Click above for NHI Blog
If you have any information regarding misuse or misappropriation of North Haven government funds (including information regarding no-bid contracts or contracts with officials, employees, or their family), or if you gave any charitable contributionsof any size, by cash or by check, to the Community Services and Recreation Department, please contact, anonymously or with your name, either the state Public Integrity Bureau, which has a hotline, 1-888-742-2726 (toll-free; all calls are kept confidential); or the forensic examiner hired by the town, Joseph Centofanti of Kostin, Ruffkess & Co. (860-678-6002; you can leave an anonymous message, the phone does not have caller ID). Such information will help the ongoing criminal investigation and the town's forensic investigation.
Upcoming Board and Commission Meetings
The Town Website now has a Calendar of Meetings, which even features a Reminder button, that will send you an email reminder a specified number of days before a particular meeting. So this calendar will be phased out. I'm leaving the Budget Workshops up until they're added to the Town Website Calendar.
Sat. Feb. 2, 8:30-11 am - Budget Workshop, Town Hall - Library, Community Services &
Recreation, and Public Works budgets will be discussed
Mon., Feb. 4, 7 pm - Special Town Meeting to vote on emergency funding of a new garbage
truck, a 3-2 truck body, a police cherry-picker truck, and the new boiler for the
Clintonville school. This meeting will officially be called at the Jan. 24 Board of
Selectmen meeting. The McCarty administration policy is that all large non-emergency
expenditures will be voted on byreferendum. Middle School Auditorium. Here's the
notice of the Town Meeting.
Wed., Feb. 20, 7:30 pm - Budget Workshop, Town Hall - Police, Registrars, Town Clerk and
Tax Collector budgets will be discussed
Sat., Mar. 1, 8:30-11 am - Budget Workshop, Town Hall - Board of Education and Fire
budgets will be discussed
Wed., Mar. 19, 7:30 pm - Budget Workshop, Town Hall
1-21-08 Meeting schedule goes up on Town Website, so the above schedule is now redundant, and will in the future be used only for special announcements
12-3-07 Democrats move into Town Hall.
11-21-07 Blog entry on selection by Republicans of Michael Freda for Kopetz's spot on the Board of Selectmen.
11-14-07 Blog entry on how Kevin Kopetz will be replaced on the Board of Selectmen.
11-9-07 Added Post-Election makeup of elected boards and commissions. The only significant changes were in the Board of Finance, where the Democrats went from a small minority to a large majority, and the Planning and Zoning Commission, where the Democrats went from a minority of 2 to a majority of 3. And, of course, the Board of Selectmen, where the Democrats won the First Selectman's seat (the other two seats are always split between the parties). The party composition of the other four elected boards was unchanged after the election, in which 75% of those who ran were elected.
11-7-07 Election Results (numbers are from North Haven Registrars office).
10-18-07 Added (1) affidavit establishing the ground for a Search and Seizure Warrant of a gun from the home of Finance Director Vincent Palmeri, along with the Warrant; and (2) phone numbers for information regarding the misuse or misappropriation of town funds (above). Also, read blog entries on the First Selectman debate and last night's Board of Finance meeting about the forensic examination.
10-12-07 The Kopetz and McCarty campaign disclosure statements are available, for the period July 1 through September 30. The contributions to the Kopetz campaign were $9,800. Of this, $5,400 came from political action committees (PACs) established by or on behalf of a lobbyist. The contributions to the McCarty campaign were $14,870 from individuals, and only $125 from one PAC, which was not established by or on behalf of a lobbyist. So far, a great deal of the Kopetz campaign's contributions have come from town contractors, employees, and lobbyists. McCarty does not accept money from lobbyists.
10-11-07 Watch the League of Women Voters First Selectman Candidate Forum on NHTV's Channel 20. Read the first blog entry on it, with comments from others.
10-10-07 Added a discussion of the Connecticut Supreme Court decision that Town Attorney Jeffrey Donofrio raised in defense of the legality of the town's approach to budget transfers, after this site's webmaster argued that the approach is illegal. Sounds very dry, but it's important.
10-6-07 In conjunction with the creation of the Ethics Review Committee, upon which I sit, I have added a new Ethics page. It is intended for members of the Ethics Review Committee, as well as for interested citizens. It will include links to municipal ethics information.
10-5-07 The first candidate questionnaire (albeit incomplete) has been sent in by First Selectman candidate Janet McCarty. Keep those cards and emails coming!
10-3-07 The first forensic report, just of the Community Services Department, is available on the new Forensic Exam page.
10-1-07 The forensic report has been declared by the Chief State's Attorney's office to be a "public document." It will be interesting to see if the town will let me put the document up on this website today, so that you can read it before the Board of Finance meeting this evening, and also if the BoF will still try to hold a discussion of the report in a meeting closed to citizens and the press. There is also a conflict of interest issue with respect to the participation in tonight's discussion by the First Selectman and the Town Attorney, which I discuss in today's blog entry.
9-25-07 The North Haven Town Meeting, dominated by town officials, employees, and Republican party loyalists, voted to continue breaking the law regarding Town Meeting approval of budget transfers. See my blog entry for further information.
9-14-07 It's election time, and North Haven Info is starting to send questionnaires to candidates, with a focus on transparency and ethics. They've gone out to First Selectman, Selectman, Board of Finance, and Planning & Zoning Commission candidates, and can be found at the new Candidate Questionnaires page. A notice will appear here every time a new questionnaire appears, and every time a response arrives. I hope this will help you get to know the candidates better.
9-12-07 The summer is over, and budget problems are back with us. On Tuesday, September 25, at 7 pm at the high school, the Town Meeting will vote on some of the budget transfers (monies transferred to underestimated budget items) over $20,000 made by the Board of Finance for the fiscal year 2006-2007. Not only have town officials underestimated most of these budget items year after year, but they are also not following state and local law in the way they deal with these budget items or the way they bring the Town Meeting into the picture. Please come to the Town Meeting, and fully prepare for it by getting the facts, the numbers, and the arguments (in summary and long-winded form) on North Haven Info's new Budget Transfers page.
7-23-07 Added new page to this website: Personnel Policies. So far, it includes two publications, the Personnel Policies Manual for Department Heads, which includes the town's sick leave policy for department heads (they can accrue up to 140 days, worth, in the case of finance director Vincent Palmeri, about $56,000 - see the blog entry on this), and the Amended and Restated Pension Plan for General Employees.
7-21-07 Added new campaign reports of the First Selectman candidates, Kevin Kopetz and Janet McCarty, McCarty's new contributions report, and the new report of the Republican Town Committee (the Democrats' report isn't up yet). The Kopetz campaign has raised a great deal more funds so far ($50,000 to $8,000), one of the great advantages of being an incumbent. For this and other campaign information, see the Elections page of this website.
7-3-07 Nothing is more flattering than imitation. After acting as if this website didn't exist, First Selectman Kevin Kopetz has actually placed an ad seeking bids for Web Page Development for North Haven's website. More details later, after I've seen the Request for Proposal (I should also be able to announce the name of the person who will be getting paid for doing what I've been doing for nothing). Meanwhile, read the Invitation to Bid ad.
6-19-07 Governor Rell and the legislature reached a tentative budget agreement last night. Details will come out today. Had the referendum been delayed, as I attempted at the Budget Town Meeting, we could have included the full state education funding increase in the North Haven budget.
6-16-07 Added blog entry opposing the second budget. It is clear that First Selectman Kevin Kopetz's threats to make sizeable cuts in education, personnel, and services are idle threats. With a $364,000 cut in the insurance budget figures, and a $1 million increase in state education funding, there is no need to make further cuts. This is a vote about who is in charge in this town: officials who play with numbers, withhold information from us, and make idle threats; or citizens who want an end to this game, who want to be given a realistic and complete budget the first time around. A vote against the budget will force Mr. Kopetz and the rest of the Board of Finance to make the insurance cut, add in the state education figure, and give us a complete budget we can vote for not because of threats, but because we think it is right for the town.
6-15-07 Added blog entry on the opening of insurance bids. The town will be saving at least $364,000 from the budgeted insurance figures.
6-14-07 Added March 2001 letter from Charles DeMartino to First Selectman Kevin Kopetz, with copies to the other two selectmen, about problems with the Ierardis. The letter provided detailed information and asked for an investigation. And yet nothing was done. Mr. DeMartino was not a Democrat trying to cause trouble. He is a lifelong Republican who, in 1998, ran against Steve Fontana for State Representative.
6-9-07 Added blog entry on the budget cuts First Selectman and Board of Finance member Kevin Kopetz threatens in his weekly column, and how he neither will nor can implement them. Also added a new Guide for Connecticut Municipal Candidates to state Campaign Finance laws, and North Haven's new Noise Ordinance, effective June 22, 2007.
6-8-07 Added blog entry on the Board of Finance Auditor Subcommittee's choice of auditors, both annual and "forensic operations" -- there's an interesting twist in the forensic chicken plot!
6-7-07 Added blog entry about the state's million-dollar increase in education funding, which more than offsets the Board of Finance's $150,000 cut to the education budget -- but the Board of Finance would not include any of the state increase in our budget
6-6-07 Added insurance competitive bidding announcement. Note that at 10 am on June 15, there will be a public opening of insurance bids at the Finance Office conference room. Click here to read announcement of bids and of public opening. The insurance covered by this competitive bidding includes auto, workers compensation, umbrella liability, property, inland marine, and equipment floater insurance. This year about $3 million was budgeted for this insurance, about 4% of the total budget. We should do much better.
5-31-07 Added blog entry about last night's Board of Finance meeting, at which a second budget proposal was approved. Although this proposal is better than the first, it is not what it appears, and not the budget this town deserves. Read it and then put in your own two cents. Click here to see the proposed changes.
5-30-07 Added today's New Haven Register editorial on the North Haven budget. It begins: "There were a lot of reasons North Haven voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposed $78 million budget for the coming year. But they all boiled down to this: The budget numbers are as suspect as the people who put the figures together."
5-27-07 Added a budget cuts poll. Let the Board of Finance know which budget items you would like to be cut, and which items you don't want to be cut. And please tell your friends, so we can have as many people participate as possible. The responses must be in by 5 pm on Wednesday, May 30, in time for the BoF meeting. And come to the meeting!
5-26-07 Added blog entries on the May 23 Board of Finance meeting, one on the budget, the other on the forensic investigation.
5-23-07 Board of Finance approved an addendum to the "forensic-operations audit" Request for Proposal (bidding out the job) that requires a forensic investigation of the Community Services and Recreation department, with possible further forensic investigation. This is an important victory after weeks of effort that had ended up with just a capability of forensic examination. But the limitation of place (Comm. Service) and time (back to 2003, when there is evidence that the actions go back well into the 1990s) do not show a true commitment to getting to the bottom of what has happened. Here are two videos of this portion of the meeting: Part 1; Part 2. If you like doubletalk, you'll find these videos very entertaining.
5-23-07 The Board of Finance ignored the on-line petition that over 200 North Haven residents signed. They did not discuss what people who signed the petition requested, nor did they discuss the comments they made. This is a new form of democracy, of stating what is commonly referred to as "the will of the people," and was a greater success than I had hoped. It is only the beginning of an attempt to give people in this town a voice. As more people come to accept this new form of democracy, there will be more people letting their voices be heard, and elected officials will have to start listening.
5-22-07 Budget rejected 2,397 (64%) to 1,341 (36%), with, sadly, only a 25% turnout.
5-21-07 Added Channel 3 TV coverage of the 5-17 Board of Selectmen meeting, in which a decision was reached on the Ierardis' pensions.
5-18-07 Added blog entry on yesterday's Board of Selectmen meeting, in which a decision was reached on the Ierardis' pensions. There was a dispute about how to handle the pensions, with Selectwoman McCarty voting against the plan proposed by the Republican selectmen. The blog entry includes the motions that were voted on.
5-17-07 Added blog entry on yesterday's Board of Finance Auditor Subcommittee. It was not a pretty meeting. Added request for proposal for forensic investigation, which was discussed but not approved.
5-15-07 Added links above to final Proposed Budget, to be voted on next Tuesday, and to the flyer I wrote for the Budget Town Meeting. Also added blog entry about the Budget Town Meeting, which includes a call for the resignation of acting Board of Finance Chair Michael O. Peterson.
5-10-07 Just in time for the Budget Town Meeting on Monday, the Budget page has information about spending on education vs. town budgets, comparative insurance and pension costs, and the special pension plan. In all cases, North Haven's fiscal management comes out looking very poor.
5-10-07 Added notes and blog entry about the third Board of Finance auditor subcommittee meeting, which seemed to find all members in agreement about the need for a separate forensic investigation. Emphasis on the word "seemed."
5-8-07 Added comparative budget information to the Budget page. Highlights so far include a special pension plan for the First Selectman and Town Clerk, which no other Connecticut town has; and a comparative study of North Haven insurance and pension costs, which are far higher than other towns our size. Also, we spend less per capita on our students than most towns, and a higher percentage on the town budget. It's no wonder that we have to vote for both budgets together, instead of voting separately on the education and town budgets.
5-8-07 Added blog entry about sizeable campaign contributions from four VPs of a North Haven construction contractor that has been sued by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
5-7-07 Added a list of all elected and appointed positions in North Haven government, so that people can now take an active role in serving our town. There are a lot of positions opening up this year. Please look over the list and get yourself nominated or appointed to a board or commission. This is a great time to get involved in what we hope will be a new, more open, more democratic, more participatory North Haven government. You can help bring about a new era in our town.
5-7-07 Added videos of the public comments section of the May 2 Board of Finance auditor subcommittee meeting. The principal topics -- the hiring of a forensic auditor, the inclusion of public comments in meetings rather than after meetings -- sound dull, but the speeches made by many members of the public are passionate, and you will see why. Added minutes of May 1 Community Services Commission meeting. This Commission is supposed to have been overseeing the Ierardis' department, including its expenditures, receipts, and operations, and it is supposed to interview applications for the new director and make a recommendation to the First Selectman about which candidate to hire.
5-7-07 Added a new page for Community Services Commission minutes (they had a meeting on May 1). This commission is charged with oversight over the department that was headed by the Ierardis, but does not seem to have been even trying to fulfill its oversight duties.
5-6-07 Added lots of materials that were handed out to Board of Finance meetings. Without these materials, it is hard to understand the minutes and prepare adequately for the Budget Town Meeting on May 14 and voting at the Referendum on May 22. Especially of interest are the monthkly overexpenditure reports, which show the effects of underfunding various budget items, such as energy costs, maintenance, and overtime.
5-4-07 Added blog entry on First Selectman Kevin Kopetz's memo regarding the minutes and agendas of board and commission meetings, a good first step toward transparency, but also a rejection of the many advantages of using current technology to make these materials available anytime and anywhere.
5-3-07 Added notes about yesterday's Board of Finance auditor subcommittee meeting, as well as a blog entry about it. Once again, the hiring of a forensic auditor was the principal topic, and once again the subcommittee's Republican members threw up a smokescreen to prevent moving forward on something that is important to proceed on ASAP. Once again the public comments section was lively and intelligent, and the public was prevented from watching it on NHTV due to the Republicans' disrespect for the public. See highlights of the meeting on video.
5-2-07 Video of yesterday's special Board of Selectmen meeting on the Ierardi's retirement and pension, in which the Board votes (2 to 1) to close the meeting. Read my blog entry on why the public was, I believe, wrongfully excluded from discussions. Click here for the Channel 3 report on the meeting.
5-2-07 The Community Services Commission, which oversees the department run for years by the Ierardis, wrongly noticed its meeting yesterday. It noticed the meeting for 7:00 pm, but held it at 5:30 pm. I learned of the change only an hour before the meeting was held, and changed the notice on this page but, I am told, only one member of the public, and no one from the press, came to a meeting that might have dealt with very important issues. Here is a picture of the notice calendar outside the Town Clerk's office, taken yesterday. This means two Freedom of Information violations in one day (at least in my estimation), both having to do with the Ierardis.
5-1-07 Democratic Selectwoman Janet McCarty yesterday announced her candidacy for First Selectman, running with Police Commission member Bernard McLoughlin. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was on hand for the festivities. Our State Representative, Steve Fontana, will be Ms. McCarty's campaign manager. Photos (courtesy of Doug Wood): Ms. McCarty, Mr. McLoughlin, Mr. Blumenthal and Ms. McCarty. Blumenthal emphasized McCarty's integrity (click to see video of his speech), and it is her integrity, more than anything, that has earned her my support. McCarty believes in transparency and openness in government, in full participation of all citizens, in ethics and respect for town residents, and in making officials accountable. This town needs better management, but we cannot get there without someone who will insist on ethical behavior at every level and who will allow us to consider other forms of managing our government. All the work I am doing to bring transparency and open discussion to North Haven would have been unnecessary were McCarty our First Selectwoman.
5-1-07 Added to the blog an entry on the disrespect shown to town citizens by town officials, in both their words and their actions. Added to Board of Education minutes some recent budget reports and the protocol for bidding out contracts, after an excellent meeting with Superintendent Sara Querfeld, who seems to be committed to even more transparency in the education side of our government.
4-28-07 Added to the Elections page the first campaign contribution report of this year's municipal election season, from the First Selectman campaign of Kevin R. Kopetz. For the period from February 7 through March 21, contributions to the Kopetz campaign totaled $50,600. Janet McCarty just announced her candidacy for First Selectman, so she has not had any contributions to report.
4-27-07 Added on blog an exchange between Republican Board of Finance member Michael J. Freda and me: my North Haven Post column on the dishonest budget, his scathing response, and my response to his response. Maybe more ahead. Also new on the blog: a look at today's Register editorial calling for an immediate forensic audit, and a comparison of our town's two forms of government: the schools (council-town manager form) and the town (first selectman-town meeting form), and why one works better and more transparently than the other. Also, I redid my piece on Board of Finance acting chair Michael O. Peterson's false letter to the editor, based on new information. It's much more damning than before.
4-26-07 Added a new Elections page, with links to all the Democratic and Republican Town Committee Statements of Receipts and Expenditures from 2003 through the present. Here you can see who has given how much to our party town committees, and how the money has been spent. Analyses of this information will be forthcoming.
4-25-07 Added list of board and commission minutes that can be found at the library.
4-24-07 Added a searchable Town Charter to the Ordinances page. This is the first time the Town Charter, our town's constitution, has been made available on-line. It can also be obtained in pamphlet form at the town clerk's office in Town Hall; it's worth having with you when you attend meetings and consider strategies for getting things done in town. Added Board of Education minutes. People started writing comments in the North Haven Info Blog; come and join them in a townwide discussion!
4-23-07 All videos of the 4-18 Board of Finance auditor subcommittee are now available for viewing. Added narrative of which town officials knew about or suspected the Ierardis' activities, based on arrest warrant affidavits. Added summaries of Board of Selectmen meetings. Added first blog entry about a town official who is not cooperating with my attempt to make North Haven's government open and transparent: town clerk Mary Lou Payette.
4-20-07 The First Selectman's office put up unapproved minutes of the 4-12 Board of Selectmen meeting, the first time any town official has put something up on the Internet without being asked. This is an important milestone for North Haven!
4-19-07 Added Board of Finance minutes from last two years, including notes from and links to videos of yesterday's meeting of subcommittee to select auditor, which was far more interesting than it sounds, with an important dispute over hiring a forensic auditor and lots of citizen input.
4-14-07 Started North Haven Info blog, a place where I and others will be commenting on events in North Haven as they occur.
4-14-2007 Added Janet McCarty's Selections columns from November 2005 to April 2007. They can be accessed from here or from the Opinion page.
4-13-2007 The Board of Selectmen minutes from January 2006 through March 2007 were placed up on the North Haven town website. I and others in town have been asking for this for years, and have been ignored. This is why it is important to have a website such as this, and why I am devoting so much time to it. When we said we would put the budget proposal up on-line, it too was placed up on the town website for the first time.
4-12-2007 Added the arrest warrant affidavits of Community Services and Recreation Director Joseph Ierardi; his wife and assistant, Patricia Ierardi; and Finance Director Vincent Palmeri.
4-12-2007 Added Robert Wechsler's opinion pieces for the North Haven Post in the Opinion section. They cover such topics as competitive bidding for town contracts, ethics reform, charter revision, the role of the Town Meeting moderator, and who is responsible for Joseph Ierardi's misconduct.
4-12-2007 The New Haven Register's editorial today was seriously critical of First Selectman Kevin Kopetz's management of North Haven. It said that he bears "final responsibility" for the town's finances, referring to his "cavalier handling" of the town's money. It also said that Kopetz "effectively buried" a 2001 ethics complaint concerning Community Services and Recreation Director Joseph Ierardi having his wife as his assistant. The editorial called this "an obvious conflict." And it brought up the town's refusal to competitively bid contracts, in violation of the Town Charter.
4-6-2007 Added the 2007-2008 proposed budget.
What's On This Site
Budget 2006-7 and 2007-8 town and education budgets. Also information about spending on education vs. town budgets, comparative salaries and comparative insurance and pension costs, and a special pension plan. In all cases, North Haven's fiscal management comes out looking very poor.
Mtg Minutes Minutes of the town boards and commissions, and summaries for quick access. I am requesting minutes from the recent past and copies as minutes are filed. Board of Finance minutes and summaries are now available, as are Board of Education and Board of Selectmen minutes.
North Haven Info Blog This is a place for North Haveners to discuss what is happening in their town government. Please come to read what others have to say and to put in your own two cents.
Elections Campaign contributions: to the current First Selectman campaigns, and to both party town committees. See who's giving what to whom.
Ordinances North Haven's Ordinances, and the Town Charter, our town's constitution.
Arrest Warrant Affidavits Warrant affidavits for the arrest of Community Services and Recreation Director Joseph Ierardi (days before his arrest, he was also Chair of the Republican Town Committee); his wife and assistant, Patricia Ierardi; and Finance Director Vincent Palmeri. Also a close look at what other town officials knew or suspected concerning the Ierardis' activities.
Revaluation The October 2005 Revaluation list and the Grand List.
FOI North Haven Freedom of Information cases.
North Haven's Govt. A list of all opening positions for elected and appointed officials, so that people can ask to serve in North Haven's government. Also, description of how North Haven's town government operates.
Opinion My past opinion pieces for the North Haven Post and Selectwoman Janet McCarty's weekly columns from the past two years, Selections.
Forms None yet.
Links Links to websites of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, the CT Attorney General, the CT Public Integrity Bureau, a UCONN population study, and more links.
The principal goal of this website is to make the North Haven town government transparent, that is, to help keep town officials honest by casting a light on what they do, and to provide sufficient information for town residents to participate effectively in their government, including their votes for budgets, appropriations, ordinances, and candidates. The webmaster, Robert Wechsler, is an Independent, a member of the board of the nonpartisan good government organization Common Cause Connecticut, and Director of Research for City Ethics, Inc., a national, nonpartisan organization that provides advice concerning municipal ethics programs.