Frustration over leadership reappointments led to the walkout of half the Common Council's Democrats before Tuesday night's meeting, Councilwoman Gwenn Briggs confirmed Wednesday.
Briggs was one of five to skip the meeting after she said Democrats deadlocked 5-5 on whether to reappoint Michael W. Coffey council president and Carvin J. Hilliard majority leader, she said. Both are Democrats.
"I nominated (Democratic Councilwoman) Phyllis Bolden for the position of majority leader," she said, calling the nomination "a compromise." After a recess in the caucus, Briggs said Bolden withdrew her name. Bolden later attended the council meeting and voted for Coffey and Hilliard.
Leadership on the council should be rotated to give more members experience, said Briggs and Galen Wells, chairwoman of the Democratic Town Committee. Wells said friction in the council is the result of Coffey and his allies. (source: The Hour)
Meanwhile the Norwalk Advocate reported:
Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Galen Wells said some council members have complained about Coffey and Hilliard's leadership and failure to consult with other Democrats.
"It's suddenly fashionable to cloak anything you do that's uncooperative with your peers as 'bipartisanship,' " Wells said.
Some Democrats in recent months also have expressed concerns that Coffey is too cozy with Republican Mayor Richard Moccia, who defeated Democrat Alex Knopp last year by 176 votes.
But with the Republicans winning only five council seats, observers expected a Democrat majority to set the agenda and run the city. Instead, Democrats have been divided for several months. (source: Norwalk Advocate)
The Advocate and Hour report that Coffey called the five Norwalk-outers, and they all pledged to work together and move forward. Which is exactly what they pledged to do each time they made the news with internal bickering over largely partisan parliamentary maneuvers.
In other news, State Senator Bob Duff reminds shoppers of a new "one free item" law that recently took effect.
The law, which took effect last month, requires retailers to give shoppers one item of a "consumer commodity" for free if it is offered at a reduced price but rings up at full price at the cash register. The value of the free item cannot exceed $20.And let's not forget that SONY releases its long awaited PS3 on friday. Lines have formed in front of consumer electronics stores across Connecticut providing ample opportunity for politicians to find out if Second Life gamers are receptive to political messages.
A previous law used stricter criteria in determining when a retailer had to give an item away.
"This is a much tougher law," Duff said at a news conference held beside busy Connecticut Avenue." I think it sets a new precedent and protects consumers."
By state definition, consumer commodities include food, nonprescription drugs, cosmetics and any other retail goods consumed by individuals or used by individuals for personal care or housekeeping. (source: Norwalk Advocate)
The Hour, Leadership beef root of Dem council flap by Robert Koch & Patrick Linsey 11/16/06
Norwalk Adovcate, Coffey vows to settle fellow Dems' divide, by Brian Lockhart 11/16/06
Norwalk Adovcater, Lawmaker to shoppers: Check your receipts by By Matt Breslow 11/16/06