Yankee Institute: Perez, Patronage, and Town Committee

Hey, town committee types.  Check this out.  Read the full press release below.

It says that of the town committee members:

  • 15 work for the City of Hartford
  • 12 work for the State of Connecticut
  • 6 work for the General Assembly
  • 5 receive a public pension
  • 2 receive more than one public pension

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        June 24, 2010

Contact:                                                           Fergus Cullen, 860-297-4271, 603-520-5450 m

PEREZ’S PATRONAGE PAYBACK: 32 OF 69 HARTFORD TOWN COMMITTEE MEMBERS HAVE GOVERNMENT JOBS

HARTFORD – The conviction of Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez on corruption charges brings attention to the practice of trading political support for government jobs.

A Yankee Institute review of members of the Hartford Democratic Town Committee reveals that 32 of the Committee’s 69 members (46 percent) have government jobs or draw taxpayer-funded pensions.

The Yankee Institute conducted the study utilizing its CTSunlight.org database of government spending and government jobs. The site has recently been expanded to include municipal payrolls for 18 Connecticut cities and towns, including Hartford.

“Hartford is a modern Tammany Hall, where the price of political support is jobs for oneself or for family members. Patronage on this scale is a throwback to the 19th century, when Mark Twain strolled the streets of Hartford during the Gilded Age. Political support becomes a question of, ‘What’s in it for me?’ and the public interest suffers,” said Fergus Cullen, executive director of the Yankee Institute.

Yankee thought to check the DTC members for public employment after reading a Manchester Journal Inquirer column by Chris Powell on Tuesday. Powell referenced a 2007 Connecticut Post study, written around the time of former Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim’s conviction on corruption charges, showing 80 percent of members of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee either worked for the City of Bridgeport or had a close relative who did.

Of the 69 Hartford DTC members identified from a list on the Hartford Registrars of Voters website, 32 are public employees working for the City of Hartford or the State of Connecticut, or receive a public pension, or derive income from a combination of the three:

.

  • 15 work for the City of Hartford
  • 12 work for the State of Connecticut
  • 6 work for the General Assembly
  • 5 receive a public pension
  • 2 receive more than one public pension

More members of the DTC are likely to have close relatives who are on the public payroll, though Yankee was not able to determine which ones with certainty. A glance at the remaining portion of the Democratic Town Committee’s membership shows many surnames that are familiar to observers of state and local government.

In contrast, 4 of the 23 members of the Hartford Republican Town Committee appear to have government jobs.

“Patronage isn’t a partisan phenomenon, but it does seem to be a bigger problem in larger cities than it is in small towns or suburban communities,” Cullen said.

The spreadsheets listing the members of the town committees and their public employment are here:

Hartford Democratic Town Committee: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0AgLvLJwtvkKQdExWV0N0ZWlyajdzS2FaTWYyMTl1Q0E&hl=en&output=html

Hartford Republican Town Committee: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0AgLvLJwtvkKQdDdTbzVsa1RNRmEwOHpkZzBlbzRqNmc&output=html

The Connecticut Post story from 2007 is posted here:

http://www.postroad.com/news/2007/20070215-bridgeport-democratic-town-committee-members.html

Chris Powell’s Journal Inquirer column is posted here: http://www.journalinquirer.com/articles/2010/06/22/chris_powell/doc4c20cb01d8ffb330324348.txt

ABOUT THE YANKEE INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY:

The Yankee Institute is a think tank that develops and advocates free-market and private sector solutions to public policy issues.  Founded in 1984, Yankee has offices on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.  The Yankee Institute is nonpartisan research and educational organization and is classified by the IRS as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit.

– 30 –

Fergus Cullen

Executive Director, Yankee Institute for Public Policy

860-297-4271 o

603-520-5450 c

fergus@yankeeinstitute.org

Located on the campus of Trinity College

PO Box 260660

Hartford, CT  06126–0660

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Yankee Institute: Perez, Patronage, and Town Committee

  1. Susan McMullen

    Wow. This is an outrageous article with a blatantly misleading headline. When you look at the list, which is outdated and incorrect in many cases, you find that 3 – only 3 – people on the list were hired by Mayor Perez. And 1 of those 3 has not been on the Hartford Democratic Town Committee for at least 2 years. Sad.

    • peter brush

      Agreed; headline misleading. However, fact that a high percentage of the DTC are financially dependent on government(s) is cause for concern. It is not so much that they might be controlled by the mayor because he could create/eliminate their govt. job (although that is a concern even if no evidence in the Yankee report), it is that they (and the mayor, because he desires the party nomination) may be biased in favor of government spending as opposed to the general welfare of the city.

  2. peter brush

    Of course, the Democrats are ideologically predisposed to government spending, but that their self-interest may be served simultaneously can’t help. In the same vein, it’d be interesting to know what percentage of the TC (or their family) gets some sort of govt. subsidy (food, housing, etc.). Similarly, what percentage of the electorate is dependent on govt. $ in one form or another. I’d bet it’s in the range of 75-85%.

  3. it is really great to get government jobs because the government can give you a good job security ,;-

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