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Fairfield RTM Rejects Resolution to Censure Flatto, Saxl [UPDATED]

A breakdown of the vote has been added to the story.

[Editor's Note: This was originally published on Jan. 24. The publication date has been changed for layout purposes.]

Update, Jan. 27

The following chart is a vote breakdown from Monday's RTM meeting for the non-binding resolution to censure former First Selectman Ken Flatto and former Town Attorney Richard Saxl:

In Favor (25) Opposed (12) Abstentions (9)  Not Present to Vote (1)  Absent (3) David Becker, R-1 John Mitola, D-2  Thomas Conley, R-3 Joseph DeMartino, R-4 Chad Stewart, R-2 Michael Herley R-1 Heather Dean, D-4 Christopher McAleese, D-5   Joseph Gall, D-5 Gaylord Meyer, R-1 Joshua Garskof, D-5  Ann Stamler, D-5   Jeffrey Stopa, D-8 Carolyn Richmond, R-1 Ruth Smey, D-5 Leonara Campbell, D-6     Eric Sundman, R-1 Christopher Brogan, D-6 Julie Gottlieb, D-6     Peter Ambrose, R-2 Sheila Marmion, D-6 Eric Newman, D-7     Jeffrey Steele, R-2 Jay Wolk, D-6  Allen Marks, D-8     Keith Varian, R-2 Jennifer Hochberg, D-7 Leigh Hannum, D-10     Edward Bateson, R-3 Kevin Hoffkins, D-7 Kenneth Lee, D-10     Francis “Hank” Ference, R-3 Marc Patten, D-7       David Mackenzie, R-3  Harold Schwartz, D-7       Mary McCullough, R-3 David Weber, D-10       Arthur Hug, R-4         Amy Mezoff, R-4         Joseph Palmer, R-4         Kathryn Braun, R-8         Dana Kery, R-8         Thomas McCarthy, R-8         Bill Domeika, R-9         Joseph Felner, R-9         Ellen Jacob, R-9         Nicholas Mirabile, R-9         Carol Pontrelli, R-9         Bruce Ryan, R-10         Carol Way, R-10        

Original Story, Jan. 24

for failure to follow proper procedure to see the $40.8 million Metro Center project come to fruition, RTM members had other ideas for how to handle the situation at Monday’s meeting.

Majority Leader David Becker, R-1, brought forth before the town body a non-binding resolution to censure and admonish former First Selectman Kenneth Flatto and former Town Attorney Richard Saxl for the way they handled the .

Those contracts were not voted on or run by any town body and left Fairfield liable for the millions of dollars in cost overruns that were .

The sense-of-the-body resolution stated that Flatto and Saxl “should not be permitted to serve on any Fairfield governmental body or committee in the future.”

The resolution failed to garner the two-thirds majority it needed to pass; 25 members voted yes to adopting the resolution, 12 said no, and nine abstained from the vote. Had the resolution passed, it would not have necessarily barred Flatto and Saxl from ever running for office again, as it was non-binding and thus would not have become law.

The page-long resolution did, however, serve as a symbol of reproach for some.

Becker said when he speaks to people around town, they ask him when the town will sue the two former officials.

“They want us to go after them legally. It’s time to put this to bed -- we, as a body, can make a statement,” he said when he introduced the resolution. “You just don’t do this in the town of Fairfield.”

For Ed Bateson, R-3, the resolution provided “some sort of closure. What occurred really upsets me.”

RTM Democrats were not pleased that they were handed the resolution during the meeting and expected to vote on it the same night.

Chris Brogan, D-6, said he could not support the resolution because he felt that everyone involved had a right to be heard, and he needed more time to look over it.

“This is fundamentally unfair from my point of view,” Ken Lee, D-10, added. We live in a democracy founded on fair representation and due process, he said. “This is none of those things.”

Kevin Hoffkins, D-7, said he doesn’t believe the RTM should pursue what he termed “the politics of investigation.”

“This whole train station issue needs to come to an end…this has just gone on far too long,” he said. “We need to focus on the people’s business.”

One member, Jay Wolk, D-6, voiced some support for Flatto, arguing that the former First Selectman had been working on this project for years and that the town body needed to “focus on the…accomplishments.”

“We have a beautiful new train station,” Wolk said. “We need to move forward.” He added that moving forward is not synonymous with “throwing this under the rug.”

Michael Herley, R-1, provided perhaps the most succinct wrap-up for the long and bumpy road that has lead to the Metro Center:

“History will be the ultimate judge of the Metro Center development project and Ken Flatto’s tenure as First Selectman…not me, and not this body.”

[Editor’s Note: Herley published his full remarks as a letter to the editor, which can be read .]

S. Frank January 25, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Very disappointing! As a democrat, I feel betrayed and abused by Ken & Dick. But, I'd have been very surprised if they had not been given a free pass. That's simply politics as usual, i.e., do what you want, abuse the taxpayers, enter into secret agreements, don't even disclose agreements that should be public, push through costly projects that add more burden to the taxpayers, etc. Don't worry! If the abuses come to light, nothing will happen. Business as usual! A sad commentary on Fairfield today.
mike January 25, 2012 at 09:43 PM
comeon... let me get this straight. you agree that dave becker is what Mr. Sherman says he is you just don't want him to say it. You give much credit to Mr. Sherman for destroying the Republican party in Fairfield.
Jim Eastwood January 26, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Wow Fair??? field !!! What division !!!! David You Have done a Great Job !!! Hang in there!!! The way I see it is that a 2/3's vote did happen as 9 just don't seem to care tp voice their opinion !!!!!!!!! Kenny Flew(Yah fron 2 jobs--Just what REALLY happened at State level???) and Saxel knew !!!!! and the Taxpayers just pay and pay. What's with the remark that David is vengful--I know this gentlemand to be intelligent, fair and really cares about the Town. David is Not the issue, Corruption(or self centered Political goals) is !!!!! Wake Up Fairfield Your Taxes are going up again !!! Double Standards ????? Just look at what it is doing to East Haven !!!!! Have a Great Day and just reach into your pocket again!!
Chuck E. Arla January 27, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Caitlin, That link above is worthless. How about posting the actual votes?
Chuck E. Arla January 27, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Yes, the Republicans lost a few seats on the RTM . . .but that is not at all unexpected after the absolute @$$ kicking they gave to the Mitch Fuchsians in the prior election. BTW they still control the RTM. Nice try, thanks for playing our game. Next.
Caitlin Mazzola (Editor) January 27, 2012 at 05:39 PM
You must have left that comment just as I was putting together the chart -- see above.
tonypct January 27, 2012 at 07:06 PM
This shouldn't surprise anyone. It's politics as usual and why politicians everywhere have low levels of trust. If the parties were reversed here, we'd see the Republicans doing the same thing to protect their own. I firmly believe now that no one will EVER be held accountable for the boondoggle that is Fairfield Metro.
Sickofit January 28, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Millington is a problem. Under his leadership the republicans lost seats on the RtM. Under his leadership the republican party split years back and never recovered. Millington is a washed up loser. Fairfield republicans never learn.
iamspartacus January 29, 2012 at 02:40 PM
chuck, with all due respect to your political prowess, the republicans lost about 25% of their reps, how is that to be expected? unless the electorate was unhappy with their performance ( i think its called a "mandate from the people"). Also chuck the dems took the top seat by a landslide....I am not sure how you keep score but I think you lost the game
iamspartacus January 29, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Jim, dave and palmer blame the very contracts you enjoyed as a town employee, the pension you collect and the town supplied health insurance you have as the root of the town's problems. It is always perplexing to see people defend politicians who attack them
Steven David January 29, 2012 at 06:43 PM
While a do appreciate the efforts of Representative Becker and alike, I do feel that nonbinding resolutions are a waste of time. What is needed is a Federal Independent Investigation since town and state funds where used. Mr. Flatto, Attorney Saxl and whom every else need to be held accountable for the deeds. As a fifty year resident of the town I am discussed in what the town has become. To Mr. Sherman what does the Bible says about hypocrites. Now that it appears that you found God I guess you will see what He has in store for you on your judgment day. Steven David District 1
Chuck E. Arla January 30, 2012 at 02:28 PM
iamspartacus: So the GOP HELD the RTM which they had taken in tsunami the election before. THAT, was a huge "mandate from the people." [ An election in which Flatto had to have gotten down on his knees with brother Sherman to thank the Lord that the switch from 2 year to 4 year term for 1st Selectman had gone into effect. Otherwise he and his pal Saxl would have been so much flotsam and jetsam.] Anyway, back to the recent election---the Democrats HELD the 1st Selectman spot. Status quo. How you get your "mandate" from that is puzzling. The numbers are the numbers, but hey you keep writing your own short stories.
Caitlin Mazzola (Editor) January 31, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Off-topic comments that violated the Patch Terms of Use have been deleted. Please refer to the commenting policy: http://fairfield.patch.com/terms
Brad Sherman January 31, 2012 at 12:09 PM
To steven david, I know what the Bible says about hypocrites I also know what it says about redemption and salvation. You can also know the word by just openning the Book.
iamspartacus January 31, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Chuck we must use different dictionaries, the rebuplicans didn"t "lose" 25 % of their seats? they just did such a great job the electorate figured they didn't need to "hold on to" as many? and Tetreau didn't "win" he "status quo"d"?
Chuck E. Arla January 31, 2012 at 03:57 PM
OK, let's go to the dictionary.Merriam-Webster's Collegiate dictionary (11th edition): status quo, Latin for "state in which"; the existing state of affairs <example...seeks to preserve the status quo. So, again my friend, which parties controled the RTM and the Board of Selectmen prior to the most recent election? And after said election? They are one and the same, are they not? Hence, status quo. I can't make it any simpler for you.
iamspartacus January 31, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Ok Chuck lets go to math class then, you had 38 seats you now have 28...that means you "lost" 10 or for the more advanced math student " greater than 25% of the seats were LOST" example #2 Two people ran for office the democrate got way more votes than the republican who won and who lost? the republican "Lost" Now lets go to logic class: if a democrat was in office then left office and another election was held with a democrat vs. a republican and the democrat got more votes not only did he win but the assumption is the people favored the job the democrats were doing. seems simple now lets say during that same election a bunch of incumbent rebuplicans where running and a smaller bunch of incumbant democrats were also running. at the end of the election there were far fewer republicans and the same democrats plus a lot more (albeit the republicans still hold a very slim majority) doesn't that imply that a large portion of the voters wanted more republicans out and more democrats in? Now to political science class: when one party loses a large portion of their body in an election (lets say i don't know 25%) that implies the electorate is not happy with the job they were doing.
Chuck E. Arla January 31, 2012 at 10:47 PM
You know what, tomorrow is going to be a beautiful day. Why don't you go out and get some fresh air. Maybe you can stop by the Life store and get one.
iamspartacus January 31, 2012 at 10:50 PM
A very witty comeback, I wil take that to mean you finally agree with my point
Chuck E. Arla January 31, 2012 at 10:54 PM
You don't have one. All you want to do is crow about "losses' but are not able to grasp that the balance of power hasn't changed. For your own health, I'm begging you to go for a walk . . .in fact take a hike.
iamspartacus January 31, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Chuck now you are just being childish, I am trying to talk to you like a grown up. Lets change the subject...how bad do you think Obama is going to "status quo" which ever clown the republicans put up?
Chuck E. Arla January 31, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Remember the movie Annie Hall? There's a great scene that so reminds me of you and your skewed worldview. Woody Allen says to Annie's weird brother: " Right. Well, I have to - I have to go now, Duane, because I, I'm due back on the planet Earth."
iamspartacus January 31, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Interesting so you a a newt guy? i figure the planet thing is a reference to his awesome moon colony plan
Creeky February 01, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Noted.
onthewater February 05, 2012 at 09:56 PM
where's these rtm members? how does felner get ordered off the fire dept premises for three weeks, and no rtm member says a peep. they keep protecting incompetence.title just forced his increase thru the bd of ed,the commissions dont say a word about the chief,saxl and flatto and felner skate--its like there was no change, just the glasses of water were moved. around the table.the pension mess , the railroad mess, the flatto, saxl and felner mess was all alloed by those in town hall, by the finance board,and all the yes yes people in the departments.the attorney general wont even come in, cause he'll protect the democrats and the developers .
Stanley Simpleton February 06, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Caitlin, Thank you for the excellent work on this article. The above comment mentions Mr. Felner being removed from the department for three weeks. Could you verify if this is true and if so, the reason?
Stanley Simpleton February 07, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Caitlin, Thank you for the excellent work on this article. The above comment mentions Mr. Felner being removed from the department for three weeks. Could you verify if this is true and if so, the reasoning behind this?
Caitlin Mazzola (Editor) February 07, 2012 at 04:00 PM
@Stanley -- the comment above is the first I've heard about Fire Chief Felner. I have not been able to confirm yet.
Stanley Simpleton February 07, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Thanks Caitlin. Please keep us posted. Unless there is a cover up, you should be able to get further details on this. Fairfielders deserve to know what happened. After all, we do pay his handsome salary.
Caitlin Mazzola (Editor) February 07, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Will do!

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