Thursday, August 29, 2019

Opinion: The Democratic "Old Guard", Part II

The following is Part II of a series of observations about our city's politics, submitted by John Milardo. Milardo is a retired Middletown City employee of the Parks Department.  He currently serves on the city's Pension Board.  He regularly publishes his opinions in a newsletter entitle "And Justics For All."  This is excerpted from his latest edition.

In Part I, Milardo provided his perspective on the causes and effects of the changeover in the Democratic Town Committee in 2018. He then focused on one of the four candidates, Bill Russo. He concluded Part I with the question of how Russo became Director of the Public Works Department.
Bills rise to fame came rather quickly.  He stepped over many more well qualified employees when he was appointed the Assistant Superintendent of Streets and Highways.  Employees who were already top of the line heavy equipment operator/supervisors with many more years of city service.  Russo didn’t have to work his way up through the ranks, he just knew the right people.

Now it’s payback time, and they want him to head a Democratic slate so the old guard will remain in control of our town.  I can assure you he won’t make a decision without their approval.

According to records, he never had to test for the Public Works directorship in 2004.  He was the acting Director for a very short time and just appointed by then mayor Domenique Thornton.  No posting for the vacancy, no other applicants.  It was the same for the Deputy Director of Public Works position he was given in 2001.  He had friends in high places pushing for him.

The job description for the Directors position is as follows:
Minimum Training and Experience Required to Perform Essential Job Functions. Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with level course work in the field--- and eight years of progressively responsible engineering/administrative experience or any combination of education and experience that provides equivalent knowledge, skills and abilities.  Position requires a Professional Engineering License and the possession of a valid Connecticut driver’s license.
No matter how you cut it up and dissect it, he didn’t, nor does he today, possess the MINIMUM qualifications to hold this job.  He does not possess, as required by the job description, a Professional Engineering License.  Did not earn and graduate with a Bachelor’s degree.

Did not/does not possess “any combination of education and experience that provides EQUIVALENT knowledge, skills and abilities.”  Last time I looked it up, equivalent means EQUAL!  I believe he is the only Public Works director in the state that is not an engineer.  Kind of explains why his department hires so many consultants and outside firms.  Most of the same names that are contributing big money to his campaign.

Now, your question to me is how did he get this job while only having a two-year Associates degree?  Because Bill knew and hung out with the right people.  Politicians like a yes person, and that’s what they have with Bill.  He doesn’t have a single original thought of his own.  Everything goes through certain politicians and his closest friend(s) first!

Projects such as the Parks renovations were started by other administrations, but Dan Drew gives Bill all the credit.  Dan Drew recently heaped credit to Bill and Gerry Daley for getting Middletown such a fine trash removal contract.  It’s election year and Dan wants his boy elected.  My question is why did it take Director Russo fifteen years to negotiate a good contract with the same trash company we’ve been using all these years?

He came right out and said they spent millions of taxpayer money on Palmer Field renovations to look like Major League Baseball park Camden Yard of the Baltimore Orioles.  Gee, isn’t that nice?  Bills favorite baseball team.

So how does a person with no qualifications become a director?  You have to be connected to those who have power.

As Director of Public Works, he can never be found while on the job, not even by his own office.

Not until now, because he’s running for mayor.  Now, every call and job are being done ASAP!  This from a guy who walked out on Commissioner Bartolotta because she wanted answers during a Public Works commission meeting and he refused to give them to her.
Tomorrow, in Part III, Milardo examines some of Russo's actions in light of his campaign for mayor, and reveals two rumors about actions Russo might take as mayor.
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 newsletter reflects commentary and opinions which the author wishes to share with his friends.

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