February 28, 2009

GOP's Ken Johnson rips into "donut mayor"

Republican mayoral hopeful Ken Johnson recently lashed into the man who defeated him in the last mayoral contest over Democrat Art Ward’s handling of a proposal to shift excess pension cash to pay for municipal retirees’ health care.

Johnson said that if taxpayers understood the GASB 45 issue “they would have already run the mayor out on a rail.”

Johnson and other advocates of the idea argue that taxpayers could save up to $2 million annually by tapping surplus pension money to pay for health care for retired city workers.

Ward set up a committee to explore the option. It is expected to make a recommendation Tuesday. The City Council has the last word.

"The cold reality is that this committee is a charade," Johnson told the panel recently. "This GASB 45 Committee serves no purpose, has no authority to make any decisions at all, and is a fraud perpetrated on both taxpayers and city workers by our mayor."

"The mayor created this committee as a 'feel good' for city workers because he desperately wants you to like him. City workers, my message to each of you is this: the mayor is playing you for a stooge," Johnson said.

"Let's put this in context," Johnson said. "The economy is in the toilet. We are looking for ways to run the city without raising taxes. City and state workers across Connecticut are already being laid off."

"While our city struggles to make ends meet without implementing layoffs, the mayor puts out a memo to stop buying food for meetings. So while he polices the $5 box of Dunkin' Donuts, here's millions and millions in tax savings staring us in the eye."

"There's millions to be saved and it hurts no one," Johnson said.

He said that if the "donut mayor" would back it, the change could be made.

 Ward said that as he listened to Johnson's speech to the committee last week, he thought that Johnson was giving a political address in the wrong venue.

He didn't want to address the substance of Johnson's comments.

But Ward did say that without the advantage of sitting in the mayor's chair, Johnson's vision is "blurred" on the issues facing the city.

Johnson said, though, that the change in the pension money that he’s urging would produce “immediate tax savings” by simply shifting cash “from Column A to Column B” on a spreadsheet.

It’s more complicated than that, said Ronald Mulvihill, a benefits specialist for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers who is based in Washington, D.C.

The city “can’t just do it,” Mulvihill said, because there are many hoops to go through.

Johnson said that Ward --- “the captain of the ship” --  is trying to make people feel good “by personally monitoring donut consumption and fooling you into thinking you have a say on GASB 45, the $5 million tip of a $75 million iceberg” that is “directly in front of the ship.”

John Boi, a retired city worker and former head of the city’s Retirement Board, said he felt “quite disappointed” that Johnson decided to launch his mayoral campaign at at GASB 45 Committee meeting.

He said the panel’s chairman, T.J. Barnes, should have stopped Johnson from delivering the address.

Barnes, who heads the city’s GOP, did tell Johnson to wrap it up but didn’t prevent him from finishing.

In the speech, Johnson commended Barnes for having “the intestinal fortitude” to stick with the assignment he took on to chair the panel Ward created.

He also thanked Barnes for convincing the mayor to undo the first version of the committee – which Johnson called “a laughable mayoral flub” – that was stocked with city workers who opposed the idea from the start.

*******
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

No matter where you stand on the issue Johnson made a fool out of himself. It is so much easier to campaign then it is to actually govern or manage a City. What has Johnson done for Bristol? Is the CL&P issue that the City paid him for resolved yet. Where is the update on that? Johnson is an actor and a bad one at that. His grandstanding is getting old. If Mayor Ward is the "Donut Mayor" then Johnson is the "Done Nothing" candidate.

Anonymous said...

Johnson may be right. His ideas should not be dismissed just because he is running for office. The campaigning put-down is usual campaign rhetoric from the incumbents. Let's look at Johnson's ideas more closely.

childish said...

johnson screwed the taxpayers with his, still uncompleted, CL&P fiasco, damaged city property with his hot tempered reaction to being told that he was not going to be put back on the water board because of his lack of performance, tried to screw us taxpayers with his self-serving $300,000 COO flubbing and now rants and raves about something that he knows nothing about -GASB45
God forbid if we had to be subjected to watching his fire engine red face on TV every month.
Besides, didn't johnson's COO campaign say that even he wasn't competent to be mayor or was that the 60% of us who voted down the stupid idea?
I think that johnson needs some potty training before he trods into the "real" world.

boo-hoo said...

looks as though ken knows how to manage anger - just opens his mouth and he manages to anger anyone within range of his sissified temper tantrums.
Maybe he will even give us a little crying jag before the campaign is over - i know that we'll all be crying if this boob ever becomes our mayor.

fruitless said...

11:36 - not even a good attempt ken.

Anonymous said...

Most of these remarks are very mean-spirited.

Anonymous said...

Who cares anyways. We are headed for a depression anyways. And all the money that is any accounts will be lost anyways or be worthless.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Johnson also got a $25,000 no bid contract, with the help of his buddy Rosenthal.

He certainly has gotten more from the city than he has contributed.

By the way, what ever happened with his misleading tactics regarding his Real Estate activities?

Anonymous said...

How come he left CL&P?
He supposedly had a good position there.

Anonymous said...

Most of these remarks are very mean-spirited.

February 28, 2009 2:38 PM

Let's see Johnson called our elected mayor a "donut mayor" among other things and when people call him to task you say people are being mean-spirited to him? You can not have it both ways. Maybe Johnson needs to learn that it is one thing to disagree and another to insult someone. He owes the mayor an apology.

Anonymous said...

In all my years in Bristol I have never seen or heard such blatant disrespect for the position or the person.

Mr.Johnson should be ashamed of himself!

Can't the Republicans gag him?

Actually they should disown him, he will drag then down, again.

Anonymous said...

I'm voting Steve Collins for Mayor!! :)

Anonymous said...

Didn't Ward say Johnson's vision was "blurred"? Not a very mayor-like comment. Can't blame Johnson for getting back at him.

Anonymous said...

Ward vs. Johnson

One wins, Bristol loses!

Sad, Sad, Sad.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Stortz wasn't so bad after all

Anonymous said...

"In all my years in Bristol I have never seen or heard such blatant disrespect for the position or the person."

oh please. Ward has a said much worse.

Anonymous said...

"Didn't Ward say Johnson's vision was "blurred"? Not a very mayor-like comment. Can't blame Johnson for getting back at him."

Big difference between telling the truth (Johnson's vision is definitely blurred...putting it mildly) and childish name calling. Ken keeps proving to be an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

"oh please. Ward has a said much worse."

...but never in such a childish way.

oh, well said...

if this is the direction that johnson is going to travel in this campaign, the path will be blocked by egotistically inspired rhetoric, otherwise known as political trash, negative and biased, unobjective jibberish which will prove to be his well deserved downfall.
johnson does not believe in personalities because he doesn't have one.

Anonymous said...

The voters didn't support Johnson for Council, didn't support his COO idea, didn't support Johnson for mayor.

Maybe they are more perceptive than I gave them credit for!

The man is a loose cannon.

Gulp said...

johnson suffers from "foot in the mouth" disease.

How embarrassing said...

The "donut mayor"????

Ken is more like a do-nut candidate (minus the do).

Anonymous said...

Johnson is Bristol's Obama:
Articulate, Smiley, a mile wide and three inches deep!

What positive idea has he come forward with?
The COO was not new, and he screwed that up too!

If this the future of the GOP, count me out!

Anonymous said...

I guess there are two questions: did Ward forbid the buying of donuts, and is that the only action he has taken to cut expenses? If the answer to each question is yes, then Johnson has a point in calling him "donut mayor." If not, then he was wrong to coin the nickname (even if it does stick).

Ward, however, was wrong to say that Johnson has "blurred vision," unless he has access to his optometrist's records, or has tested his eyesight himself. Johnson is entitled to his own viewpoint, and if it isn't the same as Ward's, that doesn't make it wrong.

Anonymous said...

Has he ever gotten along with anyone (other than Craig Minor, Art Mocabbe and Gary Schaffrick)?

Concerned Conservative said...

February 28, 2009 11:12 AM:

While I'm not a big proponent of Ken Johnson, I disagree with your premise that Johnson hasn't done anything for Bristol. One, he ran for office when evidently no one else was particularly interested. Second he's volunteered his time to local organizations such as the Bristol Theater.

But what did Ward do for Bristol? He is a veteran of Viet Nam which is a great thing for the country. I'll give him that. He owned a bar which perpetuated drunken drivers. Does that trump his service? Probably not, but it's not anything too wonderful is it?

After Ward's election to office he became head of Veterans Affairs in Connecticut I believe, which I would guess was a result of his political clout. He served, unspectularly on the council for a decade, waited "his turn" to run for Mayor, fought a primary challenge, and narrowly beat Johnson to take the Mayor's position. So far he's been a fair mayor, but I'm not overly impressed.

Again the most impressive, yet unremarkable thing(as far as executive ability) about Ward was his service in Viet Nam. As far as being the chief executive of Bristol, I say on paper he's unqualified. Johnson on the other hand has a degree from a prestigious university, U of Virginia and he has corporate managerial business experience. As far as being an executive, Johnson's experience trumps Ward's military service and his ownership of the A-Ward cafe.

shameful said...

4:37 - to ignorant republican, probably buried in orange, johnson was booted from the water board as a result of being a no-show, he has not been anywhere to be seen over the i6 months since he declared that he was running for mayor again, election night 2007, he tried to bilk the public by his ridiculous scam to undermine the local government process through increased taxes and the COO process and he made a complete ass of himself this week by his disruptive and inappropriate, representative of normal behavior for him, bullying demonstration at the GASB-45 meeting.
Weigh these items as you begin evaluating what his impact would be if he ever became mayor - what a sham.

john reek said...

Huh. Concerned conservetive labels art's old job as a bar owner perpetuating drunken driving?
What?
Poor baby an obvious frothing at the mouth johnson supporter.
KJ will only do one thing drag out the union boogeyman, again, whine about art, again, then hopefully fade to black again

Odin said...

So you think Obama's "a mile wide and three inches deep"? You do understand that when people say that he was editor of the Harvard Law Review, that means that he was a student at Harvard Law School, right? People who are three inches deep don't get into Columbia and then go to Harvard Law.

truth said...

Concerned conservative, you even sound like johnson or a close clone - neither one of you have ever done anything but try to get people to see your views on things - hate to be the bearer of the truth but you are both fools, trying to feather your own egos with offering nothing of substance.
you both deserve each other but the citizens of bristol deserve better than either of you.

Anonymous said...

Ward served on a land use board and 6 terms as a City Councilman.

He has been involved in the American Legion and held office in the Legion.

Johnson ran for Council: as a Republican all that requires is put your name up. He was defeated.
He got beat for mayor, against your "unqualified" opponent.

Yes, he served the community theater, probably his most appropriate involvement as an ACTOR.

But I ask, why did he leave Cl&P ???

If he was laid off, was he the only one?

Unfortunately both candidates are weak, but Johnson does not have a clue as to runningthe city, and liatening to Schaffrick and Mocabee is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

Odin, there are plenty of attorneys, even law review editors, who should not be president of the United States. Your "Messiah" is one of them.

Anonymous said...

"truth"... You do not know who CC is, so how would you know what CC has or hasn't done for Bristol? Think before you write the supposed "truth."

Concerned Conservative said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Concerned Conservative said...

Thank you John Reek for showing your true colors (not related to Joe Effervescent by any chance?). I hope all will rememeber your lack of sophistication the next time you're pushing for "new schools" here on this blog.

I am not a supporter of Ken Johnson although I will probably "hold my nose" and vote for him as a protest against the Democrat machine in Bristol.

But I will use my own and the logic of "Odin" and state again that Johnson is a graduate of the University Of Virginia that and along with his work experience in my opinion makes him better qualified to be the chief executive of Bristol. I do not think he'd be listening to anything Gary Schaffrick tells him (nor would any competent individual) if he was elected mayor. I'm sure someone like Art Mocabee would only be offering opinion and/or advice (Mocobee is a relatively successful financial services salesman as far as I know). But I do concur with the poster at March 1, 2009 7:15 PM, that both candidates are weak. Yet almost all the candidates have been pretty weak since arguably Mike Werner (after his first term) or Mayor Casey.

Anonymous said...

Concerned,

Trust me when I say NO ONE values your opinion as much as you do. Dad always said that egotism is the anesthetic given by mother nature to relieve the pain of being a damned fool...you must be REALLY numb!

Anonymous said...

I was really hoping that this campaign, Johnson would change the way he comments on City issues. Looks like he didn't learn his lesson the first time around.

Commenting and disagreeing with the current administration is fine - and should be done during a campaign, but there is a professional and intelligent way to go about it. This was just rediculous.

Anonymous said...

"Ward, however, was wrong to say that Johnson has "blurred vision," unless he has access to his optometrist's records, or has tested his eyesight himself"
____________________________

Sweetie,

Ward speaking figuratively (big word, look it up). Also, he was being kind referring to Ken's vision as "blurred." I personally think Johnson is blind as a bat.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The only other situation that i can recall that can almost match Ken Johnson is when Hucklbe ran for mayor.

up and above said...

....and, comparatively, Huckabie was a class act.

Anonymous said...

3:03

AMEN!

Anonymous said...

"Johnson is entitled to his own viewpoint, and if it isn't the same as Ward's, that doesn't make it wrong."

...You ignored the next sentence, 9:05. Of course he meant it figuratively. Duh!

Concerned Conservative said...

Anonwestconnstudent:
So do you think the A-Ward cafe was more of an asset to Bristol or a liability?

As far as "working" in the government sector, that's fine. But what does that have to do with the conversation anyway? I didn't say Ward should be impeached, I just say that Johnson's executive credentials and education are better than Ward's. If you think Ward would be hired as a manager in business for serving on the city council you're insane. I will give him credit for doing a decent job as Mayor (it could be a lot worse I imagine) for a little over a year. If you think beiong the head of veteran affairs is more impressive than being a manager in a large corporation and serving in the Army is more impressive than graduating from one of the more prestigious universities in the country, that's your opinion...and to be honest I find your opinions to be weak.

Anonymous said...

CC

And how does being let go make one qualified?

Anonymous said...

The A-Ward Cafe was a slimy little hole-in-the-wall. Nothing anyone should want on their resume.

uggggly said...

concerned conservative, your pompous arrogance is only superceded by your wanting personality which is the reason that no weight is given to your shallow opinions.
The best protection that you have in life is the "faceless wall" of anonymous postings; actually, probably good for the rest of us 'cause your probably ugly too.

Anonymous said...

Of Ken Johnson:

Absurdum est ut alios regat, qui se ipsum regere nescit.

Anonymous said...

"I just say that Johnson's executive credentials and education are better than Ward's."

Concerned,

Give it a rest...Johnson's silly little temper tantrums, boneheaded comments, lack of any achievements, name-calling, etc, etc, etc are definitely NOT the kind of credentials we're looking for in a mayoral candidate.

...and to be honest, we really don't care what you think of our opinions.

Anonymous said...

As usual, Collins leaves out the real srory. After Johnson's tirade, Mr. Mullvihill from AFSCME, pointed out that almost every point Johnson made concerning GASB was wrong on the facts. Johnson was right in saying that this committee has no clout. Their recommendation, pro or con is irrelevant as far as the council's decision is concerned. He also left out the fact that Mr. Byrne, whose input was supposedly the main focus of the evening's meeting,added absolutely nothing to the conversation. He gave nothing more than a mediocre lesson in generic economics, it really was a joke and he should be ashamed of himself. The council could move ahead with exploring 420 transfers without this panel's blessing. It is becoming more apparent by the day that nobody involved in this fiasco is knowledgeable enough nor has the leadership ability to get this done.

Don't be a hater said...

"The A-Ward Cafe was a slimy little hole-in-the-wall."

Actually, it was a nice little bar that served the absolute best sausage sandwiches. Guess "slimy" is in the eye of the beholder.

Anonymous said...

This is for 8:35 PM Anonymous ---- Why would Mr. Collins include something from Mr. Byrne that had nothing to do with the story? That one confuses me even more than the rest of what you wrote.
Is this the same Mr. Byrne who helped the city make so much money in its pensions fund over the years? Because if it is he deserves nicer words than you gave him.

Anonymous said...

Uggggly, I agree with you 110%, but save your breath. Concerned conservative just doesn't get it.

a,b,c's said...

concerned conservative, guess literacy wasn't one of your majors in college, ward was in the m-a-r-i-n-e-s not the a-r-m-y.
S-T-U-P-I-D.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"To call someone who owns a bar (no matter what type it is) an enabler of drunk driving is ridiculous.""

Well, Ward did get caught drunk driving, so did his buddy Tom Ragani. Too bad Ward wasn't man enough to admit he was wrong, instead he tried to weasel his way out of the charge with the help of his slimey lawyer Kosta.

Time to let it go said...

10:35 ~ Maybe you'd like to bring back prohibition? If we follow your train of thought (real short track there!), we should close down just about every restaurant in the state cuz they're all "enablers of drunk driving."

Sorry, but dragging up Ward's over a decade old DUI every time Ken does something dumb doesn't make Ken (or you) look any smarter....

Anonymous said...

"Why would Mr. Collins include something from Mr. Byrne that had nothing to do with the story? "
Because the whole purpose of the meeting was for Byrne to provide information relevant to the subject and he sounded like he had no idea why he was there. The reason are confused is that you don't understand the issue any better than Johnson or Byrne.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any information on the reason Johnson was let go?

Anonymous said...

Ward is the donut, Johnson is the hole(nothing).

save the family said...

10:35 - at least state the truth, ward paid his fine for his DUI, had to attend and pass the educational course just like everyone else; in addition, he volunteered 100 extra hours of community service - how is that trying to weasel out of anything idiot.
Thank goodness that human beings weren't cloned when you were born otherwise S-T-U-P-I-D-I-T-Y would be considered a family trait and not just a personal albatross - idiot.

Voids said...

10:38 - the answer to your question is evidenced just by reviewing any of his other "escapades of default" which has otherwise been interpreted to mean "big mouth, no results."

Anonymous said...

Odin said...
So you think Obama's "a mile wide and three inches deep"? You do understand that when people say that he was editor of the Harvard Law Review, that means that he was a student at Harvard Law School, right? People who are three inches deep don't get into Columbia and then go to Harvard Law.

March 1, 2009 7:06 PM

Actually with affirmative action programs they have, they do and they will.

snob said...

7:06pm - elitest fool.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that new kid Derek will consider running for mayor. He probably has got it all over these two.

Anonymous said...

"at least state the truth, ward paid his fine for his DUI, had to attend and pass the educational course just like everyone else"

That's misleading. Because at first Ward tried to get out of being arrested, his laywer's trick was to blame the police officer for arresting him saying he did it without cause making it an invalid arrest. Only after all of that failed did Ward realize he couldn't get away with it and accepted punishment.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Stortz wasn't so bad after all.

Anonymous said...

6:22,

Get out! A lawyer trying to get his client off the hook??? Wow! Let's alert the media!

Seriously 6:22, quit beating that poor old dead horse. Give it a rest.

Anonymous said...

We all have our faults, we all have our shortcomings!

What should be the criteria is ones ability to run the city in a way that is best for Bristol.

I did vote for WArd, but would hope that I have a better choice this coming November

Anonymous said...

10:44

Me Too!

wow said...

6:22pm - get some testicles and step out in public with those accusations or confront ward with your findings in public, unless you are afraid that you'll have your butt sued or that ward will prove that you are nothing short of a slime-ball, you snake-bellied piece of crap. Step up or shut up, you coward.
You don't even deserve to say that your comments are politically motivated because even politics has SOME scruples.

over and over said...

didn't see vocal-cord johnson last night, must have been searching for a spinal cord so that he can prepare to present another one of his ramblings at the next city council meeting.
I guess 2 meetings of the same committee, Gasb45, must have been too much to handle - reminds me of the reason that he got bounced from the Water Board - history repeats itself - again.

Anonymous said...

4:54 Did you expect any different?

Too bad the public doesn't see that.

Anonymous said...

Is this a part of the Ken Johnson promotional campaign for Dunkin Donuts?

After all, he is a huckster.

Anonymous said...

The BRTC should tell Johnson to get out of Bristol politics.He is a disgrace to the BRTC and all republicans.

Anonymous said...

Is Johnson on vacation, or backing up for a new start?

Anonymous said...

Johnson must still be trying to get his foot out of his mouth or maybe the BRTC finally put a gag on him. Maybe he is finally getting the hint...Bristol resident do not like or agree with him.

Anonymous said...

Ok for everyone! It has been made public info before in regards to WHY Ken J left CL&P. It was due to Ethics. Ken uncovered and exposed the CL&P Street lighting overcharges! People are so damn quick to Judge. What have most of US done for this little hole called Bristol. At least there are a few people that care enough to HOPE to make a difference. I personally came from a much larger city/state 17 years ago. The petty garbage that goes on in this town is just wrong! Why cant everybody be part of the solution, not the problem?