The Common Council of New Britain will meet this Wednesday. Public comment will begin at 7:00PM where any member of the public can address the Common Council, the regular meeting is to follow. The agenda for this meeting can be viewed here and the associated documents can be viewed here.
There are a few items of note in this weeks agenda. First the Common Council should be applauded for taking action to address a common problem experienced in certain New Britain neighborhoods. While CCSU is an important part of our community and contribute quite a bit to our city as a whole it is not without difficulties. With the college come boisterous college students, several of whom have been arrested in New Britain on charges of breech of peace, underage drinking, and other charges. In a Hartford Courant article last week Mayor Stewart called for CCSU to adopt a police by which students arrested for off campus conduct could be subject to on campus disciplinary actions if their behavior was found in violation of the colleges code of conduct. It is good to see that the council is taking action to address this issue.
An item on the agenda that is not quite so rosy is an addition to the City Ordinances being proposed by Majority Leader Phil Sherwood. His resolution would require that the city report “the purchase of any supplies and contractual services from a City elected official or an immediate family member of a City elected official … regardless of the amount” to the Common Council. Alderman Sherwood offers no explanation as to why New Britain needs this new regulation. This adds no oversight, as the ordinance would not give the Common Council any say in approving such purchases. Furthermore, the lack of a minimum cap for this required reporting means that any purchase no matter how minor will waste department and Common Council time when both our departments and our Common Council have more important tasks to address, such as encouraging business growth in New Britain.
Even worse, this resolution could actually damage local business owners. By require departments to make additional reports for each and every purpose from a vendor who is related to an elected official Phil Sherwood would discourage our City Departments from doing business with those local small business. This both damages those business and will potentially drive small business owners, who drive our local economy, out of the political arena where they can bring their experience to grow our grand list.
Hopefully cooler minds will prevail at the Council Meeting and this resolution, which accomplishes little in terms of oversight and has potentially damaging effects on our local small businesses, will fail to gain any support.