Public Barred From City Hall Offices

Paul Bass PhotoCity Hall’s Public Information Office is now off-limits to the public.

The office is one of many mayoral appointees’ work spaces located in a wing on City Hall’s second floor. A sign went up on that door Monday stating that only people with keycards may enter the area.

Mayoral aide Patti Lawlor said she put up the sign and locked the door at the order of Jackie James, the Harp administration’s new temporary deputy community services administrator.

James claimed she acted out of security concerns.

“Too many people were roaming” through the suite of offices, she told the Independent. “Stuff was getting stolen. People’s pocketbooks were stolen. The staff came to me and say they didn’t feel safe.” She said the city’s prison re-entry initiative has moved to the first floor, which is open to the public.

Several years back the DeStefano administration temporarily locked the entry door to the area after receiving threats from opponents of the then-new immigrant-friendly city ID card. Days later, the administration changed its mind and reopened the area to the public.

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posted by: mrsvenable on January 14, 2014  3:46pm

Would be nice if they spelled “access” correctly.

posted by: Gauss on January 14, 2014  3:53pm

This just gets better and better…

posted by: anonymous on January 14, 2014  3:59pm

This is absurd.  My guess is that Ms. James just doesn’t want the reporters walking in and snooping on her behind-closed-door meetings with DTC and Local 34/35 insiders who call all the shots.

posted by: 32knot on January 14, 2014  4:02pm

What kind of “secret” information is being kept from the public??  is there national security or even state secuity data being protected??  i can’t think of city data that needs to be protected from the public besides personel records.

Since when does a temporary deputy anything give orders or direction to “secure” public spaces in city hall. if bags or other personal items are at risk buy some lockers for the folks so they can lock up their stuff. Public access to City Hall is a lot more important than our newly elected administration seems to think!!!

We are applauding, (in some sectors) the guy who leaked national secrets and at the local level are doing our level best to keep information from the public!!!!

posted by: cedarhillresident! on January 14, 2014  4:07pm

What we need to know is Harp OK with this?

And we still have not found our what if anything she is going to do about the smart gag order.

She is the Mayor and the people want to know!

posted by: TheMadcap on January 14, 2014  4:15pm

This has been a spectacular first two weeks of the new administration. In the course of one week they’ve tried to lock the public out of the Hall of Records and now the Public Information office at city hall.

posted by: inGodwetrust on January 14, 2014  4:16pm

What about other city workers who do need access. Did anybody think about that.

posted by: Bill Saunders on January 14, 2014  4:17pm

What are they really scared of?

posted by: thebestisyettocome on January 14, 2014  4:26pm

Wow was this reported to the NHPD about the pocketbooks being stolen.

posted by: Westville voter on January 14, 2014  4:58pm

Can we please have just one day when the Harp administration doesn’t do something to make me embarrassed to live here? Is that really too much to ask? It would all be laughable if it were not ultimately so destructive to this city.

posted by: David S Baker on January 14, 2014  5:02pm

Was this access control system already in the building?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 14, 2014  5:04pm

This is what happens when you keep voting them in.

posted by: robn on January 14, 2014  5:22pm

I’m speechles

posted by: state st on January 14, 2014  5:52pm

This is the typical"this is my sandbox” mentality.I did not support this administration from the get go for the fear of everything that has happened this week happening .

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on January 14, 2014  6:06pm

robn wins.

posted by: owlmanatt on January 14, 2014  6:55pm

I don’t go to city hall often - I’m genuinely curious: if this was just office space, why was it open to the public in the first place?

posted by: jim1 on January 14, 2014  6:59pm

To bad they don’t put this sign up on the tax office.. If things go missing it’s your fault for not putting them in a safe place.

When does the sign go up on the mayor’s door??

posted by: getyourfactstraight on January 14, 2014  7:05pm

Former Mayor Daniels and his administration is actually starting to look better and better. The way things are going there should be a law banning any state senator from running for mayor within the City of New Haven.
PS Love the spelling on the notice!

posted by: Charl on January 14, 2014  8:02pm

If you have a problem with this, then you are an agist, racist, sexist.

Please do not censor my comments!

posted by: Bill Saunders on January 14, 2014  8:06pm


It was the taxpayers pocketbooks that were being stolen. 
NHPD was complicit.

posted by: Bill Saunders on January 14, 2014  8:13pm

So, the Yale Hoax was just a drill to lock down City Hall????

posted by: OccupyTheClassroom on January 14, 2014  9:05pm

Gonna have to come out of semi-retirement, I guess.

posted by: beyonddiscussion on January 14, 2014  9:20pm

There is no question that these doors should be open to the public, as should all city offices.
I hope this ill-advised sign is removed immediately.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on January 14, 2014  9:41pm

Mr Gorbachev, I mean, Ms. Jackie James, tear down that wall!
I think it is time for Mayor Harp to have a meeting with her staff and inform them about this “noble” piece of paper called the Constitution of the United States.
Better yet, I call on every citizen of New Haven to send copies of the U.S.Constitution to City Town clerk Michael Smart and Ms. Jackie James and anyone else at city hall who might be inclined to trample on the peoples’ rights to remind them of our civil rights! Flood city hall with copies of the constitution to send a loud and clear message that we will not tolerate this nonsense!
My advice to Mayor Toni Harp: check these people before the wreck you! Do not sit in silence and allow the Constitution and the peoples’ rights to open, transparent government be denied. Lock the people out today, you will be locked out tomorrow!

posted by: Guido Brunetti on January 14, 2014  11:38pm

Stunningly disturbing. I know employees who work there and no one was informed about pocketbook thefts. You would think that concern for staff security would have generated an email warning them to secure their personal effects.

posted by: Art Vandelay on January 15, 2014  1:16am

The voters of New Haven got what they deserve.  It’s only going to get better.

posted by: outspoken on January 15, 2014  8:29am

I was apposed to the two year term for the Mayor, thinking it too short.  I am starting to like it now.

posted by: JMS on January 15, 2014  9:11am

I told you so.

(My new default post for all forthcoming stories about Harp administration shenanigans)

posted by: Guido Brunetti on January 15, 2014  11:06am

When asked by New Haven Register “Have the thefts been reported to the police?” James responded “I have no idea”.

posted by: inGodwetrust on January 15, 2014  12:08pm

She said she have no idea. But she told nhi that stuff was getting stolen and the staff came to her. Now with her handling that situation why wouldn’t you report it. SECURITY.