May 23, 2008

Drive for chief operating officer gains GOP backing

If city councilors refuse again next month to back a referendum on whether to create a chief operating officer at City Hall, Republicans have formally thrown their weight behind the growing effort to give voters the choice anyway.
“People want to be heard,” said Mickey Goldwasser.
“This is not a Republican issue. This is not a Democratic issue. This is a Bristol issue,” he said.
The GOP’s town committee unanimously agreed recently to help the bipartisan effort that city Councilors Craig Minor and Ken Cockayne are putting together to make sure the referendum takes place in November.
To pull it off, supporters need to gather more than 3,000 signatures from registered voters in the 45-day period after the City Council formally rejects the proposal from the Charter Revision Commission. That will likely happen by the end of June.
The council has already taken a preliminary stand on the issue, in which four councilors and Mayor Art Ward indicated their opposition to the plan. Only Minor, a Democrat, and Cockayne, a Republican, favor the suggested change in the city government’s blueprint.
Supporters say a chief operating officer would bring greater supervision to municipal departments and find ways to make the city run more efficiently. Detractors say the job would be a waste of money.
Tom Barnes, Jr, the city GOP chairman, said the Republicans aren’t going to take a stand on the proposal itself.
But, he said, it is “an insult to the people of Bristol” for the Democrat-controlled council to refuse to let the public have the final say on the chief operating officer at the voting booth.
“We should be allowed to say yea or nay,” Barnes said.
Cockayne said that planning is already underway to make sure that the signatures are properly gathered on forms that pass legal muster. A new website will be used to help rally support, he said.
“We’re in the process of putting together a small army,” Cockayne said.
At Minor’s suggestion, backers are planning a kickoff rally when their petition drive begins, Cockayne said, to help ensure the drive “hits the ground rolling.”
Cockayne said that Ward and the council members who voted against the plan were “endorsed by the unions” during last year’s campaign and are beholden to them now. He said that union opposition is the reason politicians are afraid to let the public vote.
“I work for all the people of Bristol,” Cockayne said.
Former Republican council hopeful Bob Merrick, a teacher who lost to Minor last year, said he received the union’s endorsement despite telling its leaders that he believed people should be able to vote on the issue.
Cockayne said that once the signatures are gathered this summer, an all-out effort to educate the public on the chief operating officer issue will begin. Businessman Craig Yarde is among those pushing hard to have the city create the post and has indicated he will help promote it.
Republican Registrar Ellie Klapatch said that with the presidential election still attracting record numbers of new voters, it’s a good year to have the issue on the ballot.
There will likely be twice as many voters in November this year as the city saw go to the polls last fall for the municipal election, party leaders said.

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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Merrick: Who cares what you told the labor council. Are you for it or against it?

Anonymous said...

Hasn't the Bristol GOP tried something similar to this (forcing some sort of referendum for one reason or another) numerous times the past few years with no success?

Is this "the kiss of death" for the COO concept?

Anonymous said...

Looks like Minor is using the Republicans to get at Art.

Anonymous said...

1:58

I hope so!

Anonymous said...

A Republican Elitest Anti Union effort.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Minor probably doesn't really want the COO.

He just wants to go against his entire party and participate in the tedious job of gathering 3100 signatures and working with Cockayne just to piss off Art Ward.

Brilliant! What a plan!

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do GOP, don't let Merrick collect signatures.

I swear that guy never shuts up!

Cockayne Addict said...

Go Cockayne, Go Cockayne, Go Cockayne, GO-GO-GOOOOOH!

Anonymous said...

May 23, 2008 8:14 PM:

I don't see him getting too involved in this. Obviously he told the Labor Council he was against the City Manager otherwise he would not have received their endorsement.

Judging by his quotes and past actions, he's looking out to make himself look good. I don't picture this effort too important on his itinerary

Anonymous said...

If Merrick is in fact against it he is smarter than Yarde a big business man and Barnes another big business man and the whole republican party which is desperate to win anything good or bad!

Anonymous said...

Good Job Republicans. Nice to see that you are the party fighting to give the rest of us a voice in our government. Obviosuly the Democrats could care less, as this threatens their electablitiy as they see the COO is an anti union thing. Where do I sign and can I
help?

Anonymous said...

Cliff Block....one time loser...he wants to see the "ground swell of support" for the COO. ...He is going to see a ground swell alright...the one that rides him out of office. Nice work Block...you could have voted to give us the right to voice our opinions..instaed you voted to make us go out and gather signitures. As a union person,that means I have to work, something I am not happy about.

Anonymous said...

? - minor will probably change his mind again - and again - and again and again and again......

Anonymous said...

"Go Cockayne, Go Cockayne, Go Cockayne, GO-GO-GOOOOOH!" ...and keep on gooooooooooooooooing!!!

Anonymous said...

"If Merrick is in fact against it he is smarter than Yarde"

-Charles Manson, Castro, Mao and Joseph Mengele were smart also. So what?

-He couldn't carry Yarde's jock-strap.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't want to.

Back-Yarde-Again said...

Well you couldn't if you did.

Go Yarde, Go Yarde, Go Yarde GO!!!

Cockayne Addict said...

What's a "Bristol issue"? Is that supposed to make me support the COO?

How about "this is an issue about making government more efficient and making government better equipt to serve Bristol's citizens"?

-Gee maybe I should be a marketing expert?

Anonymous said...

May 24, 2008 6:47 AM:


LMAO! Hillarious!!

Anonymous said...

May 23, 2008 7:09 PM:

Are the Republicans the elitists or are the union people the elitists?

Why should the union people have more than the rest of us? Perhaps they just think they're better than the rest of us?

Anonymous said...

To get back to the issue. This issue is simply about letting the voters decide one way or the other. It doesn't matter if you are for or against the concept of a COO. What matters is that the taxpayers of Bristol be given the opportunity to vote on it.

Anonymous said...

Where else in municipal goverment does a COO exist?

Anonymous said...

May 25, 2008 6:31 AM:

Oh so now who controls "the issue"? I want to know who (candidate) supports it or who's against it.

Since "the issue" may or may not be voted on by the people, I want to know what the opinion of each of the candidates is at this time. And the reason is (honestly) I think the people deserve to know (and they will).

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Do you see Unions in your closet and under your bed?

Anonymous said...

May 27, 2008 12:48 PM:

I don't know about him, but I feel hands in my pocket trying to take more of my money.

Anonymous said...

And they will get it too!

Anonymous said...

Where does Ron Burns stand on this?

Anonymous said...

Under the proposed Republican plan, will we still have a full time mayor?

Anonymous said...

Guess the Republicans don't think Art is doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

Guess the Republicans don't think Art is doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

Hurrah! I can't wait for the orange shirted republican party to descend on Bristol again.