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Scratching the surface on Halas

Saturday, February 07, 2009
Time: 12:43 AM











NOTE TO DIRK:

If you would just verify the FACTUAL points Gucker raised in his comments regarding Mike "the rules and regulations don't apply to me" Halas, you would have done a better job in informing the true nature of the newest member of the Common Council.

...it just takes a simple FOIA request as you already know what the "controversy" with Halas is all about.

As for Halas' infamous Zoning Commission meeting (which has been referenced several times on this site as well as noted in the PUBLIC RECORD OF THE ZONING COMMISSION LAST YEAR) not only did I videotape the ENTIRE MEETING, Zoning Commsion Pat Johnston's remarks of Halas' behavior IS NOTED ON THE CITY'S WEBSITE!
He [Johnston] added that he was upset by the behavior of the speakers during and after the meeting and there may have been more people in the audience who would have spoken in opposition but they were intimidated by the applicant [Halas] and his team.


AGAIN, here's the VIDEO FOOTAGE of Johnston's remarks from the May Zoning Commission meeting! Listen to the tone of Johnston as he offers his opinion of Halas and his "supporters"...



Given this FACT, the mayor spews this nonsense:
Resident Ken Gucker spoke against the appointment during the public portion of the meeting. He said Halas' run-ins with the Zoning Commission over the years prove he can't live by the rules.

Gucker said he's been the subject of threats and harassment when he's spoken out against Halas in the past.

Boughton quickly cut off Gucker's comments, saying they were "unsubstantiated allegations and borderline insulting."

What's insulting is a mayor who would turn his back on THE FACTS about one of his appointees...FACTS which were at least in one instance NOTED IN THE RECORD LAST YEAR BY A FELLOW REPUBLICAN).

I'll have Halas and his goon squad's "remarks" on YouTube for everyone in Danbury to witness, as well (as comments from others who attended the meeting and were disgusted by what they saw) REAL soon.

That's the Joe we all know and love

Friday, February 06, 2009
Time: 5:42 PM

Well, I guess it didn't take long for Lieberman to revert to his old "stab the Democrats in the back" tricks again...

Don't look at me, I voted for this guy in '06.

Six minutes (and a potential conflict of interest)

Thursday, February 05, 2009
Time: 10:41 PM

The city of Danbury's Board of Ethics commission took a whopping SIX MINUTES to discuss on whether or there is the potential of a conflict of interest with State Senator Mike McLachlan's being both State Senator as well as the city's Director of Economic Development.

SIX MINUTES!



...and by the way, the person who spearheaded this inquiry was Chairman Arthur Mannion. Who's Mannion you ask? Here, I'll let The Fairfield Weekly tell ya!
Adding to the intrigue, Mannion is an area lawyer who serves on the Republican State Central Committee as co-chairman for the 24th District. His co-chair is Michael McLachlan. The man who could clear McLachlan on behalf of the City of Danbury has worked side-by-side with him for partisan goals.

Isn't this another conflict of interest?

Les Pinter, Corporation Counsel for the City of Danbury, says that "only an officer or employee of the city who has a potential conflict can raise the issue" of McLachlan's closeness to Mannion. "That is not likely to happen. Either of them would have to recuse themselves."

How nice huh! A member of the Republican State Central committee does an inquiry on his fellow member...doesn't make sense does it!

Oh, it gets better...look what happens when the reporter questions McLachlan on his relationship with Mannion (NOTE: I was in the hallway at City Hall during January's Common Council meeting when McLachlan was questioned about this subject by the reporter for the Weekly).
When asked if his closeness to Mannion was a concern, McLachlan simply answered, "No."

McLachlan has served many years on the State Central Committee, and serving as senator simultaneously is allowed. The day after I spoke with him, though, he tendered his resignation.

The conflict of interest isn't with McLachlan being State Sentor AND a member of the Republican State Central Committee, it's with McLachlan being a focus of an inquiry by the Chairman of the Board of Ethics who happens to be "serves on the Republican State Central Committee as co-chairman for the 24th District" with McLahclan being the OTHER CO-CHAIR!

It just makes you want to pull your hair out!

WATCH MY VIDEO FOOTAGE OF OBAMA IN DC TONIGHT


Time: 6:13 PM

Obama1129AM


If you're not doing anything, tune to Comcast Channel 23 TONIGHT as I'll be a guest on the cable access show Ideas at Work and Beyond. I'll be broadcasting my video footage I shot down at the Barack Obama inauguration.

You don't want to miss it!

UPDATE: One hell of a show! If you missed it, you can catch it again TOMORROW at 12:00 on COmcast channel 23. The show will also be on YouTube sometime this weekend.

Here's footage from the show in it's entirety. Unfortunately, my video footage didn't come out properly (it was shot in widescreen and not fullscreen as was presented on TV) and the footage was cut short. I'll have the original footage posted as soon as possible.


More to come

Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Time: 1:55 PM










...I'll break down the latest round of nonsense/hyprocrisy that happened at last night's Common Council meeting surrounding the appointment of Mike Halas as well as pick up where I left off on the latest Common Council member soon. Covering Gov Rell's budget address consumed all of my time today.

02.05.09 UPDATE: I'm really busy today so I won't be able to get back to exposing Mike "the rules and regulations of Danbury don't apply to me" Halas' dirty laundry. In honor of Mayor Boughton's suggestion that the accusations against Halas were "baseless accusations, let's roll back the videotape and watch Zoning Commission member Pat Johnston criticizing Halas for those so-called "baseless" accusations.



Trust me...there is MORE to come.

My Left Nutmeg LIVEBLOG: Gov Rell's budget address


Time: 1:08 PM

Click over to MyLeftNutmeg to read my live blog on Gov Rell's budget address.

I'll get local reactions to the Gov's speech shortly.

UPDATE: For those who have a few hours on their hands, here's the text of Rell's budget proposal (800 pages).

UPDATE 2: Here's video and text of the governor's address.


Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Williams, Members of the Legislature and Guests:

I stand before you today to unveil my recommended state budget for the next two years - two years that promise to be challenging in so many ways.

But I know, without doubt or hesitation, that Connecticut is up to the challenge. I believe deeply in the strength and courage of the people of Connecticut. And as your Governor, I will lead as we find our way, safely and surely, through these turbulent times.

The harsh winds of economic turmoil have spread across the nation and now buffet nearly every aspect of our lives.

Daily we are reminded of the tolls of our troubles with updates on unemployment rates, newly announced bankruptcies and foreclosures and solemnly declared business failures.

Turbulent times indeed.

But financial statistics do not measure the incredible resolve of our people. They do not reflect the unyielding will of our families to directly confront the headwinds of hardship. They do not reveal the true character of those who live and work in Connecticut and those who are blessed, as we are, to lead it.

We are Connecticut. We will overcome our economic distress and we will emerge the better for it.

Make no mistake, our journey will be a long and painful one. But it will be a shared journey.

We will share the joys and the disappointments. The tears and the sacrifices. The burdens and the blessings.

It is our way. It is who we are as the people of Connecticut.

For nearly 300 years we have sustained during the ebb and flow of the historic tides of trial and challenge. We have stared down many an enemy - war, both from within and without; injustice; intolerance; hatred; and corruption.

We have survived countless recessions and economic slowdowns and one national Depression.

And we will survive this time as well. For we are Connecticut. We will stand arm in arm, sharing our burdens and turning our challenges into opportunities, positioning ourselves so that we may soar when those harsh winds of economic turmoil finally fade.

Our journey begins today with the release of my recommended budget.

It is a budget that took me weeks and months to put together. Weeks and months in which our national and state economies were worsening. And they still are. No one knows when we will hit bottom.

But we're not waiting.

My budget provides a blueprint which will guide us and which will preserve the prosperity of Connecticut for our children and grandchildren.

There is pain and sacrifice in this budget, but it is shared pain and sacrifice. We are in this struggle together, and we will need to work together, to lead together, in deed as well as in word.

Yes, there is pain, there is sacrifice and there is some long overdue trimming.

Simply put: The bloat of bureaucracy is no longer affordable. Over the years, over the decades, state government often lost sight of what its core mission was and who it was serving.

It has become, in too many ways, what those in government want - for those in government. Layer upon layer of bureaucracy has been built so deeply and set so tightly that original goals have been crushed under the weight of permanency.

It is time to get back to basics. It is time to return to our core mission - to educate our children, protect our people, help those truly in need.

The economic challenges we are facing give us a rare opportunity to realign state government. To stop the exponential annual growth that is no longer affordable.

We must not forsake this opportunity. We must do what every family across our state has been doing - cutting back and doing more with less - and less.

The cuts I am proposing were not easy to make - any of them. They are not inconsequential.

But they represent a return to an affordable government. They give us a budget that goes backward in total spending - backwards so that we may go forward in strength once the economic recovery comes to pass.

My budget for the next fiscal year is actually lower than our budget this fiscal year. I am proud of that - and I am also proud of the fact that my budget contains NO tax increases for the next two fiscal years. None.

People cannot afford their taxes now. We should not add to their burdens.

There are some fee increases, the use of various unspent fund balances and the securitization of clean energy funds. But no tax increases.

I spoke a moment ago of doing more with less. And I do mean less.

My budget contains a number of initiatives to shrink government and I would like to take a few moments to explain them to you myself so you will know the truth of what is in my budget and why.

The soothsayers will undoubtedly provide their own interpretations and tell you, in their own, all-knowing ways, what I really meant. The naysayers will tell you it can't be done, it shouldn't be done.

Well, to the soothsayers and naysayers I say: Step aside. We need leaders. Help me as I lead Connecticut to a smaller, more affordable, more responsive government.

It starts with fewer state agencies. My budget eliminates 10 of them. All serve worthy purposes on paper, but all have functions largely duplicated by regular state agencies.

In times of plenty they are helpful. In times such as these they are unaffordable. Families are making do with less - so can we.

My budget also eliminates 10 other agencies through logical consolidations. Stand-alone entities are simply not needed. Families are making due with less - so can we.

More than 300 boards and commissions have been established by executive order or legislative or judicial fiat. Three hundred shadow government agencies, with associated staffing, mileage reimbursement and other expenses.

My budget eliminates 70 of these and merges others. We're reducing the bloat of bureaucracy and making do with less.

My budget cuts our fleet of state cars by 20 percent. State cars are not an entitlement. If an employee doesn't really need one, he or she won't have one. Families are making do with less - so can we.

And we can do with fewer laws on the books. We not only need a leaner government but a less intrusive one as well. We have 14,000 pages of state laws in existence. Surely we can do with fewer. I am proposing that we take 130 unnecessary laws off the books. We should take others off as well. We can certainly make do with less.

I am also proposing that we cancel state bond authorizations of hundreds of projects, mostly earmark projects, totaling almost $400 million. Long-term debt will crush our children. Earmarking is out of control and it's bankrupting us. We can't afford not to make do with less.

And for one year we are putting a hold on construction at UConn and our state colleges and universities to save debt costs. Over the last decade we have transformed the physical face of higher education in Connecticut - and we will continue to do so.

I am proposing that we repeal or modify a host of state and municipal mandates. Comprehensive mandate relief is long overdue and will have a lasting impact in reshaping and reducing the cost of government.

First, no costly new mandate should be allowed without a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. Second, we should suspend for two years the so-called "raise-the-age" law and the new in-school suspension law.

Now is not the time to impose new burdens on cities and towns that are also struggling to balance budgets.

And perhaps most significantly, at least in the short-term, I am calling for the suspension of binding arbitration requirements for two years while we confront our economic troubles.

At the end of the two-year suspension, I propose that we limit mandatory subjects of binding arbitration to salaries and benefits only - not scheduling, the size of parking spaces, picnics and parties on state time and the dozens of other subjects currently included.

Tough decisions. Right decisions.

Mandate reform will offer much-needed help to our cities and towns. And I am pleased to announce that so will my budget, in that it flat funds - yes, flat funds - state aid to municipalities for the next 2 years.

No cuts to education aid. No cuts to any state grant program. None.

I had to cut even deeper in our state budget to accomplish this, but cut I did. Because we cannot, in good conscience, balance the state budget on the backs of property taxpayers. They cannot afford higher local taxes any more than they can afford higher state taxes.

And we want to help cities and towns through regionalism, a much discussed concept that must finally be put into action.

Municipalities can and should cut costs by sharing - sharing equipment, facilities, schools, personnel and more.

My budget provides $40 million in new grants for infrastructure and equipment for municipalities that want to join together to provide services like recycling, tax collection and payroll.

And a new $10 million grant will be available to purchase shared equipment - snow plows, dump trucks, garbage trucks.

And two programs - LOCIP and TAR - will be adjusted, at current funding levels, to provide 10 percent bonuses to those towns which join together on regionally beneficial programs.

It's time regionalism was more than just something we talk about - it's time for it to be a reality.

It's also time for reform of our probate court system. Our system is antiquated and broken. I am proposing an overhaul that will reduce the number of courts, improve services and increase the hours of operation. It will also save money.

It's long since time that bereaved families not add to their anguish by fighting an outdated and sometimes irresponsible probate system.

It's also time that we made state government more accountable. I know the public is frustrated when they see waste and abuse in government and I don't blame them.

They're tired with our reacting to problems after they arise. Why, they ask, can't we stop reacting and start doing it right in the first place? They're right to ask, and while mistakes will always happen, we need to do better - far better.

That's why I am creating an Office of Accountability and asking each state agency to appoint an Accountability Officer.

These accountability officials will be responsible for detecting - up front - fraud and waste by personnel and in the use of state property. They will ensure that resources, including cars, phones and computers, are used for legitimate purposes.

We cannot afford to lose one dollar to waste, inefficiency or abuse, particularly at a time when tax dollars are shrinking and painful cuts are being made.

So many families are struggling right now - and many more are likely to - given the almost daily announcement of more layoffs.

With each job loss the question of "what if" becomes "what now?"

What do we do now to keep the roof over our heads and food on the table?

The heart of what we do, not just as a government, but as friends and neighbors, is the basic part and the best part of our humanity.

That's why my budget will include an additional $1.7 million in new monies to expand elderly nutrition programs, including home delivery and congregate meals, as well as for stocking food pantries and shelters around the state.

I am also expanding eligibility for federal food assistance so as to help an additional 19,000 people.

We can help people put food on the table but we also need to help get them back to work - temporarily and permanently.

For the short term, I am setting aside $7.5 million in the budget to bring back an old idea - one that dates back to the Depression, one in which my own father participated: the CCC, or Civilian Conservation Corps.

In our case it would be the Connecticut Conservation Corps and we would hire people in need of work, particularly those with dependents, and pay them a decent wage to help with projects such as cleaning beaches and clearing trails at state parks.

Good and honest work on projects we need undertaken in exchange for good and honest wages that some need to support their families.

The program has not yet been finalized but money has been set aside in the budget. I ask your help, as the Legislature, to craft a formal and final plan with me so that we can put it into place by July 1.

I also ask your help in another area. As I have said repeatedly, we need to position Connecticut to soar when our economy recovers. That means making Connecticut the best place to do business and making sure we have the nation's most well-trained work force.

In short, I want Connecticut at a competitive advantage over all other states, particularly neighboring states.

I believe that we cannot raise taxes on employers at this time. They are struggling, just like our families. Higher taxes could likely be the last financial straw that causes companies to close and employees to lose jobs. If we hold firm and neighboring states raise business taxes, as they are talking about doing, then we will be at a competitive advantage very quickly.

And the advantage will be all ours if we recognize the incredible engines of economic growth that are "green collar jobs." Engineers, plumbers, chemists, scientists, HVAC technicians and builders all will benefit in a clean and green future.

I want to introduce green principles into education, manufacturing, engineering and other aspects of business and industry. I want to focus on specialized green job training.

And there is another way in which we can "green up" our state and that is by expanding our bottle bill law to include non-carbonated beverages like water. My budget provides for it.

Green is great, but we need to do more. I am proposing a sweeping overhaul of the state's business agencies - bringing all of our efforts, from start-up financing to business recruitment, the arts, tourism and film programs, under unified leadership at DECD - the Department of Economic and Community Development.

DECD would also take over responsibility for two key state efforts - the Small Business Innovation Research program and the variety of state programs intended to encourage the development and clean-up of brownfields.

I am also proposing we combine our two financing agencies - the Connecticut Development Authority and Connecticut Innovations - into the new Connecticut Economic Innovations Authority.

These consolidations will eliminate duplication of services, ease confusion among business leaders about where to go to for help and untangle the variety of agencies, acronyms and applications that slow the process of job creation.

And I have another new initiative about which I am truly excited.

I am proposing to merge the vo-tech high school and community college systems, together with the state's Office of Workforce Competitiveness, to create the Middle College System - a system of coordinated academic programs that bridge the gap between high school and higher education, allowing students to earn 60 college credits within five years of starting high school.

Middle College students would have access to state-of-the-art facilities and gain college-level experience tuition free.

My proposal lights a clear path to success for more than 10,000 students now in Connecticut's vo-tech high school system and will sharply improve the graduation rates and career prospects for our community college students - all while ensuring that a skilled work force will be in place to help us achieve economic success.

We already have a skilled work force in our state employees. To them I say thank you - thank you for your service and for what you have already done to help us in these challenging times.

And thank you to those who have come to the table so that we may discuss, with comity, how we may reduce costs further.

Let me also state unequivocally to all our state employees: You are not the reason, not the cause, of our economic troubles. But you must be a part of the solution - and sooner rather than later.

Solutions. Doing more with less. Making government more affordable. No tax increases. No cuts to state aid. Mandate reform. Probate reform. Green collar jobs. Regionalization. Food and job assistance. A new Middle College system.

Good news at a time when we all need some good news.

Good news tempered by the pain and sacrifice of necessary spending cuts and deferred programs and projects.

This is a time of challenge like no other in our memories. It is a time for us to come together, not rend apart.

To those who would disparage or dismiss the cuts or reforms my budget contains: You have that right. But you also have the obligation to put your specific alternatives on the public table - and to do so soon.

We need to act swiftly in these turbulent times, for the families of Connecticut need our help, need our leadership.

I commend to you the words of Abigail Adams in a letter written to her son 230 years ago - words as relevant today as they were when she put pen to paper:

"It is not in the still calm of life ... that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised ... then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman."

Help me contend with difficulties. Be virtuous. Raise your minds.

Our journey begins today but it will not end until the darkest of ocean clouds dissipate and the brightest of blue skies open to a future of endless possibilities for our citizens.

Thank you and God bless the great State of Connecticut.

There's something about Mary


Time: 10:05 AM

Wow, News-Times editorial page writer Mary Connelly takes the gloves off and goes after Mayor Boughton's dishonest blog post over the hiring of Mike McLachlan as Director of Economic Development.
State Sen. Michael McLachlan of Danbury is doing himself no favors by clinging to a job in City Hall. During last fall's campaign, he said he would do just the opposite.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is doing himself and McLachlan no favors by clinging to McLachlan and attacking anyone who criticizes the arrangement.

McLachlan served well as chief of staff for Boughton. But when he ran for the 24th Senate District seat, he and the mayor, both Republicans, said McLachlan's continued employment in City Hall would create too many conflicts.

After the Nov. 4 election, however, Boughton and McLachlan changed their tune. McLachlan isn't chief of staff anymore, but he has been named the city's director of economic development.

The new position raises many questions about conflicts. McLachlan now has responsibilities well beyond Danbury. He has responsibilities to the state and to the other communities in his district -- Bethel, New Fairfield and Sherman.

No matter how he tries to explain away those conflicts, it can't be done.

But even more of a problem is the fact that McLachlan made a promise to the voters, as did the mayor.

McLachlan wasn't going to be employed in City Hall, they said. There was no fine print attached to the promise.

If you look at my posting on McLachlan's latest appointment as well as the Fairfield Weekly article, you'll see that it mirrors EXACTLY what Connelly is saying in her editorial. What's Boughton's response, take the defensive/baseless post that he did on Dec 29 2008 and recycle it on Feb 3rd while STILL not addressing Connelly's main point that he and McLachlan mislead the public when they said that Mike would step down at City Hall if elected as State Senator because of the obvious conflict of interest it would create.

More on this later...

Blumenthal versus Lieberman 2012?


Time: 10:00 AM



Sister blog My Left Nutmeg has the details...

Case against Mike Halas for Common Council: The documents, part 1

Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Time: 6:55 PM

Halas_Header

For now, just download this document from Planning Director Dennis Elpern regarding a one of many petitions from Mike Halas regarding amendments to the zoning regulations of Danbury for his business.

Note the section highlighted as well as the date...there will be a test later after tonight's Common Council meeting.

Click here to download file (pdf format).



Again, this background information will become much clearer later...

HatCityBLOG EXCLUSIVE: Zoning Commission speak out against Halas


Time: 5:44 PM

Halas_Header

There are MANY reasons why residents should be alarmed over the mayor appointing Mike Halas for Common Council which I will be explaining over the next series of posts.

As a primer, lets go back in time take a look at the series of complaints lodged at Halas from people at City Hall.

The following footage was shot at a Zoning Commission meeting back on May 13 2008. At issue was a petition from Halas to amend section 4.A.5.f.(9) of the Zoning Regulations so that he could use a parcel of property classified as a RA-40 (which basically means residential property) for his business.

While I'll explain in great detail what led to Halas' requesting this proposal from the Zoning Commission, for now, it's important to understand one of the major complaints lodged against Boughton's pick for the Jim Johnson's 2nd ward vacant seat: Halas' bully-like and juvenile tactics against those who oppose him.

Watch and listen as a fellow Republican severely chastises Halas and his supporters for their disgusting actions during the meeting...as well as for what happened AFTER the meeting outside City Hall in the parking lot...I'll explain later but trust me, it's not good.

HatCityBLOG video archives: May 13 2008.



And this comment about Halas is from a FELLOW Republican!

...is this the type of person you want as your 2nd ward representative on the Common Council?

FLASHBACK: Mike McLachlan's appointment continues to raise questions


Time: 4:23 PM

In advance of today's vote on the appointment of Mike McLachlan as Director of Ecoomic Development, here's a re-posting of a report I did back on Jan 14.




The issue of Mayor Boughton appointing Mike McLachlan as his Director of Economic Development has created quite a stir across the state as well as caught the attention of the media outside of the Danbury area.

ITEM 1: Did Boughton/McLachlan mislead the public?

During last month's state of the city address, one of the items that received the most buzz was the appointment of then State Senator Elect Mike McLachlan as the city of Danbury's director of economic development.

Throughout his campaign, as the Danbury News-Times accurately noted, McLachlan stated that, if elected as State Senator, he would give up his post at the mayor's chief of staff because of the OBVIOUS conflict of interest this would create. This being the case, in his statements, McLachlan gave the clear impression that, if elected, he would, in terms of employment, severed his ties with city hall for the good of the district he is suppose to represent.

Well, now we know that McLachlan and Boughton had other ideas...and The News-Times called out Boughton and McLachlan on this dishonesty in a Dec 29th editorial:
This is not the time for Danbury to pull back on efforts to attract new businesses and new jobs. But Mayor Mark Boughton is doing that as he reshuffles personnel in City Hall.

The motive behind the shuffle is Boughton's desire to give a part-time job to Michael McLachlan, his long-time chief of staff.

In November, McLachlan was elected to fill the 24th State Senate District seat -- serving Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield and Sherman.

During the campaign, McLachlan and Boughton said McLachlan, if elected, would no longer serve on the mayor's staff because of obvious conflicts of interest that would develop in serving their different constituencies.

The promise made sense. But with the election over, it turns out there was undisclosed fine print attached to the promise.

McLachlan won't be Boughton's full-time chief of staff. Instead, he will have a part-time city job as economic development director to supplement his part-time job as a legislator.

To accomplish this maneuver, Boughton says he will downsize the economic development job to part time and move the current full-time economic development director, Wayne Shepperd, to the job of full-time chief of staff.

In response to questions about a cut in commitment to the economic development position, the mayor says Shepperd will still be involved in economic development.

All of this to satisfy the new state senator's need for a part-time job and the mayor's interest in giving him one.

Danbury's needs, not McLachlan's needs, should be the mayor's focus.

[...]

With his experience in public life, McLachlan should know better than to get into this situation. It clearly is not what he promised as a candidate. In addition, this new role automatically comes with a conflict of interest.

His part-time city job could involve advocating development that is opposed by constituents from his other part-time job as legislator. If he recuses himself because of legislative conflicts, he will not be doing his job as a city employee.

This job shuffle requires a second look. It doesn't serve Danbury, the mayor or the new state senator.

Clearly, McLachlan is going back on his word to his constituents in the 24th district. Think about it for a second. How does McLachlan serving as Director of ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (who by definition is responsible for helping "businesses already in Danbury find the means to expand as well as to attract new businesses to Danbury") help the residents of other areas in the 24th such as Bethel? Why would McLachlan attempt to expand Bethel's economic base as State Senator IF he's employed by the city of Danbury for that very purpose?

In essence, the whole affair didn't make any sense and didn't go unnoticed by the members of the media who were in attendance or throughout the state as the appointment of McLachlan to this position raised quite a number of eyebrows and was picked up by newspapers ranging from the Hartford Courant to the New York Newsday as well as WTNH.



It was only a matter of time until other media outlets would look deeper into this story.

ITEM 2: The Fairfield Weekly digs deeper, and raises more questions


Today, the Fairfield Weekly took thing a step further and shows what happens when you have a week to work on a story as opposed to a day.

Lets dig in...
At his State of the City address, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton announced he was handing over the city's Director of Economic Development post to Michael McLachlan, his former chief of staff who weeks ago had been elected state senator for the 24th District (Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman).

As announced previously, the position would be changed into a part-time one, 15 hours per week — not because of McLachlan's duties as a state senator, another part-time position, but to save costs for the city.

During the campaign, McLachlan said several times that if elected, he would no longer serve on the mayor's staff because of "obvious conflicts of interest that would develop in serving the different constituencies."

Area residents, as well as the Danbury News-Times' editorial board, saw a potential conflict of interest regarding the new post — the mayor moving someone close to him into a newly-revised $32,000-a-year, part-time city job, one where he could use his clout in the Capitol to lobby for the city's economic development (perhaps with less interest in the rest of his district). Shouldn't there be a board that looks into and okays this stuff?

Now, here's where things get interesting...
There are two, in fact, the Danbury Board of Ethics and the Office of State Ethics in Hartford — but McLachlan didn't seem anxious to hear what either had to say.

He says he e-mailed the Danbury board on Dec. 18, a day before Boughton's State of the City address. As for the state office, e-mails obtained from it show McLachlan sent them an e-mail at 6:31 a.m. on Dec. 19, mere hours before the lunch-time address.

McLachlan was offered the economic development job the weekend before Thanksgiving, both he and Boughton confirm. If he wanted the opinions of either ethics office, he could have asked long before the mayor announced it.

Makes sense right? If McLachlan thought there was a chance that there would be a conflict of interest (or even if he wanted to double check and make sure his appointment to Director of Economic Development was okay, WHY WAIT UNTIL THE DAY OF THE STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS to inquire with the State's ethics board?

What's more troubling is the time in which McLachlan made the inquiry, the time of the response, and the time of McLachlan's reply. You see, I filed a FOIA request for all communications between McLachlan and the state's ethics board in regards to this matter. Here's what I received in return...take note of the times in which the emails were transmitted.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD


Although the Weekly was correct in stating that McLachlan's initial email inquiry with the state's ethics board happened at 6:31 as on the day of the state of the city address, what's more troubling was WHEN the state ethics board REPLIED as well as when McLachlan REPLIED to the state ethics' email response.

First, the importance isn't what the state's ethics board said to McLachlan, it's the timing of the entire matter. You see, the state replied to McLachlan at 12:10 PM...a mere minutes before Boughton delivers his speech AND McLachlan replied to the state at 4:11 PM...hours after Boughton announced McLachlan's appointment.

As the Weekly stated, why did Boughton and McLachlan wait until the day of the state of the city address to place an inquiry with the state? Also, my looking at the timestamps, it appears that McLachalan didn't know the answer until after the address.

Here's McLachlan's comment that appeared in Dirk Perrefort's article on the state of the city address which was published on the News-Times' website on 12/19/08 at 6:31 PM.
He [McLachlan] said he's asked for opinions from the city's and the state's ethics commissions on the matter.

"I don't anticipate any conflict but we are looking at it carefully to make sure it will be acceptable," he said.

Perrefort was at Boughton's address (in fact, he stood right next to me) so it's quite logical to assume that he received this quote from McLachlan after the Boughton did his address.

I think you get the point when it comes to the puzzlement in McLahclan and Boughton waiting until the last minute to inquire into this appointment so lets move on with the Weekly's piece.
As for the Danbury Board of Ethics: As of press time, chairman Arthur Mannion had not issued an opinion, but didn't think there would be a conflict "because it wasn't a money issue, referring to conflicts between public duty and private purses."

...and here is where the rabbit hole gets deeper.
Adding to the intrigue, Mannion is an area lawyer who serves on the Republican State Central Committee as co-chairman for the 24th District. His co-chair is Michael McLachlan. The man who could clear McLachlan on behalf of the City of Danbury has worked side-by-side with him for partisan goals.

Isn't this another conflict of interest?

YES...and it gets EVEN WORSE.
Les Pinter, Corporation Counsel for the City of Danbury, says that "only an officer or employee of the city who has a potential conflict can raise the issue" of McLachlan's closeness to Mannion. "That is not likely to happen. Either of them would have to recuse themselves."

Remember that point where I stated that McLachlan confirmed that he received the email AFTER the mayor's speech...
McLachlan tells us, "I knew there was no conflict of interest beforehand, as I studied law and consulted with my lawyers. I just wanted an official response from the state. And I received their decision before the mayor announced his decision."

Actually, the e-mail from the State Office of Ethics says McLachlan confirmed his receipt of the message at 4:30 p.m.; the mayor's speech was at 12:30.

From my memory, around 12:10 to about the start of the speech, McLachlan was busy handing out gathering and handing out the transcripts of Boughton's speech to the press. Again, I stood next to the reporter from the News-Times and you can see McLachlan work the room with the transcripts as well as see him give me a copy of the speech clearly in my video footage (which was timestamped).
The Weekly article ends on this note:
When asked if his closeness to Mannion was a concern, McLachlan simply answered, "No."

McLachlan has served many years on the State Central Committee, and serving as senator simultaneously is allowed. The day after I spoke with him, though, he tendered his resignation.

ITEM 3: Boughton's ever-evolving story

Lets take a look at the development of Boughton's statement in regards to McLachlan, Wayne Sheppard, as well as someone whose name never came up in his state of the city address.

It's easier if I do a bullet list:
  • FIRST, McLachlan and Boughton stated that Mike would resign as chief of staff because of "obvious conflicts of interest that would develop in serving their different constituencies."

  • THEN after the election, while Boughton stresses the economy as a major issue for Danbury in 2009, he changes the position of Director of Economic Development from a full time to part-time, 15 hour per week position (which at 41 dollars per hour amounts to 30,750.00 annually) and appoints McLachlan to take over that role (although he's a State Senator for the 24th District which includes areas which will reply on McLachlan in terms of economic development...such as Bethel).

    From the 2009 State of the City address:
    Over the years as mayor, I have been blessed with a great staff. This year! am sad to lose Michael McLachlan. Mike has done an outstanding job as chief of staff. Mike is moving on to be the next State Senator from the 24th District and will be moving on to a different role for the City of Danbury.

    Today I am proud to announce that Wayne Shepperd, our current Director of Economic Development will assume the role of chief of staff. I am excited to work with Wayne. He has been a mentor to me (as to most of you in the room) over the years and he will do a terrific job.

    Michael McLachlan will move to Wayne's position as the new Director of Economic Development. The position will be reduced to 15 hours per week. I honored and excited that Mike has agreed to take on this new role for Danbury. He brings an incredible amount of knowledge and skill to Danbury.

    Congratulations to both Michael and Wayne.

    This is ALL Boughton stated about McLachlan and Sheppard's changing of chairs.

  • It was only until directly questioned by Eugene Driscoll for an article that was published on the 26th of December, were we told this NEW piece of important information from the last honest man in Danbury:
    During his time as economic development director, Shepperd had a hand in bringing the Nutmeg Games, the Connecticut Film Festival and the American Junior Golf Association Championship to Danbury.

    He was also involved in discussions throughout the year as the city lobbied to bring Pepsico from Somers, N.Y., to Danbury. The cola giant has not announced a decision as to whether they will renew a lease on property it rents in Somers.

    How is a part-time director going to get things done in just 15 hours a week?

    Boughton said the plan is to have Shepperd still be involved in economic development issues.

    An unspecified portion of chief of staff duties will be given to Ted Cutsumpas, who works in the Mayor's Office as community services coordinator, Boughton said, so that Shepperd can continue to play a role in economic development.

    Hmm...so ALMOST A WEEK AFTER THE STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS (when Boughton first announced McLachlan and Sheppard's new roles), we NOW learn that Ted will be assuming some of the chief of staff responsibilities AND Sheppard still being "involved" in economic development issues.


Are you following this?

You would think something as involved as this would have been explained when Boughton brought up the new appointments during the state of the city address...as opposed to revealing this point only after being questioned about his decision to reduce the position of Director of Economic Development to a part-time position...right?
...and then there's Boughton's defensive remarks posted on his site which came AFTER the News-Times blistering editorial...which came a day after Driscoll's article on the 26th. Again, why the details after the fact as opposed to fully explaining the re-shuffling during the State of the City address?

ITEM 4: The Response

Recently, the Democratic Common Council caucus sent a letter to Mayor Boughton that echoed the questions raised in news reports.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD



In short, in his new role as Director of Economic Development for the city of Danbury, by the definition of his new responsibility at City Hall, when it comes to the providing state assistance in regards to expanding a municipality's economic base, Mike McLachlan there will always be a question on whether or not the new State Senator will work in best interest of his constituents in the 24th district. At the very least, McLachlan and Boughton should have been more straight forward with voters in the 24th district about the possibility of MacLachlan still working for the city of Danbry if elected State Senator.

Giving Halas the thumbs down


Time: 4:15 PM

Halas_Header

When it comes to opposition towards Mike "Danbury rules and regulations don't apply to me" Halas' appointment to the Common Council, this comment I received from a resident in the 2nd ward nails it. As someone who was present during the now infamous Zoning Commission meeting when Halas acted like a juvenile thug-like bully, I'm in complete agreement with this writer's sentiment.
As a resident of the district Mr. Halas is set to represent, I, for one do not want him.

At no time during the on again, off again fight with the developers of Coltswold, did Mr. Halas participate in the process. He did not attend the many meetings before the EIC to question the developers as to their plans.

This was and remains the most impactful issue facing our district.
Shouldn't the person who sits on the Common Council be a person with a record of civic concern?

Participation in various charitable and sport organizations are certainly noteworthy civic endeavors. However, the Common Council is not concerned with charity BUT is charged with the fair representation of the citys residents.

I was present at the Zoning meeting previously mentioned. Mr. Halas represented himself as a man who felt he had a right to an exception to the rules of laws in effect in Danbury due to his charitable work.

He was demeaning and rude to citizens who were there to speak of their concerns regarding his unlawful changes and plans to the property location in their district.
The very district Mr. Halas is slated to represent on the Common Council.

How could he possible represent this district fairly? He does not believe in the laws of the City of Danbury,and he has verbally attacked citizens of the district when they voiced their concerns.

Can he represent me? I do not believe he will.

More to come...

Bonehead quote of the day

Monday, February 02, 2009
Time: 9:58 PM

This is TOO easy...
Boughton questioned why council Democrats didn't object in the past when Lew Wallace, a Democrat, served as a state representative and as an administrator in the water department.

"Nobody who was on the council then, who is still on the council now, objected at the time," he said. "This is not unprecedented."

Nice try Mark but your quote doesn't hold water. There is a HELL of a lot of difference between Lew Wallace working for the water department AND Mike McLachlan working BOTH as Director of Economic Development for the City AND being State Senator.
  • With the current economic climate, it makes NO SENSE to reduce this position from full-time to part-time just to hook-up McLachlan...someone who took a HUGE paycut in stepping down as Chief of Staff in order to be State Senator (hmm...I smell another Boughton classic Quid pro quo).

  • Unlike Wallace, McLachlan is in a position as State Senator where he could use his position at the State Capitol to vote on legislation that would benefit his role in the city...this is a DIRECT conflict of interest.

  • As the News-Times correctly pointed out, during the campaign season, Boughton and McLachlan stated that Mike would step down as chief of staff because of the obvious conflict of interest that would rise with McLachlan being state senator. Mike role as director of economic development is no different...in fact it's worse and if Boughton and McLahclan would have disclosed this nugget of info during the campaign season, it's very possible that Mclachlan would have lost the election.

I could go on and on but you get the idea.

As a bonus, lets look at McLachlan's boneheaded comment in the article:
McLachlan said the argument being forwarded by the council Democrats "doesn't hold water."

"Obviously they haven't read the opinions," he said. "Clearly there is no conflict here."

THIS IS A COMPLETE LIE!!!

Here's what the spokesperson for the State Ethics board said:
She added that the commission's decision didn't address whether McLachlan could vote on legislation that would bring economic development dollars to the city.

"He might want to check with our office, just in case," Trimble said.

In other words...THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR CONFLICT which is much different than
there is no conflict."

BTW: You notice how both Boughton and McLachlan to this day NEVER address the fact that they BOTH mislead the public during the campaign when it comes to the topic of conflict of interest and holding a high level position at City Hall AND being State Senator?

Again, from the 12/29/08 News-Times editorial:
During the campaign, McLachlan and Boughton said McLachlan, if elected, would no longer serve on the mayor's staff because of obvious conflicts of interest that would develop in serving their different constituencies.


We're STILL waiting on Boughton and McLachlan to explain how his new role at City Hall doesn't apply to the above statement both he and Boughton made during the campaign.

...don't hold your breath.

For more on McLachlan/Boughton's dishonesty, please read my previous post and the Fairfield Weekly in-depth piece on this subject.

COMING TOMORROW: The case against Mike Halas for Common Council


Time: 5:01 PM

Halas_Header

Sorry about the lack of posts but I've been very, very busy working on my story tomorrow on the case AGAINST Mike "Danbury rules and regulations don't apply to me" Halas' appointment to the Common Council.

More tomorrow...

State Rep Godfrey to appear on Connecticut Newsmakers

Sunday, February 01, 2009
Time: 1:48 PM

post bump to top with updates

UPDATE: 02.01.09: Here's the video...




State Rep Bob Godfrey's office issued the following statement:
State Representative Bob Godfrey (D-Danbury) will appear on Sunday’s episode of the NBC 30 weekly political news program “Connecticut Newsmakers” to discuss probate court reform legislation that he introduced last week in the General Assembly.

Godfrey filed the legislation with the goal of making the probate court system more efficient and addressing its fiscal problems. He will appear on the program alongside Probate Court Administrator Paul Knierim, who is also advocating for the legislation.

The episode airs Sunday on NBC 30 at 6:30 a.m. It will repeat later that same evening on the Connecticut Network around 9:10 p.m.

© 2013 Hat City Blog | READ, WATCH, AND LEARN.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
PEOPLE-POWERED MEDIA.

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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MAYOR BOUGHTON'S DEPOSITION

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MIKE McLACHLAN (then MAYOR CHIEF OF STAFF) DEPOSITION

Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

(02.25.08) Court docket

(10.24.07) Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Emergency Motion for Protective Order

(09.26.07) Press Release

(12.14.06) Complaint


Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436
(D. Conn. filed Sept. 26, 2007)

(02.25.08) Court Docket

Amended complaint

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss State Law Claims

Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Defendants' Answer to Amended Complaint

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Immigrant's 2006 arrest was flawed Danbury mayor testifies

(10.05.07 (VIDEO) Boughton mislead the public about Danbury's involvement in raid

(09.18.07) Yale Law Students expose Danbury involvement in raid

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Interview with Yale Law Students at FOI presser

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 FOI complaint media roundup

City Clerk Jean Natale standing next to skinhead sparks outrage

(10.03.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 rally

(09.29.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 case deepens

Word of raid spread across the country

(09/29/06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 protest news conference

(09/29/06) Immigrant newspaper "El Canillita" gives best account of ICE day labor raid at Kennedy Park


Politics_Over_People
View Boughton's campaign finance statements from 2001-present (COMING SOON)

When questioned, Boughton fails to address the issue of anti-immigrant racism in Danbury

City admits mistakes in firefighter lawsuit, taxpayers forced to pay 450K settlement, and Boughton offers no comment, no details of accountability

READ allegations of wrongdoing by Boughton filed by the plaintiffs

Boughton misleads public about World Cup games "spontaneous" celebrations for FOUR years

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MARK BOUGHTON'S TICKING TIME BOMB

DOWNLOAD AND ANALYZE MARK BOUGHTON'S ELECTION AND PAC FINANCE REPORTS

Why won't Boughton give back Galante money?

Boughton contributor goes to jail

Fairfield Weekly questions Boughton's honesty

Hatrford Courant's Stan Smith not believing Boughton

Connecting the dots

Boughton-Galante connection established


APPEAL HEARING: 10/21/14 @ 09:30 AM

Directions to Litchfield Court House

Decision Day: GUILTY!

Day Ten: Moving forward

Day Nine: DNA

Day Eight: The seven trillion dollar man

Day Seven: Jury Trial

Day Six: Motions denied

Day Five: Endless subpoenas and bizarre motions to dismiss

Day Three/Four: He's competent!

Day Two: Excuses, excuses

Day One: Strange behavior, disturbing arrest warrant affidavit

McGowan arrested, charged with first-degree sexual assault


Read the full report on
the gross incompetence of
City Clerk Jean Natale

Watch Jean Natale's misleading, questionable, and outrageous testimony in front of the charter revision commission

Natale moonlighting during City Hall business hours

Republcian Common Council member claim City Clerk of being "racially motivated" in the Hispanic Center ad-hoc committee case

Danbury News-Times editorial criticizes City Clerk "racially motivated" involvement in Hispanic Center ad-hoc committee case

Photo of City Clerk standing next to skinhead holding anti-immigrant death threat sign

Public complains that the City Clerk is never available in her office / spends most of her time in the Registrar of Voters office

City Clerk confronts and yells at her critics at City Hall

Transcript of Minority Leader Tom Saadi criticizing Jean Natale's performance.

Freedom of Informaiton ruling on a complaint filed against Jean Natale.


Elise_Deer Highlighting the disturbing mind of a hate group leader and her xenophobic followers...

Exposing lies from Marciano regarding death threat made against yours truly

VIDEO: Marcaino shows her anti-Muslim side

I'm an AMERICAN!!!!!

MORE TO COME!!!

TOM "Big(o)T BENNETT HAS ONLY HIMSELF
TO BLAME



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Screen shot 2009-11-30 at 5.12.04 PM 2010 CTTF: Common Council debate

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