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PELTO: Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch shows what he's made of

by: ctblogger

Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:20:11 AM EST


Cross post from Jon Pelto's Wait What?

Last night, addressing the Bridgeport Board of Education's evaluation of Paul Vallas, the City's $234,000, part-time, superintendent of schools and the decision of whether they should extend Vallas' contract for another year, Mayor Bill Finch explained...

"He's a lot smarter than they are and they ought to let him do his job."  (CT Post 2-6-13)

Always classy, the Mayor was talking about a board made up of candidates he helped choose and who went on to be elected to the Bridgeport Board of Education by the people of  his City.

This latest development took place on the first day of Finch's "education listening tour."

Still reeling from the November defeat of his effort to change the Bridgeport City Charter to do away with the City's democratically elected board of education and replace it with one appointed by him, the Mayor and his handlers decided it was time to send him around the city on an education reform listening tour where he could show the voters that he was collecting suggestions about how he could use his position as Mayor to strengthen the local education system.

Finch's effort to do away with a democratically elected board was always an extremely strange strategy considering Finch already controls the Board of Education through the Democratic Party's nominating process.  In fact, when it comes to Board of Education votes, the members supporting Finch always win on a vote of six to three or, at worst, five to four, so why the need to spend well over $560,000 in a failed attempt to undermine democracy and completely do away with an elected board was more than a bit strange.

In any case, the Board of Education has now been told to forgo a search for a new superintendent and simply extend Vallas' appointment, again, despite the fact that when Vallas arrived in Bridgeport in December 2011, after being recruited by Connecticut Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, he told the Wall Street Journal that he would complete his task of "turning around" Bridgeport's schools and move on within one year.

There's more below the fold...

ctblogger :: PELTO: Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch shows what he's made of
However, Vallas later announced that he would be willing to continue on in the role and the then illegal board of education extended his contract through June 2013.

Vallas has now announced that he would like to stay on for at least one more year and the democratically elected board is presently going through a required evaluation process and is expected to vote on Vallas' contract extension in a matter of days or weeks.

Considering Finch controls the majority of votes on the Board, the outcome is hardly in doubt.

That said, when responding to a question from the audience last night, Finch said, "I believe if we take good care of him (Vallas) he'll be here for several years."

When asked about whether the Board would extend Vallas' contract, Finch later told CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart,  "I don't think there's any question but I am concerned about some of the mistreatment he gets ... from the board..."He's a lot smarter than they are and they ought to let him do his job."

According to Lockhart, Finch added, "Look, we've got a national celebrity here."

I guess that in Finch's world, any effort to question a "celebrity," even if the person asking the question is a legally elected representative of the people, it is considered mistreatment.

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But that's totally illegal. How the contract is still running?
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