NOT TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT NEW LEADERSHIP IN MIDDLETOWN

Middletown is one of the municipalities in Connecticut that is in desperate need of new leadership. Dan Drew is one of the young, smart, hard-working, Connecticut-educated professionals who chose to stay in the state to raise his family. Combine the two and have a formula for positive change in Middletown.

The 31-year old Drew announced last week he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for mayor of Middletown. He will be a serious challenger to three-term Republican Mayor Sebastian Giuliano whose leadership—and act—have grown old and stale.

Drew is the type of young, family man state leaders talk about when they describe efforts to keep Connecticut-educated professionals here in the state. He is making his second run for mayor having garnered more than 47-percent of the vote in 2009, giving Giuliano a serious run for his money.

Middletown has been embarrassed by the Giuliano administration even since the 2009 election. What’s wrong? Where should we start? Consider:

• The mayor seems to enjoy spending more time in court when he can’t get his way instead of using the proper governmental processes to solve problems. He has filed lawsuits against the planning and zoning commission and the board of education (BOE). The latter has cost the town at least $67,500 for outside legal counsel. Giuliano has nothing to show for it since he has lost every action against the board.
• He sent the police into the BOE building last year (at a cost of $11,000 to taxpayers in overtime) until a judge threw them out.
• The process to choose a new police chief was a joke as The Shad pointed out at the time. He now refuses to nominate anyone but his guy.
• And the kicker? He used the Kleen Energy tragedy to buy himself (with taxpayers money, of course) a 42-inch LCD TV and had it mounted to the wall inside his office and a smaller flat screen LCD TV and had it mounted to the wall in the lounge area outside his office. He said he needed to be connected to news channels.

Drew would be a breath of fresh air. In his campaign kick-off announcement, it was clear he would be a positive change for the town. “We will re-build the city’s tattered relationship with Middletown’s schools and spend our money on educating children instead of enriching attorneys,” he said. “We will grow our tax base to make the city more affordable for working families….Sometimes people tell me that they’ve lost faith in public service, that they’re disillusioned and frustrated. But their frustrations present us with an opportunity. We have a chance to do it right.”

The Shad does not live in Middletown but I certainly care about good government and getting rid of political cronyism and business as usual.