Just for the record, there were people who opposed the Music Hall precisely because it would drain money away from more critical projects

Mark Pruner was one of them.

RTM member Mark Pruner, a vice chairman of the Education Committee, predicted more money would be needed for the project in the future and said, “I’ve yet to hear how spending the money for this auditorium will result in a better educational experience. … Think of all the other facilities that are going to end up being deferred as we end up spending $64 million or $70 million or $75 million on the remediation costs and the auditorium. Other projects in town are going to be deferred.”

UPDATE: Here’s the roll call of RTM members’ votes on MISA. I’ll try to break them down for easy targeting in our upcoming election.

27 Comments

Filed under MISA

27 responses to “Just for the record, there were people who opposed the Music Hall precisely because it would drain money away from more critical projects

  1. Anonymous

    Total Recall

  2. Anonymous

    And, don’t forget our former [Republican ] BET Chair, Steve Walko, and current BET Chair, Mike Mason, who emphatically stated to the RTM and the residents that that voting for MISA, Nathaniel Witherell and the fire palace—the Town was maxed out with NEW capital projects. The ink wasn’t even dry when Tesei was talking a new fire house and now Drew talking a new elementary school. Really stomach turning.

    • Avid reader

      And Mason voted to break the tie vote and send the MISA appropriation to the RTM where it overwhelmingly passed. They are all the same!

  3. Fact checking, just for the record…

    1. The bond measure did not pass BET. BET considered an $8.6 million bond issue in a “Special Meeting” convened solely for that purpose. The meeting was a fiasco.

    a. Bond measures require affirmative votes by 7 “MEMBERS” of BET for passage, regardless of the number of members who attend the meeting, pursuant to The Town Charter. 7 members are required for a quorum. A vote of 6-1 fails to pass. A vote of 6-6 also fails. There are only 12 “MEMBERS” of BET pursuant to The Town Charter. A vote of 7-6, as reported in BET minutes, is impossible.

    b. The Chairman only gets a second vote where a majority vote is required for passage. That was not the case here. No member votes twice on a bond issue. The chairman cannot cast one vote in favor, one opposed, in any case. If Mr. Mason wanted passage all he had to do was cast his vote in favor in the initial vote. He did not do so. The bond issue did not pass.

    c. Once a motion to vote has carried, no other motion can be made until the vote count has been announced by the Chairman. With the announced vote count 6-6, The Chairman said he wanted to take a 5 minute break so Republicans could “caucus”. This would require a motion, which had to be approved by 2/3 of the members in attendance. There was no motion; there was no vote; and there were no Republican Members in the room 5 minutes later. Special Meetings cannot reconvene on the same day to discuss any item other than the item on the agenda. The $8.6 million bond issue on the agenda failed to pass, 6-6. The “Special Meeting” was over. The bond issue did not pass.

    d. Caucuses must be registered with the Ct. Secretary of State. Only members of the caucus from the same political party can be present at closed caucus meetings. The Chairman of BOE is a Democrat. BET did not register a Republican Caucus, and no Democrat, not a member of BET, could offer it secret deals that differed from her public testimony in the middle of a Special Meeting at which she had just made a materially different public presentation on behalf of her 11 colleagues. This “caucus” was a sham.

    e. An hour and a half later Mr. Mason reconvened the BET meeting without offering the required motion to do so. As noted above, you cannot reconvene a Special Meeting to take up another issue. The bond issue failed prior to adjournment.

    f. Mr. Mason then announced he was going to use his “second vote” to approve a different bond issue; this one for $9.866 million, because he and his Republican colleagues had determined in their “caucus” the amount requested by BOE, $8.6 million, was insufficient to complete the project, and Mr. Mason had decided a $9.866 million bond issue should be passed, instead, with Mr. Mason voting twice, first opposed and then in favor. Municipal Bonds are issued under federal supervision, pursuant to Federal regulations administered by SEC. I have filed a complaint with SEC regarding the improper “passage” of a $9.866 million bond issue not on the agenda of a “Special Meeting” as reported by a Chairman who believes he can vote as 2 opposed “Members” on bond issues.

    g. Bob Brady is ineligible to vote as a Member of BET, pursuant to the Town Charter, because he is also a member of RTM . His vote doesn’t count. Even if Mr. Mason gives himself a second vote, the final vote count still stands at 6-6. The $8.6 million bond issue failed to pass BET. The $9.866 million bond issue also failed to pass.

    h. I have filed a complaint with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission asking it to declare all actions taken at this BET Meeting “Null and Void”.

    i. My FOIA complaint, and the PCB soil remediation required at GHS, constitute “contingent liabilities” that must be detailed as part of all Town of Greenwich Municipal Bond offerings. Failure to do so is a federal crime with the potential to undermine The Town of Greenwich’s ability to issue municipal bonds. I have advised the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board of these contingent liabilities.

    (RTM fact checking in subsequent comment.)

    Bill Effros

    • CatoRenasci

      You g. point is incorrect. Brady is (thankfully) no longer a member of the RTM.

      • Town Charter, Sec. 2. BET Membership qualification: b. “They shall be taxpayers, shall hold no other elective office in the Town Government, and shall serve without pay.”

        According to RTM records, Mr. Brady was an RTM “Member” while also voting on BET as a “Member”. He was not qualified for BET membership. His BET votes don’t count. He can’t retroactively become a BET member in the current term simply by renouncing his RTM elective office at this late date. I don’t believe he is currently running for BET.

  4. Anonymous

    Bill, nice work. If you run for something, you got my vote.

    • CatoRenasci

      You have to understand Effros has his own axe to grind – he owns property above the high school and ultimately wants the Town to compensate him for his loss of value based on one thing and another, from the lights for the football field to the hazardous waste dump that is the fields.

      He bombards the RTM members with e-mails which may or may not be accurate – Wayne Fox often says they’re not – and has more than one action going against the Town.

      Those who favor MISA are special pleaders, but understand Effros is just as much a special pleader for his own interest.

      • hmmm

        Good let him bombard…

        Regardless of the rants on this site if something doesn’t change you will see 8 new elementary schools you will see a new western middle school you will see spending out of control.

        Our budget will be 800 million within 6 years or very close to it. Welcome to westchester county only difference is that their schools are and will continue to be much better.

  5. Ghost of the FAR Czar

    Here’s an easy one to start with – Brian Peldunas voted yes.

    • Riverside voter

      PaldunASS ( Chris Fountains early pick ) is really turning out to be a real winner. He takes credit for changing the math curiclulim, he voted for MISA and all other expensive projects, he conspired with Sue Sue Rogers and Stevie Warzoha ( and Stevie’s BFF Wimpy Campbell) and he knifed Sherr in the back at the direction of RTC members. This is exactly the kind of person I want on the BOE. A person who takes orders and sells diapers for a living. He’s got my vote! Not!

  6. RTM Fact Checking…for the record:

    2. Mark Pruner certainly was one who spoke up in opposition before “The Great 45 Minute RTM Debate” was halted and he is to be commended.

    3. Following is the text of a complaint filed with FOIA which has been docketed (Docket #FIC 2013-361; Bill Effros v. Representative Town Meeting, Town of Greenwich; and Town of Greenwich). The Town of Greenwich must respond. It will be interesting to see what they have to say:

    On May 13, 2013 The Greenwich Representative Town Meeting (RTM) met to consider the 2013-2014 Town Budget submitted by BET (The Board of Estimate and Taxation) to RTM on or about April 2, 2013 as required by The Greenwich Town Charter (GTC). GTC requires budget approval not later than May 15, 2013.

    The agenda contained 3 items:

    1. Debate on each motion be limited to 3 minutes per speaker.
    2. If the budget cannot be approved prior to midnight, the meeting will adjourn until May 14.
    3. Approval of budget as amended, and authorization of bonds.

    The budget was approved at approximately 11:00 PM on May 13, 2013, including authorization of bonds in the amount of $47,653,000.

    MISA (Music Instruction Space & Auditorium) was not included in the 2013-2014 budget sent to RTM by BET.

    At approximately 11:15, prior to adjournment, “Additional Item # 4” a $9,660,000 MISA bond authorization, was added to the agenda without a motion, and without the 2/3 affirmative vote as required by The Freedom of Information Act. “Explanatory Comments” were distributed to RTM members during the meeting, incorrectly stating the bond appropriation had been submitted to and approved by BET.

    The Board of Education then made a presentation to RTM members in attendance, based on undisclosed secret meetings with BET members. Opponents were not given the opportunity to speak. Debate was cut off before all members of RTM who wished to speak on the motion for 3 minutes were allowed to do so. The motion passed by a 3 vote majority 45 minutes later.

    Pursuant to Sec 1-206 of The Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, I request the FOIA Commission declare null and void all actions taken on “Additional Item #4” by Greenwich RTM on May 13, 2013.

  7. Balzac

    Thanks for posting the MISA votes. For the record, from Riverside (district 5) the courageous and thoughtful resisters were Benoit, Daine, Drake, and Harrington. From Old Greenwich (district 6) Bulger, Ducret, Hammock, Jenkins, Kagan, Pisani, Sadik-Kahn, and Voulgaris. Not surprising, but many of these are Republicans.

    On the other side, one of the MISA supporters: Ramadamadingdong Tamm.

  8. Anonymous

    What a disgrace! I’m contemplating moving out of Greenwich after 35 years in this town! I miss Ella Grasso! “Live within your means”
    These nitwits are following Washington DC’s lunacy!

  9. RTM member

    Balzac….The BOE is out of control. They want MISA, NL, $20 million digital learning, 3% year over year raises for teachers who have no accountability, an administration staff that continues to grow despite ENROLLMENT DROPPING. We have 80 FEWER students than 5 years ago. What we have here is a failure to communicate—-the BOE isn’t managing its finances well. Any fiscal, sound leader sees the solutions—and they don’t involve edifices of $50 million! And, what is most disgusting—student achievement is not discussed.

    • hmmm

      Did you get to speak out against MISA in May? Where were you?

      • RTM Member

        On numerous occasions I spoke….BET hearings, etc. hhhmmm, here is the numerical reality—the special interests show up in HUGE numbers….the taxpayer, well, you can count on one hand. May I recommend that you, your friends, anyone who cares—try to share what is spoken on blogs such as this one—because the pols are always in, what’s FF term, “campaign mode” and they will do whatever it takes to get the HIGH number PTA vote.

      • Anonymous

        hhhmmmm, you should attend a RTM committee meeting. And, for fun, make it the Education committee. See for yourself that these folks are not there representing the taxpayer—au contraire, they are there to insure their favorite aspect (gifted, sports, auditorium, special ed) gets funded….and then some. I attended once and it was breathtaking to see how biased and one dimensional is the discussion.

  10. Anonymous

    Did anyone read the latest spending platforms from BOE candidates—“preschool funding.” That’s right—the taxpayer now needs to subsidize the education of all the 3-5 year olds….no doubt with more millions for NEW buildings, MORE union contract personnel, and blah blah blah……as CF says….its never enough what today’s citizen believes its government owes them.