December 16, 2009

Chamber prez responds to Janelle

A response to Jennifer Janelle from Mike Nicastro, president of the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce:

Ms. Janelle let me first say that I respect your service to the community over the last few years.  You clearly made a commitment of your time.  But we are at a critical milepost in the city’s history.  This past Monday evening we (the City of Bristol) had a wonderful opportunity to begin a new future for our community and the region.  It was to be simply the first step in a long and risky process.  We cannot begin without a first step.  I have called for you resignation from the BDDC for no other reason than in my opinion you allowed that opportunity slip away from us and may have in fact raised the risk profile even higher than it was before.  Your calls for additional due diligence are correct but can be readily accomplished in the lengthy process that still lies before the BDDC and the community.  Regardless of that situation, you had a responsibility to perform your own due diligence and either you failed to do so or your absences from the two critical BDDC meetings in both September and October left you incapable of a rational decision.  In that case you should have abstained from Monday’s vote as opposed to becoming a roadblock.  The mission here was to choose between to very valid RFQ responses.  There is so much more to do.  Despite your previous efforts your action Monday evening was indecisive and smacked of the usual inertia of which this community is often accused.  When or if we move ahead we cannot continue to have you absent from critical meetings in the future.  If indeed a developer is chosen the commitment to this process will not become easier or require less time it will in fact require more.  Your claims of “cronyism” and “appeasement” make nice cover smoke but they are unfounded and your clear positioning to be able to say “I told you so” is of great concern.  It is a clear attempt to wash your hands of this decision.  No matter who is chosen the risk for this project is high. If you cannot understand that risk or continue the commitment of time you should resign.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...

Mike should take her place when she resigns.

Anonymous said...

If what she says is true about not checking on the guys they should all be fired. Three years and nothing done this is Bristol.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Janelle overstates the task at hand the board had. For her to state as such, shows her ignorance and lack of understanding of her role. Perhaps if she showed up at the meetings she would be better informed as to what her job was. If she didn't think a few months would matter, what was the issue in choosing A or B as a tentative recommnedation based on the information on hand? We can all listen to her words but I would rather concentrate on her actions. Her actions and lack of attendance show what she really thought of the position. Serving the community during such a crucial point must have been less important that whatever it was she actually did. She should step down.

The BDDC's inability to perform its duties, for whatever reason, has sullied this town's morale and faith in its leaders even further. Leone should be thankful for this mess to keep the spotlight off of his faux pas.

Anonymous said...

Who is the Mayor, Ward or Nicastro?

Maybe Nicastro should resign so he can run for mayor

Anonymous said...

This is great, we're going to start this circular firing squad and still no developer!

I'll make a decision, bring in 17 acres of top soil and just put in a big lawn. That will give us time to wipe the egg off Bristol's face!

Jean Letourneau said...

Jennifer brings up some good points, but they are too late. If indeed the reference checks were not done why did she wait until now to complain.
We have paid the executive director(law firm) lots of money to do these checks and to run a corporation. Why did she not complain at the public meetings? The BDDC has wasted 3 years on this project and it is time to fish or cut bait. Every day this continues is just more money for the law firm and less for Bristol.
I read that Renaissance would spend their money to design the project and if we don't like it we could reject it and start over. I have always felt that we should have sold off the property to someone who would spend their own money so I am critical of any delays that The BDDC creates. I do wish that people would post their names instead of hiding behind pseudonyms.

Jennifer Janelle said...

Mr. Nicastro,

You really should not speak of things about which you do not know. First, the original October meeting was scheduled for a date that I was prepared to attend. The meeting date was changed by the Executive Director due to space availability issues at City Hall to a date when the entire Board knew I was scheduled to be out of the country, despite my strong desire to be present. I made every attempt to be at that meeting, calling and emailing members several times from my travels. I did get hung up in customs in New York and did not make it back. The circumstances were well beyond my control and I resent the implication that I have somehow shirked my duties. It was a special meeting, not a regularly scheduled meeting, and one called at the last minute at that. Additionally, we as a Board have been advised by counsel not to have direct communications with either bidder. Neither is a publicly traded company with 10-ks and other reports available for public inspection. So how exactly do you propose that I do my own due diligence? Other internal issues exist concerning what questions would be asked and by whom and these issues have been raised by me over and over again in the 3 years I have been on the Board. I will not debate those issues with you, a non-member. If you had attended each and every Board meeting, you would know my positions have been consistent and unwavering on the appropriate process we should be following. I have been outvoted on numerous occasions and the minutes and recordings evidence that. The Board has had proposals in hand less than 60 days. No other community that I have ever worked with (more than 2 dozen municipalities and 80 Boards of Education while in private practice advising communities on construction and development projects related to energy and other utility projects) has acted on a bid response in less than 60 days and without any due diligence whatsoever. Nashua New Hampshire did 8 months of due diligence prior to selecting a developer. However, I am unwilling to rely on someone else's process, not having seen it or knowing anything about it. Unfortunately, I am also not willing to compromise my personal or professional integrity to go along with the pack and do what I am told. My only interest is in getting the best possible developer for the best possible downtown in the best possible procedural way to avoid problems down the road. I am not in this for votes, contributions or political favors. I am in this for the people of Bristol. It is unfortunate that so many in this town drive away volunteers trying to make the City a better place with the name-calling, demands for resignations and the like. I will not bend to threats, intimidation, name-calling and all out attempts at public embarrassment. I'm sorry that we disagree, but I intend to do it in a professional and polite manner. If you have specific concerns you want to address with me, I invite you to pick up the phone and I would be happy to arrange a time to meet with you, rather than making a public spectacle out this.

Anonymous said...

Another great job left from Stortz!!

grow up said...

Time for both nicastro and janelle to grow up and think of how stupid that you are both making the city of bristol look like with your childish belittling of each other.
nicastro should take care of the chamber and stop thinking that he runs the city and jennifer needs to rethink her take on the bddc.

Anonymous said...

"claims of “cronyism” and “appeasement” make nice cover smoke but they are unfounded"

Guess again Mike - cronyism and appeasement are so prevalent in Bristol politics it makes it difficult for anyone young, female or ethnically different to break in and have their contributions taken seriously. Please take off the blinders.

Craig Minor said...

Janelle has been saying for months that the BDDC was not asking the right questions and was not getting the right information. She has more experience in this area than the other six members combined. They just didn't want to listen to her because she's a woman.

If anyone on the BDDC voted for D’Amato "out of loyalty to a local businessman" as Nicastro claims, THEY are the ones who should resign, not Janelle.

Anonymous said...

Janelle has not been saying for months that the rights questions weren't being asked. If that's the way she felt, why didn't SHE ask the right questions? Are you blaming your peers for something you should have been doing if that was your gripe? I've been to these meetings and I think each proposal has been turned inside out and every which way. What more do you want, Jennifer? You have kept mum and at the last minute decided things were not the way she would like. We have lost lots of time and money and her lack of "taking the bull by the horns" has cost this city dearly. Way to go, Janelle! This position was way too much for you to handle, that's for sure!

Anonymous said...

Craig Minor, please stop. It has nothing to do with gender. Zoppo had no problems getting nearly all those guys on the BDDC to listen to her for other things. You're just upset because Jen Janelle was your pick, you insisted on appointing a woman, and she screwed up.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 3:09
Sorry, not Craig who wrote that, but someone who has experienced the bias first hand.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like the good ole boys are getting nervous that their posse may start to crumble. Janelle for Mayor!

Anonymous said...

There is a definite anti-female bias on many boards in Bristol and the BDDC is one of them.
There was an anti-female bias in the selection process and only Craig had the courage and decency to fight it.
Only when we have a better balance in the selection process will we have a more balanced representation.
This includes females and other minorities.
We made some progress in the past few years, but we have a long way to go.

Anonymous said...


You want to tag stortz, you have to include krawiecki and the council too!

Anonymous said...

Now we have two Nicastros trying to run the city.

One was enough, if not too many.

But then, Ward has left the opening.