Letter: Alderman calls Shelton budget hearing 'embarrassing'

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Contributed photo

To the Editor:

This past Nov. 3, the electorate of Shelton resoundingly defeated the proposed city charter revision by well more than a two-to-one margin, a measure which, among other things, would have eliminated the Board of Apportionment and Taxation. The citizens of our city declared in one voice that they value this board, believe in its role in the budget process each year and want the transparency that such a board can provide in their hearings. One would think that after having their very existence saved by the voters, that the budget hearings this year would be a robust affair with open dialogue and the free exchange of ideas of how the city can best spend our money.

What resulted could not have been farther from that vision. In a word it was embarrassing. What resulted from these meetings was quite simply an attempt to deflect from the real issue of fiscal transparency and a coordinated effort on the part of A&T Chairman John Francino-Quinn and fellow Republicans John Belden and John Boyko. You do not have to take my word on this as the meetings were broadcast on the city’s YouTube channel and are still posted so you can judge for yourself.

Mr. Francino-Quinn you should be ashamed of yourself. Our citizens deserve, at the very least, a competently run meeting. I thank Board of Alderman President Anglace for attempting to lend some structure to the meetings that are governed under Robert’s Rules, but the resulting display was still beneath what the citizens of Shelton deserve. The three Republican members did not show any little bit of interest in doing any questioning or display any inkling of intellectual curiosity about the proposed department budgets. What we received was an effort to quell any discussion or consideration of any view point not proposed by the mayor in this year’s budget.

It became clear in short order that the three Republican members were not going to entertain any discussion. Not one of them voted for any motion to even discuss any adjustments to the budget. Each motion failed by a vote of three to three. They would not even listen to anyone else’s thoughts or ideas. Curiously absent from the meeting was the mayor, who can break ties on any of these motions. Instead of showing up and casting his vote to not entertain any motions of discussion for the record, he decided to remain silent and not even attend.

It has become quite clear over the past several years that the mayor will attempt to quell any dissenting voices. Mark Holden, Anne Gaydos and Tom Minotti were unceremoniously dumped from the RTC slate of BOE candidates in 2019 because they were doing what was right for our children. I was removed from my voting position in the RTC for similar dissent against the mayor. You can note that at the start of some of our most recent BOA meetings, the mayor has tried to quiet my voice by attempting to call me out. I think he wants me to get in an argument with him, but I am going to continue working for the citizens of Shelton, not engage in distracting bickering because the truth that he has not been doing a very good job for our city seems to have bruised his ego. The half truths and falsehoods the mayor uses in these BOA statements are plain enough to see.

All I know is a hallmark of good leadership is to realize when things have not gone well and work to correct it. The mayor has this increasingly frequent habit of telling the voters of Shelton that they are wrong in their opinions. My constituents are very concerned about the direction our city is taking and I would hazard a guess that the same can be said about the voters in the other wards in our city. We are so much better and smarter when we listen to one another. I admit I do not have the answers to everything, but I know that solutions can be found if we communicate freely with one another. It is unfortunate that the incumbent in the mayor’s office does not share this point of view and shows no signs of changing this dangerous tactic. This November, Shelton voters can elect aldermen who actually work for taxpayers. We at Envision Shelton are a bipartisan group who really care about taxpayers and parents. We want a better Shelton.

David Gidwani

Republican 1st Ward Alderman