Comments made out of context
Mayor Rossi likes to talk about deficits in my office. But like a true CPA she only looks at a bottom line number and has not put the deficit in context. For anyone to say that deficits in the City Clerk’s office is from mismanagement is simply lying.
Here is the context of deficits: There is only one line item that has been over budget every year for the past 10 years and that is the account that elections are paid from.
As City Clerk, I do not have the power to cancel an election.
In some years, there are special primaries, town elections in the spring and in the fall there are primaries and general elections. In this budget year we just started, both the Democrats and Republicans will be having primaries in September. In November, there will be a general election city-wide. In the spring, there will be a Presidential Primary.
I have consistently gone before the City Council to ask to properly fund the election account only to have it flat funded or even cut over the years.
My office provides all the paper ballots that are put through the electronic voting machines for every district no matter if it’s a primary, local election, governor’s race or Presidential election. The total number of ballots necessary is decided with recommendations from the Secretary of State’s Office. In the last presidential election alone, we had to order more than 20,000 ballots for a city-wide election.
My office also has to provide all the envelopes and paper materials that make up an absentee ballot. We provide all the memory cards that go into the electronic voting ma- chines.
So, the next time the mayor mentions a deficit in my office, ask her for all the details and get the whole story not just her highlights.
City Clerk Debbie Collins
Candidate for Mayor
Republican primaries have been non-existent for over the past decade in West Haven. As a result, the party’s exposure around town was virtually depleted. A Republican primary to invigorate the base has been long overdue and finally the opportunity has presented itself. It is critical that registered Republicans in West Haven all show up to vote and in- sure that they send the most qualified candidate to face the nominated Democrat in November’s general election. Michele Gregorio should be their choice.
I’ve known Michele for over a decade, she has been deeply involved with the Republicans and with city government in general. Her most recent role was Vice-Chairman on West Haven’s Board of Finance, and as a result she has an extremely deep understanding of the city’s complex budget and has identified numerous areas where we can implement efficiencies in the city’s operations and get spending under control.
She understands that in order to move West Haven forward we desperately need economic development and has a path to accomplish that. To attract developers and investors here we need to get our finances in order, get out from under state oversight, and put an end to the political infighting that has given our great city a negative reputation among outsiders. In addition, her educational and professional backgrounds are unparalleled when compared to the other mayoral candidates. She holds bachelor’s degree from NYU and an extensive professional career in corporate finance/ac- counting.
As a mayoral candidate, Michele will run an above the bar, respectful campaign that will insure we have a constructive, focused, and meaningful dialogue in the general election with her Democratic opponent. She has proven in the past she is not afraid to challenge her opposition, as was displayed in her 2018 campaign for the state Senate 14th District seat. Her message is much more palpable to all voters as opposed to “Democrats are bad, and everything is their fault.”
In 2011, the West Haven Republican party had a solid campaign strategy which would have gained a few seats on City Council and other elected positions. The mayoral candidate at the top of that ticket was Steve Mullins. Mr. Mullins went rogue towards the end of the campaign with press releases that were negative in tone and made unfounded accusations against the sitting administration. This caused backlash against the party externally and deep divide internally. The optics were lamentable and voter turnout and poll results showed it. As a candidate for the 8th district during that election I saw first-hand the damage caused. Yes, it’s true that Steve’s involvement with the city has been extensive and is commendable, but we need a candidate that is collaborative, articulate, and strategic in their approach. Vote for Michele Gregorio
CRC revisions need full review
While I appreciate the time and effort applied to the process by the CRC it doesn’t necessarily mean the recommendations are good ones – certainly not all of their recommendations. It would seem to me that because WH has found itself in a fiscal crisis twice in 30 years it is certainly reason to spend the time to identify what changes are necessary to improve. That process works for cities, business and individuals. What has me scratching my head is the very leadership group you deride in your editorial is the very group the CRC recommendations suggest we should now put in charge of West Haven, starting with the decision of who should be hired as City Manager.
I’m not quite sure how the City Council of FY15 – FY18 got such a pass, while the mayor was summarily shown the door! Regardless, it’s a bit of “Alice in Wonderland” thinking (upside down) to now recommend the leadership group (city council FY15- FY18) responsible (along with the previous Mayor) should be rewarded by putting them in charge!?! I know people will think well – I thought the buck stops with this new City Manager position – not so. It starts and stops with the City Council who’ll have the power to hire, manage and fire the CM. And all that’s required to secure the majority position on the council is 7 votes (of 13). In another like City (only like City) the City Council went to great lengths to fire the City Manager (after having just voted him a 2% raise and contract extension) because he apparently called out their Dir of Fin. for using City money to pay for employee massages. And we thought we were the only City with that kind of drama.
In conclusion, regardless of what one thinks about the recommendations and the City Council response thus far – you would have to agree that you really want the public/voters to understand what they’re being asked to vote on. And whether or not the CRC is “ready” for it to go to a vote – I sincerely don’t think the citizens of West Haven are. I think the only truly appropriate and yes logical choice is to plan to have these recommendations go to a public referendum in April – when there is a special election (Presidential Preference) already on the docket – wouldn’t you agree?