The State of the Union: It’s a big club and you ain’t in it

“The politicians are put there [in office] to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t! You have no choice.

You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations.

They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State Houses, the City Halls, they got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies so they control all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want.

Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. They don’t want people smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they are getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard thirty something years ago. They don’t want that.

Do you know what they want? They want obedient workers: people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork and dumb enough to placidly accept the increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the moment that you go to collect it.

Now they are coming for your social security money. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street.

And you know something? They’ll get it all from you sooner or later because they own this fucking place. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club.

And by the way it’s the same big club that beats you over the head all day when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head in their media telling you what to believe, what to think, and what to buy.

The table is tilted folks, the game is rigged, and nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. Good honest hard working people–white collar, blue collar, it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on–good honest hard working people of honest means continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about them. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t care about you at all, at all, at all!!!!”

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Berlin Connecticut needs candidates from a third political party to stop the strict partisan voting on the Town Council

522156_397391523604538_1693998518_n-506x400There are approximately 5,000 unaffiliated registered voters in Berlin, Connecticut in comparison to approximately 4,000 Democratic voters and 3,000 Republican voters. There must be reasons why voters did not register with either of the two major political parties.

Perhaps one of the reasons so many voters registered as unaffiliated was because of their disgust with major political parties. At the national level, our government has encountered gridlock on many important issues, leaving serious problems unresolved. Immigration, tax reform, money in politics, unfair trade agreements, invasion of privacy, are just some of the issues that a majority of American voters want addressed in this country.

On the Town Council in Berlin, Connecticut, we have witnessed voting by members on key important financial matters along strict party lines even though each election cycle we have been assured that they would reach across the aisle to work with those who belong to a different political party. The result, in my opinion, has been the party in power succeeding in promoting its party’s economic agenda, whether it be in the best interests of the citizens of Berlin.

Results of referendums have been largely ignored, if not dismissed entirely. Taxes this year have increased 4.7% over those of the previous year even though real disposable income of the majority of Berlin residents have not been increasing. Businesses have closed while it has been rumored that some new businesses have shunned Berlin, going to adjacent towns. Even some residents have voiced concerns over fear of being targeted by employees of the Town of Berlin, Connecticut. Do you recall the Berlin coaches who feared coming forward publicly to address their concerns with the Town’s School Board?

Are special interests controlling our two major political parties? Are small cliques of our citizens—who lead and/or control these two political parties—attempting to benefit from these two major political parties? Do governmental unions control one political party in Town? Do certain individuals control the other political party in Town, preventing the free expression of views and participation of all of its members?

If Berlin citizens support and vote for individuals running as independent candidates, perhaps we can change the political climate on our Town Council. For instance, if three Democrats and three Republicans need the vote of the independent candidate on the Town Council, perhaps then control of our Town can be wrested from the dominance of any one political party, which would ordinarily be in control of the Town Council by the mere fact that seven members serve on it.

Let’s consider electing an independent, unaffiliated voter to represent the majority of citizens living in the Town of Berlin. If you are interested in supporting this proposal, forming a committee to nominate a candidate, petitioning citizens to place an independent candidate on the ballot, or running for office on the Town Council in Berlin, please contact us:

Thank you.

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Why Bernie Sanders is destined to lose


Save your money folks and don’t contribute to Bernie Sanders’ campaign. You will be throwing good money away because Bernie Sanders is destined to lose. Why? Because he has been merely grandstanding, apparently only promoting his value as a politician by his continued refusal to fight the good fight for his supporters.

Although Bernie Sanders calls his campaign a political revolution, he is not a fighter. Yes, he gives speeches on issues; and he is an excellent gadfly; however, gadflies don’t fight but merely annoy. And to defeat an opponent with the backing of Wall Street, name recognition, an establishment of professionals in one’s campaign organization with a war chest of $2.5 billion, Bernie Sanders needs to fight and fight hard. After all, isn’t he calling for a political revolution? Giving speeches to an empty Senate chamber may make for great oratory, but elections involve calling out and attacking one’s opponent on one’s political positions and history. Bernie Sanders refuses to do so.

Bernie Sanders keeps saying that he has “enormous respect” for his opponent. But his opponent represents Wall Street, not Main Street, the very evil that he wishes to overthrow, and his opponent would continue the destructive policies of the economy for the middle class, the environment, the Bill of Rights, etc. How can one continue to say that one has enormous respect for someone who would continue the destruction of America for the 99%?

Yes, Bernie Sanders is destined to lose. Next April, the primary will be over and his opponent will win. Those who think otherwise are naive, gullible idealists, if not delusional Pollyannas. Never has a revolution been won solely by cheerleading and minuets; history is full of many involving countless bloodbaths. Permitting oneself and one’s supporters to criticize one’s opponent is not only ethical, but a necessity in order to prevail. It’s not as if substantive criticism constitutes a bloodbath.

Of course, Bernie, as a Senator, has his pension with full benefits to fall back on, and will retire to his country estate and work on his $30 million book deal after his defeat. After all, he is not paying for his campaign, but rather his supporters are. Unfortunately, because of the unwillingness of him and his supporters to confront his opponent in thoughtful, substantive, and critical attacks, his supporters will be doomed to another eight years of his blue-dog Democratic opponent representing the will of Wall Street and enriching the 1%.

In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve. And if the people are unwilling to fight the good fight against the tyranny of Wall Street, and the spokespeople of Wall Street, they deserve to lose.

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During hiring freeze, after losing Connecticut Senate election in 33rd district, Democrat Emily Bjornberg gets $85,000 job in Office of State Treasurer Denise Nappier

Democrat Loses Election, Then Gets $85K State Job During Hiring Freeze

Emily Bjornberg

Sometimes when you lose in politics, you win.

Case in point: Emily Bjornberg, a Democratic political newcomer from Lyme, who was soundly defeated by first-term incumbent state Sen. Art Linares, R-Westbrook, in the Nov. 4 election for the 33rd District state Senate seat in the lower Connecticut River valley.

Next thing you know, Bjornberg, 34, is on the state taxpayer-funded payroll as of March — with an $85,000-a-year position as “senior executive assistant for financial literacy” in the office of Democratic state Treasurer Denise Nappier. More later on what that job title means and what her duties are.

Bjornberg didn’t go through a competitive process or take a test to get the job, because it’s a politically appointed position, not part of the classified civil service — and high-ranking officials such as Nappier and the attorney general and the governor can hire whoever they want in such budgeted positions. There were no other candidates for the job, records show.

There’s constant talk of hiring restrictions during the state’s ongoing budget crisis — including not filling vacancies — but there always seems to be room for somebody with the right connections.

Bjornberg’s work experience, as shown in documents obtained by Government Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request, isn’t typical for one seeking a position in a state agency that handles billions of dollars in state investments. Since 2006, she had worked as director of youth and family ministry at the Deep River Congregational Church, a 22½-hour-per-week, part-time position.

Other entries on the resume include: administrative assistant at an accounting firm in Norwich from February 2005 to July 2006; and a volunteer coordinator from August to December 2003 for a Christian-based organization in Johannesburg, South Africa, that offered services including free home-based care for inner-city patients with HIV and AIDS. She also was a unit leader in summer 2003 at the Hole In The Wall Gang Camp in Ashford for children suffering from cancer and chronic illnesses.

So how did Bjornberg get the job, and who helped her?

It appears to be the latest version of an old story of who you know, and who thinks you have a future in politics. People in the state’s Democratic establishment thought that Bjornberg was intelligent and impressive — with a campaign-flier-photogenic family of two kids and an Iraq war veteran for a husband — and that she did well enough in defeat to justify accommodating her desire to work in a government job in the state’s capital city.

Sources said that she liked her first real taste of politics, and that Democrats saw her as a possible candidate for local or legislative office in the future, sources said.

“I have not made a decision” about whether to run again for the 33rd District seat in 2016, Bjornberg said in an interview Friday.

Even with the expected boost that any Connecticut Democrat gets in a presidential election year such as 2016, it would still be a challenge for her to beat Linares (if he runs again that year instead of trying to win election to something bigger, as many believe he will someday). Bjornberg didn’t come all that close last year: Linares got about 56 percent of the vote, compared with Bjornberg’s 43 percent, with just over 1 percent for Green Party candidate Colin Bennett.

Anyway, the basics of what the political sources were saying about Bjornberg and her new state job was confirmed Friday by Howard Rifkin, a veteran Democratic aide who has served for decades in top-level positions for political figures ranging from Gov. William A. O’Neill to Nappier. He’s now retired from full-time service and works part-time for Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. But Rifkin still is in close contact with Nappier, for whom he served for years as deputy treasurer.

Rifkin said of Bjornberg: “I met her several times in the campaign, and was very impressed.” After the election, Rifkin said, the state Senate’s Democratic caucus asked him “whether I could keep an eye out for potential opportunities for her in state government. … They reached out and said she’s great, and I agree, so I referred her over to Denise Nappier.” Nappier had a couple of vacant, politically appointed executive-assistant positions that she wanted to fill. “I sent her the resume … and they talked and one thing led to another and she was offered a position.”

Rifkin took about less than three minutes to give a clearer and more concise explanation than Nappier’s office has produced in the three weeks since Government Watch sent written questions about how the hiring occurred as well as the FOI request for documents involving it.

‘Financial Literacy’

What does the “senior executive assistant for financial literacy” do? The treasurer’s office provided a long explanation involving phrases like “assist in carrying out the duties of the Treasury’s corporate governance function.”

According to Nappier’s director of communications, David Barrett, the term “financial literacy” means: “To promote an understanding of personal money management that will empower the people of Connecticut with information and training that can help them build a better future.”

That involves competency in managing finances in ways such as opening personal bank accounts and planning for a family’s financial future, starting with school-age children and ranging up through adulthood, according to treasurer’s office officials and Rifkin. Nappier’s office has worked with corporations and banks on such programs to assist the public in past years, and although “financial literacy” is part of Bjornberg’s job title, she’s not the first employee in the office who has ever worked on it, officials say.

Bjornberg also will assist in administration the Connecticut Higher Education Trust and its annual scholarship program, and will provide “administrative support services and assist in coordinating and conducting research in various areas.” One example is helping the office perform its statutory responsibilities concerning more than a dozen “quasi-public authorities,” a treasurer’s office document says.


One of the big Connecticut Democrats she was in touch with about getting a job was U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, an email from last December showed.

Asked about it Friday, Courtney said in a statement: “I got to know Emily well over the past two years, learning about her work overseas and in eastern Connecticut. On the campaign trail, I saw firsthand that she is a powerful advocate who connects with young people and cares deeply about her community. After the election, I met with her to discuss how she could exercise her passion for public service, and sent her resume to a contact in Hartford in case a suitable opportunity for her came along.”

Bjornberg was interviewed Friday by speaker phone from a room in Nappier’s office where Barrett, the communications director (who was editor of The Courant two decades ago) also was present.

She didn’t have much to say.

“We have instructed Emily to answer factual questions that amplify the responses that we sent to you,” Barrett said, referring to written answers that Nappier’s office provided Thursday night in response to questions that The Courant submitted April 16. Those responses were far less specific than Rifkin’s comments.

When Bjornberg was asked how she learned of the availability of the job in Nappier’s office and how she landed it, there was a long pause as she and Barrett consulted at their end of the line. When they came back, Bjornberg said she would not go beyond the office’s written response. She also declined to disclose her most recent salary.

Here are some of the written responses that Barrett referred to, which were prepared and sent to The Courant by the office’s general counsel, Catherine E. LaMarr:

“Before discussing the specific hire [of Bjornberg], it may be helpful to understand something of the Office’s needs in the areas of the position’s responsibilities and the Office’s tradition of leadership in corporate governance and promotion of financial education — especially under the Nappier Administration. It may also be helpful to understand the number of the Treasurer’s ex officio board seats and attendant responsibilities.”

In the category of “Corporate Governance,” LaMarr wrote: “Institutional investors have long appreciated the benefits derived from investment in companies with sound corporate governance, responsible environmental practices and appropriate treatment of employees and communities where such companies do business. … [W]ith recent enhancement of available analytical tools for assessing performance, data gathering, research and analysis is necessary as this Office prepares and files shareholder resolutions and works to advance shareholder friendly legislation and rulemaking.”

Under “Financial Education,” she wrote: “With a desire to ensure that adults and youth, particularly those among Connecticut’s under-served populations, gain access to financial education programs to help them achieve economic self-sufficiency and greater personal financial management skills, this Office has collaborated with businesses and non-profits to develop and launch more than a dozen programs to serve both general and targeted populations.”

LaMarr also wrote: “Emily Bjornberg came to the attention of the Office of the Treasurer in multiple ways. Ms. Bjornberg recalls spending time with Denise Nappier during the campaign season, affording an opportunity to learn something of this Office and build a rapport. In addition to this interface, Ms. Bjornberg was also referred to this Office by individuals with knowledge of both the needs of the Office and Ms. Bjornberg’s skills.”

“During courtesy interviews,” LaMarr wrote, “the Office of the Treasurer learned more about the depth and breadth of Ms. Bjornberg’s research skills and her experience working with people in the lower half of the income spectrum, which is undoubtedly where the rubber hits the road for financial literacy. Emily Bjornberg has spent her professional career working inside of non-profits and communities of faith all over the planet. She has run an AIDS clinic in downtown Johannesburg, founded a non-profit that provides services for children living with serious illness, and nurtured broad coalitions of community organizations that work together to make this world a better place for people living at the lower end of the income spectrum.”

“These experiences have developed a critical skill set that is transferrable from her work in the non-profit and faith-based communities to that of the Office of the Treasurer. Demonstrated cultural competency, proficiency in communication and coalition building, and a demonstrated understanding of and experience with critical resources (i.e. WIC, food pantries and soup kitchens, youth educational and enrichments programs and healthcare providers) established Ms. Bjornberg as an inspired and unique candidate to fill the position of Executive Assistant responsible for financial education and other activities of the Policy Unit.”

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Two more unarmed youth gunned down and murdered by police, including a 12 year-old boy

The latest victim of police violence is a 12 year old innocent and unarmed boy from Cleveland.  It was reported that he was shot and killed for having an air pistol that a rookie police officer mistook for a real gun.

And in New York an innocent 28 year old man was killed by a rookie police officer in an unlit stairwell.

Who will protect citizens from police officers who shoot first and ask questions later?!

Isn’t it time we hold police officers and their superiors responsible for these murders, and instead of placing them on paid administrative leave with benefits, just put them in jail as is done for murderers?

Police officers are public servants, not soldiers in Kabul fighting the Taliban.  Our hometowns are not battlegrounds.  In the United Kingdom police officers ordinarily are not armed and behave as true public servants.  It is time to disarm our police officers and transform them from soldiers to public servants so they stop killing innocent citizens.

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Tom Foley skips last televised Connecticut Gubernatorial debate on NBC Connecticut, WVIT, Channel 30, Thursday, October 23, 2014

Screen-shot-2014-08-07-at-6.56.53-PMTom Foley refused to attend the last televised Connecticut Gubernatorial debate broadcasted by NBC Connecticut, WVIT, Channel 30, October 23, 2014.  In my opinion, his refusal showed a disrespect to Connecticut voters and our democratic process.

The people of Connecticut deserve to know the specifics of Tom Foley’s plan to bring more jobs back to Connecticut and to control spending.  All I have heard from Tom Foley is basically generalities about deregulating business and making Connecticut more business friendly.  Gee, is that going to bring all of those millions and millions of jobs back from China, India, the Philippines, Mexico, South Korea, et al, where workers are paid as little as $0.25 per hour?!  LOL!  Fat chance, Tom.

Dear Mr. Foley:

You are running for Governor of Connecticut.  If you want the peoples support, you have to go out and woo them, not by attack ads on Governor Malloy, but by explaining how you precisely can turn this state around.  You have failed to tell me precisely on how you will do this.

In addition, debates are part of our democratic process.  In spite of all of your millions of dollars, you are not entitled to be anointed and crowned as Governor of Connecticut.  You have to win an election by persuading the voters that you can do better than Governor Malloy.

Not too long ago, Republican State Senator, John McKinney, was quoted as saying this of Tom Foley:

“Tom Foley appears to think he is entitled to this election….  He offers no specifics, refuses to answer questions about his positions on issues and challenges reporters and citizens who confront this lack of detail.”

And this from not only a Republican State Senator but the Minority Leader in Connecticut’s Senate!

Your absence told me everything about you.  I, for one, certainly hope you are not crowned Governor of Connecticut in November.  We don’t need another multimillionaire in politics whose effective marginal tax rate is lower than that of the average working Connecticut voter.

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Berlin Police Department: Military Weapons?


In the Berlin Citizen article, dated September 2nd, “Taxpayers’ group calls for police downsizing“, there appeared the following statements:

“There are some in Berlin who would have the public believe that our police force is the height of militarization. Fortunately, the facts don’t support their claims,” [Berlin Mayor Rachel] Rochette said….

In a phone interview, [Berlin] police Chief Paul Fitzgerald disputed the claim that the department is militarized…

According to Channel 3 News, “Berlin looks to build $21 million police department“, on August 25th, Berlin Police Deputy Chief “Klett said there isn’t necessarily military equipment in the department….” On the video, Klett states, “we do not have any, per se, military equipment.”

Under a Freedom of Information Act request, I obtained the following inventory of weapons of the Berlin Police Department:

  1. Seventeen (17), and one (1) on order, of Colt AR-15, 5.56mm rifles (one to be carried in each marked cruiser)
  2. Forty-eight (48) Smith & Wesson Model M&P45, .45 caliber handguns
  3. Five (5) 12 gauge pump action shotguns
  4. Twenty-eight (28) Advanced Tasers
  5. Various batons, and pepper spray.

The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as a small arms rifle for the United States armed forces.

And the forty-eight (48) Smith & Wesson Model M&P45 is the model designed for the military and the police:  the “M&P” in the model number stands for “military and police”.


So are the police chief, deputy chief, and mayor quibbling over semantics when they state that the eighteen AR-15 rifles and the forty-eight Smith & Wesson M&P45 handguns are not military weapons?

William Brighenti

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Video shows trooper shooting unarmed man, South Carolina police say

(CNN) — One moment, a man reaches into his vehicle after a South Carolina trooper asked for his driver’s license.

Seconds later, the trooper shoots him, and the man asks why. Days afterward, prosecutors aren’t satisfied with the answer.

Authorities released dash-camera video Wednesday showing what they say is Sean Groubert, a decorated South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper, shooting Levar Jones, who was unarmed, in the parking lot of a gas station just outside Columbia on September 4.

Jones, 35, survived the shooting. But Groubert, who has since been fired for the incident, has been charged with aggravated assault and battery, a felony that could get him up to 20 years in prison if convicted, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Wednesday.

Cop shoots him as he reaches for wallet

“The force administered in this case was unwarranted, inconsistent with how our troopers are trained, and clearly in violation of department policies,” South Carolina Public Safety Director Leroy Smith said last week in announcing Groubert’s firing.

This wasn’t the first time Groubert had fired his weapon. He was lauded the previous time: His department gave him a medal of valor for an incident in which he and another trooper shot and injured a man who had shot at them in 2012, SCPSD spokeswoman Sherri Iacobelli said.

Patrol officer beats woman

‘Why did you shoot me?’

In this year’s incident, police said Groubert, 31, stopped Jones in the parking lot of a Circle K station in daylight, for what police say was an alleged seat belt violation, around 5 p.m.

Video that authorities say was recorded from Groubert’s police car shows the trooper driving up to a vehicle just as its driver — who authorities say is Jones — steps out of the vehicle.

When Groubert asks for Jones’ license, Jones pivots toward the vehicle he just exited — the driver’s door is still open — and leans inside as if to retrieve something, the video shows.

About two seconds later, the trooper that police identify as Groubert comes into view with a gun drawn and yells “Get out of the car! Get out of the car!” The gun is fired — at least four shots are heard — and Jones steps away from the vehicle, raising his hands in the air and eventually moving off camera.

“I just got my license! You said get my license!” says someone off camera, apparently Jones.

After being told to put his hands behind his back, Jones asks: “What did I do, sir?”

“Are you hit?” asks another off-camera voice, apparently Groubert’s.

“I think so,” comes the response. “I can’t feel my leg. I don’t know what happened.”

The conversation continues:

“Why did you shoot me?”

“Well, you dove head-first back into your car. Then you (unintelligible), I’m telling you get out of your car.”

Ohio man shot by police in Walmart store

Shot in the hip

Jones was shot in the hip, CNN affiliate WACH reported. He was taken to a hospital and later released, authorities said.

Jones was found not to be armed, Smith said.

“I believe this case was an isolated incident in which Mr. Groubert reacted to a perceived threat where there was none,” Smith said last week.

In a court hearing Wednesday night, a judge ordered Groubert held with bond set at $75,000, WACH reported.

CNN’s attempts to reach Groubert’s and Jones’ lawyers weren’t immediately successful.

In explaining Groubert’s firing Friday, Smith said the department’s policy on using force says that officers can use “only the level of force necessary to accomplish lawful objectives.”

“That protocol was not followed in this case. Further, this incident occurred in broad daylight. Mr. Groubert had a clear and unobstructed view of Mr. Jones,” Smith said.

The shooting, Smith said, “deviates from SCDPS standards and cannot be tolerated.”

Medal of valor

Groubert, who joined the Highway Patrol in 2005, earned kudos for the other time he’d fired his gun in the line of duty.

Police said Groubert stopped a car that had passed him at a high rate of speed in Richland County in August 2012. The driver eventually took off without permission, and Groubert pursued him, police said.

Another trooper joined the pursuit, and the driver stopped at a bank, exited his vehicle and fired shots at both troopers in the parking lot, police said.

Groubert and the other trooper returned fire, injuring the suspect, the SCDPS said. At some point, it appeared that the suspect intended to go inside the bank, Iacobelli said.

That suspect was charged with attempted murder and convicted in 2013, according to the SCDPS.

The SCDPS gave Groubert a medal of valor in 2013 for his handling of the incident, Iacobelli said.

CNN’s Carma Hassan and Vivian Kuo contributed to this report.

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One sentence that explains why Berlin, Connecticut, police do not need military weapons. Missouri violence highlights militarization of US police.

Ferguson police threaten to kill peaceful protestors and reporters.

In the video, a police officer appears to be heard yelling to a reporter, “Get the fuck out of here and get that light off, or you’re getting shot with this.” Later on, the reporter with KARG Argus radio quotes the police officer as having said to him, “Get the fuck out of here or I will shoot you with this.”

The second video shows a Missouri police who was caught on video raising his weapon and telling Ferguson protesters that he would kill them.

“I will fucking kill you!” Albers shouts on video, his weapon pointed at unarmed protesters. When asked his name, Albers can be heard telling the protester: “Go fuck yourself.”

Are police officers just too aggressive today? Is our nation becoming a police state?

Berlin’s local police do not need SWAT rifles. Judge for yourself.

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

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Mayor Rachel Rochette of Berlin, Connecticut, may have her facts wrong about the Berlin Police Department

Berlin Mayor Rachel Rochette

Berlin Mayor Rachel Rochette’s argument for a new police station may be predicated on faulty facts

On Monday, August 25, 2014 in an interview with John Charlton of Fox Connecticut News, Berlin Mayor, Rachel Rochette, presented her case for a new police station by suggesting that the present Berlin police station is too small for the present number of Berlin police employees since “it was built in 1972, and it was built for a police force of fourteen officers and two support staff.”

But according to the Berlin Police Department’s own website, the main premise of her argument may rest on erroneous facts.  According to the Police Department’s website, the current police station was not occupied by the Berlin Police Department in 1972.  “May 15, 1975 saw the relocation of the police department from Murray Heights to the newly constructed Municipal Complex on Kensington Road.”  Furthermore, if one adds up all the employees who were added to the police department, in that year there appears to be twenty-seven full-time police officers, and two clerks; not fourteen police officers and two clerks, as reported by Mayor Rachel Rochette.

Moreover, according to the information on the same website, in 1976 the department added four more full-time officers, bringing the grand total of police employees to thirty-three.  It is not unreasonable to assume that these additions of police officers, or at the very least their need, were recognized, if not anticipated, in the immediately preceding year; consequently, it is not at all unlikely that the current police station was designed and constructed for an intended occupancy of at least thirty-three employees, and not merely for sixteen employees, as asserted by Mayor Rachel Rochette.  That difference in design capacity represents a police station accommodating 100% more police employees than what Mayor Rachel Rochette stated on the televised evening news the other night.

Needless to say, that difference in original design capacity impacts the argument of whether Berlin’s Police Department has outgrown its present facility.  If it were merely designed for sixteen employees, Mayor Rochette’s argument would be much more difficult to refute; however, if it were designed for at least thirty-three employees, if not more, then perhaps the Berlin Police Department has not outgrown the current police station but may have grown disproportionately and unnecessarily large in size as required by the growth of population of Berlin.

Consider the population growth in Berlin since 1976.  It increased by ~35% since that time.  If the size of the police staff now had remained in the same proportion to the population as it were in 1976, the police department would now have ~45 employees instead of the 55 officers and support staff currently employed in our police department.  The fact that this number of police department employees is comparable to that in Farmington, Connecticut, even though Farmington’ population is ~20% larger than that of Berlin, lends some credence to the 45 staff size as the appropriately required number of employees in Berlin’s Police Department in relation to its population size.

If no more than 45 employee are absolutely necessary to operate Berlin’s Police Department, a more viable, less costly alternative to building a new police station in order to accommodate the lack of room at the current Police Department may be simply to lay off some police employees as well as to dispose of and/or to arrange for offsite storage of riot helmets, body armor, chemical equipment, SWAT rifles, etc.  This might save many millions of dollars for Berlin’s taxpayers from not having to spend an additional $23 million plus on a new police station as well as from the significant reduction in police salaries and fringe benefits over many years resulting from the layoffs.

What may be disconcerting to some Berlin citizens is that Mayor Rachel Rochette may have predicated her argument for the need for a new police station on materially incorrect facts.  And if indeed a mayor of a town does not have one’s specific facts straight, then how can the citizens of that town be expected to have confidence in the merit of that mayor’s position in support of a very expensive project, which may have significant financial ramifications for its taxpaying citizens?

It is customarily expected, especially for elected officials, to get one’s facts straight first in order to avoid misinforming and misleading those whom one governs, and, equally as important, in order to avoid making a decision leading to unnecessary costs for them.

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