The president of the Greater Bristol Labor Council said he “quite ticked off” at the signs erected by supporters of the chief operating officer proposal that portray the referendum as a showdown between unions and taxpayers.
Mike Petosa said that the signs “really show the ignorance” of the charter change backers “about what we are and who we are. We are taxpayers also.”
Petosa said the proposal to create an administrative chief at City Hall is “so full of holes that it’s not funny,” including any provision for paying the expected $250,000 tab to hire an experienced professional to do the job.
“If they think they’re helping the city, they’re not,” Petosa said.
He said that Bristol “is in a lot better shape than a lot of other cities” because its leadership has done a good job over the years of protecting its financial standing and balancing the service needs of residents with their ability to pay.
Petosa said there is “a core group” pushing the chief operating officer that includes businessman Craig Yarde, former Republican mayoral contender Ken Johnson and city Councilors Craig Minor and Ken Cockayne.
“These people have their own agenda,” Petosa said.
There’s something they wanted that they couldn’t have” so they claim there’s no accountability at City Hall, he said.
Petosa said he’s upset they decided to make an issue out of the unions, which have traditionally had good relations with mayors and city councilors in Bristol.
“It shows their lack of professionalism,” Petosa said.
He said that Cockayne in particular has been going after municipal unions since day one.
“If he wants to cause labor unrest in Bristol, he may just get it,” Petosa said.
He said that Yarde may be a good businessman, but he doesn’t know anything about how city government operates.
Besides, Petosa said, Yarde demonstrated his commitment to Bristol a decade ago when “he moved his company and 400 jobs out of town” to Southington.
Petosa said he trusts that voters will see through the weak arguments raised by COO supporters and will opt to keep the existing governmental structure in place.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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