Stratton Resigns

Thomas MacMillan PhotoA freshman alder who emerged as an outspoken opposition figure has resigned his post six months into the term.

The alder, Michael Stratton, a Democrat who represents Prospect Hill and a portion of Newhallville (Ward 19), announced his resignation Monday in a letter to Board of Alders President Jorge Perez.

The text of the letter follows:

Dear President Perez,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve on some of the most interesting committees of the board of alders. We alders have learned many facts this past term that give New Haven the opportunity for a very bright future. While I would love to assist in that transformation over the coming year, I have reached a point where responsibilities to myself and my family must come first.

I will always love this city and do what I can to help, but for now I leave the positive transformation of this city to it’s new mayor, and its hard working alders. And I ask those residents who have the will and capacity to step forward and help with its transformation.

Recognizing that I have exceeded the limit of my personal capacity to do this job, the responsible thing to do is to resign from the board effective immediately which is what I hereby do.

While resigning is painful for me to do, I thank you, the mayor, the other alders, and the residents for providing me with a life experience that leaves me much more connected to the city in which I was born and hopefully will always live.

So carpe diem Jorge and city residents. Thank you for the chance to serve.

Mike Stratton
Alder Ward 19

Stratton declined to comment further on the resignation.

In his near-six months on the board, Stratton organized an opposition bloc on the board, called the People’s Caucus. He raised repeated questions about city spending in this year’s sometimes stormy budget deliberations, especially about spending by the Board of Education. At times Stratton’s behavior was criticized as confrontational or erratic, including a couple of shouting matches with his colleagues during or immediately following budget hearings; one alder, Jeanette Morrison, called for a formal hearing on his conduct.

A special election will be scheduled for his seat.

“I wish him the best of luck,” Perez remarked Monday.

Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry


posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on June 23, 2014  3:19pm


posted by: Atticus Shrugged on June 23, 2014  3:29pm

Goodbye Alder Stratton, welcome back Alder Elicker?  Okay, I hope that doesn’t actually happen. 

With that said, though I disagreed strongly with many of his budget proposals or how he viewed certain finances, it was enjoyable having his voice in the process.  I hope whatever decisions drove him to focus on family and self work out for the best and that he remains an active participant in the City.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 23, 2014  3:49pm

Atticus Shrugged

Justin does not live in that ward.

Thank you Mike you showed people some truths (even though the powers that be stifled them).  It was great to have a fearless alder on the BOF we thank you for your service. Good luck and we know you will always be a voice in one way or another.

posted by: Shaggybob on June 23, 2014  3:52pm

That’s two Alders in just that amount of time First Angela in 27 now Stratton- this sends a louder, unwritten message to those in control.

posted by: markcbm on June 23, 2014  4:17pm

Wait, what?  As we’re not given any hint of any personal or family affliction as a reason for the resignation, may we conclude that the position is not worth the time and effort now that the weather is nice?

Btw, is that bull painting still hanging in the office?  What bull?!

posted by: LookOut on June 23, 2014  4:42pm

Sadly, THE MACHINE wins again.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 23, 2014  4:42pm

This is why we must get rid of the two party system.If we had Proportional Representation he could have had his People’s Caucus.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on June 23, 2014  4:58pm

I’ve always liked Mike, and the political theater just won’t be the same without him… Here’s hoping he gets on top of whatever personal or family problems that might be dogging him.

Stratton now being retired, who will take up the mantle of opposition leader? (Where the hell are Elicker & Kerkes?)

posted by: webblog on June 23, 2014  5:42pm

It just didn’t work out. Many people first choose to become an alderperson out of desire to serve or a need to be recognized or even still to gain influence. In Stratton’s case as he put it…

“Recognizing that I have exceeded the limit of my personal capacity to do this job, the responsible thing to do is to resign from the board effective immediately which is what I hereby do.

He recognized very early his personal limitation and the limitations of the BOA held in line by Perez, who wants to remain the kingmaker, and his limitation to affect legislative change.

Stratton hurt his own ability to become influential by bursting out of the gate unabashly and boldly making demands for change for which he did not fully read or understand the consequences thereof.

Stratton will be remembered for offering a laundry list of amendments to the BOF only to withdraw most, if not all, amendments before the vote began. He presented a revised set of proposals to the full ,but never received more than four votes including his own on a single measure.

In the end many of his own people’s caucus abandoned him when it became time to vote, one even saying, “can we all just get along”. #Carlton Staggers.

He now leaves his constituents completely bewildered and befuddled by this lawyer ultra salesman who chooses to cut bait and run after only six months.

“I have reached a point where responsibilities to myself and my family must come first”......#stratton.

Heck, six months ago he had to know that.

posted by: getyourfactstraight on June 23, 2014  5:44pm

Disappointed to read this. He was being more than kind and respectful to the alders and the mayor in his letter to President Perez. More than they ever showed him. He sometimes took things over the top, but then again why not? Very few are independent and actually work hard for the people and taxpayers. So to you Mike Stratton a goodbye and I know you took away with you a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn’t work in this city. Thanks for not being afraid to speak up. May not have agreed with you on every point, but you always had my ear and eyes when watching or reading your adventures on the Board of Alders.  Now enjoy your family and friends!

posted by: Razzie on June 23, 2014  5:49pm

Very unsettling news. I have grown to respect Alder Stratton’s passion and commitment to doing the New Haven’s work. His resignation is truly our loss. Let’s hope some of his good qualities have rubbed off on his former colleagues. Best Wishes Alder Stratton.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on June 23, 2014  7:27pm

I predict that Michael Stratton will address his personal and familial responsibilities within a year and a half and announce his candidacy for mayor. Mark my words and determine the validity of my political prognostication.

posted by: Elizabethaiken on June 23, 2014  8:25pm

To Webblog, I am one of Alder Stratton’s constituents and I am neither bewildered or befuddled. I am simply sorry that Alder Stratton’s personal responsibilities prevent him from continuing in office. He did a great job of representing many of his constituents and put forward ideas that challenged the Board of Alders to look more carefully at what they were voting for. Alder Stratton has made significant contributions to the city in his six months in office. Outside of his office, there are many organizations and individuals who have benefited from his generosity and commitment to justice. Thank you Alder Stratton and God Bless.

posted by: Eddie on June 23, 2014  8:48pm

I wish Stratton the best of luck in his other challenges.  Although I have been hard on him, I have no doubt that he loves New Haven.  His problem was that he confused this passion with believing his own increasingly crazy and inconsistent policy schemes were the only ones with honor.  Worse still, he never tolerated disagreement well and too often misattributed nefarious motivations to those who simply held a different viewpoint.  His caucus quickly became a one-man show, his interactions became inflammatory, and the incompetence of his policy positions was only matched by his own arrogant confidence.  His contributions to New Haven politics as an alder were not positive and fortunately, won’t have a lasting effect. But I do believe his initial motivations were commendable.  I’m hopeful that he will resolve his challenges and continue to play his role as a leading New Haven philanthropist.  Best of luck Mr. Stratton.

posted by: denny says on June 23, 2014  11:51pm

Let’s hope he’s just stepping back and not stepping away.

My guess is that he’s realized that the BOA has little power/authority and that real change can only be brought by winning the mayor’s race.

The next election is just 16 months away. He won’t run but he will be a key player in building opposition to the machine, and it will take a year of proper planning to build a formidable opposition.

posted by: JayC on June 24, 2014  7:37am

I was greatly surprised and disappointed that Mike Stratton began his career as an Alder in the way he did. He roared out of the gate, unable (or unwilling) to make a case for anything in a civil manner. Instead he was verbally insulating and personally abusive to his fellow Alders, burning every possible bridge before he could even start to cross any of them.  At the time, I asked a friend of mine whether he ever recalled someone who had made such a politically disastrous public entry. His response was “Only Howard Beale in the film “Network.” Alder Stratton’s words and conduct were consistently inflammatory and beyond the pale. As a result, his continued service on the Board would have been ineffective. As a constituent, I believe his resignation was appropriate.

posted by: robn on June 24, 2014  8:49am

I’m not surprised because any rational person would be driven mad, banging their head against the concrete wall of the suburban union machine which owns city hall.

posted by: Noteworthy on June 24, 2014  9:45am

Reality Bites Notes:

1. Mike Stratton faced reality and didn’t like what he saw, what it holds for the future and regrettably, decided it just wasn’t worth it given the toll on his business and his family.

2. In his resignation letter, Stratton was gracious to BOR President Jorge Perez and Mayor Harp. I would have loved to see the first draft rather than the last.

3. The truth of the matter is that a majority of the BOR do not understand the budget, are not interested in reform and see absolutely nothing wrong with anything they are doing or rubber-stamping. They ask very few questions, always support the administration and are happy to allow Perez to craft agreements to which they sign. They are sheep.

4. Therefore any serious discussions about the spending, about results based budgeting or strategy - are either ignored or never allowed. Finance Chairman Andrea Jackson Brooks for the first time ever, cut off a sitting alderman’s questioning of city personnel and treated Stratton with the disdain not unlike a jilted woman.

5. Why sit through more of it? Stratton had enough. It’s that simple.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on June 24, 2014  9:46am

This is a loss for the City of New Haven and for the opportunity for systemic changes.

The critics and bemoan his style, but he gets big points for trying.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 24, 2014  10:00am

posted by: robn on June 24, 2014 8:49am

I’m not surprised because any rational person would be driven mad, banging their head against the concrete wall of the suburban union machine which owns city hall.

In Your words Stop the lying.The Union Machine is not the problem.The Problem is the political machine and those of you who keep voting the same career politicians.As I said Michael Stratton If we had Proportional Representation he could have had his People’s Caucus.

My Bad.How about the Out-of-state developers money own that owns city hall.

posted by: Brutus2011 on June 24, 2014  10:06am

I really began to have hope that secret society know as NHPS was going to finally be exposed for the corrupt institution it has become.

It seems as though another way to get people to actually understand how the public trust is being violated will have to materialize.

Our kids really should come first. And if you want a upper middle class lifestyle, go start your own business or slug it out in the private sector.

Don’t do on the backs of our kids—and I am not talking about teachers.

Sorry to see you go, Alder Stratton. Best to you.

posted by: robn on June 24, 2014  11:41am


BS. You and I both know that the BOA and the Mayors office has been bought and paid for by Bob Proto, UNITE and Locals 34 and 35.

posted by: FacChec on June 24, 2014  11:43am

Stratton wrote:

“We alders have learned many facts this past term that give New Haven the opportunity for a very bright future”.

Wait, what? Bright future?

During the budget hearings he proposed amendments cutting the BOE budget by $100M.

That prospect was not a “very bright future”.

During the budget hearings Stratton said; “the Mayors position should be paid $250K per/yr”.

Recently, he tweeted that the mayor was greedy and selfish for recommending increasing the mayor’s office budget by 49%.

It is contradictory statements like this that I question where this guy was ever coming from.

Stratton operated from his own set of contrived machinations he called facts while denouncing, or completely ignoring other facts that were in starring him right in the face.

To all of those who say that Stratton will be missed, because they were content to set behind their computers and cheer Stratton on to an inevitable crash, burn and self destruct, maybe now you see the need to answer the question call:

“Stratton now being retired, who will take up the mantle of opposition leader”?

How about you? Or you?

posted by: Noteworthy on June 24, 2014  12:01pm

With All Due Respect Notes:

1. JayC - Civility is greatly overrated. It gets you exactly nowhere. If Stratton’s approach had been the opposite, the result would have been exactly the same.

2. Eddie - Calling Stratton’s ideas crazy is well, crazy. Full funding of PILOT is crazy? Calling out the political leadership including the Harp, Looney, Sharkey and Walker for selling out PILOT for their other pet projects or issues is crazy? Honesty and integrity in the NHPS budget is crazy? Stopping the lies for the first time in more than a decade and revealing that we are grossly over-funding education in excess of the minimum budget requirement is crazy? Revealing there never was a master plan for union negotiations is crazy?

3. I like incivility and crazy. Stratton’s approach is not why nothing has changed. It’s because those in power have not been tossed. But at least now, we know when they stand before us and tell us how great they are, how they believe in results based budgeting, accountability, and how they believe in full funding of PILOT - we’ll know they are like the tale of the emperor and his magic clothes.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 24, 2014  12:28pm

posted by: robn on June 24, 2014 11:41am


BS. You and I both know that the BOA and the Mayors office has been bought and paid for by Bob Proto, UNITE and Locals 34 and 35.

How do you expalin this.

Elicker To Harp: Give Back That Bundle

Mayoral candidate Justin Elicker challenged his frontrunner Toni Harp to return $9,000 in campaign contributions she received from nine suburban doctors a day after the city canceled a $180,000 contract with their company. Harp said she sees no reason to.On July 26, that doctor and eight others from the firm wrote $1,000 checks (the maximum allowed by law), to Harp’s campaign.Elicker called that a “typical example of pay-to-play politics in New Haven, where politicians pressure companies into contributing to campaigns in order to do business with cities like New Haven.”

How about these goodies.

Statewide Cash Fuels Harp Campaign

Is this not your statemnet.or maybe another robn?

posted by: robn on October 14, 2013 3:19pm

77% of Harps donations continue to pour in from outside of New Haven. Wake up New Haven, you’re about to be pirated.

Stop trying to union hate.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on June 24, 2014  5:34pm

I withdraw my political prognostication. Mr. Stratton actually does have personal and familial problems to resolve which would interfere with his work as an alderman. He did the right thing to resign. Whether we agree or disagree with his positions on various issues, people of goodwill throughout New Haven only hope that he can address his personal problems with as much privacy and dignity as possible under the circumstances revealed in the press.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on June 24, 2014  5:53pm

After reading these comments by Stratton, I now retract my retraction. My prediction that Stratton was resigning to run for mayor may be correct.

“Since January I have fought for the people (of) New Haven and it took a toll on me and my family,” he said in the statement.
Stratton alleged Harp intentionally put out the information to damage his image and embarrass him and that “mayor Harp may just have bought herself an opponent in 2015: me.”

Stratton can run for mayor if he wants, but he should not blame the rigors and stresses of political life in the New Haven Board of Aldermen for his adulterous behavior.
I thought I had some compassion for his plight, but I the man refuses to take responsibility for his own actions and wants to politicize his affair by accusing the mayor and the police chief of a conspiracy to ruin his reputation, he should not have engaged in a relationship with another woman.