Letter: Time ripe for change in city leadership

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:

Denial, not the river in Egypt, but the refusal to acknowledge the truth, appears to be the permanent operating mode of the current administration and many of the long time members of the Shelton Board of Alderman (BOA). Shelton residents deserve transparency and honesty in order to tackle the multiple problems facing the city. From the school bus situation, to city finances, to the debacle at the Shelton Police Department, this administration can’t be straight with the people of Shelton.

Buses are late, canceled or not showing up to bus stops properly leaving parents in a daily nerve-wracking situation. While no bus service is perfect, the amount of ongoing problems with the mayor’s bus service is well beyond the challenges in other communities and a point of embarrassment for this community. For the mayor and his shill BOA members to deny a problem exists and to chastise those exposing the problems is evidence of people who have been in their elected capacity too long. When ego becomes more important than our families, we are in trouble.

Even worse, the recent denial that the city is broke and the ongoing false narrative of a rosy financial picture is disingenuous. It is known around the city that the cash flow was so tight over the past few years that vendors were waiting on payments. The city general fund balance had been depleted to nearly zero. What really happened? Several years ago, the bond rating agencies that help determine the interest rate at which the city can borrow placed Shelton on a fiscal watch list given this vulnerable fiscal position.

Recently, a long time BOA member noted that some departments underspent their budgets so the extra money is now in reserves to the tune of approximately $2 million, therefore, there is no financial problem. Since when is defunding emergency services like our police department and under-servicing the community a good strategy to make the city look less broke in an election year? A fiscally healthy city has well-maintained infrastructure while having a reasonable cash reserve in place for unanticipated problems. Shelton has neither. We are nearly broke and our infrastructure is falling apart. The people of Shelton deserve a lot better.

We need a plan to bring real fiscal health to Shelton. We don’t need to raise taxes to do so. We need to have proper priorities and professional management. The windfall coming to Shelton from the federal COVID-19 American Rescue Plan needs to be invested in a wise and transparent way.

Lastly, the refusal to acknowledge the debacle at the Shelton Police Department is head scratching. The city has outrageous and growing legal fees associated with the firing of honest and good police officers for their role in exposing poor work conditions. The city will be facing numerous lawsuits with the strong potential that the payout awards will be in the millions. Taxpayers will need to hold on to their wallets. This is another embarrassment in our city that has hurt families and placed public safety in jeopardy.

The Lauretti administration has been in office too long and is in a state of outright denial. Ego and power rule the day. Shelton needs fresh leadership that is willing to tell people the truth, listen to various concerns and formulate effective and financially prudent plans for the future. I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with the great people of Shelton.

David A. Eldridge

Shelton