Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mayor, you were reading our minds


Many of us in the community have thought it a bizarre conflict of interest that the town staff roles of planning, conservation and economic development are under the same roof, with one, very powerful director. These functions, of course, are separate, and sometimes at odds with one another.

As the mayor pointed out at a meeting of the Middletown Arts Commission last evening, the town used to have separate directors of economic development, planning and conservation, and that these directors often went head-to-head on issues. Now, if the department in question want to push development through, all it has to do is convince itself.

And while I understood Mayor Sebastian Giuliano to be opposed to the current set-up, I've never head him say so until last evening when he said, "You want to talk about conflicting activities under one roof, well there you go."

Unfortunately, he also talked about the fact that reorganization of town departments takes a double vote by a super-majority of the town council. Something that is not likely to happen with a Republican mayor and a Democratic council.

Sorry about the blurry phone photo.

1 comment:

Catherine Johnson said...

It is widely recognized this conflict of interest (having one person head two depts) has great ramifications for decisions in the city. This is something we can change and must change. It is compromising development and economic decisions, seen especially downtown in the past 2 years, and as evidenced last night, with the Plan of Conservation and Devt for the whole city.

Just because the mayor has stated the facts of how a vote must be taken does not mean it couldn't happen. What can make a difference are Mtown residents coming forward and speaking, like 40+ people spoke against a bad idea for development this January (Russo project).