Trumbull GOP: Dems Have 'Amnesia' Over Bolton Concert

Everyone knew the risks going in, said RTC Chair Jack Testani and First Selectman Tim Herbst.

First Selectman Tim Herbst said he was up front about the risks of the town funding a concert, and rebutted a statement from the Trumbull Democratic Town Committee Thursday.

He said Board of Finance member Andy Palo and Planning and Zoning Commissioner Tony Silber, both democrats, are "concerned about transparency at the same time they have amnesia,” he said.

According to Herbst, “On July 6, 2012 I sent a letter to the Board of Finance and the Town Council articulating the costs and risks associated with the annual Town concert and on July 12, 2012 I asked the Town Council and the Board of Finance to make a policy decision as to whether they wish to continue the tradition of annual Town Concert.  Included in my letter was a detailed breakdown of all the costs associated with this event, as well as the number of tickets that would need to be sold to break even.” 

In his July 6 letter to both boards, Herbst said, “[e]very person should understand that with these events comes associated costs and liabilities to the Town and those costs and liabilities either increase or decrease depending upon the success or failure of an event.  I should also point out that these events are also impacted by weather, which is entirely outside of our control.” 

He added that the Town Council "voted to move forward with the concert on a bipartisan basis, with Republicans and Democrats agreeing that the Town should continue the tradition. 

"In fact, as early as Sept. 16, 2010, Tom Tesoro, a ranking Democrat on the Board of Finance, said that when it came to the annual town concert, the Board of Finance should be 'a partner with the administration in producing the annual event,'" the release states. 

The release then turned to the 2011 municipal election.

 “As we saw in the last municipal campaign, Mr. Silber and Mr. Palo were among the principal architects of one of the most mean spirited campaigns in the history of Trumbull politics - - a style that was utterly rejected by the voters,” said RTC Chairman Jack Testani.  “It appears the 'Baldwin Democrats' have reared their unpleasant tendencies yet again.  They have such revulsion for the administration that they will even throw their fellow Democrats under the bus and misrepresent the facts to try and score political shots.”

He called that democrats' statement that "$77,000 of taxpayer money was lost on the concert" an "absolute lie."

Some $54,000 of non-taxpayer funds, the result of net profit revenues from previous concerts, offset expenses and mitigated the loss to the Town, Herbst maintained.

“First Selectman Herbst made a business decision and if he did not act in the manner that he did, the Town would have lost $150,000-$170,000.  We know that Trumbull Democrats didn’t have this concern with previous concerts under the Baldwin Administration because someone else was footing the bill," according to Testani.

The democrats' press release contradicts Palo's statements at the July 12, 2012 Board of Finance meeting, Herbst charged.

“Mr. Palo issues a press release yesterday saying that the Town of Trumbull should not be sponsoring an annual concert and on July 12, 2012 he actually stated on the record that the funding for a Town concert should be included in the annual town budget.  I’m perplexed by Mr. Palo’s inconsistent statements.”

The RTC also accused Palo of changing sides, among other things.

"Before Mr. Palo makes a statement, perhaps he should clear it with his alter ego.”  Chairman Testani alluded to the fact that Palo’s latest flip flop is part of a larger pattern.  “Mr. Palo told everyone as a candidate in 2009 that he was in favor of full day kindergarten.  During last year’s  budget, he told everyone that he was in favor of it, yet when it came time to fund this important educational initiative, Mr. Palo was the only member of the Board of Finance to vote against funding it,”  stated Testani.  “Mr. Palo ran for the Board of Finance on a platform of fiscal conservatism and during his tenure on the Board of Finance, he twice opposed the First Selectman’s budget because he wanted to increase spending and taxes at rates higher than what was proposed.  These are the facts that Trumbull Democrats don’t want to discuss.” 

Chairman Testani went on to state that Trumbull Democrats talk about transparency at the same time they hope Trumbull residents have a poor memory of how the former Democratic First Selectman funded previous summer concerts.  “Let us not forget that the Baldwin Democrats, of which Mr. Silber was an effusive cheerleader thought that there was nothing wrong with a $50,000 annual cash loan from a Town contractor - - a loan obligating the Town to a third party without Board of Finance or Town Council approval.  This same contractor donated generously to the Baldwin Democrats.  This same contractor has received millions of dollars of sewer work over the last decade.  Trumbull is now suing this contractor for millions of dollars of damages as the result of defective construction. With Baldwin Democrats, it’s all about do as I say, not as I do.” 

TrumbullProgressive September 29, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Rick, I agree with most of what you said, but last year's concert was heading for ruin also before it was cancelled. Less than 2000 tickets were sold. Nowhere near the breakeven point. While the three groups chosen may have had a following from the younger crowd, most people I talked to had never heard of them. And the cancellation due to the hurricane is very dubious. No one I know ever saw any of the "damage" the FS claimed. It was impossible to get up into the park to see for oneself as the FS made sure the Park Rangers kept the gate closed and the road blocked. Once the park reopened, I never saw any evidence of damage, downed trees or freshly cut tree stumps. If transparency had been desired (which it never is for this administration), then where were the pictures in the Trumbull Times of downed power lines and damage in Indian Ledge Park.
Quaestor September 29, 2012 at 08:21 PM
A cancellation for hurricane is dubious?? For the next time there is a hurricane, I volunteer TrumbullProgessive to stay at the park and monitor the dead fall. Afterwards, if you are able to get up and open the gate, we'll know there was no problem. If not, well, you'll have your proof.
TrumbullProgressive September 29, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Quaestor you're really funny. Thankfully we have something called photography and video tape that can document storm damage after the fact. I believe it is what insurance companies use all the time. Where is the photographic evidence from the town insurance company or from Don Eng or Aaron Leo? Who paid for the clean-up? Did the town spend money to repair the damage? Show me the money. I drove around the park as soon as it was opened and I could see nothing damaged on the main level of the park. The debacle this week shows we can not trust anything this administration is telling us. Of course we should have known that from the very start. That 11.6% tax increase which propelled Mr. Herbst into office was a fiction.
louis September 29, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Look, we can game this all you want, and there are reputations to consider of course. You have to ask yourself this, what is the probability that for two years in a row the public concert was unprofitable, and if that was the reason for the cancelation last year, then we were lied to. There is only one way to discern the truth, but on the macro level, really what the people should be doing is selecting politicians that work for them, not the ones that appease some political faction only concerned with their jobs. Until we get to that point, and its not difficult to see the differences among us, the perhaps a hearing is in order. Were I majority leader on the council, it would my duty and obligation to find the truth, if just to fulfill my oath of office. Now there is a difference between a precautionary cancelation when public safety is concerned, and there were dangerous power lines last year, but the same consistent reasoning was not employed during Halloween, and certainly there is no excuse this year other than mismanagement
Tom Ragonese October 01, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Trumbull Day Funds??? I thought we were led to believe that Trumbull Day was a losing event? Why would it or how could it have accumulated funds? Bring back Trumbull Day!


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