New London mayor's new executive order aims for fiscal 'control and constraints'

New London — Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio Monday announced several measures that give guidance to department heads on how to deal with job openings and operating deficits.

Executive Order No. 6 also requires the mayor to release a 10-year projected fiscal and capital plan for the city no later than Dec. 31.

The administration would work closely with the City Council and Board of Education to prepare the plan, which will “include long-term revenue and tax assessment projections, long-term city projected fiscal needs, and long-term projected necessary capital projects.”

Finizio said the executive order would “set up control and constraints” so the city wouldn’t have a deficit next year, as it does this year.

Last week Finizio announced that the Public Works Department would lay off three employees and the duties of the personnel coordinator would be absorbed by the office of Chief Administrative Officer.

Under the newest executive order, any position that becomes vacant during the upcoming fiscal year would not be filled if the department head decides that the department can function without it until the end of the year.

“No department in city government is unaffected by these cuts,” Finizio said in a press conference Monday morning.

He said he would attempt to avoid layoffs in the public safety departments, but at “this point I can’t guarantee that won’t occur.”

Finizio said he has even looked into the possibility of closing the fire headquarters since there are structural issues with the building.

He said, however, a replacement plan would have to be in place along with an accurate assessment as to whether the closure would save the city any money, which he said cannot be demonstrated at this time.

“... So if cost savings cannot be demonstrated, and an operation plan is not in place to adjust for the closure, I won’t authorized the closure,” he said.

The executive order would also require department heads to report in writing any line item that is projected to incur a deficit for the fiscal year 2012-2013. Finizio, in turn, would immediately report the deficit to the City Council.

The executive order also states that permits will no longer be issued without a full accounting of what the event will cost the city. Costs must be paid by organizers in advance unless the City Council authorizes funds by resolution.

The popular St. Patrick’s Day parade costs the city about $15,000 to $20,000 in police overtime and other city services, he said. Finizio said he’s a supporter of the parade, but the city cannot afford the extra expense.

Marie Friess-McSparran, a city councilor and organizer of the New London Irish Parade, said the order could put the future of the parade in jeopardy.

She said police presence at last year’s parade was exaggerated and could be pared down to reduce expenses.

“It puts a huge pressure on us as an organization,” Friess-McSparran said. “We do bring thousands of people into the city that stay for the day. They shop at local businesses, which is a positive for the city. It puts small nonprofits in a difficult position.”

The order will not retroactively affect permits already issued. OpSail 2012 would not be required to pay any additional expense.


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