May 5, 2008

Pro and con on chief operating officer idea

A proposal to create a chief operating officer for City Hall drew tough arguments pro and con Monday.
The president of the Greater Bristol Labor Council, Mike Petosa, said the charter revision suggestion to create the job is being driven by a small group of business people “who are willing to play economic chicken with the taxpayers’ money.”
Petosa called the idea of creating a costly new job “fiscally irresponsible” at a time when Bristol’s political leadership is searching for ways to carve spending from its budget.
But Craig Yarde, a businessman who is pushing for more professional management at City Hall, said the city has a problem with its management structure that a chief operating officer would help solve.
“We have a management team that turns over every two years,” Yarde said, including the mayor, who is de facto CEO.
“On top of that, we have two opposing political teams on the management team working at times against each other. You can see why it's difficult to get a everyone rowing the boat in the same direction,” he said.
“What we are talking about here is giving an assistant to the mayor and council to help with all the moving parts,” Yarde said.
But Petosa said that the city is better off with a strong mayor who answers to the people directly. Mayors “know Bristol” and have a strong commitment to its future, Petosa said.
“Our form of government is a democratic process,” he said, that gives the people the right to pick their own chief operating officer every two years.
“We don’t need another level of government coming in an creating havoc,” Petosa said. “It would be very, very detrimental to our city.”
Yarde said that he believes hiring “a gray-haired seasoned executive with knowledge of municipal affairs to assist the members on the management team” would be well worth the expensive.
“We need to have a management team that can be more effective in meeting short and long term goals,” Yarde said.
Yarde said that city councilors should let the public decide whether to make the change in city government by putting the Charter Revision Commission’s proposal on the ballot this November.
But it appears that the council will vote 4-3 next week to kill the suggestion unless one of its members has a change of heart. It’s possible there will be an effort to revive the suggestion through a referendum process if the council votes as expected.

Here's Yarde's full speech for Monday's 6 p.m. hearing at City Hall on the suggested change in the charter

My first question is how many emails did you receive for and how many against the new COO proposal by the Charter Revision Committee. I received this email from a union member. Here is what the AFSCME is emailing their members:

The Bristol City Council is considering an ill-advised plan to create a new Chief Operating position. The COO would be like a city manager- an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat running the city. Bristol has done well for all these years. Please contact the members of the city council and tell them we don't need this unnecessary expense. The powers should remain with the mayor and other elected city officials.

I don't know how many of the 1.4 million members received this email but I would dismiss those that came out of the city and all those that came out of state. I went to the AFSCME site and with a click auto mailed all of you a email against the COO position. I listed my real name, with a Southington address. This email is wrong because the union is saying the COO position will be unaccountable. The COO will be working for the mayor.
If the management(mayor/council) team doesn't agree his/her skills he can get fired with no law suit against the city.
But, I lied when I sent the email through the AFSCME web site. I would prefer a town manager but a COO would be a step in the right direction.
Six months ago when I announced to the media my preference for a council/manager form of government, never in my mind did I realize I would be going against the unions. I thought the opposition would come from the councilmen who wanted to be mayor in the future.
Four or five years ago, Yarde Metals a non union company sent a thousand dollars to the men and women on strike for a very long time at a union shop on Pine Street. The UAW official at the time told the media that they had no problem accepting a check from a non union company. They said if employers treated their people like Yarde Metals, we wouldn't need a union.
Taking care of labor equally with management is what made Yarde Metals successful.
The problem with the city is not labor, The problem is the upper management organizational structure. Look at what we have here. We have a management team that turns over every two years including the CEO (mayor). On top of that we have two opposing political teams on the management team working at times against each other. You can see why it's difficult to get a everyone rowing the boat in the same direction. Forget about it!! What we are talking about here is giving an assistant to the mayor and council to help with all the moving parts. I'm advocating hiring a gray haired seasoned executive with knowledge of municipal affairs to assist the members on the management team. This COO knowledge will give our leaders a lot of value. We need to have a management team that can be more effective in meeting short and long term goals. The city needs to create a lean environment similar to Toyota. Everyone must be on board to eliminate all waste and create more efficiency. I think the future will get tougher than better and if we don't improve our organizational structure, there will be more 6 mil increases. I know some of you have conflicts because you get union benefits. You can agree or disagree with this change. All I ask of you is to pass this on so that voters can have a chance to determine our future in a referendum next year. The last four Charter Revision Committee have tried to get this to the public for a vote. Please pass it on. Let the voters decide. After all they are on top of the organizational chart. Thanks

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...

A COO that reports to the mayor(who is stll elected every two years) is just the start of a six member (more or less) mayors staff. Big dollars involved there. The mayor will have to make more than the COO.

How is the COO going to go against his or her boss?

What we need is a TOWN MANAGER who is really in charge of runing the city.

A COO as proposed is just a recipe for disaster

Anonymous said...

Why would the unions support someone they can not control?

Every two years Petosa and his brothers endorse who they think they can control. They dontate money to the campaign then man the poles to support them.

Why do you think they did not endorse Cockayne? B/c he stated very clearly in the beginning that he would not take contributions from unions. He knew some things that needed to happen at city hall would never be supported by the unions and he is fighting them every day.

The union's reach is significant and they will stop at nothing to safeguard their stranglehold on city politics.

Just let the people decide. Whatever the outcome we will all have to live with it.

Anonymous said...

Why not just let people vote on this?

It is such an easy way out for the council to just say, let the people decide. They must be answering to someone besides the taxpayers. Shame on you all!

Anonymous said...

Ken ain't fighting the unions, he is being used by Klocko and is trying to promote himself

Doesn't have a clue!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mike Petosa, Craig Yarde is right on this issue.

Another point is that the unions have the Democrat mayors in their hip pocket. In other words the unions control the Democrat Party and the Democrat candidates. A City Manager (or whatever you want to call it) will change the dynamics of everything.

But since the union-controlled Democrat Party dominates the council this proposal will never pass.

Good try Craig. You can always work hard to support the Republicans in 2009. I suggest you do.

Anonymous said...

Whats funny is that the Republicans will start a petition the next day its voted against, and the Democarats will take notice of all the people signing it, will hold a special meeting and vote again to have the question on the ballot in Nov just to try and save savr face.

Anonymous said...

May 5, 2008 9:57 PMz;

That's democracy and politics for you!

Anonymous said...

Why are the unions so against this? Why not just let the voters decide?

Petosa calls our form of government a democratic process, then why not put it to referendum? What a hypocrit!

Anonymous said...

Craig Yarde wants to control and wants a COO he can control. Why doesn't he run if he knows whats so good for Bristol? Maybe he can claim emminent domain for the job. Like he did with his business. People like him are always claiming there is too many levels of beaurocrasies. He's just another wannabe hypocrite that doesn't have the nerve enough to run.

Anonymous said...

What a joke! City hall was filled with all City workers! Guess they are worried they might have to work now!!

The sad thing is they've got some of the council in there pocket. Especailly McCauley! He will vote not to let the people vote for it. He's the Councilman for the Unions!!

Back-Yard-e-gan said...

"Craig Yarde wants to control and wants a COO he can control"

-You asinine hack. What nerve you have. This is a completely untrue statement with no basis is fact what so ever. Go crawl back under your rock.

Go Yardie, Go Yardie, Go Yardie GO!

Anonymous said...

The posts/press releases that Yarde has submitted all need to be corrected and sent back to him. For someone as successful as he is, he should take better care in not submitting his writings without proofing them first. It proves he is impulsive.

We can not afford to be impulsive with hiring a COO or Town Manager. The position needs to be layed out very carefully with every loophole closed.

His comment "If the management(mayor/council) team doesn't agree his/her skills he can get fired with no law suit against the city." is unrealistic. You would never be able to hire someone with the necessary education, background and experience without engaging in a contract, which opens the City for a lawsuit if you fire them prematurely.

If this is going to happen, it has to be mistake proof and at this point the Charter Revision Commission has not formed a mistake proof position.

Go back to the table, hammer out the details and then come back with something that the citizens of Bristol are comfortable entering into.

Anonymous said...

Craig Yarde is bored now that he isn't as involved with is company as he used to be.

He's fighting hard for this so that he can get the job.

Anonymous said...


Just cuz you don't agree with someone else's opinion doesn't make THEM the "asinine hack" here.

"Go Yardie, Go Yardie, GO!" ... anywhere else but Bristol!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, even IF you hire a COO,as Yarde suggests, you still will have the CEO(the mayor)elected every 2 years, and the political parties competing for influence on the "management" team. What about all those boards and commissions about?

Even IF you hire a COO, do you really think everyone is going to "fall into line" at COO's behest?
The competing ideas, the personal competition, the departmental competition for $$$'s is going to disappear under an appointed COO?

If the mayor can't keep up with all the "details" and steer the ship because the duties have grown, let him hire a second secretary or another administrative assistant.
We don't need to hire another high priced bureaucrat in charge of "running the place" and essentially establishing policy (by management choices and administrative edict) when he is not DIRECTLY responsible to the public.

Frankly, in government,public's role is to "fire the top management" when they get out of line. Let's keep it that way!

[It wouldn't be a bad idea if the "stockholders" of a some of our major corporations had a say about how some of their boards of directors and CEO's behaved either!]

Anonymous said...

"Go Yardie, Go Yardie, GO!...anywhere else but Bristol!"

Hey 10:08, I think you've got it right. Getting out of Bristol is something Yarde is really good at!

Sorry Craig but you and your advice are a day late and a dollar short.

Anonymous said...

Vote on what???

Work out ALL the details and then lets vote.

If you vote on a "concept" who works out the wording in the charter?
The Revision committee headed by Nicastros choice, Furry, has done an abysmal job and I would nmot trust them to fleshing out the details.
Onec approved as a concept, the council or anyone else would have free rein.
Again, work out one, or even two DETAILED scenarios and then let the people decide, on a TOWN MANAGER.

Back-yard-e-gan said...

May 6, 2008 10:08 AM:

The comment; "Craig Yarde wants to control and wants a COO he can control", is not a reasonable opinion. It is uncalled for, base-less and a lie.

No one should be able to state such an asinine untrue statment.

Anonymous said...

Do you even read what you write? We don’t need anyone other then a Mayor with a high school diploma and no business or management degree to run a city of 63,000 people and a budget of over 170 million. There are no prerequisites to running or becoming a Mayor. Ask the 21 year old Mayor in Torrington that was still living at home when he got elected.

Read that paragraph over and over again.

Would you let your neighbor invest your retirement money? Would you let the kid that cashed you out at stop and shop be your accountant for the next 2 years and make you buy and save how he deems fit? Of course not, you would go to a reputable accountant or financial expert. This is a no brainier! You don’t like your taxes going up but you don’t like a COO either. Pick your poison, COO or taxes like New Britain in 5 -10 years

Do you really think Union Petosa has your well being at heart? Do you really think Petosa thinks a COO, CEO, Head Mayor or whatever else you want a call him is a bad idea? Of course not, but he knows it’s bad for him. He can’t even explain why it’s bad other then to say it’s bad. He hasn’t touted one fact to back up his reason for not hiring someone. If you know the facts please post them I’d love to hear them.. And don’t post it will cost us this new potions salary. You know what? Every city job cost us a salary so I don’t want to hear that as an excuse.

We need the right person, with the right experience and the right credentials to do the job.

Anonymous said...

to: 6/6/08 @5.24:

You want to know why the people shouldn't vote on a COO? Look at Plainville. A very, very, very small amount of voters decide the fate of the whole city. I'm sorry, but I'm not about to let a very, very, very small amount of voters decide what happens regarding a COO. Taking it to the people is taking it to a very small minority, as we all know. Just look at election time. We can't even get people out to vote for those who run the city let alone a COO so shame on the citizens of this city for sitting on their duffs and not even bothering to vote in a general election.

I also have to laugh that Ken Cockayne, on the one hand is screaming about saving taxpayers money with regard to tapping into to city retirement funds, but he has no problem spending LOTS of money on creating a COO position and all that that entails. Come on, Ken, stop conspiring with Mr. Klocko behind closed doors to further your own agenda in the name of helping the taxpayers. We can all see right through it.

Anonymous said...

The argument that only a few will decide the fate of the many is a joke.

If you haven't noticed this happens every election. Does that mean our elected officials do not have a mandate to lead?

If you don't want so few deciding for all of us than why are you comfortable with a few councilman (4 to be exact) deciding on the future of 63,000.

Everyone underestimated Cockayne over and over again. First he conspires with Mocabee, then Zoppo, now Klocko. When are you guys going to figure it out that he is his own man and will fight with anyone for what he believes is right.

He has brought a fresh new perspective to Bristol politics and the people like you can't handle it.

It aint politics as usual any longer!

Anonymous said...

did you not read the post above yours? What a novel idea, letting the people decide what happens to he town they live in.. Man your pretty scary

Anonymous said...

I look at it this way. If a small amount of people want to vote and decide what will happen, why penalize them because they care. If they other lazy people don’t come out to vote then they don’t care either way. It a win win for everyone

Anonymous said...


They are laughing at you.

Anonymous said...

What is all the hullabaloo about?

We already have a COO, Glen Klocko.

And we didn't have to increase his paycheck.

Anonymous said...


We are laughing with you at Petosa and the unions.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

But you didn't have this turmoil and lack of leadership and direction under Stortz.

Anonymous said...


how about stopping the nonsense that not enough people will vote on the issue so you don't think it's fair! It was ok for a small amount of people to elect you wasn't it?

Vote Yes too let the people vote. Those who think it's important enough will vote. Those who don't won't. What ever happens, happens!

Stop sitting there in McCauley's shadow and make your own decision, or you might find your self out next election just like McCauley!

We are all tired of the Unions and thoughs in the Union's pockets and will clean house next Nov.!

Enjoy your last term on Council McCauley your all done! Bye Bye!!

Anonymous said...

The Party's over for the Union control of this City!

Cockayne is bringing everything out! Letting everyone know what is going on with the union hacks!!

Keep up the good work Cockayne!

Anonymous said...

Cockayne is doing a great job. The Unions are scared that they can't control a COO like they control Ward. The Union needs to stop controling our City. Why is the city doing favors for the Union? Cockayne is right, they are holding the city hostage. It needs to stop.

Anonymous said...

Cockayne is confused...

Which is it Kenny - do you want to save the taxpayers' money or to do you want the taxpayers to shell out the big bucks for a COO???

...and you think the union is causing us problems???

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"Cockayne is doing a great job" ... Accomplishing what exactly? Getting his name in the paper on a regular basis?

Anonymous said...

Why is anyone surprised this guy is making the papers so much?

Don't all politicians try to get press coverage?

The question we have to ask is do the things he pushes have merit?

Freezing taxes - great, but what's the plan?

GASB 45 - I don't understand it, but if it saves tax dollars, I'm listening.

COO - I have to admit I like the idea. I never really trust anyone we elect in this town. The idea of a well-educated, experienced person managing acting as a CEO is appealing. I am curious though, how can we cut taxes but add this position? Also, why are the unions so against it? I don't trust their rep just looking out for our well-being out of the kindness of his heart. People don't just do that type of stuff.

Anonymous said...

Cockaynes actions, in conjunction with Barnes joining in, is just solidifying the democrats stronghold on Bristol politics.

glenn klocko said...

Hi Steve: your bristol bloggers should know my personal policy: I will possibly (emphasis on "possibly") put my personal blog response to them on here only once a lunar cycle. We can have some fun and possibly a mutually learn from this experience. They can accumulate some questions to me, I will respond if they are in good taste .I'm willing to take the blogger chance with this less than friendly crowd toward me. Possibly, they can get to know my management style (dissagree or not). I've come to believe Bristol is a great city with much future( potential route 72 expansion), versus the many stagnant city's of Connecticut. Now then , if your bloggers get ugly, personal and disrespectful Steve, then it's lights out for me responding to them. Why bother. I'd rather mow my beautiful lawn that I have put time and expense into. If they are respectful it could be a fun experience for all. Hopefully. I do respect decent. So, to repeat, it's a lunar-"tic" cycle for me to respond to your bloggers.. Of course...'anonymous' qoutes to me in the mean time equals "school yard cowards" in my book and will probably get a limited response if not no response from me. So...28 days from now you may or may not see me comment from home on here, commenting for 'my' sole entertainment, not theirs. But their comments do interest me so ...go for it bloggers!!

Everything depends on how well my fly fishing days are on the Farmington or Housatonic that weeekend 28 days from now, which is prime fly fishing time.

Kind regards to Bristol bloggers, Your humble servant (not public door mat), non Bristol resident, but caring Bristol outsider, for this fine city of Bristol, and home of the place my mom was born and her parents, GK

Anonymous said...

Great Glen, but still no answers to legitimate questions!!

JOHN REEK said...

anonymous, mam o man
confession time? not really.
I dont think I've ever posted anonymous to this blog and im not about to start. I'm a Union man, I work for the city and im a second shifter. that means I work from 130 pm to 10pm. why am I boring you with this?
Well it seems a coward who shall be named Anonymous has called one of my bosses a Mr. Malavenda at the Board of Education and complained about all the Union members attending a public meeting!
A public meeting!
I would have typed it again but decided against it.
When you see me at another meeting, and you will, remember I am giving up my mealbreak to sit in on my city's council meeting. I will work later into the night if the meeting runs over.
I will not be cowed by those who wish Union members just become part of the wallpaper.
you will hear me speak and you will listen.

Anonymous said...

Klocko's ego is getting too big. This was a very condesending post.

He should know better than anyone why people state "annonymous" so that they don't get attacked and abused by the politicians that they disagree with.

Anonymous said...

Lets see if Ward reins him in, or if he supports another malcontent non-performer as he did Rosenthal.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Klocko, if you care about Bristol so much, then why don't you move to Bristol? I bet some of the professional choices you make would be different if you actually lived here.

Anonymous said...

His post was just a rationalization as to why Klocko isn't answering any of the legitimate questions.
He mouths off when he shouldn't, but won't provide the information that would be appropriate.

And Ward is wrong in not doing anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah yeah yeah and then Cockayne took money from those who have it. They want and do control him. You guysare a bunch of phonies.

Anonymous said...

Our mayor is controlled by the union, can't get any worse than that...Through his campaign the union backed him, so he probably owes "favors" now, which will cost the city more in the end.

Anonymous said...

And you clowns are out of control and useless. If you ever get elected you couldn't take the heat . Cause you can't hide. Cowards !! No one wantsto control you if anyone knew who you are. Only the rich control the faceless.

Anonymous said...

I am not an elected offical, nor do I want to be, I am just a plain taxpaying citizen of Bristol. Ward was backed by the union, and I believe he must owe the city favors and he shouldn't vote when it comes to the union. Its a conflict of interest. That also goes for McCauley and Nicastro. It doesn't take a brian surgeon to see that. They are going to vote in THEIR best interest...

Anonymous said...

11:06 Who are you truing to kid?

Anonymous said...

11:06...I am not an elected offical. I am a taxpayer, a registered democrat and actually I side with side Ken C on the union. Its not right for our city, its costing us too much. In the real working world, people pay or at least contribute to their health insurance. The union should not be taking advantage of the city. I agree with that. I do not want my taxes to go up because the unions are just grabers for whatever they can get their hands on.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love those BRIAN SURGEONS...

Anonymous said...

welcome to the Blog......just another Union Hater, d or R it's just plain jealously !

Anonymous said...

T the Brain surgion why would anybody support a person that doesn't have their best interests at heart? Unions or you ! grow up whiner!

Anonymous said...

What's a Brian surgeon ?

Anonymous said...

A politician.

Anonymous said...

Like I said wise guy what's a Brian surgeon/ you probably don't know.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm sounds like a job Yarde wants.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you call this a "Union" Blog" instead of Bristol Blog? It's turned into a "Hate Union" Blog. How about gas,electricity, insurance etc. and other things wrong ?

Anonymous said...

How about hate "slumlords" blog or just plain "Hate everything" blog?