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Trumbull Dems Call For Herbst Apology

They say they're ready to work with him "for the good of Trumbull."

Trumbull Democrats believe First Selectman Tim Herbst’s decision to gamble more than $100,000 in taxpayer funds on a reckless plunge into the concert-promotion business to be poor fiscal policy and bad judgment.

We call on First Selectman Herbst to acknowledge his mistake clearly, without his characteristic blaming of others and without his equally characteristic ill-tempered tirades. As he said to Town Council Minority Leader Martha Jankovic-Mark when she asked who the artist was, “If you want to choose the artist, you should run for first selectman.”

But Tim, you’re the first selectman. You have to take the responsibility.

There were several claims in Chairman Testani’s odd, confused statement that require clarification.

  • Testani/Herbst (the format of the release makes it difficult to know who’s actually speaking) claimed that there was bi-partisan agreement on the Town Council to move forward. That’s technically true, because of the 12 Council members who voted to move forward, two were Democrats. 10 Republicans and two Democrats. The vote was overwhelmingly Republican. And the Council is controlled by the Republicans and under Herbst, no Democratic initiative will ever pass the Council. It was a Republican decision to move forward with the concert and Herbst needs to own that.
  • Herbst, in just his most recent example of losing his cool and lashing out at the integrity of those who disagree with him, described the fact that the town lost $77,000 on the concert an “absolute lie.” Testani doubled down on that, claiming, incredibly, that of the $77,000 in money lost on the Bolton concert, $54,000 of it was “non-taxpayer funds.” This is a bizarre claim, and it’s not appropriate for a party chairman or a first selectman. The $54,000 was profit generated from the 2010 Train concert, but it certainly was taxpayer money. Whose money would it be, Mr. First Selectman, if not the taxpayers?
  • Testani said, “Mr. Silber and Mr. Palo were among the principal architects of one of the most mean spirited campaigns in the history of Trumbull politics” in 2011. This is a classic diversion away from Herbst’s poor policy decision on the concert. But to respond to that comment on its face, it’s not true. Herbst’s own 2009 campaign was the most mean-spirited campaign in Trumbull history. It dragged the names of several hardworking municipal employees through the mud. It impugned the reputation of its opponent in ways that should have been out of bounds. It used Internet chat rooms and anonymous people to smear public servants and advance the most sordid pieces of Herbst’s mudslinging. Let’s never lose sight of that.
  • Testani thinks he’s got himself a catch phrase when he describes Board of Finance member Andy Palo as a “Baldwin Democrat.” But Palo ran with Herbst in 2009. Palo ultimately rejected Herbst’s vindictive manner in interpersonal relationships.

In the end, what matters is for First Selectman Herbst to acknowledge his errors and move forward. Herbst and Testani should apologize to Andy Palo, Martha Jankovic-Mark and Tony Silber for their mischaracterizations of those Democrats. Democrats are waiting for that and standing ready to work with Mr. Herbst and his team for the good of Trumbull.

louis October 01, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Rarely are such moments of self deprication in anyone's interest. And a mere apology does not replace or restore confidence when the allegations against him are so vociferous. For the good of the town, a hearing in the light of day, should be held. That is the only way to get to the bottom of what happened and to place a would be tyrant on notice in the future
Chris Wendt October 02, 2012 at 09:46 AM
I think an apology is in order and would suffice, rather than a big, embarrassing hearing. That and a personal check in the amount of $77,000 from Mr. Herbst. Or, just send the check. It will speak volumes and save all the blushing and gushing of him having to blurt-out a public apology.
HL October 02, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Perhaps an independent's view: Tim was half way there when he admitted that the concert was cancelled for a number of reasons, one of which was low ticket sales. This was an indirect admission of a bad choice of event. As an indy, I am not as worried about calling Mr. Palo a "Baldwin Democrat" or those sort of things. That's just politics, and Trumbull may look back at the Baldwin era as one of it's best historically (I know I do). I would like to see Tim speak about how he feels the administration can improve this process going forward. Talk about more transparency in events, and privatizing them (which he already alluded to) to mitigate risk. While you will never hear this, my guess is that he and his team learned a few lessons from this mistake, one of which is calling profits made from taxpayer money something other than taxpayer money.

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