Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mike Ecke shined tonight

I know I can be critical of elected and appointed officials at times, but I also like to commend those same people at times. And tonight certainly was a shining moment for Councilman Mike Ecke.

Basically, as the Council was discussing the agenda item "7H - personnel rules and regulations," staff seemed taken aback by the Council asking questions. Tom Ruocco kicked off the questions and, to the good fortune of the taxpayers, Mike Ecke continued the questions. And when the Personnel Director / Assistant Town Manager started getting testy, Ecke became visibly upset.

Now... some of you may find that unbecoming, but... considering that this is the "Assistant Town Manager," I think it's not only fair, but appropriate for a higher level of expectations to be placed on this particular staff member. And since I've seen this same defiant attitude with this particular staff member before... I was glad to see Mike remind him that he shouldn't be copping an attitude with Council members... so as I said... Mike shined tonight. I appreciated his no nonsense approach.

But enough with the kudos... in the interest of improving staff performance and assisting staff with their professional development... I offer a suggestion to the Personnel Committee... perhaps this staff member was not well-prepared for the Council meeting? So maybe the Council could create a win-win situation that would benefit both staff and the taxpayers?

Perhaps the workload of being the Personnel Director and Assistant Town Manager is simply to heavy for one person to carry. As an alternative, the Council could eliminate the responsibilities of being the "Assistant Town Manager." This would enable him to focus his efforts on being the Personnel Director... and he may be better prepared for Council meetings.

Additionally, the role of Assistant Town Manager comes with a $4,000/yr stipend. So if the role is eliminated... the taxpayers would also win.

I hope Mike Ecke and the Personnel Committee are committed to ensuring town employees have a work environment in which they can develop professionally. I also hope they remain committed to reducing spending. I hope the Council considers this idea.

As for the rest of the Council meeting play-by-play and color analysis... maybe tomorrow... I'm pooped. I gotta go to bed. And maybe I'll do the video this weekend.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Come on Tim...
Stop writing on the bathroom wall...;-)

tim white said...


Breachway said...

Councilwoman DeCaprio seemed to have a little attitude about the fact that some of this info was covered in budget meetings...where is the info then? What concerns were brought up about rising fuel cost during the budget meetings? What numbers did they use to forecast expenses? why didnt she offer to provide this info to cut down on redundant requests?

Anonymous said...

I felt like the Town Manager kept talking about overall consumption instead of who has a vehicle and why. I think he is uncomfortable with this. I also think that instead of a lot of the mumbo jumbo being said...someone should have come out and let loose with the "A" word, as in Audit...a good ole fashion audit conducted by a real auditor.....audit the whole program.

Anonymous said...


I don't think being publicly embarrassed by a Town's Council member is a sign of that persons being someone who "shined tonight." I hope you wrote this to stir up some debate issues.

IMHO Mr. Michael Ecke needs the help of a therapist to calm his nerves and ease his hot-tempered nature. Also IMHO Mr. Ecke was at the very least "non-professional." He should have taken his frustration out into the hall.

Which brings up another idea..maybe we should name it the "Ecke's Chamber Hall"
We can set up therapy couches and yoga mats, so we can get in touch with our inner selves.

Sorry Tim, I have to disagree with you on this one.

Mike Rocci

Anonymous said...

What really annoyed me watching last night was the reference to union benefits all the time. They are NOT union members but want the benefits. Someone explain that.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mike that Ecke should have controlled his wild temper and acted a little more professional.

I disagree with Mr. Squire when he complained about the lengthy discussions on the topic of personnel rules & regs. Thankfully the councilors on the left side of the dias asked the tough questions and were looking for answers before any possible vote. The whole slate of items should go back to the budget committee as they should have discussed all the budgetary impacts at the committee level. Then at least when it came to the council, there would have been explanations and dollar figures associated with each item. You can't expect the councilors to rubber stamp something without all the info. Plus with all the discussions at least the public becomes more informed on what goes on.

As Mr. Squire says...thank for the courtesy of your time.

Anonymous said...

It seems that some council members or staff don't want discussion before voting. No questions please. Only vote yes. Thanks to the few that ask questions. As far as the public questioning or commenting -how in the heck can one understand a subject that is only made public the Friday before a meeting and then only to TC members. Is the object of the TC not to have anyone attend or ask questions at the TC meetings?

tim white said...

Mike... fair enough. It was really more about last night's sudden aversion to rubber stamping.

1) The transition to a paid fire dept was tabled.

2) The increases to the non-union personnel benefits were tabled.

3) The request for information on the town's policies on "gas use" and "take home vehicles" were adopted.

I had doubts on the outcomes of all these issues. IMO, the outcomes were appropriate... but for the past year, entirely different outcomes would not have surprised me.

tim white said...

They are NOT union members but want the benefits.

Good point. I hadn't thought of that. And that is important because union members pay dues.

Btw, do you have any idea of the range for the dues that are paid by Cheshire town ee's to their unions?

I seem to recall someone telling me the teachers' union is around $700 or $800/yr.

tim white said...

a good ole fashion audit conducted by a real auditor

I think I understand your point, but feel that would be insufficient.

An audit typically tests controls. And the TM has already begun that process. And while it's a useful idea, I have serious doubts that there is a breakdown in controls.

See... my feeling is that the existing policy permits certain individuals with "take home vehicles" to use as much gas as they want. In that sense, it's entirely possible that the controls are working properly... but the controls are IMO inadequate.

Seriously... who gets their company to pay for his/her daily commute to/from work?

Anonymous said...

The TM wants to give "new recruits" who had say 3 wks vacation at their old job, the same 3 wks at their DOH. Normally a new hire he said gets 2 wks at DOH.
This seems a bit too generous to me in these difficult times. Seems to me the new hired recruit would likely be getting more $ to start and should only get 2 wks vacation. Take a 1 wk leave of absence with no pay. How many people do you know that switch jobs and get the same amount of vacation? And at DOH? Don't most have to wait a length of time before they even get a vacation?

tim white said...

my job allows me to "buy a week."

In other words, if you make $52,000/yr, then one week costs $1,000... and it gets deducted from each pay check.

I'm a believer in "time off," but we can't simply continue to increase the taxpayers' burden.

Anonymous said...


Let me be the first to congratulate you, (if someone hasn't already.) You have more public comments on this blog post topic than compared to the number of public guests who attended the Council Meeting last night!

If you take away the fife and drum people (a nice group,) the media people (no comment,) and everyone at the dais (bla,bla,bla,) there were only two public people from Cheshire who attended. BTY I was one of them...anyone need a ride to the next meeting?

Maybe we should invite the Honorable Rev. Wright to speak at the next meeting, maybe then we would fill the chambers with bodies.


Mike Rocci

Anonymous said...

If one is truly a salaried employee and meets the definition by state and federal law the Town must pay them a weekly/semi-monthly or monthly SALARY no matter how many hours they work in the pay period. Where is our legal expert? So if they take a few days off for whatever they call it they should not be docked. No problem with vacation pay. They are not HOURLY emplyees period...If they have to work 60 hours one week so what they still get paid the same amount...

Anonymous said...


Please take this in the state of it's seriousness. Watch out for the young pretty female councilperson, she's smarter than all other members. She came up with the idea of the protocol for naming public buildings, parks, and areas..this was brilliant!

From what I could gather, and keep this between you and I, it seems that this naming protocol is just the tip of the iceberg. What it's really all about is something no one could conger up except for the TM.

Follow my train of thought here..the next thing that Mr. Milone wants to have documented on his resume' is having the Town of Cheshire change it's name to something more to his financial benefit.

After the naming protocol is approved there will be a call made at 3 AM on a weekend to call for an emergency meeting to vote on an amendment to the protocol. Only those who were given advanced notice of the call will show up for the vote. You will be there also because another tornado touched down on your property and you were awake at the time.

The vote will pass with a quorum of members 5 to 1. Added to the protocol is the power granting the TM to re-name the town whatever he likes. Here's what I heard from my sources: Cheshire will be re-named either Milonetown, Miloneville or Milonebury.

I kind of like the last one , if you ask me. It rimes with dingle...

Mike Rocci

Anonymous said...

Personally I think this whole thing with "naming property" and "signs" is in part related to the push for the turf field. They are still short a good amount of money and I wouldn't be surprised if they're hoping to sell "signage" for the fence along the CHS football field. They can sell space for people or companies to put their "names" on the signs on the fence and thus raise the rest of the money needed for the turf field.
They'll do anything to push this through.

Anonymous said...

The pretty, young councilwoman, and that is debatable as one would see fit is nothing more a pawn for the Bowman's. She makes her living at the Waverly and when she speaks, starts almost every comment with with I would like to reiterate what so and so said. No individual thoughts of her own. A wind up doll.

Anonymous said...

ummmmmm....I think you're right!