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'We will have a St. Patrick's Day Parade in New London," Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio told us Thursday. This is the point the mayor needs to emphasize. City Councilor Marie Friess-McSparran and the parade committee over which she presides should withdraw their threat to move the parade to another community and work with the administration to figure things out.
This controversy strikes us as a bit silly. We recognize Ms. Friess-McSparran and the mayor will never be best friends forever. She backed another horse in the mayoral race, and continued enmity appears to be clouding common sense.
Given the city's fiscal challenges, the mayor has issued an executive order that organizations holding such events must pay in advance for associated police and public works expenses. That is certainly reasonable. Ms. Friess-McSparran complains that the administration has not been able to provide a precise cost estimate and finalize a permit, and that makes planning and fundraising difficult. The mayor says it is impossible to determine which police officers will be working that day, and there are pay differences.
Yet, based on email exchanges, the two sides agreed on a $7,500 expense estimate for city services. The mayor tells us his administration is ready to sign a parade permit for an agreed upon route using that cost estimate and the city would cover any expenses that creep beyond it. Have someone pick up the phone and call the parade committee, mayor.
With the March 16 "Irish Parade" still five months away, it seems realistic that New London Irish Parade Inc. can raise the money and be true to its name by keeping the parade in New London.
Only a few years old, the parade has become a fun and welcomed event in New London. The organizers deserve the community's thanks for getting it up and running. But it would be a mistake to move the parade because of some perceived foot-dragging by the administration. The path to working this out appears clear.