Thursday, August 2, 2018

In Facebook Post Mayor Blasts Committee Charged With Investigating Him

Mayor Dan Drew posted this letter on Facebook today.

To the people of Middletown:
Please read this letter below in its entirety to see how the Common Council has spent your money on a wildly inappropriate personal and political vendetta. And remember, the people championing spending this $40,000 were the same ones who told you we couldn’t afford school resource officers and an arts coordinator in the budget this year at the same time they were doing this (you’ll hear more from me and Chief McKenna about SROs later this month).
Dear Members of the Common Council,
I am writing to apprise you of information that has been kept from you by the committee appointed to conduct the more than 8-month-long investigation into allegations of a gender discrimination conspiracy.
First, it is imperative that you know that this investigation has devolved into inappropriate questioning that has covered the personal lives, political activities, and marriages of me and several members of our H.R. and legal staffs as well as investigating the Middletown Democratic Party’s 2015 nominating process. This is vastly beyond the scope of the council’s authority as defined in the Charter to investigate offices of the city. Nowhere does the Charter empower you with intruding into our personal lives, our political activities, or what we do on our own time and with our own money.
Second, the bills that the council has incurred for this investigation have also been hidden, despite the fact that they are public record. Upon requesting a copy of your investigator’s engagement letter and legal bills, I have discovered that the text of those bills has been whited out and pages are missing (see attached). In the first invoice, the second page is noticeably whited out and likely missing pages and key detail. In the second invoice, it skips from page one to page three. Page two is missing and again it is without key detail. In the final two bills, all detail is missing. Other bills were withheld. The council spent $40,000 but the only bills available total $32,864. Where is the other $7,136?
This is how the bills were presented to the Finance Department, which raises another concern: you as the Council do not possess the authority to enter into contracts or authorize payment for services; the Charter extends zero authority to the council to hire or appoint investigatory staff or to waive its own rules to do so. Nevertheless, the committee appointed by the council did exactly that. It was illegal.
Third, the committee met with their investigator privately. For what purpose was this done? This is illegal as demonstrated in City of Meriden v. Freedom of Information Commission No. CV 17 6035932 S, which spells out that municipal legislative leadership is not allowed to meet privately as they did in this investigation.
My staff and I were interviewed in May. This still has not been concluded and we -- as well as most of you -- have been kept entirely in the dark about what’s happening.
Precisely half of the twelve of you have now privately told me that you consider -- and have always considered this investigation -- to be out of bounds. Despite this, all but one member of the council voted for two separate appropriations totalling $40,000 to conduct this investigation.
One of you described it as “a witch hunt.” Several of you told me privately that allegations of gender discrimination never belonged with the Common Council, but instead should have been filed solely with CHRO. Several of you expressed regret to me personally that my political rivals were appointed to lead this investigation into complaints made by someone who is related to some of them. Though I sounded the alarm about this fact at the beginning of the year, you ignored my concerns.
Members of our staff were asked about:
• their custody arrangements;
• marriages and divorces;
• political donations they’ve made on their own time and with their own money and;
• political activities in which they’ve engaged on their own time and in their own homes.
Your investigator even interviewed the estranged wife of one of our staff members, while they are in the midst of a divorce and custody battle. What relevance does she have to what you are supposedly investigating?
One staff member was asked why I didn’t hire the daughter of a Common Council member as deputy director of the city’s Planning Department.
I was asked why I didn’t pick a candidate favored by several councilmembers for a six-figure management job in the city’s dispatch center.
I was asked about a fundraiser hosted for me over a year ago by the Democratic Party chair in another town. And I was grilled about the nominating process employed by the Middletown Democratic Party, including why a former member of the City Council, now registered as a Republican, wasn’t nominated for re-election in 2015.
What I was not asked about was the substance of the original complaint of gender discrimination, which is the only thing your investigator was actually hired to look into.
Imagine for a moment if my relative accused you of engaging in a conspiracy and, without even prima facie evidence, I spent $40,000 of the taxpayers’ money digging into your personal lives, your political activities, your marriages, your divorces, and the inner workings of the Middletown Republican Party.
When I told Councilman Giuliano in a recent conversation that the whole investigation was political, he responded: “Of course it is.”
This investigation was launched and conducted this way because I won’t engage in the patronage that some people have come to expect as their birthright. This abuse of power is symptomatic of the approach to government that has existed in Middletown for too many years and it is one that I’ve pushed back on multiple times in the years I’ve held this office. My standard for hiring is a person’s qualifications rather than connections. And that course of action, from which I have never swayed, has sparked this reaction.
I expect a certain amount of unfair criticism. What I won’t abide is the targeting of innocent people through intrusions into their personal affairs, marriages, divorces, custody arrangements, and how they spend their own time and money. The Common Council owes an apology to staff in the Office of the General Counsel and H.R. Division and to the people of Middletown for how they were abused -- yes, abused -- in this $40,000 boondoggle.
One of the many things that led me to believe that this investigation is rooted in a desire to force patronage is the council’s McConnell-esque refusal to confirm nominees for high-level positions in city service, including the positions I mentioned above. Your refusal to do so for the better part of a year is having a real and detrimental impact on our ability to serve the public in the realms of both public safety and economic development.
Therefore, pursuant to Chapter III, Section 3 (B) of the Charter, I will be shortly calling a special meeting of the Common Council for the sole purpose of confirming nominees for positions you have refused for months to hear. With the two before you -- the deputy director of Central Communications and the director of Water & Sewer I will be making a nomination for town clerk. I trust that you will confirm these nominees in short order as the people’s business demands.
This city has grown by leaps and bounds and gets better each day. As long as I’m in this office I will do everything I can to preserve it for the people.
Sincerely,
Daniel Drew
MAYOR

4 comments:

Enzo D said...

I say let the people vote on all decisions and take all power from this terrible leadership we have. Investigations seem necessary to me given the accusations. So much this mayor does raises many questions. Just read the recent publication on the eye about the pz&d proposal. Maybe Christmas will come early and Danny will resign... Here's to hoping.

john milardo said...

The crux of Mayor Drew's letter is this paragraph:
"This investigation was launched and conducted this way because I won’t engage in the patronage that some people have come to expect as their birthright. This abuse of power is symptomatic of the approach to government that has existed in Middletown for too many years and it is one that I’ve pushed back on multiple times in the years I’ve held this office. My standard for hiring is a person’s qualifications rather than connections. And that course of action, from which I have never swayed, has sparked this reaction."
The investigation was launched due to allegations of harassment and discrimination against female employees by Mayor Drew. It had NOTHING to do with all the other concocted matters he sites in his letter. This Mayor attempts to use all means to gain his "followers" trust that he is an innocent bystander at the scene of the accident of which he himself has created.
How Mayor Drew already knows what the independent Counsel asked individual witnesses is concerning. His letter sounds more like a "smoke screen" for the upcoming outcome of the report, rather than a real concern of $40,000 spent on this investigation other than for "the children".
While Mayor Drew writes "my standard for hiring is a person's qualifications rather than connections" is the most moronic statement he has ever made! The proof of this is his hiring of PZ&C Director Joe Samolis. Case closed!

ANGRY TAXPAYER said...

I am 100% inclined to agree with the final statement by Mr. Milardo above. The position of PZ&C director Samolis is proof positive that this "standard" the mayor claims to follow is untenable, and untrue. The machinations that occur behind the scenes here in town are revolting to any person who believes in open and honest government. It is past time for a change, and the various manipulations that have been put into place should be undone in the process. Mr. Samolis should step down, and a qualified person should be hired for this incredibly important position. Many of the departmental consolidations should be reversed, because as we all know, the fox is never much good at guarding the henhouse. (PZ&C Most notably)

Ari Kubie said...

Can the Eye please look into accusations that the Council didn't have the legal authority to spend this money? There must be laws on the books that prove or disprove this, right?