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Democrats Vote to Strip BoE Funding

By Jeffrey B. Cohen

June 18, 2009

The city's Democratic Town Committee finished with a bang Wednesday.

First, 15 of the 27 people at the monthly meeting voted to remove funding for two positions at the board of education - the superintendent and the labor relations manager.

And second, 26 of the 27 present said they were against the "unfair increase" in the costs of health insurance for retired employees of the board of education.

But do the votes of the city's Democratic leadership have any meaning?

"None," said Town Committee Chairman Sean Arena. "It's just something that was voted on. It doesn't really have any meat.

"It's a resolution that was made," he said. "A lot of resolutions are made."

Arena, who said he abstained on the first item - raised by town committee member Michael Downes - because there was no time to do research. And he didn't speak with Downes afterwards, either, because once the vote was taken, everyone retreated to celebrate the birthday of long-time Democrat Abraham L. Giles, Arena said.

"Are you kidding me?" asked disgruntled town committee member Thom Page, who didn't attend the meeting. "They don't have any authority to do any of this stuff."

Page said he finds it odd that the votes were taken at all - he tried, unsuccessfully, to have the town committee vote on the leadership "debacle" on the council earlier this year.

"That stuff doesn't get to a vote," Page said. "But the guys last night voted to withdraw funding from the board of ed? And tomorrow they're going to declare war on Pakistan."

Reprinted with permission of the CityLine blog of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the CityLine at http://blogs.courant.com/cityline/ and the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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