Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jarjura Problems

With the assorted mayoral campaigns starting up, questions about Mayor Jarjura's ethics are being loudly voiced. Two articles appeared in today's newspaper. The first is a continuation of a story printed earlier in the week about his chief-of-staff, Sheila O'Malley. O'Malley apparently lives in Watertown, but her job requires her to be a Waterbury resident. She supposedly rents a Waterbury condo from the mayor, who disavowes any knowledge of her residency there (the previous article wrote that he saw the lease, nothing about rent payments or actual residency). While conspiracy to falsify residency is low on the list of unethical behavior, it still gives me the creeps. If you're willing to flout the law in one area, why not another?

O'Malley has announced her resignation from her position, and Jarjura has announced that he wants to give her the new project manager job. Creation of the project manager job was recommended by the oversight board, and it is supposed to be a civil service job. Applications for the job have already been submitted. Certainly I can understand if Jarjura has personally reviewed all of those applications and feels that O'Malley is the best candidate for the position, but it sounds like he just wants to make sure his friend still has a job. And, presumably, the mayor is not solely responsible for hiring a new project manager.

Meanwhile, members of opposing parties are accusing Jarjura of the real estate world's equivalent of insider trading. Jarjura claims he is doing something good for the city, investing in the city, by purchasing land near Costco to build more big box stores. The accusation is that he bought the land because he knew, before anyone else did, that land across the street was also going to be developed. Personally, my only gripe about this story is Jarjura's belief that big box stores near Cheshire will benefit Waterbury. They'll take away some of our last remaining woodlands and increase traffic that's already bad enough. If he really wants to be a city benefactor, why doesn't he help improve what we already have?

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