September 3, 2010

What actually happened at last night's City Council session

Thanks to the city clerk’s office’s willingness to scramble to let me hear the recording of last night’s meeting, I can tell everyone what happened more clearly now.
At the start of the session, city Councilor Kevin McCauley said he would ask for a postponement of the vote on the proposed contract for the union representing the city’s “inside workers.”
“This is about courtesy,” McCauley said
He said the mayor provided information about the proposed deal only two days before the special meeting even though he’d signed the tentative agreement on August 2.
Some councilors, McCauley said, “felt strongly they just didn’t have enough time” to go over the material before Thursday night’s session.
McCauley said he told the mayor on Wednesday that councilors wanted more time.
He also said that the special meeting was slated for a time when two councilors, David Mills and Cliff Block, were out of town. Block, in the end, returned from Vermont for the meeting but Mills could not make it.
McCauley said Mills specifically asked for a chance to be heard before the vote. He said he wanted to give Mills that opportunity and to provide the entire council “the time to read through this information” before making a decision.
“I am speaking for my colleagues,” McCauley said.
City Councilor Ken Cockayne said he agreed with McCauley. He said any other night this week or next would have been fine with everyone.
“I echo those sentiments,” added city Councilor Kate Matthews.
At that point, Mayor Art Ward said he asked the council in an email “a week ago” whether to hold the meeting on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. Everyone said Thursday except for Mills, the mayor said.
“And me,” Block interjected.
Ward said he told Mills he would be happy to read a statement to the council if Mills wanted to write something up before he left.
Until 4:30 Wednesday, the mayor said, he thought things were fine.
Then McCauley came to the mayor’s office to speak to him.
According to Ward, the senior councilor told him, “I’m not here to piss you off. I’m just the messenger.”
He said that McCauley told him the council had reached a consensus to delay action on the proposed contract.
The mayor said he wondered “how did they get a consensus?” He said McCauley needs to explain how that could happen in the absence of a meeting.
Ward said there was no reason to delay because a decision was easy to make.
“It’s not rocket science,” the mayor said. He said that Local 233 is “trying to preserve jobs and work for the betterment of the city” by accepting a deal that is generous for taxpayers.
At that point, Cockayne leaped in.
Having tracked down Ward’s email on his Blackberry, he read the note the mayor originally sent to the council, which did not offer them a choice of days. It simply said the session would be held Thursday, Sept. 2.
Mills wrote back within hours to say he couldn’t make it that day, Cockayne said.
This past Monday, Cockayne said, he asked the mayor directly to make it possible for Mills to attend.
“Why can’t he have the opportunity to sit here like the rest of us?” Cockayne said.
McCauley told Ward that “I gave you the courtesy of walking into your office” to tell you what the council wanted rather than simply springing it on the mayor.
He said the two disagreed during their meeting and he walked out. The mayor argued immediately that in fact he had walked out on McCauley.
McCauley disputed it, then said, “I’m very disappointed in your leadership.”
He said he came to the mayor out of courtesy and respect.
“Next time you do that, it will be a first,” Ward fired back.
I need to interject here that, according to many people who attended, the council chambers were packed with union members and officials, many of them growing angry as the council argued.
McCauley referred to it during the meeting as “this dog and pony show that you created.”
Ward said he would file a Freedom of Information Act complaint against McCauley and the council for illegal collusion to reach a decision outside a public meeting.
“When I file the FOI complaint, we’ll deal with it,” Ward said.
“That’s your prerogative,” McCauley answered.
The council then voted to postponed the decision until next Wednesday.
On the tape, you can hear some people shouting but their words are unclear.
However, Cockayne and several others said that union leaders were yelling at McCauley such things as “you’re through” and “you’re all done.”
The mayor ignored it as he plowed into the next agenda item.
But Cockayne said there ought to be order in the room before proceeding and Ward called for quiet.
It’s not clear exactly what happened from the tape, but apparently McCauley got up to go into executive session on an unrelated issue before the council had officially adjourned from its public session.
Ward took note.
“Kevin, get back to your seat. We’re still in session,” Ward thundered.
And that was that.
After the meeting, however, McCauley and some union officials, including Mike Petosa, were going to toe to toe over the whole thing. A number of people told me they thought punches were going to fly because it got so heated.
But that didn’t happen.
Still, by all accounts, it was a brutal, ugly atmosphere.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...


Isn't this the time you call fof a vote of no confidence?

Anonymous said...

This the real Art Ward. Voters, please read and heed.

Anonymous said...

Shame on the Mayor.
This smells, tastes, looks and feels like something shady. Why does it need to be rushed through? Gives me the impression there is something really, really wrong here.
What is the harm in waiting until the council can read it through and understand?
Shame on the rude members of the audience as well. The council asked for more time, they didn't treat you poorly. Makes me question the calibar of some of our city employees too.

Former GOP activist said...

Mike Petosa and Art Ward are great guys and they have my full-hearted support.

I can't wait to help them campaign in 2011!

Anonymous said...

12:41 PM: Believe me, we are paying attention. McCauley and some of Zoppo's other minions are playing games, and our city is the getting the short end of the stick.

Anonymous said...

I'll take the real Art Ward over this lot of connivers anytime!

Anonymous said...

On his way out McCauley was surrounded by union officials. Take from that what you will.

Anonymous said...

"You're through" and "you're all done." For what? Because they wanted to table it to go over information given to them by Ferguson that day? Unbelievable! Clearly the union officials were given wrong information about what the meeting was all about. In the end tabling the issue doesn't affect anything. How sad is that?

Anonymous said...

No one really likes him...He's worse then Stortz was.

Anonymous said...

3:00: Art IS the conniver!

Tired of Mayor's games... said...

Well lets see, the union gives the mayor a check to run, so gee the mayor works for the unions, always has and always will.

Time to rid the city of trash - staring with Artie.

Anonymous said...

5:12pm - correction, Art is a horses A%@!

Anonymous said...

I lost all respect for Mayor Ward last night. I can't figure this out. Either he is upset that the council wanted to table a vote, which likely would have supported the contract anyway, or he misunderstood what the other council members were asking for.

They weren't shooting down the contract, they were asking for more time and still within the time constraints. What was wrong with that?

There is another possibility - maybe the Mayor didn't want them to understand what was in the contract.


Anonymous said...


Most people do not think that Stortz was that bad at all.

I for one would like to see him back in office.

Anonymous said...

The only reason the city is getting the short end of the stick is because these useless cowards who have everything to say against everything but refuse to say anything or do anything for the citizens of this community. "Useless" as usual.

self praise said...

9:11 - we know that you would Bill, now give it up.

Anonymous said...


Guess again1

A Proud Democrat said...

Kevin Is Baffled...Well, So Are Many Others. Especially, When Kevin McCauley & Mike Petosa Are Having Words...Kevin Belts Out, You Wanna Hit Me...Go Ahead Hit Me and Mike Turned Around and Walked Away...☺.

Bristolites...With Kevin Instagating An Altercation(Which Didn't Happen)...This Is What He, Ellen(His Master) & Her Followers Want To Happen...To Push Buttons, So That She and Her Cronies Look Good(In Their Eyes)...Bristolites BE Beware of Her Continual "Vicious" Antics...The "Black Widow" & Her Offspring Will Befriend You and Just When You Think She's Your "Best" Friend and Looking Out For Your Best Interest...You're "DONE"...Are

Anonymous said...

3:32 PM: Thanks for the warning!

gulp said...

wonder if mcbrawley will limp into tonight's meeting to try and get some sympathy.
wonder if he will try to cover his tracks and try to make up with petosa and the union.
wonder if he has had enough time to understand all of that paperwork which he has been baffled by.
wonder if he will even remember why he is there - oh yeah, he will because his workman's compensation is for his foot, not his brain (sic) but if he puts his foot in his mouth (again)then he might go on workman's compensation for "foot in mouth" disease.

wonders never go away said...

3:18 - if mccauley can jump around begging people to hit him, probably looking for a law suit or continued workers compensation, how is it that he is even on worker's compensation now?

Anonymous said...

hmmm I WONDER if both of you are willing to hold a hose in the dark going down a steep icy driveway..... i don't think you can buddies. i mean having two surgeries is nothing right? anyone can get up the next day and be a fire fighter, you both sound ridiculous.