YOUR VIEW: Bristol Council lacks transparency

Published on Thursday, 1 February 2018 19:46
Written by


To The Editor:

Over the last few months, I have sat back and watched how the current administration has been conducting itself. Following my election loss, I proclaimed I would work with my Democratic colleagues. All I asked was that they followed through with their campaign promises of increasing transparency, to which I received resounding assurances.

We are now two months into the two-year term of a rather opaque council. To those that do not have the knowledge of Bristol’s bureaucratic underbelly, let me try to explain. The Democratic Party holds a super majority on the council. Typically, a newly-elected mayor will not reappoint commissioners that their predecessors appointed as their terms expire.

When vacancies occur, mayors usually appoint individuals that share his or her ideology in government. I have no contention with choices that are made in a sensible manner. At the same time, we still need to maintain a working government with knowledgeable individuals who share the same common goal of improving our All Heart City.

During the very first council meeting, when it came time for appointments, all of the newly appointed mayor’s current invidious comrades from social media replaced all commissioners whose terms were up. Again, that’s common practice.

Then came the time for the appointments to the charter revision commission. Per Connecticut law, there must be a minority representation on all boards. The minority can be Unaffiliated, Independents and Republicans.

For the commission, our mayor, tried to appoint an unaffiliated voter.

The problem regarding this appointee is that this individual happened to change party affiliation soon after the election ONLY to sit on the commission. Fortunately, our town clerk intervened stating that a person must wait a 90-day grace period before they can be considered a member of a new party or an unaffiliated voter.

Following this debacle, the council went into executive session and when they reconvened decided to change the committee members from 7 to 9 to circumvent a state law.

And it does not end there. On Jan. 17, there was to be a public hearing on the subject of adding a counselor from each district to the Bristol Development Authority. Following the hearing, there will be a vote to add these councilors as voting members. Essentially, this will give a super majority to the Democratic party. Due to the fact that the BDA is city wide, only a representative of each party should be required

Make no mistake, these changes were extremely calculated. They violated any sentiment of transparency promised during the election. Finally, they will erode the trust and sense of bipartisanship that so many of us wished to attain.

Andrew Howe


Posted in The Bristol Press, Editorials, Letters on Thursday, 1 February 2018 19:46. Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2018 19:48.