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Cheap Shots

Mike McGarry

November 20, 2008

Your observer was disappointed by the silly attacks on Councilwoman rJo Winch over her trip to the National League of Cities meeting. We respect the several council people who have made this an issue but think they are way off base.

Meetings and conferences are very important to public officials that really want to learn how to better represent the public. The workshops, the interaction with other officials, the vendors with new products are all part of the education of a councilperson, mayor or department head. To restrict such education is extremely short sighted. New ideas to improve services and cut costs are the reason for these meetings, just what Hartford needs now.

Your author attended many such conferences over a six-year period and brought home dozens of ideas and viewpoints that were shared with the city manager, department heads and other council members. Our current trash collection system got a lot of input form materials gathered from meetings like the one in dispute.

The oddest twist of all this is that the Working People council people are making a big deal out of $1,000 or so, right after they pushed (successfully) for an added estimated expense of $200,000 for a third registrar of voters. Ask laid off public works employees what they think of that, Mr. King.

Hartford faces huge problems in the near future along with long range, built-in responsibilities. Nobody on the council has the guts to admit that changes in public safety and education must come Ė thatís where the money is. Laying off our only zoning administrator or more public works employees really amounts to peanuts compared to the costs of police, fire and schools.

What are the answers? Other cities have faced, and handled, problems that are similar to our own (and in some cases worse). Maybe, if the Alliance, or the Hartford Foundationís or campaign contributors would send the whole council to the January national league of cities meeting in Washington, we just might find some solutions.

Reprinted with permission of the The Hartford News.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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