How’re things, honeybunch? Things in these parts never cease to amaze or surprise. Jest when yew think things are calming down, another whatever pops up to make things interesting. Setch it was over this past week or so. Of course, those who wished that Ole Man Winter would beat an early exit as we are now in March are getting what happens every year around here.
The cold and the wind are jest not gonna stop until Long Island Sound gits warmer, and around these parts that’s not until late April or early May. Cobina’s got the heating bills to prove it. As yew remember March “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” is the aphorism we all learned as kids. Well, not around here, still gonna be cold.
Meanwhile, in the Asylum by the Sea, the mavens of the Actors Colony were rocked by the news that Finance Director Frank Cieplinski was summarily ousted from his position, and a new suck..person to take his place. The whys and wherefores of what was euphemistically called Cieplinski’s “departure” are unknown, but people can make a perty good guess. Still, one wonders if a change o’ personnel is what’s needed.
Sammy Bluejay has been saying for weeks that people around the Actors Colony are saying under their breaths the culture in City Hall has to change regarding purchases, credit cards, and getting things done in a timely manner. This has been a decades-old problem, and one o’ the reasons many people hate to do business with the city.
Now, the story out there is that Cieplinski didn’t folly procedures. What procedures? That’s been the problem. Instead of firing – and that’s what this was – the Finance Director, maybe a few firings should happen of the people running departments that don’t folly procedure. It’s been a longstanding complaint within and without the Actors Colony, yet here we are again.
Cieplinski was supposed to be the second coming of J.P. Morgan when he was given the job, but like many before him, trying to cut through the culture of City Hall was a hurdle too high. Even the MARB was getting frustrated with the way things are handled there.
But whattaya think the chances are that department heads or middle managers will get the axe effen they don’t folly procedures? Yeah, me too.
This comes on the heels of the ARPA misuse scandal, and I told yew months ago that this was gonna be a case of the Finance Director getting axed somewhere along the line. They’re gonna say he should’ve seen the irregular requisitions for federal dollars – maybe so, but we’ve seen these things happen before. It takes a while before it gets to that particular desk, so some underlings maybe should be exposed as well, no? Fat chance of that happening.
So, now we have a new person, Scott Jackson, who’s gonna be the greatest thing since Bernard Baruch. We shall see. Effen we see new procedures enforced or people put on the unemployment line, we’ll believe it. Until then, it’s just another face trying to deal with the same old, same old. Meanwhile, Sammy will be perched nearby keeping a weather eye peeled.
Speaking of the scandal, we see that Michael DiMassa was in fed’ral court last week, and pled “not guilty” to the charges. One doesn’t know how this is gonna turn out, though we can guess. Yet, Cobina is still sick at heart over this. So much promise, so much going for him, and then this. It makes ya lose faith in human nature sometimes. Again, he ain’t been convicted of anything, and we’re sure other things will come out as we move to trial, but we hate to see young people in setch a fix. Maybe it’s a sign of age. After all, we’ve been doing these letters for about half a century.
Of course, Nelly Nuthatch was perched outside the meeting last week at the high school, concerning the disbursement of the ARPA funds. It was the last confab in which the public was gonna have input, though I hear that one or two organizations are having confabs about it as well. Once actually called the office lookin’ for info. It sometimes amazes Cobina how unplugged these organizations can be.
Tennyrate, the new committee set up to review the fundings and the City Council will have their hands full. As we pernted out in the previous isshew, there are restrictions on the money, but within those restrictions can be a lotta wiggle room for the cities. Keep yore eyes on things, cuz now that the palaver is over, the real nuts and bolts of what will happen to the money will take place.
It’ll be interesting to see who has influence, what the plans are, and how many actual projects or disbursements are made. Remember, the school system got its own pile o’ funny money, the pile the city got is over and above that.
Now that we’re into March, things are really gonna be crankin’ up in the thoid floor as the deadline approaches for the mayor’s annual budget confab. That is where all the wish lists and all the suggestions and all the talk is put down on paper in an actual budget for the new fiscal year, beginning July 1. It’s the first year the city won’t git any money from the state to help balance things – though the thoid floor will pernt out that last year’s budget didn’t plan any state money in its spending or revenue plans.
As yew remember, once the mayor makes her proposal, the thing goes to public hearing, usually at the high school, and then the City Council has a six-week review of the budget to see where things can be tweaked or if tweaking is necessary.
Remember, in order to make changes in the budget, the council has to have a super-majority of nine of 13 in order to approve the change. That has been a high hurdle over the years, but lately, not so much. Last year, the council made a couple o’ alterations that seemed to have the agreement of most.
One wonders if the GOP will offer an alternative plan. That used to be a regular feature of the six-week review period, but has fallen off the radar over the last few years. Maybe it’ll make a comeback.
Needless to say, with the proposal nearing announcement, we’ll have plenty to talk about over the next lit’le while.
Iva Lootey was over t’other afternoon and sez that one thing he’s lookin’ at is how the new budget is gonna affeck the Police contrack negotiations. Effen yew remember from the last two issues of the papyrus, the lack of a standard pension and medical benefits has decimated the WHPD to the pernt it’s understaffed with the loss of seven more personnel.
The new awareness of the problems, which was brought up by the Police Commish in January, has made people sit up and take notice of the problem – probably more than has been done in the last decade. Soooo, when the budget comes out, what herronner puts in the expenditure colyume for the constabulary will be looked at carefully.
There are many members of the City Council, including Finance Chairman Bridgette Hoskie and former Council Chairman Ron Quagliani who have been beating the drum about this problem for years, and are hoping now that it’s come to a head, people will get on the right side of the isshew.
We shall see, over the years things that looked like a shoe-in all of a sudden go very cold. We don’t think – and certainly hope – it ain’t the case with this particular problem.
Effen yew saw over in the letters section, Christine Sullivan of the Economic Development Commish has some of the same queries Cobina brought up concerning the Savin Rock Museum. It’s a long letter, and best read over there. She brings up many, many good pernts. We can’t lose part of our heritage, and one of the things that most residents really like about our little corner of the universe.
We shall see.
With that bit o’ chatter, I’ll close this time till next, mitt luff und kizzez,