Whistleblower Case Targets Housing Authority

Paul Bass PhotoOne night Karla Miller was being congratulated for helping cops sweep crack and prostitution out of an elderly housing tower. The next day a housing authority official objected about a news article that quoted Miller about the prior problems—and she was instantly booted from the premises.

That tale of alleged free speech retaliation emerges from a whistleblower complaint filed with the state Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO).

Karla Miller filed it, one of two CHRO complaints. Miller (pictured above at her home) used to run a program for the disabled and for seniors living in Fair Haven’s Matthew Ruoppolo Manor public housing complex. She worked for The Connection Inc. (TCI), which had a contract with the Housing Authority of New Haven (HANH).

This past May, TCI gave an award to then-top New Haven cop Sgt. Herb Johnson for his work cleaning up the complex. Johnson asked that Karla Miller be included in an Independent story about the award; he said she pushed him and his cops to address the problems then played a key role in cleaning them up.

An article appeared quoting both of them about the progress at the complex. The same day Miller and Johnson attended the awards ceremony. TCI’s top officials congratulated Miller on the article and on her work at Ruoppolo, she said. (The article quotes her saying of the pre-clean-up Ruoppolo: “There was human feces in the hallway. There were needles, condoms in plan view. There were lights out.”)

The next day an unidentified HANH official called TCI angry about the article and Miller’s reference to the previous problems at Ruoppolo, according to Miller. TCI instantly called her to a meeting at corporate headquarters, reprimanded her for speaking to the press, took her Blackberry, and told her she couldn’t step foot in Ruoppolo again. Subsequently they said if she wanted to keep her $35,000-a-year job she could take a demotion to a beginning position and commute from New Haven to a facility in Torrington.

Instead, Miller filed the two CHRO complaints against TCI and HANH. One is a “whistleblower retaliation complaint.” The other alleges wrongful termination based on racial discrimination. Miller is black; her bosses were all white.

Now, Miller, who’s 46, said in an interview in her upper Westville home (which backs up to the mayor’s house), she’s battling an ulcer. She hasn’t landed another job. She and her husband Edgar, a general contractor, are under “tremendous financial pressure,” she said.

“This was traumatic. I still don’t believe when you’re doing the right thing,” you should get pushed out of a job for answering a reporter’s question, she said. “This was the hardest job I ever had in my life. The most important job. These old people and the disabled don’t get to pick their battles. They were locked in [their] apartments at night. They were scared. They were crying.”

“The crazy thing,” Miller added about the incident, “is [that] it shined a good light on them [the housing authority and TCI].”

Police said they were able, with the help of Miller and others, to build cases to arrest people who were dealing crack in Ruoppolo. Tenants said the complex became safer.

“The community policing that the mayor wants to do—for people to speak out—this is what happens when you get involved?” Miller observed.

Miller’s cases are currently open before CHRO and the files sealed, according to an agency spokesman. A TCI spokeswoman said the agency won’t comment on a pending matter. HANH Executive Director Karen DuBois-Walton—a mayoral appointee who at the time of the incident was simultaneously serving as Mayor John DeStefano’s reelection campaign treasurer and representing him at campaign events—is on vacation and couldn’t be reached for comment. The attorney representing the housing authority declined to comment or provide a copy of the written responses filed to Miller’s complaints.

The Miller incident is one of at least three free speech retaliation cases involving local government in 2011.

Another, like this one, involved an employee of a Branford-based private contractor called O,R&L hired by government to do government work. The employee, police station custodian Michele Kearney, was fired in February after an Independent reporter quoted her saying the rank-and-file was upset with then-Chief Frank Limon. (Limon lost a 246-21 no-confidence vote that day.) O,R&L fired her for violating a shut-your-mouth-to-the-press policy. Mayor John DeStefano at first said he had no sway over the firing and that he won’t interfere with labor decisions by city-hired contractors. Later that same day, after public protest, Kearney got her job back. That case, like Miller’s, raised the question of whether government-funded workers doing public work lose rights when the city privatizes and outsources their jobs.

In the second instance, a Wilbur Cross High School student named Isaiah Lee led a student protest on the Green against some education budget cuts. After that Principal Peggy Moore disbanded his political club and then nullified the results of a student election that Lee won. She even canceled an event by a group he led helping kids with disabilities. Mayor DeStefano publicly defended Moore’s actions.

Fear In The Tower

Miller, a former substance abuse counselor for the APT Foundation, began work as a TCI case manager at Ruoppolo in 2009. For years tenants had complained about conditions at Ruoppolo. Like many elderly public-housing complexes, it started drawing drug activity and other crime under a federal policy combining “disabled” tenants such as substance abusers into the mix.

“At the time,” Miller’s complaints state, “the living conditions at Ruoppolo were deplorable and the elderly and disabled residents were living in unsanitary conditions. The crime and unsafe conditions at Ruoppolo, at that time, were so poor that even the New Haven Police Department was reluctant to respond to 911 calls to that facility. At the time of my hire, the security at Ruoppolo was ineffective, which opened Ruoppolo to squatters, drug dealers, drug users and prostitutes placing the elderly residents at risk.”

It got so bad, Miller said in an interview this week, that crack dealers began leaving free samples by the doors of people who had managed to quit their habits for week. The dealers sometimes sold out of apartments. They did especially brisk and aggressive business when government assistance checks arrived at the beginning of the month.

According to the complaint and according to Sgt. Johnson, Miller immediately pressed the police to get more active and work with people at Ruoppolo, leading to the busts and the better conditions. Miller and Johnson also brought student groups and others to do clean-ups and other work with the tenants. In April 0f 2011 TCI promoted Miller to a program manager position. The CHRO complaints quote a TCI supervisor suggesting giving Sgt. Johnson the agency’s “Consumer Client Award” and telling Miller “these accomplishments had never been achieved to this degree in her 16+ years ... [S]he constantly reported that the program was being managed and run the best it had ever been run.”

The complaints also quote Johnson saying he had insisted that a feature story on his work include Miller because “I was his partner” and “I initiated the collaboration.” And it states that HANH was given advance word of the Independent interview. All of that is true. The statement also refers to “an entire conversation” with a TCI supervisor about the upcoming interview. The response: “That’s great. Let me know how it goes.” No one told her to refrain from the interview.

Indeed, after the article’s publication Miller received face-to-face and email praise about the article from TCI’s boss on down, according to the complaints. Praise like “WOW!” (allegedly from agency head Peter Nucci) to “Awesome job!”

The, around 3 p.m. the next day, one of those supervisors who offered praise and encouragement for the story told Miller to “drop whatever I was doing and get to Corporate right now” to meet with top bosses. She asked why. A supervisor responded, “[It] is something about the article, the housing authority is not happy about it,” according to the complaint.

“We got a call from the housing authority, and they’re pissed!” Miller recalled a supervisor telling her.

Nucci and other supervisors, including the agency’s head, were waiting for her in the corporate headquarters in Middletown. They “ambushed and admonished [me] for violating an unknown agency media policy stating that I got on my soap box and offended their funder. They continued to question and taunt me. Who were you representing? Again stating, ‘You got on your soap box and represented yourself,” according to the complaints. The supervisor with whom Miller previously had the “in-depth discussion” before the interview now claimed to have had “no prior knowledge that I ever was to speak to a reporter,” the complaints state.

“I was told I had ‘offended a funder’ and therefore I ‘had to pay.”

Miller was then told “not to return to Ruoppolo for any reason” and to “turn in my Blackberry” and keys.

At the time, HANH boss DuBois-Walton refused to discuss the decision. She called it a “personnel matter” involving a private contractor, not HANH. In September, as DuBois-Walton helped the aldermanic campaign of a candidate she recruited to run against a City Hall critic, she told the Independent that she does not believe her prominent role in DeStefano’s campaign presented any conflict with her role a housing authority chief. “I don’t work for a city agency,” she said. (The housing authority is technically a federally funded agency; its board and director are named by the mayor.) DuBois-Walton does all her campaign work “on my own time,” she said. She said all the housing authority employees who gave money to the DeStefano campaign (such as administrators Sheila Bell and Jimmy Miller) also gave money to his campaign before she was the head of the authority.

Karla Miller’s CHRO complaints charge HANH and TCI of, among numerous illegal and unconstitutional acts, “violat[ing] my right to free speech which is protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution ... [and] as protected by C.G.S. (Connecticut General Statutes) Sec. 31-51q.”

Miller’s lawyer, Michelle Gramlich, said attorneys for TCI and HANH have argued that before CHRO, among other claims, that Miller was not fired because she was “told she could have another job.” Under case law, Gramlich argued, the taking of Miller’s phone and keys and the order to leave her job immediately and remain off the premises is considered termination, even if a lower-level job at a distant location is subsequently offered. Gabriel Jiran and the office of Nicole Chomiak, counsel for TCI and HANH, declined comment on the matter and declined to offer their submitted responses to the claims.

“From the housing authority’s perspective that’s an ongoing legal matter and we are not able to comment at this time,”  said HANH Chief Operating Officer Renee Dobos. That includes not commenting on who at HANH made the call to TCI to register the original complaint about Miller’s quotation, Dobos said.

Next Steps

Gramlich said she is “waiting on a decision” on the racial discrimination complaint. That has moved along the CHRO review process.

A decision on the whistleblower complaint may take longer. Much longer.

In January, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget cuts led to the de-staffing of CHRO’s Office of Public Hearings, which considers whistleblower claims. People like Miller have continued filing claims. But they’ve been on hold.

“Everything is sitting in limbo,” Gramlich observed. “As much as she has a great case, she has had no opportunity to be heard.”

Limbo is coming to an end, according to gubernatorial General Counsel Andrew McDonald. McDonald, said Malloy filled two referee positions (the people who conduct the hearings) on Dec. 12. “They are presumably beginning the process of restarting the hearings,” McDonald said.  Interviews are underway for a third position.

Meanwhile, back at Ruoppolo, tenant Marian Rondon (pictured) said the complex has maintained the progress from earlier in the year. “Before it was crazy,” she said this week. “Then it calmed down.”

Tenant Armando Fernandez echoed what tenants said in an earlier visit in May: that Miller had made the difference.

“This lady,” he said, “fixed it.”

 

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Comments

posted by: robn on December 30, 2011  8:50am

Not good. Hope that whomever at HAHN dropped a dime eventually gets a swift kick in the rear. Good work shouldn’t be punished.

posted by: ex-yalie on December 30, 2011  9:02am

This is shameful. The work Ms. Miller did with the NHPD essentially saved an entire community with lasting effects. That is a remarkable thing these days. What she is being fired for is telling the truth and yes, embarassing to HANH, but they SHOULD BE EMBARASSED!!!!! How dare the housing authority ignore housing in such horrible conditions.  Shame on them. Shame on TCI.

You did amazing work Ms. Miller and I hope you win your case.

posted by: observor1 on December 30, 2011  9:05am

This is just another example in New Haven that when you have a job that involves a city agency you are also expected to give up your constitutional rights to free speech. Another case of the mayors political associates using the mayor backed intimidation tactics.
Aren’t we all getting tired of this type activity by now? Good luck to Karla Miller in exposing more of the political machine’s tactics.Time for some of the mayor’s cronies to be replaced !!!

posted by: Blame the Mayor on December 30, 2011  9:07am

WOW- the fun never ends!
Too busy running the king’s campaign to clean up the sh-t in the hallway, but not too busy to fire the one cleaning up the sh-t in the hallway.
This one is classic.
You can’t blame me, I voted Kerekes, Blame the Mayor.

posted by: confused on December 30, 2011  9:15am

A sad example of the city administration’s handling of what in fact could be considered a form of the highly touted community policing.
People take the initiative to work in conjunction with the police to make lives safer by cleaning up a mess and for that they get punished. Just another indication of the bs we hear from DeStefano and his cronies. Mr Mayor,if you are going to talk the talk teach your people to walk the walk.Maybe some respect will come of it

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 30, 2011  9:17am

I wonder did she vote for King John.

posted by: Cookie Monster on December 30, 2011  10:23am

What does this woman’s allegation have to do with Karen’s role in the Mayor’s re-election campaign? I get why this is an interesting story, but I really don’t understand the connection to the Mayor’s campaign. There’s no allegation here that Karen was even directly involved. Was she even named treasurer in May? That was quite some time before the campaigns had really begun.  I know it’s hard for some to believe, but there are some things in this world that do not involve the mayor or his campaigns.

[Editor’s note: DuBois-Walton was already treasurer in May and very actively involved in the campaign. This story concerned protecting the perception of public agencies’ performance versus addressing the actual performance, as well as about free speech.]

posted by: first observer on December 30, 2011  10:52am

So what else is new?  We have a city administration that is riddled with paranoia, operating through a culture of fear and retaliation.  The infection spreads from the top down.

posted by: Vanessa Poholek Fasanella on December 30, 2011  10:58am

Unless there was a specific policy in place to keep her from talking to the press, what she did was foolish and deserved a reprimand, not a firing.

It is common practice that only top-level employees are allowed to talk to the press.  Not anyone who feels like it.

And while I understand her desire to publicize bad situations and good works, you can’t do that if you are under the employ of a bigger organization that has rules.

She should be given her regular job back, and the rules of talking to the public/press should be reiterated to all employees.  And an official reprimand should be in her file.  And that is all.

posted by: I knew it on December 30, 2011  11:03am

The CONNECTION Inc. is known for racial discrimation. They have several cases pending at this time. It is about time they are being put on FRONT STREET.

posted by: Noteworthy on December 30, 2011  11:22am

Cookie Monster: Thank goodness for the internet, huh, allows you to continue defending the indefensible at City Hall and its related agencies long distance.

As for this allegation - it is yet another fine example of what is wrong with New Haven’s city government. It brooks no critique and tries to fix no problems. It is all about protecting the status quo, their salaries and power over people.

I would love to know what ... called TCI and more importantly, what people at TCI did not stand up for their employee. How do you praise one minute and fire them the next? The HANH person must have been awfully powerful, near the top of the food chain, to get TCI to move so rapidly and harshly. It appears that if Dubois Walton was interested in doing what’s right, she would intervene at TCI. She has not.

When will the City of New Haven leaders be governed by what’s right instead of what’s right for them?

posted by: Say what? on December 30, 2011  11:22am

[Editor’s note: DuBois-Walton was already treasurer in May and very actively involved in the campaign. This story concerned protecting the perception of public agencies’ performance versus addressing the actual performance, as well as about free speech.]


Sorry, i still don’t get the strained connection. This insertion in an otherwise legitimate story seems forced and largely unnecessary.  If the facts are anywhere close to those being relayed here, then hanh and tci are dead wrong. Why the connection to the campaign?  Even the tidbit about her house backing up to the Mayor’s….weird.

posted by: Ben Berkowitz on December 30, 2011  11:49am

Are there any volunteers that would be interested in spreading literature about SeeClickFix around the housing authority properties?

It sounds as if tenants need a place to report problems transparently and anonymously.

Our team can get the materials together if you want to contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

posted by: westville man on December 30, 2011  12:58pm

@ Vanessa

That sounds great but in the real world, if it happened to you, you would be first in line at the lawyer’s office the next day. And you wouldn’t take a “simple” reprimand quietly.  I see it all the time…..

posted by: Eric Smith on December 30, 2011  1:06pm

This is the kind of stuff (I really want to use a different word!) that makes my blood boil.  HANH, TCI, NHPD, the Board of Alderman, and the Mayor should be holding a celebration in Karla Miller’s honor on the green!  All of the cries of “a personnel matter involving a private contractor,” speaking to the press in violation of corporate policy, and lack of knowledge about the interview are bureaucratic crap (again, I’d love to use another word), corporate doublespeak, and possibly outright lies in some instances.  If the leaders of any of the organizations I’ve mentioned have backbones, they will publicly express support for Karla and what she has done and intervene on her behalf.  Her kind of initiative should be rewarded, not reprimanded or punished.  Given what’s happening to her and others, e.g. possibly Kermit Carolina (more facts are needed), maybe it’s time for the NH community to come together and publicly express our outrage.

posted by: davecoon on December 30, 2011  1:09pm

Didn’t she see the sign when driving into town for the first time?
“New Haven - Where No Good Deed Will Go Unpunished”
Oh sorry, I meant to comment on the Kermit Carolina article…

posted by: WebBlog1 on December 30, 2011  1:15pm

Karla Miller, you are not alone…

Over the years the New Haven Housing Authority has been notoriously known for its lack of support to and for its own field management, much less to the field management staff of HANH’s contractors.

Over the years and particular since Mayor Destefano took over full control of the HANH Board of Directors and the administration under Walton, the management and maintenance functions throughout the authority has been dismal.

In this case your affidavit makes clear that TCI was well aware of your actions and intent to assist the NHPD to rid Ruppolo Manor of drugs crime and I might add the lack of regular maintenance support.

Not only were TCI aware of these problems, others like the NHPD, HANH maintenance Dept; and executive management of the HANH all should have records of complaint emanating from Ruppolo even before your assignment.
These records will should the HANH failure to halt and eliminate these conditions, as we now know, they did not.

I believe your complaint has merit, but I believe you are trying it in the wrong venue.
The Commission on Human rights and Equal Opportunity clearly states in your affidavit, that they cannot recover attorney fees or damages for emotional distress.
These are major areas of relief for you and would contain most of the financial reward to you.

The racial discrimination claim is very difficult to try and win in any court.
Here you will need witnesses and you do not have your cell phone records of congratulations from your superiors.
In addition they did offer you another position, but you did not state if that involved lost in pay grade, which lost you would have to prove.

I suggest:
Wrongful termination against your employer would be a more reasonable approach if presented to a CT. state court, which has jurisdiction over these matters, and could award you damages and legal fees, rather than the Commission on Human rights and opportunity who cannot award you the relief you need most.
It is interesting to know if TCI contested your unemployment claim, I would venture to say no.

In conclusion, we all feel for your plight under false pretenses brought by TCI acting with the full concurrence of the HANH and Walton.

Good Luck,

Keep fighting.

posted by: VD on December 30, 2011  3:43pm

Shame on you, TCI.  You let funders drive your day to day operations and staffing decisions.  Do they choose your board members too?  How deep does this go? Find a less dirty source of funding and gain indepedance and integrity.  Get off the teat of city money or at least severely minimize it.  Get a mission and make that your guiding star.

HANH has a long history of corruption, serious fiscal mismanagement, and deplorable conditions at HA properties.  None of that is secret, HANH leadership.  No need to be a jacka** trying to conceal it.

posted by: Jeffrey Kerekes on December 30, 2011  4:18pm

I visited Ruoppolo in August and found the building to be filthy.  I tried, unsuccessfully to interest the NHR in the story.  Residents told me they used to have a great person who got fired for speaking with the press (obviously this person).  They felt that all their complaints went unheard and that given the woman was fired for speaking to the press they were concerned about retaliation towards them for speaking out about their conditions.

I posted some of the pictures I took that day in August on my FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151099614445621.791786.648710620&type=1

posted by: Charter revision on December 30, 2011  5:08pm

Time and time again, corrupt city managers ... bully and intimidate people.  If the complaint came from the finder,  and the finder was the HANH then it is reasonable to conclude that Dubois-Walton either knew or should have known what was happening.  It does not matter how much you do in New Haven, all that matters your willingness to shuffle to John DeStefanos beat.  Decisions like this always go through the Mayor who is the ultimate micro-manager.  Not unlike Kermit Carolinas case where the superintendent is a fundraiser and lackey of the Mayor, so to is Dubois-Walton.  One the most unfortunate things about this situation is that it is another case of Black people willfully engaging in underhanded tactics against other Black people at the behest of Mayor DeSfefano.  Maybe one day soon fair-minded people will do something significant to make a real change in this city.  This is simultaneously mortifying and deeply upsetting.

posted by: streever on December 30, 2011  5:32pm

What did Mayor DeStefano say?

“Transparency is a buzzword”

I guess his employee learned that the hard way.

posted by: Brian V on December 30, 2011  5:46pm

@ Vanessa

Vanessa i don’t believe a reprimand is in order at all. You missed this line:
““an entire conversation” with a TCI supervisor about the upcoming interview. The response: “That’s great. Let me know how it goes.” No one told her to refrain from the interview.”

It seems that there was total knowledge and support of the interview by her superiors and by HAHN. They just forgot to tell her what to say or not to say, what to lie about and what not to lie about. Can’t reprimand her for that.

posted by: juli on December 30, 2011  6:36pm

this is shameful. it sounds as though this woman truly cared about her job, and was excelling in it, only to be forced out.

while reading this, i had a flashback to about five years ago or so when i started reading the independent, and a few times came upon comments on articles of the day like ‘this is why i packed up and left that city’ and ‘new haven has so much potential but…’, how new haven pushes people away with its corruption and devastatingly inept governing…

i am really sad to say that i am starting to understand.

posted by: Daniel Boardman on December 30, 2011  9:08pm

You know you’ve got a true “hot button”, buzzword issue when streever,Berknowitz,Kerekes and juli all pipe up.
But, for the life of me, after reading this three times, I cannot find the “link” to Mayor DeStefano.
Evidently the use of the comments section is part of spinning the issue away from the poor woman and towards anything that will, somehow, negatively affect City Hall.
Interesting to watch.
Happy New Year !!

posted by: Ora on December 30, 2011  10:24pm

Karen Dubois-Walton [...]  From the mayor’s administration to head of chief of the NH housing authority and turning her back on such conditions. I still would like to know how she pulled off being the mayor’s treasurer in his bid for re-election when I believe in her position she is not suppose to be involved in anyway with politics especially elections? Does anyone know if I am accurate about that? I know federal employees are not suppose to participate and stay nuetral, only to vote are they able to be involved. What happened here? And if I am correct where does one go to report this and bring up charges? After all isn’t it all of us who are paying her salary? If she is not following the rules I want her gone.

posted by: Angel Garrett on December 30, 2011  10:45pm

This infuriates me because I know the neighborhood they speak of and wondered why it was so quiet gunshots, police chases crazy traffic, now its a better place because of her and they fire her? This was pure jealousy on their part because they couldn’t get it done and/or taking payoffs from the people running the place into the ground, This is something for change.org for a petition for her. This is going on all around the country it has to stop!

posted by: Really on December 31, 2011  8:50am

To Daniel Boardman:

Are you kidding?  Every contractor in the City of New Haven is tied to the Mayor, and is controlled by the Mayor.  All of the contractors get their contracts because they give money to the Mayor’s campaigns.  And even though the Housing Authority is federally funded, it’s run by the Mayor’s cronies..Karen Dubois Walton, Sheila Bell, Jimmie Miller.  These people should be ashamed of themselves.  They are the top people at the NHHA and they themselves, or somebody else there in power is allowing to retaliate against this lady for expsosing their failures.  They do nothing to improve the lives of the residents of these buildings.  They get very, very large salaries and they don’t want anyone revealing that they are not doing their jobs.  When this lady spoke to the press, as is her right to do, she exposed them.  The Mayor probably called them and read them the riot act, or one of them probably knew that this woman made them look bad.  All of them should go.  They are a disgrace.  If anybody thinks that the NHHA is not controlled by the Mayor they are absolutely crazy.  Karen and Sheila worked in City Hall and they got their jobs at the NHHA because the Mayor arranged it.  They are “owned” by the Mayor and they will do whatever he says.  They want to keep thier jobs, in which they serve him, and only him.  The Mayor runs everything in New Haven, and if something makes him look bad, then he takes it out on the person, who is to blame.  How does it look that an outside individual working for a company has to expose the failings of the City?  Even though the woman works for the company managing the building, she had to contact the police.  What were Karen and Sheila and Jimmie doing?  They are the overseers.  They are disgusting and so is the Mayor.  All of them got to go.  When will the people of New Haven finally realize that they are in a very dangerous position with John DeStefano at the helm?  He’s very, very dangerous.  He’s got spys everywhere and every city resident, and employee should be very careful of what they say in public, or to whom.

This woman should contact the federal funders directly and insist that they launch an investigation into the NHHA, which is no stranger to investigations.  What is the NHHA doing with the federal funds?  Why are they paying an outside contractor, who pays this woman a ridiculously low salary, to protect the elderly and disabled from drug addicts, prostitutes, and criminals?  What are they doing to protect the residents.  Even though she is not a federal employee maybe she could file a federal whistleblower complaint, she should insist that the federal agency, who funds the NHHA do a comprehensive investigation.  It is true that the squeeky wheel gets the grease.  Then, Karen and Sheila and Jimmie will hide behind lawyers that the Mayor tells them to hire.  At the very least, her complaint will open a very large can of worms.  And remember, each and every contract in the city, even at the NHHA is controlled by the Mayor…and they all need to be investigated.

posted by: SaveOurCity on December 31, 2011  9:39am

Sounds a lot like the Kermit Carolina story….if you can’t stay in line w King John and keep your mouth shut, you will be penalized.

I recently watched Atlas Shrugged (ashamed that I don’t have the fortitude to read a book of that volume) and would highly recommend it for anyone concerned about the direction of the city, the state, or our nation.  It is amazing that the author had the foresight in the 1950’s to envision where increasing government control would lead (or maybe it’s not amazing but logical).

Drastic changes are needed.

posted by: respect on December 31, 2011  12:03pm

Mayor Destefano and Karen Dubois-Walton should of been made to live at Ruoppolo for one month before Ms.Miller cleaned it up. Ms. Miller should be Mayor or maybe head of HANH.

posted by: Barbara Walker on December 31, 2011  12:43pm

Cannot believe we have to wait another 2 years for another chance to throw this [...] out of office again. Next time, I pray Jeff Kerekes actually runs a few TV commercials.

God bless Ms. Miller. I will pray for her. She is a very brave, and also a very beautiful woman.

posted by: Eric Smith on December 31, 2011  1:54pm

I dont know about the rest of you, but come Tuesday, I’m going to call the Chief of Police and the Mayor and urge them to intervene on Karla’s behalf.  She did everything and more that the police, the Mayor, and the community has asked people to do when they see a problem in their community.  HANH/TCI…thanks for rewarding her!  She has fought for the community.  It’s time for the community to fight for her.

posted by: Daniel Boardman on December 31, 2011  5:21pm

Dear mysterious “Really”,

“The Mayor probably called them”........

“He’s got spys (sic) everywhere and every city resident, and employee should be very careful of what they say in public, or to whom.”.........

You don’t sound very convincing. As a matter of fact, those words seem rather delusional. Given your second statement, your first makes me think none of what you say “probably” happened.

I am going by what is reported in this story, not by the spinning comments.The reporter does not make any such assumptions. There is no proof whatsoever that the Mayor was involved in any of this.

Have a Happy, (and specifically at “Really”) Safe and Prosperous New Year, New Haven !!

posted by: freelove on December 31, 2011  10:27pm

Its no wonder why there is so much murder in New Haven - poor administration.

When I was a social worker in New Haven in the 90s I saw elderly people forced to live with criminals and it broke my heart.

Mayor be a man! and protect the elderly!

posted by: streever on January 1, 2012  12:58am

...

I’ve been there when the shakedown call came—and I know that one of the Mayor’s top staff actually tried to get someone fired from their private employment with a contractor who does work for the city.

The house of cards that controls our city is falling down, and in their panic, they are circling the wagons and lashing out at any who disagree with them. Pathetic.

posted by: Willie Williams Jr on January 1, 2012  11:56am

According To Federal Law, “Housing Authority of The City of New Haven”, HUD Is Not An Adversarial or Confrontational Governmental Organization. Dubois-Walton Must Have Become Jealous, or Felt Threatened About Something. ...

posted by: Blame the Mayor on January 1, 2012  1:54pm

@Daniel Boardman
Want the connection? DuBois-Walton sits in her 6 figure salaried job at the whim of John DeStefano. He may not have told her to fire this woman but she has her job, not because she is the best person for it, but because she will do whatever the king wants to keep him in power. Ms Miller’s statement made the administration look bad so instead of fixing the problem they fired her. There are dead mice in plain view and general squalor in the hallways of this housing complex(see Jeffrey Kerekes’ link) in August - peak campaign time. She is ineffectual as head of this department and was running the Kings campaign when those pictures were taken. The number 1 reason anyone gets a job with this administration is vote pulling, not competency. There is the connection. Swear allegiance to the King or lose your job.

And as for “mysterious” pen names, this article is a great example of why people like me are afraid to put their real name on their comments- Retribution.
I am terrified that should I put my real name on this, a family member of mine, who works for the city would feel the wrath of the King or one of his minions.
Tell a truth that makes the administration look bad in any way and you will lose you job, sad but true.

posted by: Daniel Boardman on January 1, 2012  10:39pm

Last time regarding this issue of “spinsters”.

To the nom de plume ” Blame The Mayor”.....

For the last time; This reporter DID NOT accuse, associate nor imply the Mayor of wrong-doing, being involved in wrong-doing or even somehow possibly involved in wrong-doing.

The mysterious, anonymous venom is unfounded.

Show me ANY type of documented “headhunting” by City Hall or just stop your lies (half-truths included) and get over the fact that your ,unqualified, candidate lost fair and square.

I have just completed my first full year here. Having seen absolutely nothing that’s been done by City Hall that doesn’t get a full-blown hatchet job from a hand-full of bitter people who think they can effect change, which isn’t necessary, has been my biggest lesson about this place.

posted by: streever on January 2, 2012  11:39am

Boardman
I felt the same way my first 2-3 years here. I even worked on the Mayor’s campaign one year. Unfortunately, the more I got involved, the worse and more egregious offenses I saw.

My advice to you would be to get involved—volunteer for one of his campaigns, get to know the other individuals well. How many of them later get un-posted jobs and appointments? Do you think they were the most qualified individual in the region, or is it more likely that they are being rewarded?

When they have that job, observe them with the Mayor—see if they ever question him or disagree with him. Just listen & watch. Do you see any dissent, do you see any equality in the relationships?

You may think, “of course not, he is the boss”, but the reality is that no one man knows everything—the Mayor simply can’t be the best at every position in City Hall, yet when he takes an interest in something, it gets done his way—regardless of right or wrong.

You sound pretty convinced that you are correct and that the rest of us are just bitter—so I won’t try to change your mind, but I will encourage you to observe, listen, and ask yourself some questions about the interactions you see the Mayor and his appointed staff—who all give the maximum campaign contribution and run HQs for his political allies every election year—and honestly consider if there isn’t an awful lot of coziness.

It wasn’t until a good friend of mine was blackmailed at his job—with a company outside of this city that happens to contract with this city—that I realized how vile and despicable these people truly are. I too suspected a lot of paranoia and empty accusations, until I saw it first hand.

Happy new year.

posted by: Be Real on January 2, 2012  1:15pm

It is sad that as employess of the city we have to keep our mouths shut about things that affect innocent peoples lives everyday. I have seen Housing Authority Properties that are falling apart and not being well taken care of, yet this program receives the majority of federal grant monies that come into New Haven.  We are talking about big bucks and these housing projects are looking so bad. Not just the Ederly but no one should have to live under these conditions when HA employess get paid everyday to go out and clean it!!!. So a good worker speaks the truth and she gets penalized!! That’s corruption in the city, why hide the truth of how our city is being taken care of!! I think that housing authority officials should be held responsible for how their properties look, they should be the best looking property and safe with so many housing workers they have for each family. Some one should look into the property complaints and see how much of them have been taken care of!!It’s sad. I would do the same thing this woman did for the safety and well being of others and that is what she did, she is not the bad guy here HA is, but this again shows you the lack of committment and interest that HA has for our community and they just go to work for a paycheck..!Wake up smell the coffee poeple need to stand up and start speaking up and fear no one no matter what, because we don’t speak up is one of the reasons why our community is the way it is!! HA needs to stop threatening their contractors, and stop being bullies. HA come out of your shell go visit your so called properties you are so proud of and really look at how your staff is really doing their job and last but not least, their should be no reason at all why drug dealer or prostitutes are hanging out or selling drugs from an ederly complex their should be a security and paid by HA!!!!!!

posted by: Blame the Mayor on January 2, 2012  2:26pm

@ Daniel B

You are absolutely correct the writer did not implicate the mayor in this.
I did and so do many others. And for good reason, we know how he rolls after all these years.
Streever said it best. Stick around, watch, and listen. You too, will sour of this administration and see the cronyism and political patronage that is rampant within it. One year may not be long enough but, you will see.
Happy New Year!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 2, 2012  6:21pm

posted by: Daniel Boardman on January 1, 2012 10:39pm
Last time regarding this issue of “spinsters”.

To the nom de plume ” Blame The Mayor”.....

For the last time; This reporter DID NOT accuse, associate nor imply the Mayor of wrong-doing, being involved in wrong-doing or even somehow possibly involved in wrong-doing.

The mysterious, anonymous venom is unfounded.

Show me ANY type of documented “headhunting” by City Hall or just stop your lies (half-truths included) and get over the fact that your ,unqualified, candidate lost fair and square.

I have just completed my first full year here. Having seen absolutely nothing that’s been done by City Hall that doesn’t get a full-blown hatchet job from a hand-full of bitter people who think they can effect change, which isn’t necessary, has been my biggest lesson about this place.

Tell you what talk to people who knew the late Chuck Allen.

posted by: karenmeans on January 3, 2012  11:39am

WHEN THE TRUTH IS PRESENT INJUSTICE SQUIRMS!!!!!

posted by: JaRu on January 3, 2012  12:21pm

This is the kind of thing people need to hang for. All the people responsible for this lady’s firing need to be identified and removed. Classic mob mentality of the left. For that matter, the bad environment of that building is a classic result of left-leaning government.
Hey independent, are you going to find out who did this to this lady? FOI?

posted by: HELLO on January 3, 2012  12:42pm

Don’t forget TCI in all of this. Why haven’t they come forward with any comments? They are sitting back and letting the mayor take all the heat. That’s because they are guilty of racial discrimination

posted by: Willie Williams Jr on January 4, 2012  1:08am

What I Want People To Know Is That Karla Miller Had A Duty, A Responsibility and A Legal Right To Blow The Whisle. Thats Why They Have The Whisle Blowers Law On The State and Federal Law Books. There Are Certain Types of People In Possitions Where The Law Says That They Are “Mandated” To Report: WASTE, FRAUD, CORRUPTION, Among Other Things. Remember What Happened In Detroit With The “Mayor” and (Girlfriend) “His Secretary”. You Can Fool Some of The People Some of The Time, But You Cannot Fool All The People All The Time. If More Qualified People Ran For Mayor, You Wou Have A Fighting Chance. As Far As Campain Funds Are Concerned, When I Ran For Alderman In The 16th Ward In 2000 It Was Rough Over There Then. Look At It Now! Where Did They Get The Money From To Fix Up Grand Avenue?. When I Ran, I Didn’t Get A Dime In Campaigne Funds.

posted by: Daniel Boardman on January 4, 2012  1:17am

To the androgynous “Threefifths”.....

If you’d like to give me something more to go on besides a deceased mans name, I will be happy to investigate.

I may be new, chronologically, to this town, yet I can see very clearly see the “straw(s) that stir the drink”.

As a trained journalist (in a former life), I’d love to pick up the hobby again, and have (with a little help from my friends) some fun.

So, tell me a bit more about Mr. Allen (dates,incidents etc.) and I will give it to you without the old “two-party” spin.

Deal?

posted by: Fairness on January 6, 2012  11:18am

The truth of the matter is that what karla said was not that bad to warrant termination. She was on probation for the director position and knew the company policy about talking to the press. In my opinion race was not an issue in this.

posted by: JUST WONDERING on January 20, 2012  11:17am

What ever happen to TCI in this? Did they get away with their unfair way of doing things again? HELLO OUT THERE!!!!