Blue Ribbon Panel Named

Aldermanic President Carl Goldfield has made his picks for a new panel that will advise the city budgeting process. A resolution creating the 11-member panel was approved in August by the Board of Aldermen with the intent of bringing independent voices to the table. (Click here to read the resolution, here, here and here for background stories.)

The city announced the appointments to the Blue Ribbon Budget Review Panel Wednesday:

“Alds. Charles A. Blango (D-20) and Allan Brison (G-10) will represent the Board of Aldermen on the panel. They will be joined by City Controller Mark Pietrosimone, and City Budget Director Lawrence Rusconi. The City’s finance department will provide support staff and necessary resources to the group. The panel which will provide periodic reports to the Board of Aldermen is slated to produce a final report before June 30, 2009.

“The Citizen Panelists are – David Cameron – a Yale University Professor.
Timothy Holahan- a small business owner and computer consultant.
Andrew Boone -a financial services professional at U.B.S.
H. Richter Elser – the acting general manager of the Quinnipiack Club.
Christine Bishop- an Information Technology Project Manager at United Health Group.
Douglas Hausladen- an account executive at Elm Campus Partners real estate company.
Pierette Comulada Silverman – an executive at Planned Parenthood.”

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posted by: W Tell on October 1, 2008  9:30am

Goldfield picked up some apples from just under the political tree.  If I am correct, there are relationships the Independent should identify: son of former Alderman, former Mayoral senior staff, etc.

posted by: seriously? on October 1, 2008  9:56am

Allan Brison and Charlie Blango?  Could Goldfield have picked two worse representatives?  I understand Goldfield wanted to do one person from his team and one from Jorge Perez’s team - but why not Perez himself and one of the smart, competent people on his team like Calder, Lemar, Rhodeen, Sturgis-Pascale or Sandman?

posted by: Outraged on October 1, 2008  10:23am

Another 10 people on the list to get there parking tickets fixed.

posted by: robn on October 1, 2008  10:46am

I’m feeling the sting of excessive taxation like a lot of people in this city, but something we and this panel should consider when examining our budget is the rush to cut homeless shelter funding. I don’t think that NH should be the dorm for people who are outcast from other municipalities, but we can’t really let people die in the cold either.

A fair judgement of one’s character can be made when times are tough ...its also fair to say that this judgement can be based upon how we treat the weakest among us.

posted by: Your Tax Dollars at Work on October 1, 2008  11:25am

Lots of luck!

posted by: Allan Brison on October 1, 2008  12:14pm

While I do not agree with SERIOUSLY? in his assessment of my abilities, I do agree that I would rather have seen Jorge Perez on the panel. Jorge is, after all, a banker with 20 years experience on the Board of Aldermen.

Point of clarification: I was not selected as one of Jorge’s “team” but rather as a member of a minority party. The way the Order to create the panel was written, there had to be 3 non-Dems on the panel. Since there were limited non-Dems nominated on the resident side, it was necessary that one of the Alders selected had to be either Arlene Depino, the only GOP on the Board, or myself, the only Green.

It is too bad that Jorge, arguably the most qualified alder to be on the panel, could not have been the Democratic member.

posted by: politico on October 1, 2008  12:25pm

Can any of these good folks count up to 10 without using there fingers ??????

posted by: jawbone on October 1, 2008  1:38pm

Politico,
What is more important? Being able to count to 10 or spell?  Check your spelling and drop that rock, you might hit your glass house.

posted by: seriously? on October 1, 2008  3:01pm

Lets be honest allan, you worked a lot harder to get elected than you have as an alderman- I made a huge mistake voting for you.  You don’t get anything done and are incapable of changing anything - your a great guy, no doubt, but you will likely sit on this commission and say nothing and add very little to its work.

posted by: same old same old on October 2, 2008  5:38am

We all know the results. This committee will say that next years tax increase is unavoidable, and all Governor Rells fault.

posted by: Bulldog on October 2, 2008  8:36am

Interesting that the Yale professor on the committee is from the political science faculty. With all the world class finance and economics brain power at Yale one would have thought that some of that cerebral muscle power could have been summoned up to help the city out. Tokenism at its best. Those in the know have obviously given up on Johnnie Boy.

posted by: FacChek on October 2, 2008  10:15am

Thursday, October 2, 2008 6:35 AM EDT
By Elizabeth Benton, Register Staff

Goldfield said to the New Haven Register:

“I tried to choose people who I thought were smart and didn’t have an agenda one way or another, who would look at (the budget) with new eyes and would be objective,” said aldermanic President Carl Goldfield, D-29, who appointed the panel.

In August, Goldfield said in a NHI attachment above…. “that the citizens on the panel would probably be chosen based on “recommendations from colleagues.” He said that they would likely be citizens who’ve been active in the budget process already”.

According to one chosen panelist to the NHR:

“Working for a real estate company, Douglas Hausladen said he provides financial models for clients but has no public accounting or budgeting experience”.

Sometime between August and September Goldfield changed his philosophy on who, how and why, he would make his selections.


The complete lack of credibility in Goldfield’s choices lies in his selection of Aldermen Charles Blango. Blango, who recently was rejected by voters for the vacant State Representative seat vacated by Bill Dyson, has served on the finance committee for four of the past five years and has to his personal legacy the credit for recommending and voting acceptance of increases in city fees, fines, parking increases and overall, voting in both the 07/08 and 08/09 budgets to increase taxes by 20 and 14%. Blango has never seen a tax increase he didn’t like. That is precisely the reason he was recently rejected by the voters.

Nevertheless, Goldfield saw fit to make Blango the aldermanic representative to this uninformed panel.

You can be the judge on Goldfield’s flip flop rational.

posted by: Gary Doyens on October 2, 2008  1:32pm

I’ll be very blunt. Nearly all of Goldfield’s choices are a disgrace and an insult to the budget process, to those of us who have labored in the trenches for years urging spending restraint and predicting the very scenario we find ourselves in today. This city is basically broke, overextended and in a dependency category with the State of Connecticut. Goldfield has sat on his hands saying yes to every single tax increase, every fee increase, every single bond and off balance sheet borrowing, every sale of every asset - in short, every single bad decision that brngs us to this point. All he can whine about is PILOT payments like that is some magic bullet. When he has the chance to provide leadership, he provides a rubber mallet with anemic excuses about not being able to do anything but rubberstamp DDD - DeStefano’s Deadly Decisions.

My hopes for this commission were high at one point. It is hard to see how these people with little or no experience in a complicated and non-transperant budget will result in anything substantive - but then again, that was probably Goldfield’s intent.

posted by: Allan Brison on October 2, 2008  8:22pm

Gary, I admit that things are not getting off to a good start. We are at least a month behind and there should have been, in my opinion, more NH-CAN people on the panel, to go along with Tim.

I remain, however, at least for the time being, hopeful that we may be able, with your, Jeffrey’s, Ken’s, and Harry’s help, to make something happen. Perhaps I am naive.

Two points: the panel’s meetings will be open to the public, and the organizational meeting is set for Wed, Oct 22, at 6:30.

posted by: JMS on October 2, 2008  10:15pm

Gary,

Did you submit your name to be a member of this panel?
Just curious.

JMS

posted by: Gary Doyens on October 3, 2008  12:51am

I did not submit my name - I was nominated by members of the BOA.

Allan: Like you, I was hopeful when this was proposed and approved. My expectation was much lower. My expectation was met, my hopes were not. Time will tell. I hope you are right.

posted by: taxedtodeath on October 3, 2008  7:34am

Wow - I really hope that the members of the panel don’t take the same attitude of the writers of these comments.  Yes, this is a long shot (remember at best the results will be in the form of recommendation and in reality we still have a city in the stranglehold of the democratic machine) but let’s give them a chance before declaring failure. 
Since the meetings and the results will be public, I would think there will be an excellent chance to create some transparency which in this electronic age, should help to show us where our money is going and expose some of the waste in our government.  Beyond that, it will become our responsibility to exercise our democractic rights and vote out those who waste city funds.

Good luck to the team.  I look forward (with some fear) to seeing the details in how our expenses are rising at 4X the rate of inflation.

 

posted by: Webblog 1 on October 3, 2008  10:06am

A more reasonable approach to analyzing and providing spending recommendations for the city budget would have been the selection and hiring of an outside independent financial auditing firm.  Aka PERF.

The city currently hires, without bid, the firm of Levitsky & Berney, who audited the city’s finances for the past year ending June 20, 2007.

The problem with Levitsky is that they perform the same type of audit each year and only reports out- the information provided in- by the Finance Department.
Levitsky is in lock step with this procedure and does not request additional information. One would simply have to peruse the 2007 audit report to conclude that this audit is not an independent audit.
The city needs, as Goldfield tried to explain, “fresh new eyes”, and those eyes should be those of a truly independent financial firm, something along the line of the perf investigation.

If the BOA were truly serious about recommendations for change and restructuring of the budget and it’s process, it would not have chosen citizens, who admittedly know little or nothing about the budget, to perform a task they cannot verifiably measure, or provide independent solutions for. Under the current structure the panel will experience directional interference from the finance department and political subterfuge from BOA member, Alderman Blango.

posted by: Alan Felder on October 4, 2008  7:15am

wolfs guarding the hen house. Gray they’re more than a rubber stamp, I’m thinking a printing press.

posted by: JMS on October 4, 2008  8:17am

Gary,

I was not sure what the selection process entailed… just curious. Since the meetings will be public I don’t see why you can’t still involve yourself if you are so inclined. The more people that speak up at these meetings the more representation the public will have. I agree with Taxedtodeath and am not condemning this panel to failure without at least reading about or attending a meeting first to see what they are all about.

JMS

posted by: cedarhillresident on October 4, 2008  7:24pm

JMS

hmmm do you realize that Gary has been at most of the budget meetings for the past few years? He has been one of just a few that tryed to fight for the taxpayers. Gary is one of just a few that has read the budget and even turned in a report to the finance committee on visible cuts. He is one of the original NHCAN members
http://www.nhcan.org/

And yes we have every intention of continuing to fight for the taxpayers.

Take a moment to visit the web site and sign up if you are interested in becoming part of the group.

posted by: cedarhillresident on October 4, 2008  9:50pm

And ps…Carl’s statement to the register was “I tried to choose people who I thought were smart and didn’t have an agenda one way or another” What??? the only agenda here is to help the taxpayers. What other agenda did the other candidates have??? To help the taxpayers and not care about the administration?

posted by: JMS on October 4, 2008  11:32pm

CEDARHILL,

“Do you realize that Gary has been at most of the budget meetings for the past few years?”

Actually I was pretty sure he never left the house and spent all his time blogging here on the NHI. The guy is like some kind of industrial grade blogging machine.

(humor)

I’m always glad to hear people (Gary or others) are active and involved in city matters and will check out the NHCAN link you posted.

JMS

posted by: cedarhillresident on October 5, 2008  10:52am

Great JMS as we few sat their last year… one alder said if anyone was really bothered by the budget they would be here (para phrasing) their were just 5 of us in the room that day. The sad thing is the Alderman are suppose to be their to represent us. And if more than half the city is not happy with the chooses they make how is that representing us??? That is one thing I just do not get!!!! And the one time we did get people to come out what happened….they canceled the meeting.

posted by: JMS on October 6, 2008  12:25am

“And the one time we did get people to come out what happened….they canceled the meeting.”

Sounds like they were one step ahead of the opposition.
Maybe they have spies (humor?).

Honestly… people may have issues with who exactly was chosen for this “Blue Ribbon” citizens panel. But at the very least there is now a (hopefully) more offically recognized mechanism in place to voice budget concerns and protests. Maybe this panel will provide greater exposure and access for concerned voices then in the past.

JMS

posted by: Sins of New Haven on October 6, 2008  11:01am

maybe this commission should look at all the liability the City incurs via Labor Relations and Corp Council.  The City has a long standing unspoken policy of choosing to amputate at great cost rather than put a band-aid on it’s internal employee matters.  This is going to be another JD farce. It’s more politricks.

Remember the solution is to vote for anyone else rather than JD and his Demo-kiddy-crats.  Plain and simple the JD admin is hell bent on giving the City away while burning the taxpayers.

People love to complain and whine and point fingers and on and on…all it takes is a simple action - the next time the vote for Mayor comes up VOTE FOR ANYONE ELSE.

posted by: Gary Doyens on October 6, 2008  11:05am

FYI: City auditor Levitsky is paid $191,000 for its work.