December 12, 2010

Cockayne determined to remain as acting mayor

While Mayor Art Ward remained in critical condition at Bristol Hospital Sunday, city officials continued to scramble to decide who should lead City Hall in the mayor's absence.
Democratic City Council members said that Acting Mayor Ken Cockayne, a Republican, should step down at Tuesday's council meeting and let Democrat Kate Matthews take the helm.
Ward notified the council and others before his Dec. 4 collapse that he intended to replace Cockayne with Matthews this month.
But Cockayne isn't giving in.
In an email to councilors this weekend, Cockayne said that "with the support of the Ward family, the Democratic town chairman and the Republican town chairman, as well as in consultation with various councilmen, I will be reappointing myself as acting mayor" until at least the Jan. 11 council meeting.
He expressed hope that Ward "will be back on the job" by January.
The city's Democratic Party leader, Elliott Nelson, said recently that Cockayne's doing fine as acting mayor and should stay in the post until January. Nelson is a close friend of the mayor's.
Complicating the issue for Democrats, Ward's choice for city attorney, Edward Krawiecki, Jr, is a former GOP state lawmaker with strong ties to his own party. Krawiecki would be the main source of advice for city officials trying to figure out how to handle a complicated situation.
Democrats, on the other hand, control four of the six council seats. Even with Ward out of the picture for the moment, they have enough votes to prevail on any issue where they stay united.
But it doesn't appear the council can prevent Cockayne from holding on to the acting mayor slot if he is determined to stay put.
Cockayne said he doesn't want to play politics at all. He said the only important thing for the city is to hold true to Ward's vision for Bristol and to pray for the mayor's speedy recovery.
Ward has been in intensive care since choking on a piece of steak at a tailgate party at the Italian Social Club. He apparently has been in a medically induced coma ever since, though neither the hospital nor Ward's family has confirmed the talk at City Hall.
Nelson has said that the family is "very optimistic" the mayor will recover, hopefully soon.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...

I'm starting to lose sympathy for the Ward family. They owe it to the people of Bristol (who pay his salary and are paying for his hospital stay) to come clean with his prognosis. They gave up their right to complete privacy when he became mayor. If that's too painful, fine, then they should designate a hospital spokesman to do it. I trust Nelson about as far as I could throw him.

Anonymous said...

Give Kenny the key to the city for awhile. Let him see how difficult it truely is to navigate a ship through choppy waters for awhile. Who knows, maybe he'll make a bad decision along the way and self destruct. Good-bye Republican party once again.

Anonymous said...

lETS GET OFF THE PITTY PARTY. KEN will do a better job from start to finish. THE mayor is a great guy but he is no leader.Ken has the ability to start getting rid of the waste and thats what people are afraid of. The hospital is no better there helping cover up. Just like the MAYOR HELPS them not letting people know how bad off theyare.

Anonymous said...

The truth is being told big problems coming uo with taxes and no one wants to address it.

Anonymous said...

Nelson should step down and Cockayne should stop playing politics. Period !

Anonymous said...

Ken, NO class!!

You may win the battle, but you are losing the war.

It is obvious that you are grandstanding AND trying to position yourself.

Where is Dick Lacy on all this?

A Dark Day for Bristol said...

I'm starting to lose respect for some of my fellow citizens. The Mayor's family owes us NOTHING. They never gave up their right to privacy...THEY weren't elected. Their wishes should be respected. A deputy mayor has been acting in the Mayor's stead and the city is fine. The Ward family has indeed updated the public with the news that the Mayor is doing better, which for the most part has been totally ignored by the morally-challenged pinheads on this blog.

It's embarrassing and disheartening to see how mean-spirited some people can be, especially during the Christmas season.

God bless you 3:07 PM, and I sincerely wish you and your family a safe and healthy holiday.

Anonymous said...

"The hospital is no better there helping cover up."

I don't know why I'm bothering, but:

That would THEY'RE, not "there."

The hospital is bound by a code pf ethics, HIPPA and the law not to release any patient's information...PERIOD.

The PITY is that barely literate people like yourself are allowed to make such outrageously ridiculous comments in a public forum. The PARTY will be when our mayor recovers and returns.

God speed Art. Bristol needs you!

Anonymous said...

So we should have a revolving door policy for a mayor who can not serve for any reason?

The charter is clear; once the determination is made that the elected mayor can not serve, either there is a special election or an appointed mayor to fill out the remaining term.

Furthermore, I do not believe there is a provision in the charter for the acting mayor to appoint another acting mayor?

Those who think Matthews, who can not make committee meetings and has been removed from some of her assigned committees or boards,by charter or ordinance, should be the acting mayor come Tuesday are in effect suggesting this purely out of greedy politics and not the stability of the City in this crisis.

Suppose Mayor Ward still can not forefil his duties after her appointment, do we appoint the next councilman in line??...who has the authority to do that?

Please: we need a steady hand like Ken's who so far has acted admiralbly.

Thank you Ken for giving up ALL of your time and your business and God Bless Mayor Ward! I pray for his safe , complete and speedy recovery.

Anonymous said...

Acting Mayor Cockayne has spoken: there will be no appointment of another acting mayor. Therefore the City Council needs and SHOULD only act in the best interests of this City. If anyone of them dares make this an issue it will be the largest insult to Mayor Ward and his family. Rise above the politics and lead this CITY!!!

Anonymous said...


Didn't a recent letter clearly point out that this administration has been dragging their feet for three years.

cockayne has been a councilman all that time.

What has he done?????

Anonymous said...

Ken, you are being used.

How does it feel?

Anonymous said...

i support ken 100% i do wish art a fully recovery

Anonymous said...


On the short term, things should run well, no matter the mayors status.

What is making this a farce, is the politics that the republicans are playing.

AndI agree with you about Nelson; what will he be getting out of this?

Anonymous said...

Oh, so YOU should be allowed in the bedroom with Ward and his wife? Well you said the Mayor gave up ALL rights to privacy. How would YOU like it if YOU had someone in YOUR bedroom Jerk! Oh it's always all right for someone else to give up their privacy but I bet you'd be the first one screaming at the Press to get lost if it was YOU in that hospital bed!!!!

Anonymous said...

The fact: The people of Bristol elected a Democrat as Mayor and a Democrat should be in place till Ward's return or a special election takes place if he is unable to return to City Hall.

Get rid of Cocky Cockayne NOW. I shudder to think of the SABOTAGE he could do at City Hall...we know his hatred for the Mayor and all things Democratic.

Anonymous said...

It is time for Elliot Nelson to step down from his seat as Democratic Town Chair. Nelson is unable to think reasonably while emotional over Ward’s illness. Cockayne should NOT be in charge and Nelson should be asking him to step aside for a Democrat. The people of Bristol should not have to go through this angst of the minority party trying to make a pitiful grab for the Mayor’s office in such a dire situation.

Enough said...

8:27 PM, It's time for you to step down from your seat as self-appointed judge. The only angst that the people of Bristol is dealing with (rightfully so) is worry about the health of our Mayor.

To use this "dire situation" as a weapon to attack Elliott is truly "pitiful."

Anonymous said...

I pray that Mayor Ward will recover soon.
In the interim, I do beleive that we are better off with a seasoned council person as opposed to a newly elected first term council person.
Given the structure of the council - no one person will be able to make all the decisions.
Let's show Bristol that you are all up to the task.

Anonymous said...

Enough Said: I respectfully disagree. The average citizen and Ward's family need only be concerned with his well-being. The dozen or so people (elected and appointed) who are charged with running this city have to look beyond that. That's their job, so that you don't have to. Don't dismiss it just because it isn't your responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Dark Day: You say, "The Ward family has indeed updated the public with the news that the Mayor is doing better, which for the most part has been totally ignored by the morally-challenged pinheads on this blog." That is not true. They keep saying that he is "stable", and all that means is that he is not getting worse. Nelson, who has no credibility, says that the family is optimistic, but that too means nothing. Keep believing the happy talk if you want to, but don't criticize others who expect more.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous says: "The charter is clear; once the determination is made that the elected mayor can not serve, either there is a special election or an appointed mayor to fill out the remaining term."

The charter does not say that. That is the interpretation by Ed Krawiecki (the would-be kingmaker) because it doesn't say what to do when there is an incapacitation for health or other reasons. And that is why the Republicans are pulling this power-grab.

A Dark Day for Bristol said...

11:45, While I do understand that the public is hungry for information on the Mayor's condition, I also understand why the family is asking for privacy. They have indeed updated us that he is stable and they are optimistic about his recovery. You may not be a fan of Elliott's, but he is a close friend of the Mayor's and his family, and he is telling the truth.

BTW, The others who "expect more" need to get a grip. He's the Mayor, not the President. It's only been a week since his accident and Art's entitled to some privacy. The good citizens of Bristol need to give it to him.

Anonymous said...

"I'm starting to lose sympathy for the Ward family"

...and I'm starting to gain sympathy for your's.

Anonymous said...

We have really gotton off track. Who ever it may be we need one person leading while ART is out. That one person should be able to think for them selves. We cant let the ship keep sinking. If you like ART or not hes a great guy but hes no leader hes a social director thats were he shines the best. Tax season will be here soon and notime to waste. Art hope you get the VET job you will do a great job.

Anonymous said...

This has become hugely political because ken has decided to remain as acting mayor regardless of the MAYOR'S wishes for Kate to take over this month. Also, for the DTC chair to come out supporting ken is outrageous and unacceptable, but the DTC doesn't have the hutzba to do anything about it and so he will probably remain where he is. This whole thing stinks and it sure looks like some backroom deals have been in the works way before the mayor took ill. The only fair way to do this is to hold a special election in february and let the voters decide.

6:40 it is clear that you don't have a clue about what you are talking about. She has been making meetings and the reason she was removed from a board or committee is because our ailing mayor has avoided putting her in places of power and influence. It has nothing to do with your inaccurate information. Only a ken supporter would spew lies. As they say, birds of a feather flock together.

Anonymous said...

How is it a power grab? It is more of a fluke that Ken was acting mayor when this tragedy happened. Now that he is in this position, he has the powers of mayor. Just as there is nothing in the charter to clarify what to do with an incapacitation it says nothing about appointing acting mayors. It makes no sense to rotate mayors. Kate is the back-up this month to Ken. It is pretty simple. And we are lucky for it. Who would want that novice anyway. Ken should just appoint Kevin Mcauley for his back up for the remainder of the term, should he have to keep the seat. Then at least the most senior counsel person would be next in line.

Anonymous said...

Aha, "continue Ward's vision." If you noticed, it is no longer Ward's desire and Cockayne certainly can't say that, becuase it would be a lie due to the fact that an agenda was already drawn up. The only vision that Cockayne will advocate for is his and Krawicki's. If you look at the voting record, you will see that Cockayne has voted against the mayor more than half the time. How can he continue Ward's "vision" if it doesn't jibe with it? Give me a break, Cockayne.

A special election is the only fair way to do this especially when the corp council is a republican and the acting mayor is a republican. You can't get more one sided than that!

Hey, do I see a party change for Elliot Nelson?

Anonymous said...

It's like rubbernecking at an accident know its' terrible, but you can't take your eyes off it. Let the Mayor recover with our prayers. Bristol is not going to fold over night, we still have a council, city boards and dept heads to handle the day to day business. Its a Mayors position, not an Exalted Ruler or Dictator. Take a step back and chill people.

Anonymous said...

December 12, 2010 11:52 PM:

"Incapacitation"? That's not a word. Are you Bo Dietl from the Imus in the Moring Show? No, you're a Democrat hack so you couldn't be.

Troubled Democrat said...

"The dozen or so people (elected and appointed) who are charged with running this city have to look beyond that. That's their job, so that you don't have to."

I only wish that the "dozen or so" would stop making this a frenzied Democrat/Republican battle for the throne and instead make it all about what's best for Bristol. THAT is their job.

The rotating schedule works well when the Mayor is on vacation or ill for a few days, but for a longer time, doesn't it make sense to keep things status quo until we have some idea on when the Mayor will be returning?

Anonymous said...

Ah, let Ken stay on and have his 15minutes of fame.

Then maybe we will be rid of him

Anonymous said...

if art has to leave for what ever the reason is the city elected a dem so the dems should still hold office, end of story the people have spoken

Outsider looking in said...

If Kate Matthews assumes the role at the meeting Tuesday as suggested. And following standard practice nominates an acting Mayor for the month of January which would occur in the unfortunate event Mayor Ward does return by then. Does the appointed acting Mayor then take over for the month of January creating a round robin of "Mayor of month"?

The acting mayor scenario seems to not have accounted for a long-term absense of the Mayor. the way.. said...

And who is the acting Mayor for the acting Mayor?

And to 11:53am.:

The people spoke and elected Art Ward, who happens to be a democrat. Not a democrat who happens to be Art Ward. Thus there is no reason the acting mayor has to be a democrat.

Anonymous said...

Have a little compassion will ya Cockayne ? I know you wanna be a big shot and take advantage of the way things are.

Anonymous said...

12.08 Kraweicki will make up new rules for the Republicans !

Cockayne Addict said...

December 13, 2010 1:34 PM:

Exactly...and if Princess Kate was to oppose Ken Cockayne in the special election, I think we know who'll win.

Go Cockayne, Go Cockayne, Go Cockayne GO!!

Anonymous said...

Have the feeling Ken WILL BE THE NEW MAYOR FOR GOOD. Anybody who stays in crital condition in Bristol Hospital will be out for a long time. Easy to say now but they should have moved him that night.

Anonymous said...

an someone define "disabiity" asit is used in charter? Who makes that determination? and when? All we have is vague, non-medical descriptions of Art's condition from non-family. Does the mayor keep his salary during convalesence?
Does the interim mayor earn more than a council salary if it is a prolonged period? This issue of who is Mayor is inportant for the budget season as well. Continuity
being the reason. My hat is off to
any council person who wants to do
Art's job for a council salary..

Anonymous said...

It is well known by all concerned, especially ed and ken, that if cockayne appoints himself tuesday evening, which he said he will, that he will remain mayor as long as the mayor is out. This idea of "Oh, I will appoint myself until Jan. 11" is hooey and he knows it. An acting mayor can't appoint an acting mayor. If Ward does not come back, Cockayne is it.

The way I see it, it's a power grab by the republicans and make no mistake, those calling for ken to stay on are either republicans or nelson's lackeys. These things must be discussed and to call for not discussing it because of the mayor's condition is absurd and it is not wise to "chill", as someone has advised. We all know the power that the mayor wields and if you think for one minute that it doesn't matter, then why did Ken appoint himself instead of following Ward's wishes and appoint Kate? He appointed himself because he knows he has the upper hand.

I say don't back down, Kate, until there's no hope left, even as those who should stand firm have caved in. Remember at election time who disgustingly used these unfortunate turn of events to commit a terrible wrong here just to further their own agenda instead of honor the mayor's wishes.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous person who said "The hospital is no better there helping cover up." First of all the correct way to say that is the hospital is no better, they're helping cover up. The hospital is doing a great job of caring for our Mayor. That should be the most important thing. However, have you not heard of HIPPA? The hospital is following the law which allows for confidential medical care regardless of who you are or how prominent you are. I applaud the hospital for this. The Mayor and his family are going through a difficult time, let them have some privacy.

Anonymous said...

3:35 you mean go awaY Cockayne! Will he withdraw his lawsuit against the City? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

If democrats control six of eight council seats, can't they just nominate matthews themselves and give insane cockayne the heave-ho?

At the very least if they vote down the reappointment he can't declare himself mayor by fiat. Unless he really wants to show how Republicans are just a bunch of power hungry enablers for the most un-democratic of activity.

Anonymous said...

This doesnt look promising for the Mayor to be back soon. So some one not afraid to make decisions on his or her own should be in charge. We cant go on trying to do what WARD wanted this doesnt work.

Anonymous said...

5:35 PM: The way I see it, this is an attempt at a power grab by certain dems who don't seem the least bit concerned about what's best for the City. I'm no fan of Mr. Cockayne, but it only makes sense that he keep the title as acting mayor for the short-term to keep things running as smoothly as possible, at least until we have some idea of when Ward will be returning.

Believe me, we will remember at election time who REALLY tried to further their own agenda at the City's expense.

former GOP activist said...

There is no way, shape or form that I would ever "lose sympathy" for the Ward family.

I hope that their husband/father/father-in-law etc etc, Art Ward comes out of this fully, no matter how or when.

And may our Lord and savior Jesus Christ help you during this troubled time.

Anonymous said...

8:46: it is clear the dems are NOT all on the same page. the dtc head has endorsed cockayne. who knows where the other dems stand? i guess we shall see tonight. pay close attention, becuase we will see who is really doing what's right and who is just supporting cockayne because of what looks to be backroom deals that are always revealed in due time. of course those doing the deals in the name of "what's best for the city" will downplay their involvement with smokescreens and mirrors.

Odin said...

For the Dems on the Council, doing what is best for Bristol and making Kate Matthews acting mayor are the same thing, because "Mayor Mad Dog" would be a nightmare. The Dems owe it to the people of Bristol to keep him as far away from the mayor's office as humanly possible.

Anonymous said...

He can't even act as Mayor!