiality and conduct the investigation with fairness."

"The FOI (Freedom of Information) office at the state is probably getting sick of hearing from us," Republican council member Seb Giuliano said.  "We didn't make a move without calling them."

Bartolotta indicated that the mayor's accusation of conducting an illegal investigation appears odd with the accusation coming at the eleventh hour.

"Why did the mayor, the city attorney and the corporation counsel not raise an issue when the original vote to initiate the investigation was taken in January?" Bartolotta asked.

The vote to conduct an interview was unanimous (11-0), with all members in attendance at that meeting voting in favor of the investigation.  Bartolotta was not present at that meeting due to illness.

"The purpose of the Council's power to investigate is to carry out its legislative function," Giuliano said.  "This investigation was triggered by the labor-management process with Michele Dimauro.  We needed to determine if there were changes that needed to be made at the charter or legislative level."

Democratic Town Committee chair, and Common Council member Rob Blanchard finds it odd that the Facebook post reveals that the mayor knows so much about an investigation that is considered confidential.

"It's an ongoing investigation, and you don't know how it was conducted to protect all parties," Blanchard said, indicating that he did not know any of the details of the investigation, and would not know until they are revealed Monday.

"It's unfortunate that prior to the report being given, and recommendations being made, that the mayor would make these kind of accusations," Blanchard said.  "The goal of the investigation was never what the mayor is suggesting it is, and what he's falsely accusing the Council of."

"He (the mayor) has a lot of detail in his letter that I don't know about," Giuliano said.  "We never discussed those details with the investigating attorney.  How does he know what we don't know?"

Bartolotta noted that all invoices were presented to the Finance department as prescribed in the city charter (City Charter, Chapter 78, item 10).

"Why would you cut a check, if you didn't have appropriate paperwork?" Bartolotta asked.

Bartolotta said that there were no questions about invoices until they were raised in the mayor's letter to Council members and the Facebook post.  She indicated that parts of the invoice had been redacted to protect the confidentiality of those participating in the investigation.

"City invoices are always paid on the statement, not the itemization," Giuliano explained.  "The information that is deleted is considered privileged as attorney/client information, and as such, confidential."

Bartolotta was also shocked by the mayor's accusation that the investigation was in retribution for the mayor refusing to hire on a patronage basis.

"I'm not sure why he's making a blanket statement about the Council on this issue, if he has a problem with specific members," Bartolotta said.  "I have never participated in this kind of behavior, and I have never asked the mayor for any hiring favor.  If he had an issue with specific members, he should have come to the entire body with those issues.  And he should also look at himself, and his own appointments."

"He also misconstrued a conversation I had with him," Giuliano said.  "I never said that the investigation was politically motivated.  I said that the decision to refrain from approving hiring by the Republican members of the Council, until the investigation was complete, was a political decision.  And it's a decision that makes sense."


EnzoDast said...

At what point can impeachment hearings begin? Does the city's bylaws even allow for it? Now he knows confidential details about an ongoing investigations and is publicizing confidential documents? Does any of this become criminal at any point?

Next election can't come soon enough

Anonymous said...

Tsk tsk no honor among the thieves anymore.

Unknown said...

Wow guys. Really, uh... deep investigative reporting you got going on here.

Anonymous said...

The mayor brought these problems on himself. He has hired more than one friend & put her in an important position. His only interest in the City of Middletown is to use his position as mayor as a steppingstone to run for a higher office. Please fellow citizens do not put this man in office for anything.