November 4, 2008

Chief operating officer plan gunned down

Voters gunned down a proposal to create a chief operating officer by a wide margin at the polls Tuesday.
The plan to have a city manager-lite oversee municipal departments garnered support from 40 percent of voters, according to official results.
“I’m surprised it went down so big,” said state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat who opposed the charter revision plan but thought it had wider support in the community.
City Councilor Ken Cockayne said that the goal of supporters was to give voters a choice.
“They had their say,” he said, “and now we have to move forward.”
“Perhaps this wasn’t the right answer,” said another backer, former GOP mayoral candidate Ken Johnson.
He said, though, that “people are still looking for change” at City Hall.
Johnson said he believes that Mayor Art Ward’s strong opposition to the proposed charter revision “swung it quite substantially” toward the mayor’s stance.
“I was disappointed to see him take a stand,” Johnson said, because a Democratic mayor in a Democratic town holds some clout.
“I’m humbled that he thinks so,” Ward responded later. “I thank him for giving me credit for that much foresight for the city.”
Ward said that with hard times at hand, people weren’t about to back a plan to create a costly new position in city government.
The voters, he said, “recognize what’s fiscally responsible for the city with these tough economic times.”
The final tally was 13,148 opposed and 8,828 in favor, a 60-40 split.
Those who backed the measure had to launch a petition drive this summer to get it on the ballot over the opposition of the City Council. They argued that the position was crucial to bring more efficiency, oversight and continuity to the city bureaucracy.
But critics said that spending about $250,000 a year for an unproven change didn’t make sense in the middle of a recession.
Johnson said that the challenge of pushing the idea through clearly was harder than he anticipated.
“It was more daunting than I had imagined because of the coattails from the top of the national ticket,” Johnson said, which brought more Democrats to the polls.
He said that pro-COO officials are grateful to the thousands who signed the petitions to get the proposal on the ballot and to the many people who stood at the polls all day to tout the concept to voters.
With the defeat of the COO plan, it is possible that Ward will pursue an alternative to add a part-time aide to the mayor’s staff, something that former Mayor Gerard Couture tried but was dropped when William Stortz took office.
*******
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Johnson...Now you're 0-2! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Will Yarde finally go away now???

Tim Gamache said...

Instead of "kicking people when they're down",how about we show a little class and accept victory GRACIOUSLY.How about we simply allow for the fact the argument against a COO was stronger than the one in favor and let it go at that.

Anonymous said...

Bristol taxpayers, union and non-union, prevailed.

Anonymous said...

Johnson is really 0-3, but he is ahead on dollars.

Anonymous said...

Cockayne is next

Anonymous said...

JOhnson, maybe those who have been INVOLVED for some time have a feel for what the people of Bristol are all about!

Time that you and your supporters: Barnes, Schaffrick, Mocabee got teh message.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

Instead of "kicking people when they're down",how about we show a little class and accept victory GRACIOUSLY.How about we simply allow for the fact the argument against a COO was stronger than the one in favor and let it go at that.



I couldn't agree more. I think we should also thank Mr. Johnson, Mr. Yarde, and Councilman Minor for working hard to put this on the ballot. It allowed us the people of Bristol to demonstrate that when given the chance to choose we tend to get it right. To all those who voted, for or against, thank you!

Anonymous said...

12:35 - With all of the negativism and lies that minor, cockayne and johnson spread during this fiasco, they deserve every tongue lashing that they get.
How about if they get down on their knees, do the mea cupas that they owe and apologize to all of the taxpayers, yes, even the union TAXPAYERS, for their verbal and written slanderous assaults.
The slugs would be happy for everyone to just pat them on the back, truth is that they should be kicked in the butt regardless if they are "down" or any other position.

Anonymous said...

Hope Kenny now realizes that fancy T-Shirts are not a good subsitute for substance.

Give 'em all to the Salvation Army.

Anonymous said...

ward had better hope that johnson and cockayne don't screw up anymore because if they do, the gop might think about abandoning them and coming up with a bonafided mayoral challenger next year. They will have the time now to do a nationwide search....

Anonymous said...

The GOP needs to start over.

They used to be successful, even when outnumbered: what happened?

Anonymous said...

To blame Art Ward for the COO getting shot down is just rediculous. He isn't the Pied Piper.

The voters know the difference between a good idea and a bad one. The COO results prove that.

Anonymous said...

kenny, next time get shirts that fit also, looked like a real slob out there yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Ward and his Union hack won! They packed the polls and intimidated people to vote no!

Anonymous said...

Once again Union wins..Taxpayers get screwed!

Anonymous said...

get off the union crap and accept the fact that the coo idea was nothing but wasted effort on behalf of political pundits johnson, minor and cockayne.

Anonymous said...

Bristol won!

Anonymous said...

Maybe if Johnson and Cockayne had been able to answer some of the questions that were asked.....

Anonymous said...

What is next on their agenda?

Anonymous said...

I bet Ward went to the bar after the results to celebrate. It's a likely place to find him.

Republican skeptical of johnson said...

I hope Ken Johnson doesn't have another hissy fit and bring the party (especially Ken Cocyane, who I feel is doing a good job) down with him. Johnson seems so narcisistic it wouldn't surprise me.

Anonymous said...

blaming ward a hissy fit.

Anonymous said...

Now Artie will create a position for Aide to the Mayor and guess who will fill it? The husband of the new registrar of voters. Watch and see.

Anonymous said...

talk about a bunch of whiners - mommy, mommy, they took my magic cape away from me.
jilting johnson, casulty cockayne and under-minor sound like real wimps after all this.
do your jobs next time and know what you are talking about and maybe "tear drops won't keep fallin' on your head."

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see that most of the anti-COO people are trying to take the high road and show a little class. Too bad that some of the pro-COO folks still feel the need to take their cheap shots....

Anonymous said...

11:40 - I don't know about Mr. Ward, but I'm sure ready to celebrate! Bristol's tax payers have made their decision loud and clear....so maybe now the classless, childish, rude and pointless comments (like yours) will end....at least until the next election when you can start your verbal diarrhea anew! ;0)

Anonymous said...

I must say that if the shoe was on the other foot and the coo had gone through, we would have never heard the end of it! They would have shoved it in our faces! I'm not one for bashing people, but look at what Cockayne is doing with regard to the union pensions. He's knocking the unions left and right even though he forgets that many of those union people are his constitutents. I guess unless you have an R at the end of your name, he won't do anything for you. Time to reevaluate, Kenny boy. You need to represent EVERYONE!!! I'm disgusted with the fact that you don't even hide it. You run right to Steve with every bit of info you have. What a shame that you don't know how to work with the council. Instead, you'd rather stir the pot and put someone else's pension in jeopardy. You need a few lessons on class from Mike Rimcoski!

Anonymous said...

Take that Craig Yard!

Anonymous said...

Why did the Republican Party wait until the last moment to endorse the COO position?

The Party definately needs to be reorganized, they are sounding like the Chamber of Commerce with their anti-union rhetoric. Look at your role models, Yard, Mocabee (Mocababy), Johnson, nothing but losers, and sore ones at that. How about somebody with real class like Henry Raymond to lead the party? Right now the party is dysfunctional and going down fast.

The comments by Johnson regarding the defeat of the COO are prime examples of the above remarks. He doesn't give any credit to the citizens of Bristol, union or non-union, for their intelligence and ability to understand right from wrong. Or, is the fact that he, Johnson, believes that he is above all and everybody should listen to him and follow his every move? Face it Ken, you're doing more to hurt the taxpayers than help them!! Get over your losses, stop crying in your tea or coffee, and listen to your cohort Cockayne and "move on". It's time to roll up your sleeves and work with the administration instead of trying to find everything that may be wrong with it because you dislike Ward.

Blame your defeats on yourself instead of blaming the unions because there are plenty of non-union taxpayers who voted against you and your proposals. Look at the figures, 60% against, there aren't 60% union voters in this city.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous that Cocayne looked like a stuffed pig in his tee shirt. I also agree that the Repulsive Republicans (including the closet Republican Minor) should take some lessons in Cclass from Rimcowski and Fitzgerald.

Anonymous said...

What is Craig Minor's take on this? I'm surprised there isn't a quote from him.

Anonymous said...

And Ken Johnson still wants to be mayor?

Is he deaf and blind?

Craig Minor said...

I don't really have a "take" on this. I thought a COO would be good for Bristol, but a clear majority of the voters felt otherwise. I'm fine with that.

I was afraid that a lot of voters would skip over Question #5, so that whether it passed or failed it wouldn't really be a "mandate", but that didn't happen. Almost 22,000 people voted on the COO, which is almost as many as voted for either McCain or Obama (24,127). That's pretty decisive.

Anonymous said...

I think its sad when people have to insult others. I saw Ken Cockayne at polls and thought he represented himself in a professional manner and was dressed like he should have been. I also witnessed union workers holding No COO signs acting like animals. It is a disgrace for the city of Bristol that city workers acted that way. Union workers had no class at the polls!! I am a taxpayer and was shocked by their behavior.

Anonymous said...

Did everyone see Wards picture in the Bristol Press with beer bottles in front of him?? ..guess he couldn't go without drinking for a night. He is no role model for a mayor.

Anonymous said...

I think your insults against Cockayne are uncalled for. Whoever wrote it has no class.

Anonymous said...

If Ward was any kind of leader, he would actually run the City, then we wouldn't need a City Manager to do his job.

Anonymous said...

Ward is a joke. He needs to be replaced with someone who actually is more concerned for our city, not more concerned for the unions. Come on Ward, show some class, put down the wine glass and start acting like a mayor.

Anonymous said...

To 9:55
Why should the Union Workers have to behave in reasonable manner?? Ward has them running the city, he works for them and them only.
Did they negotiate to work at the polls to get overtime on the taxpayers dime??
I am embarrassed to live in such a city with what Ward has created. Ward is an awful leader and the next election cant come fast enough!!!
Ward, how about work for everyone and not just the Unions for the rest of your term?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Stortz wasn't so bad after all

He certainly put the city first

Anonymous said...

To November 6, 12:19 AM

Looks by your spelling that you must have just left the bar yourself or were sitting home drowning in your beer(s). You can't really be as ignorant as you appear, to believe that city workers were standing at the polls while getting paid by the city. Haven't you ever heard of "vacation time" or "personal leave", these are some of the benefits that many employers, not only unions, give to their employees.

Ward hasn't created this city that you are embarrassed to live in. It would be virtually impossible to be that destructive as you claim in less than a year.

I have a solution to your problems and embarrassment at having to live in this city, MOVE OUT!!! There's no ball and chain around your neck forcing you to live here if you're so embarrassed.

Have another drink!!!

Anonymous said...

10:58. Maybe I will go have a drink right next to our mayor at the nearest bar. The difference is, is that I will not get a DUI.

I highly doubt the city workers would use their vacaion time to stand out at the polls. They like everything else for free. I hope my taxes paying their salaries did not go to them standing holding signs instead of doing their jobs.

Tim Gamache said...

10:58 Don't waste your time,consider the source.2:34s problem is they have a vacuum between their ears!

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, sounds like the pro-COO (anti-union, anti-Ward) folks are at it again....same boring old rhetoric. Seems the best they can do is regurgitate the same crap over and over, and over again....YAWN ;-O

Anonymous said...

Has Johnson re-announced that he is running for mayor?

Time to start campaigning again Kenny

Anonymous said...

I hope so...it'll be a landslide win for Ward!

Anonymous said...

Ward, appoint another Charter Revision and this time put Johnson on it.

Anonymous said...

TRo 10:58 Seeing that you like to drink and talk about drunks maybe you should take some lessons from the head of your party Chris Healy. He only has three DUI's.

Anonymous said...

The questions that Stortz asked, and the fact that they were never responded to, played a big part in my decision.

And as I talked with others, they said they felt that way too.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Johnson and Cockayne are going to ask for a recount??