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A couple of weeks ago New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio announced the fulfillment of a campaign pledge he made when running for mayor in 2011 - appointment of a lobbyist to represent the interests of the city at the General Assembly.
We considered this a somewhat questionable need from the start. New London has two elected state representatives and a state senator to fight for its interests in Hartford. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, to which the city pays dues, represents the needs of towns and cities. The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, of which the city is also a dues-paying member, provides a list of priorities to local lawmakers every year.
And, of course, the mayor himself works as an advocate for New London's interests.
Mayor Finizio, however, feels strongly that the city can benefit from a non-elected official, concerned only with New London's interests, working with lawmakers to make sure the city receives fair treatment when it comes to distributing state aid, administering tax policy and imposing rules and regulations. He has come up with a way to provide that lobbyist at no additional cost to taxpayers (except for perhaps travel expenses) by assigning Zak Leavy, his executive assistant, to the task when the legislature is in session.
We wish Mr. Leavy well and certainly can't fault the mayor for figuring out a way to fulfill a campaign promise without adding to the budget. If it benefits the city, we hope Mr. Leavy proves our skepticism was unfounded.