Board of Selectmen – March 26, 2012
With news that The Hartford is going to be divided up and the possibility of a cataclysmic event happening when they leave town, how has the Town positioned itself for this event? According to Blum Shapiro The Hartford Insurance Co. has 3,008 employees and 24.80% of those employees are Simsbury residents.
I felt I was duped when I listened to First Selectman Mary Glassman’s testimony before the Charter Revision Commission on February 28, 2012 stating that Simsbury is not quite ready for a Town Manager. When Mary Glassman ran against Tom Vincent for First Selectman she was asked by me and others at the Pumpkin Debate, if she would campaign for a Town Manager for Simsbury and work towards implementing a professional Town Manager. Not only was she emphatic about the need for a Town Manager she placed the Town Manager issue in her campaign literature. When asked on a continual basis, Glassman stated that she was in favor of Town Manager. However, when asked at the Charter Revision Commission directly by Brad Mead if she could discuss Town Manager versus First Selectman. Glassman stated that the town presently has tremendous exposure, again and again, for loses and claims on risk. There are continual Federal and State Laws that must be implemented. Glassman stated that the Town is heading toward professional management but it is not quite there yet. Glassman testified that people are not asking for a Town Manager. Presently in the Charter the First Selectman is the Personnel Director of the Town. Glassman testified that she has created the office of Director of Administrative Services, a pseudo-Town Manager to perform the duties of the First Selectman with the authority to hire and fire personnel. After listening to the testimony of Glassman, Brad Mead voted for placing a Town Manager in the Charter. However, the other vote was John O’Neil. The Town Manager issue failed.
Mary Glassman has lied to the people who voted for her since her campaign literature stated that she was in favor of a Town Manager. Now that Mary Glassman is cozy in her position as First Selectman with a salary of $ 113,850 and benefits increasing her salary to about $120,000 and a pension, she doesn’t feel the town is ready for professional management although she was concerned that anyone off the street can run for First Selectman. Glassman has used her position to catapult her to run for higher office, spending her time campaigning instead of taking care of the Simsbury residents who elected her. It appears that Mary Glassman is taking care of her political career on the backs of Simsbury taxpayers. . Glassman testified before the Charter Revision Commission that the town is not ready for a Town Manager although the consultants stated that Simsbury is ready for professional management. Glassman gave testimony that although the town has tremendous exposure that must be managed professionally she has selected a Director of Administrative Services, Tom Cooke who has no public policy experience to act as a pseudo Town Manager. His last employment was President and Executive Director of a now defunct non-profit performing arts organization called Voce, Inc. from 2005 to the present. Cooke is not a professional manager and was hired by a Head Hunter, Monica Marchese Consulting with ties to CCM (Connecticut Conference of Municipalities) where Mary Glassman is President, as was Sean Kimball, Assistant to the Director of Administrative Services. The positions were not advertised in an open search for these positions where the selection could have been broader and an experienced person would qualify. Salaries and Benefits in the Selectman’s Office are over $500,000, a pretty hefty price for on the job training. Mary Glassman has suggested a change in the Town Charter allowing the First Selectman to appoint a Personnel Director. This is now included in the Charter draft, leaving the elected First Selectman as a figurehead, giving the Director of Administrative Services the duties of the First Selectman with no public policy administration experience. How many professional employees would apply to Simsbury for employment without any continuity in direction and a fractured chain of command? If we expect to get professional staff we must have professional management at the top with a Town Manager. Since both parties have difficulty getting people to run for office, we do not get quality candidates to run for First Selectman. Simsbury will be going through drastic changes in the future with our largest taxpayer The Hartford being split and sold leaving us with a large financial impact. Wouldn’t a trained professional Town Manager be best suited to guide the town through these difficult times? I was surprised that nobody on the board other than Mary Glassman testified at the Charter Revision Commission. Town Manager is an important public policy decision and this board was mute. Why?
Now that Linda Schofield will not be running for State Representative, both Charity Folk head of the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce, Republican and John Hampton, Democrat has shown interest. I was very surprised to see that Moira Wertheimer has endorsed Charity Folk for this position. Has anyone asked Mary Kniffin Girard if she would vote for Charity Folk who is now married to her ex-husband Mike Girard? Has Mike Paine who is married to Jean Kniffin Paine endorsed Charity Folk? Does Moira Wertheimer care about family values? Does the Republican Party care about family values in their candidate for State Representative? The Democrats have Deputy First Selectman John Hampton as a possible candidate. John Hampton has on a number of occasions not paid his meager car tax on time. Hampton is now living in a room at 33 West Mountain Road with his prior residence in a room on Pilfershire Road and having a spotty employment record is not my choice of a candidate for State Representative. It is alleged that his present office is in the Simsbury library. I was pleased to see that Jeff Tindal, Head of the Democratic Party is searching for an upstanding candidate. Sean Askam, Head of the Republican Party stated it was difficult to get candidates to run and since Charity Folk came forward, she will be the candidate. I hope that both parties could find a candidate that would represent the values of Simsbury residents. I don’t want either of these candidates to represent me as a Simsbury representative.
The minutes of the Performing Arts, 2/28/2012 reflect that the Hartford Symphony is delinquent in their payments to the Town as reported by Tom Vincent: $16,900 down payment for 2012 season, due in November; second payment of $16,900 due in March 2012 not paid; variety of fees, $2,888 in ticket fees, $187 in VIP Parking from the previous season. How can the town sign a contract with the HSO when they are delinquent in payments? The minutes reflect that Tom Cooke, Director of Administrative Services is involved in the PAC selection of a consultant. Why is taxpayer money being used for the Performing Arts?
The Town is designating June 2012, Handicapped parking awareness month. I would like to show you pictures of 730 Hopmeadow Street, owned by Dave Richman, that appears to have violations to the building, dated July 27, 2011 from the building department. It states, “ Several years ago a temporary ramp was erected at the front of the building. I noticed your building has not received a Certificate of Occupancy and an egress requirement ….regarding the third floor office has not been resolved.” These are pictures of the building with no Handicapped Parking at the office parking lot. What is the building department doing to get this office building to comply with the Building and Fire Code?