The Connecticut legislature is tasked with drawing up legislative districts this year. As part of that process, they are holding 6 public hearings, the first of which was to be Thursday June 30, however it has been postponed. The reason being, the legislature is being called back for a special session. In a slow moving domino series, Governor Malloy punted on the budget anticipating union concessions. The unions, due to some weird Wiecker era, weighted voting, didn’t quite meet the 80% rule, and so no deal on the union concessions.
An aside, what is wrong with this country where a simple majority 50% plus 1 doesn’t mean anything anymore? From California to Congress, we have an antipathy to allowing votes mean anything. Which makes drawing all those legislative districts very important, they should be competitive not favoring a party or incumbent.
Which is why Norwalk should have legislative districts that represent Norwalk, not being split with Darien and Wilton. But back to the hearings.
Church Open House and Cemetery Tour, St. Paul’s on the Green, 60 East Avenue
A tour of the burial sites of interesting Norwalk women and men from the Revolutionary War era is one of the highlights of the Independence Day celebration organized by the Norwalk Historical Society. From 12:00-1:30 p.m. on Monday, July 4, St. Paul’s on the Green, the oldest same-site organization in Norwalk, will host an open house that includes a tour of the church cemetery. The current church at 60 East Avenue is the fourth structure built on that site since its beginnings in 1737.
Historian Madeleine Eckert, who is a member of the Norwalk Historical Society board and a member of the Norwalk-Village Green Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, says, “Among the fascinating people buried in this cemetery are Connecticut’s first licensed privateer (pirate) of the American Revolution. Attendees also will hear the story of a soldier killed in the Battle of White Plains in October 1776. His body was brought home 50 miles to Norwalk under a heavy guard that fought Tories all the way.”
“It’s taken us weeks to extract information from our financial system,” said Craig D. Drezek, director of administrative services for Norwalk Public Schools. Extracting information “from each department and each human being who oversees this to find out what was happening in their department, so we can add it to the (city’s accounting) system and then we can analyze what’s truly going on.”
But let’s follow this through, is MUNIS any better? MUNIS is the City of Norwalk’s accounting system that renders such mundane issues of what the status of a check request to a vague pointing at a pile of carbonless forms. It’s 2011. Modern accounting systems can actually present interfaces to city employees that empower them to track payments, categorize them and create spreadsheets on the fly.
I don’t think there is any department immune from the startling lack of easy access to financial data. The basic management tenet is that you can’t manage what you don’t know. And right now, neither the BOE, nor the City departments know their financial status to any level of detail.
When the city can’t answer how much it has spent on a park, street or program by looking at a custom real time data report, the only thing left to say is that the accounting system is broken.
Hartford – State Senator Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and Representative Lawrence Cafero (R-Norwalk) today issued the following statement on the future of the Norwalk Department of Children and Families (DCF) office after meeting with Commissioner Joette Katz:
“Earlier this week, we met with Commissioner Katz to discuss the fate of the Norwalk DCF office. This past December, the department announced that the Norwalk office would be merged with operations in Bridgeport in the second-half of 2011—a cause for serious concern not only over how the local caseload would be managed but also about how agency functions in regards to family and youth issues in Norwalk and neighboring communities would be impacted.
“”We had a meaningful exchange of ideas at our meeting with Commissioner Katz, and we are encouraged by the commitment she displayed toward making sure our concerns are realized. We are also extremely pleased to report that the Commissioner offered her assurance that DCF will continue to have a presence in Norwalk.
We fully recognize and support efforts to reduce cost and find efficiencies in DCF operations. However, closing this office completely would not be good the children and families, and would not be good for DCF. While operations may be moved to a different location, we’re thankful for the commissioner’s honest assessment of the situation and her commitment to maintain that Norwalk presence.
“We appreciate Commissioner Katz taking the time to meet with us, and we will continue to work with her and her department to find solutions that save money while maintaining critical services for children in Norwalk.”
Figures Stamford has council peeps that get that meetings should be video recorded and put online.
A Republican city representative has introduced legislation that would require several Stamford elected boards to make digital video recordings of all meetings available on the city website.
The ordinance would apply to the Board of Representatives, the Board of Finance and the Board of Education. The Board of Representatives already provides video recordings of all board and committee meetings on its website.
The author of the proposed legislation, city Rep. Scott Mirkin, R-13, said it would help Stamford residents engage with city government while bringing elected boards into line with the standard of technology available.
Stew Leonard’s Named to Best Places to Work in Connecticut 2011
by Hartford Business Journal
NORWALK, Conn., Jan. 6, 2011 – Family-owned and operated fresh food grocer Stew Leonard’s has been named as one of the Best Places to Work in Connecticut 2011 by the Hartford Business Journal and Best Companies Group. Stew Leonard’s, which began as a small dairy store founded in Norwalk, Conn. in 1969 with just seven employees, has grown to become a nearly $400 million dollar business with more than 2,500 Team Members across four stores, three of which are in Connecticut.
Sjur Solang is upset about the condition of the parking lot in front of his store Ninety Nine Bottles. The thing is, the City of Norwalk has been trying to get property owners to buy the lot from the City since 2006 because it costs money to keep up the lot. The lot has been passed around city departments for years since then. When the City created the Norwalk Parking Authority in 2002, the lot was assigned to the Parking Authority. But even they weren’t interested in keeping it as a potential revenue source. The Norwalk Parking Authority decommissioned the lot from its inventory in early 2009 as part of budget cuts.
Mercury is one of those liquids that is actually a metal and when exposed to air just kind of lies there in a silvery puddle. Scientists would say mass, but that’s just a technicality. So holy Silver Surfer, the braniacs at Norwalk’s cross street medical complex called the DEP. WTNH reports:
Norwalk, Conn. (WTNH) – The DEP is responding to a mercury spill at a medical office on Cross Street in Norwalk.
Sometime overnight a blood pressure cuff broke, but the spill was detected until Noon. There were about 25 patients in the office at the time who had to be decontaminated.
There’s also dozens of other workers in the building who will also need to be decontaminated.
The DEP tells News 8 that they plan on being on scene for a good portion of the evening
During last year’s search for a superintendent, I wrote a column in which I discussed the Board of Education’s ability to hire and fire superintendents, and its inability to constructively work with them.
Unfortunately, the recent decision to table for 36 hours a vote on a contract for a new chief operating officer indicates the board has yet to develop a collaborative working relationship with the school system’s new boss. Briefly, here’s what happened: Continue reading →