After rumors that he would run for Attorney General and a brief stint as a potential candidate for Lieutenant Governor (he wasn't selected as running mate by the candidates for Governor), Jarjura has finally settled on Comptroller.
While all of this jockeying for position was going on, Jarjura submitted a city budget to the Board of Aldermen that called for an increase in the mill rate, after bragging during last year's campaign that he hadn't raised taxes. I know a few things about budgets, and it seems to me that Jarjura could have done a much better job with Waterbury's budget. He's had eight years at the helm, shouldn't he have been able to anticipate the need for higher taxes and spent the past couple years finding ways to avoid this? I'd still like to know why he refused to switch the city's electricity provider, which has the potential to save the city close to a million dollars a year.
The impression I have is that Jarjura simply does not care about Waterbury. I'm not sure he cares about the state, either. It seems like he doesn't care which state-level position he runs for, he just wants to climb the political ladder.
Theoretical motivations aside, let's look at the situation as it stands. Jarjura is challenging the official Democrat nominee for Comptroller, Kevin Lembo. The primary election will be held on August 10. So what exactly does a Comptroller do? In essence, the Comptroller is responsible for the state's finances. A full description and mission statement is available on the Comptroller's website.
In the news reports so far, which presumably are quoting a press release from Jarjura, he states his qualifications as follows:
“The fiscal and structural problems that Connecticut faces are nearly identical to what I faced when first assuming the Mayor’s office in Waterbury,” Jarjura said. “I look forward to the opportunity to work on righting Connecticut’s financial ship and bringing the same best practices to Hartford that served taxpayers in Waterbury so well.”This is a fascinating choice of quote for several reasons. First, he seems to be ignoring the contributions of the state oversight board, which was able to turn the city's finances around in ways he could never have possibly done himself. Second, Waterbury's taxpayers are furious with him right now. His own brother was quoted in the Rep-Am as saying that he won't vote for him again. I think it's safe to say that the taxpayers in Waterbury would disagree about these nebulous "best practices" he's referring to.
Here's another quote, from today's paper:
Great, but how does that qualify him for Comptroller?
“While I may not have been the pick of the Democratic party bosses, I have won 16 elections and primaries over the last 20 years, including an historic write-in victory in 2005”
There are plenty of other issues that I'm sure we'll all be talking about between now and August 10, but there is one last thought I have for today: when Paul Vance challenged Jarjura in last year's primary, Jarjura declared that Vance was being disloyal to his party by forcing a primary. Vance was able to force the primary by collecting signatures from voters who wanted more options. Jarjura is now forcing a primary because he was able to use back-room politics to get enough votes to qualify for the primary. If Vance was disloyal, what is Jarjura?