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Herbst Will Run Again for Trumbull First Selectman

It will be his third term if he wins.

First Selectman Tim Herbst announced his re-election bid Sunday night at the annual Trumbull GOP Lincoln-Reagan dinner at the Trumbull Marriott.

"I believe there are many more quarters to play in this game and I'm not quite ready to hang up my cleats," said Herbst, a Trumbull High School graduate and former football player. "And I firmly believe we have come too far and accomplished too much to turn back the clock and return to the policies of the past."

"I love the people of this town and I am honored and humbled to lead the best town in America," he added.

Herbst is the first person to declare his candidacy for first selectman this year. Municipal elections take place in November.

Herbst asked the packed banquet room if Trumbull was better off than it was four years ago, and the audience shouted, "Yes!"

He accused past administrations of adding more than $100 million in debt to the town over five years and raising taxes 54 percent in eight years.

"For years, Trumbull was run by an entrenched political machine comprised of special interests that looked at Trumbull taxpayers like their own personal ATM machine," the first selectman said.

Herbst said his administration is properly funding the town's pensions after they were underfunded for a "generation" before, saving Trumbull's bond rating. He also changed education policy.

"Four years ago, our opponents thought millions upon millions of dollars invested in large auditoriums and swimming pools was the way to improved student performance and achievement," according to Herbst.

He cited the implementation of all-day kindergarten, Trumbull's low class size and lack of teacher layoffs, in addition to a high high school graduation rate and high college attendance.

He also has proposed more police officers and updating emergency equipment in light of the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Stern Village

Touching on a point of controversy, Herbst said he defended Stern Village residents after issues arose in the public housing complex during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

"When I see senior citizens in public housing ignored and left to fend for themselves during a hurricane, you can be damn sure that I am going to stand up and fight to protect them," he said.

In December 2012, Herbst did not reappoint several members of the Trumbull Housing Authority and the rest resigned. He also argued that then-Executive Director Harry Wise mismanaged Stern Village during the hurricane by failing to make changes called for in an emergency plan for a year before the storm.

The new Trumbull Housing Authority replaced Wise and removed the THA's long time attorney, leading critics to accuse Herbst politicizing the board and giving jobs to friends.

Judith Stern, a former THA member, advised Stern Village residents to vote in November.

Economic Development and Infrastructure

Finally, Herbst said the town is financially better off, has more repaved roads and uses more energy-efficient practices to save money.

"Is our infrastructure stronger than it was four years ago? It is stronger," he said.

"And this infrastructure will make a Trumbull a destination point for businesses seeking to grow and invest here. Trumbull can become the economic lynchpin that connects the Tri-state area to the rest of New England, if we have the vision and the commitment to make this ideal a reality," the first selectman added.

For example, a cancer treatment facility is due to break ground in spring, and 68 "new development projects" are underway.

Seniors have more tax relief and the Grand List, the list of all taxable property in town, is up, he reported.

"It is the people of Trumbull that motivated me to seek this office four years ago and it is the people of Trumbull that motivate me each and every day to work with you to make this town a better place to live, work, invest and raise a family," he said.

Peter Preko March 09, 2013 at 08:39 PM
NO SLANDER. NO INUENDO. FACTS, VIDEO EVIDENCE AND DOCUMENTATION! You confuse fact with misguided loyalty. It is a shame. Sorry. The state is on their way. What a fiasco this will be. Former commissioners on the payroll; Wrong calculations; fathom tenants; income levels above and beyond limitations; fear and intimidation, and no emergency plan. Seems like the good old boys previously in charge will have some, as Ricky Ricardo said ‘splainin!.
Peter Preko March 09, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Cindy: i think we are both on the same page. My kids have benefited substantially from the Trumbull schools. All i am saying is Tim has navigated a very precarious financial situation and deserves some credit. I support the schools without question and wish we had K-6 world language and true middle school programming. I am not disputing the fact that Trumbull gets a dollar out of 99 cents. I am just saying other towns have had to cut and we expanded. BRAVO to Ralph, Gary and the Board of Ed.and their collaboration with Tim and the TC. I am proud to live in Trumbull and came back due to the schools to raise my family. There are always reasons for cuts. Decreased enrollment, not enough fund balance in the insurance account, etc.
Cindy Katske March 09, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Gee, thanks, but I don't think we're really on the same page at all. Tim Herbst went from calling the BOE "dangerous" for using surplus funds to advocating for that very thing. (Huh?) He has slashed the BOE's budget request once again (by approximately $1.8 million), but his transmittal letter is so unclear and convoluted that it masks what he's doing. He refers to "many moving parts" without noting that they will not come close to closing the gaping hole his recommended reduction creates. He also refers to some $1.8 million (sound familiar?) in savings that are initially projected from switching to a self-insured plan. However, although he links those savings to next year's budget, not only will there be little to no savings in the first year of implementation, but it will not be implemented for the next budget year! Herbst's transmittal letter obfuscates and confuses rather than providing clarity and transparency. More games and tricks. Not good for Trumbull!
CommonSense March 09, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Cindy.... You say that Valley Towns can't compare to Trumbull in any meaningful way.... But Trumbull can't compare to Darien, Westport, Greenwich, New Canaan. Class Warfare anyone?
raymond jaroszewski March 09, 2013 at 10:23 PM
HOO...HOO.... HOO..... Timmies gotta GO GO GO !!!
Cindy Katske March 10, 2013 at 05:03 AM
CommonSense, you are correct that Valley towns such as Ansonia and Derby can't compare to Trumbull in terms of socioeconomics, median income, CMT and CAPT scores, etc. It's not class warfare at all, just looking at the data. And I would argue that, notwithstanding the significantly higher per pupil spending by districts such as Darien, Westport, Greenwich, and New Canaan, Trumbull fares much more favorably to those towns in terms of test scores and bang for the buck than Ansonia and Derby do to Trumbull.
Carol Hudak March 10, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Tim, I wrote this in a letter to the Trumbull Times and it bears repeating and repeating . . . your 'take no prisoners' in-your-face approach, is exactly what is needed in the office of a State or Federal Criminal Prosecutor. You would be awesome prosecuting the scum who prey on children; internet perverts who lure innocent kids to websites with one goal in mind. . . Personally, I can't think of a more important job than protecting children. Your tenacity is mis-placed in Trumbull. We are not the 'enemy' altho' you believe I and some others are. Fight the real fight. The perverts who hide behind the law and continue to rape/abuse children. Some barely get a slap on the wrist. Put them away forever! I wish you would seriously consider this. Forget that this excellent suggestion comes from me . . . get past that. Just look at the 'fight' in you. Trumbull's a small town. Everything is not and should not be a major conflagration. Human trafficing is a huge, serious problem also. Set your sights on a job that fits your temperament. In the right job, your type of personality would be welcome, applauded and even rewarded. But it's just not the best fit for being a leader of a small suburban town, where compromise and consensus work best. I ask you to seriously consider what I am saying. I know you will read this. Carol Hudak
Peter Preko March 10, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Cindy: Your page is antiquated. Over 80% of school district budgets are salary and benefits and the "richer" towns pay more due to significant cost of living levels. That give a rise to the per pupil expense. If you look at the data, teachers make in excess of 100K in those towns where the socio-economic level is higher. Administrative salaries in those towns can approach 200-300K. Add in special ed, utilities, transportation, only about 4% of the budget is not for fixed costs. You are a verbiage of contradictions and obfuscation. Every piece of data (see Wise, Resnick and others) in regression equations show that socio-economic level and the mothers degree status (more affluent parents have higher degrees) are the only variable that predict academic success. Trumbull has done a great job expanding programs and under Tim has balanced those needs. Speak to Board of Education members. The school system, like EVERY town cries wolf when the cuts come which is played in every town, and then miraculously, the money is found. It’s a right of spring. This charade goes on everywhere, every town and particularly in states that are fiscally dependent and do not collect separate school taxes (i.e.: NY, NJ). Ralph himself has praised the collaboration with Tim. He has gotten what he wants and school systems need to jettison program that do not work. Research conducted at Harvard, Stanford and other well-known schools of education (see the work done by Alan Odden). . ..
Thomas Tesoro March 10, 2013 at 09:46 PM
I am not sure if I read that right but no matter what the so called experts say, academic success is far more than a mother's degree or socio-economic status. I grew up in a working class environment, my mother did not graduate High School, my father graduated from a Technical High School (both were very intelligent by the way) yet, I had academic success. My best friend (to this day) had a Father who drove a paper truck, He is a well respected PH/D. specializing in Neuro Psychology at a major hospital ( he tests the brain for dysfunction...now that I think about it we could use him in Trumbull politics).. In our homes (and more like it) Education was the priority and sacrifices were made to see that I and my sister received an excellent education. Maybe it is that experuience that drives my passion for a superior education system. I want all children to reach their potential, have great teachers, abundant extracurricular activities (sports and academic), and the curriculum and technology to support excellence. That is not a blank check but in my mind, after public safety, it should be the first priority for all communities. IMHO, of course.
Peter Preko March 10, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Can't disagree with that. However, those are the predictors statistically. All I am saying is a good teacher drives a child’s success and you cannot compare Trumbull to Darien or other different socio-economic towns. On the gold coast and other more affluent communities, 95%+ go on to 4 year colleges. That is not true in Ansonia, nor Trumbull. Trumbull statistically gets the biggest bang for the buck because of teachers and involved parents. The balancing act that Mr. Herbst AND the Board of Ed. engage in is true of every town. I know you will disagree, but I believe Mr. Herbst has done a masterful job navigating these precarious economic times. He (like Obama) inherited an economic downturn where contracts were in place. They had to balance the needs of the schools and the towns ability to affords the increases. Of course there are many predictors, but the only one that is statistically proven is mother’s degree. I commend you on your success. BTW, what do you call a technically rich environment with no outcomes? A bad lesson. Good teaching trumps technology. Technology is only a tool to enhance good instruction.
Tom Kelly March 11, 2013 at 04:35 AM
Some of the challenges facing the Board of Education are beyond the BOE's control and beyond Mr. Herbst's control, and he is not responsible for it. Mr. Herbst can't control the weather, and he also can't control the fact that the BOE needs to spend $800,000+ to upgrade security and safety in our schools. But it is what it is. Herbst also can't be blamed entirely for the antiquated technology in our schools, but he is responsible for providing no funding for this in the past three years. We still don't have wi-fi in our schools...meaning, we are behind many other districts. We also have put no money into the athletic fields, and now we have an unsafe condition there that MUST be addressed. Once again, when you have to choose between class sizes and deferring maintenance, maintenance usually loses. It will be interesting to see what happens. If the BOE has to cut $1.9 million, it's going to be a lot more than song and dance you refer to with money suddenly being found. It's going to require deep cuts, and there is no other way around it. The BOE has not had to come close to $1.9 million in cuts in the past, at least not in recent memory. But we will see how it plays out....this year I am just going to see what the town allocates and hopefully the BOE will make the best out of whatever the situation is.
Peter Preko March 11, 2013 at 11:46 AM
Mr. Herbst also cannot control the HS building committee. The committee was BALDWIN appointees and has in many respects played partisanship with the project. Yes, they report to the TC but the FS has little control or oversight, particularly as in comes to change orders of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The only one profiting from this are the architect and the project manager. Take a look at the bills. As for the budget, this is same old same old. EVERY town goes through this dance and that’s why Trumbull gets the biggest bang for its buck. The town has bonded numerous BOE projects and the facility needs, albeit ongoing, have had significant attention. The challenge the BOE faces is no different this year than it has since 1954 when line item control was taken away from the municipalities and provided for line item control by the board..
Tom Kelly March 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM
You seriously cannot talk about appointees being left over from the Baldwin Administration. The Town Council could have reconstituted that committee at ANY TIME over the past THIRTY NINE MONTHS since Mr. Herbst took office and his party took control over the Town Council. Mr. Herbst has changed the composition of many other town boards and commissions. It's a non-starter to try to blame anything in this project on Baldwin, the renovation was barely started when Herbst took office. You can't give him credit for everything good, and then blame his predessor when things are not so good. Was the Magnet School debacle Baldwin's fault, too? How about the failure of the Michael Bolton concert? Anyway to blame that on someone else? Perhaps we can just blame Trumbull residents for not buying tickets. Mr. Herbst took credit for getting rid of the pool from the HS Project. He counted the interest savings towards his fictitious $1 million in operational savings. In fact, that comprised about 45% of these supposed savings. He takes credit where he can, and blames Baldwin when he can't. It's been well over 3 years since Mr. Herbst was elected. Enough with the blame games. A last word to the wise. You are making serious accusations about some good people in your posts. You may think you are anonymous by choosing a psuedonym, but if litigation were to emerge, you are most likely easy to identify. Anonymity does not remove your legal accountability for what you say.
Peter Preko March 11, 2013 at 01:58 PM
.I have not made any accusations. The facts are the facts. The blog is an American institution to express your First Amendment rights. There is nothing libelous in my remarks, only facts. All I am saying is that change orders have escalated and that’s a fact. In any project, the only one who benefits with change orders submitted are architects and project managers. Thats true in any project. My legal accountability is to at least create discussion and develop a balanced dialogue. You sir, are a great American and I believe you understand both sides of the dialogue having served on both parties. It tends to be a PERMANENT building committee sanctioned by the state to determine reimbursable and non-reimbursable costs and approve bills and assure the design is being met. You sir as a board of ed. member must approve final construction edifice. My comments are not slanderous as opposed to other postings. If i offended anyone with the truth, well it was never my attention to insult, just shed light on issues and create a dialogue for the minority opinions. Thank you for your advise and I will be sure to adhere to your suggestions. But do you think HEIL Herbst was appropriate to families in Trumbull who lost people in the Holocaust?
Peter Preko March 11, 2013 at 02:27 PM
BTW, I never said what they were doing was illegal. It is all part of the construction process where the Cost by Owner escalates due to fees. Original budget figures and final "soft" costs will show very different numbers. However, money is going to fees rather than construction and improvements.
Cindy Katske March 11, 2013 at 05:46 PM
I must say that nobody has ever accused me of being a "verbiage of contradictions and obfuscation" before. It makes me chuckle that you have done so. We all have to be careful when referring to data on district spending. Some school districts, notably Greenwich as one example, fund their BOE health insurance on the town side, so that amounts spent on health insurance are not reflected in per pupil spending. As a result, a significantly higher percentage of the BOE spending is for discretionary items.
JR March 11, 2013 at 05:57 PM
PP - The renovation budget was cut by the Herbst-controilled TC from 68 to 65 million. They can't spend any more than the bonding amount. (Only the WPCA can do that!)
Mike McCormick March 11, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Anyone who thinks that Michael Bolton was a good pick for the concert disaster this summer is an idiot. I have only been living in Trumbull for a year, but in that time, I have been far from impressed. If Big Bird or Cookie Monster are slated to run against him, they will get my vote.
Lainie McHugh March 11, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Talk about joining the party late, but... Mr. Preko seems to be dipping into the kool aid without asking what is in it. I believe in an early post he stated the State of CT no longer uses the DRG classifications, which is false. Although, I agree they should be revised as the data used to create them is old and not truly relevant. Mr. P... Please take the time to look at the "ABC's of the Trumbull Education Budget" which goes into great detail as to the funding of and make-up of the BOE operating budget. The last minute miracles of funding items that are threatened to be eliminated has created funding cliff problems for the last several budget cycles. That's just delaying the inevitable and does not reflect the long list of items that have gone away... Again, detailed in the ABC's... Education is the one asset that we can give the children of our community that can never be taken away. It should be funded honestly and without gimmicks.
Peter Preko March 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM
LM- I could not agree with you more. However, in 2010 the state did eliminate those comparisons. They lack external validity and the media hangs on to them not the state. My children have been served brilliantly in the TPS. Great teachers! I have no qualms about that. The debate is really about pent up demands for years and years and Mr. Herbst has navigated a very difficult economic climate. A good budget is when NO ONE is happy! My point is this dance goes on in every town. I wish we could raise our own school tax and I'd be the first to pay my share. The naysayers have blamed it all on Tim, and I just do not think that is fair. Given the same "cliff" that Obama faced, I think he done a credible job. BTW, JR your comment- LOL
Cindy Katske March 12, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Not to beat a dead horse, but the CT Department of Education still uses the DRG classifications and did not eliminate them in 2010. That statement is just plain false.
John Jameson March 12, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Mr. Preko says he is not making any accusations, just stating facts. However, he has accused Housing Authority members of taking "payola," Where is the proof of this? Having followed the story, I find it surprising if that was indeed the case, Mr. Herbst hasn't issued a press release. Please, provide the proof for what is, indeed, an accusation.
Peter Preko March 12, 2013 at 11:44 AM
JJ- In a letter in the Trumbull Times, it wa reported and documented that a former THA commissioner received money for services from the THA while serving as a commissioner. Probably a conflict of interest. You think? Payola probably too strong a word and i apologize for the drama. However, the fact is that a commissioner profited from the same organization that he/she had fiduciary authority.
Tom Kelly March 12, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Peter Preko used terms like "payola" and "lining his pockets" and then stated she didn't make any accusations of wrongdoing. Wow. She certainly did. And no, I think using a word like "heil" is awful, no matter towards whom it is directed, Republican, Democrat, or otherwise, it is equally offensive and is repugnant. I do not use such verbiage in anything I write and I post under my own name. Even if the Herbst supporters vehemently disagree with me, at least you know with me what you are going to get. They direct their anger at me, but I am a straight shooter. They should be far more concerned with those who smile to their face and appear to be loyal and then criticize them privately and under anonymous names.
JR March 12, 2013 at 12:35 PM
The lawyer for the THSBC, who was ordered by Herbst to be at every meeting and gets paid for the time is also a Republican member of the Town Council. Conflict? You think?
Peter Preko March 12, 2013 at 01:00 PM
.Tom: When a commission member receives payment from the same authority he/she has fiduciary responsibility, what would you call it? If you got checks from the board of education for services, what would you call it? Payola? Probably too strong a word but unethical? You give me an adjective. As for lining his pockets, there is nothing illegal with that term. I never accused them of illegal actions, only that the fees (please check and you will see) have gone up dramatically and soft costs do not take place of brick and mortar. Tom, and yes, i admire your transparency
JR March 12, 2013 at 01:22 PM
PP - Who's letter to the Trumbull Times? What was the date?
Peter Preko March 12, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Last week. A current THA commissioner. BTW, got a kick out of one of your postings!
Thomas Tesoro March 12, 2013 at 06:37 PM
The fact that a Commissioner received a payment from a Commission on which he/she served is in and of itself neither "payola" nor unethical. It would depend entirely on the facts, for example, did the Commissioner render services outside the scope of hsi/her duties? Was the transaction priced fairly and was it done in the open? Without details, all we have is a bare allegation, from a current Commissioner in whose interests it would be to paint her predecessor in a poor light and an anonymous poster on this blog who is repeating second hand information. Hardly the best witnesses or sources. If you accept Mr./Ms. Preko's approach, and I do not, you would have to question whether Owens Shine and Nicola who rendered the legal opinion that led to the ouster of the previous Counsel to the THA and who then were hired themselves acted ethically. You can see the slippery become evident and the danger in loose talk hurting the reputation of innocent individuals. I am not saying Owens Shine and Nicola acted unethically, I am sure they did not but you can see how a bare assertion of minimal facts could lead an uninformed reader to that incorrect conclusion. Best we stay away from charges like "payola" or "unethical actions" without a full rendition of the facts and circumstances being discussed. The circumstances at Stern Village are, to say the least, curious and IMHO, the actions taken and the methods employed extreme and unnecessary.
Wolferowski March 15, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Good lord, you people have a lot of free time on your hands. Instead of debating local politics on message boards, do something productive, like volunteer for a local charity. (I can't believe I actually read half of this crap)

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