Intermediate and Advanced Problems

Is it true that Post 53 is having trouble recruiting adults to be intermediate and advanced EMTs to supervise DHS Posties? If it is true, is Post hiring Stamford EMS (SEMS) Paramedics to serve as Advanced EMTs to supervise DHS Posties? If true, do the SEMS Paramedics get paid by Post? If true, do these SEMS Paremedics stay in a separate room in the Post building so they are not near the DHS Posties? Isn’t it true that such SEMS Paramedics cannot act as Paramedics because Post is not licensed as a Paramedic organization and Post does not have the requisite insurance? Won’t this possible supervision problem get even worse with the new regulations regarding educational requirements for Advanced EMTs? Is Post Director Ron Hammer considering retirement because he sees the handwriting on the wall?

Walter Casey

Path to Nowhere Goes Nowhere

I attended the RTM meeting last Monday night, 2/22/16. I had heard that the Path to Nowhere resolution would be pulled. It was. It was simply not ready for prime time. Darien was going to accept dollars from both the state and the Darien Land Trust. There were conflicting preconditions in the documents of both of these organizations with respect to the use of this Path. The conflicts had to do with the use of the path and flood mitigation efforts on the property among others. Given these significant and obvious conflicts, this resolution never should have gotten as far as it did. However, I am not surprised given that First Selectman Jayme, “Gone Girl,” Stevenson and Town Counsel Wayne Fox were running the show.

Jon Zagrodzky (JZ), Chairman of the Board of Corruption(aka BOF), thought this was a great idea according to the Darien Times. This is in spite of the obvious conflicts between the two organizations donating the money. JZ just cared that Darien was getting something for “free” without considering the cost of these conflicts later on. You should not be surprised. JZ was the leader of the audit, non audit, review, i.e. cover up, of the excess billing special education scandal.

The only pressing need for the Path to Nowhere is if it can be used for flood mitigation. If it can’t be used for flood mitigation, then don’t buy it even if there is grant money available. If it can be used for flood mitigation, just buy it with the town’s money and without grants and all of the conditions that come with them.

Walter Casey

3000 Thank Yous

On 11/15/15 I changed the software that monitors activity on this blog. It was a big improvement. At approximately 5:30 PM this afternoon, the 3000th unique visitor logged onto to this blog since 11/15/15. This may be equal to the current circulation of the Darien Times.

When I started this blog, I thought it would draw maybe a couple of hundred inside the Post Road junkies. 3000 is way beyond my expectations. I just want to thank you for your interest.

I try to comment on topics that will interest you. I think we have reached a point where residents know Darien needs Paramedics based in Darien. I will be bringing you more about the disgrace that is 35 Leroy and other topics. You deserve a better government. The Darien’s Madoff story has generated huge interest. We will have to see where that goes.

Once again, thank you and stay interested in Darien.

Walter Casey

Darien’s Madoff Clawbacks?

I wonder if the Darien’s Madoff Scandal will involve clawbacks. I seem to recall that in the case of Madoff those who received distributions from Madoff’s funds were required to return the money that had been distributed to them. These amounts were then added to the funds that were salvaged from Madoff’s assets and distributed proportionately to all investors.

This method could be applied to the case of Darien’s Madoff. Those who have received distributions or dividends would have to kick back the money they received. It will be interesting if this method is applied and, if it is, what the effect will be on those who must kick back.

Walter Casey

Off The Road

Are DHS Posties not permitted to assist victims of accidents on I-95 until fire engines arrive to form a barricade against oncoming cars? If true, must not this be a self imposed protection of immature DHS Posties who are not really ready for this type of first responder dangers? If true, isn’t this an acknowledgement of Post 53’s limitations? If true, isn’t the care for the accident victims delayed? If true, isn’t the concern for DHS Posties a distraction from caring for the victims?

Has $50,000 been added to Darien’s budget so Darien’s fire departments can respond more quickly to I-95 accidents and provide DHS Posties with protection more quickly? Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest in well trained adult Paramedics who don’t need the same degree of protection? Why has it taken so long to recognize this problem even if this solution is half assed? Aren’t most of these I-95 accident victims not Darien residents? So why should we even care about them? Because this problem won’t show up on college applications or interfere with the food fair, why should we even care about about these crash victims?

Walter Casey

Timeline to Blame

As expressed in a recent Darien Times editorial, we should not be seeking to fix blame for the 35 Leroy mess. Rather, we should all just get along and move forward. I disagree. I believe those who are most to blame most want to avoid affixing blame. Blame is important in assessing the incompetence of those we are assessing. The blame game helps with that assessment. Below is a Timeline to Blame. After putting together this timeline, I have become a believer in blame and not just accountability. Remember, I DERIDE, YOU DECIDE.

This is the date of the first building committee minutes which described the formation of the committee. I went to the office of the Town Clerk at Town Hall and obtained copies of the minutes in the committee’s file. I was told that if there were copies missing I should speak with the First Selectman’s office. It was unclear why a copy of minutes sent to the First Selectman would not have been kept in the Town Clerk’s file.

1/5/11 to 5/25/11
There are no building committee minutes between these dates even though the missing minutes of the 5/11/11 meeting were indicated as approved in the minutes of the 5/25/11 meeting

The minutes of 6/1/11 meeting were approved but the minutes of the 6/1/11 meeting were missing. Also in the 6/8/11 minutes a Mr. Malik appeared as the architect.

The minutes indicate Mr. Malik “noted that the 17 year old HVAC system is coming to the end of its useful life.” He also spoke of a need to review the sprinklers. The then School Superintendent Falcone “wished to verify….that humidity would be addressed in the building.” These comments were made almost five years ago.

The name Alan McLlveen appears as consulting engineer. The architect Malik “noted that the plan assumes the installation of sprinklers in the building.” McLlveen spoke about the mechanical systems and “stated that the majority of the equipment dated from the 1970s which met or exceeded their useful life expectancy.”

Nick Everett of AP Construction appears in the minutes. It is noted that the HVAC replacement was the primary cost driver.

A resolution dealing with 35 Leroy that had numerous stipulations and requirements passed the P&Z Commission. They are too numerous to include in their entirety here. An example would be the completion of a final “as-built” survey as a condition of a Certificate of Occupancy. I have not seen a mention of an “as-built” survey in my review of the minutes of the building committee’s minutes. The resolution states that the applicant is not relieved “of the responsibility of complying with all other applicable rules, regulations and codes of the Town, State, or other regulating agency.”

The building permit for 35 Leroy is date stamped 10/31/12 and signed by an employee who, I understand, “retired” the next month. There are those who say that there were questionable aspects to his retirement. Is it possible that this employee was “retired” to clear the way for approvals where no approval should have been issued?

There are no minutes between 7/27/11 and 11/13/12. This is a period of almost 16 months. The minutes of the 11/13/12 meeting indicate the minutes of the 10/23/12 meeting were approved. However, the minutes of the 10/23/12 meeting are missing. The minutes of the 11/13/12 indicate Dave Campbell is now Chairman. The last minutes available for the 7/27/11 indicated that Norm Guimond was Chairman.

The minutes indicate “the project is progressing as plumbers, electricians and HVAC workers set to work.” Mr. Campbell noted that fencing will be constructed around the construction site…..allowing for Darien Sports Shop employees to access some parking at 35 Leroy Ave until after Christmas.”

There are no minutes between 11/27/12 and 2/12/13. The minutes of the 1/22/13 meeting were approved but those minutes are missing. The minutes state: “Chairman Campbell noted that a flow test revealed that the pressure from the fire hydrant on Leroy Ave. does not allow sufficient water flow to accommodate the new sprinkler system.”

A temporary Certificate of Occupancy and Zoning Compliance is signed by the Building Official Peter Solheim, the Zoning Enforcement Officer Dave Keating and the Fire Marshall Robert Busch. The Building Official Solheim replaced the employee who signed the Building permit on 10/31/12 and “retired” the next month. This temporary CO expired on 8/28/13.

Minutes between 2/12/13 and 8/13/13 are missing. The minutes of the missing 7/23/13 minutes are approved. Clerk of the Works Ryan “explained that some of the generator pricing doesn’t conform to the contract and is being reviewed.

The temporary CO expires.

The minutes of the 9/10/13 are approved but, once again, those minutes are missing. The 10/1 minutes state: “it was reported that roof repairs have been completed.”

The minutes of the 10/8/13 are approved but they are missing.

The minutes of the 12/10//13 meeting were approved but they are missing. “Testing and balancing of the HVAC is underway and should be completed by Thursday, 1/16/14.” These are the last minutes that were in the file.

In a memo from Michael Lynch, Director of Facilities and Operations, to Dr. Lynne Pierson, Interim Superintendent of Schools, Lynch listed Unfinished/Incorrect Work. This list is very long. I will highlight just some items which seem important to this layman’s eye: repair slate roof/copper gutters, multiple locations, lighting levels in most work and public areas do not meet minimum lighting requirements, in the board room heating/ac levels and noise are not acceptable, in copy room 135 three open junction boxes in ceiling, storage 117 sprinkler hanging down, the sprinkler head not correctly installed in the superintendent’s office and etc., etc., etc.

I visited Town Hall and found no permanent CO, only the temporary CO which expired on 8/28/13, a year earlier.

The Darien Times publishes my letter which describes what I found and didn’t find on my visit to Town Hall on 8/12/14. A permanent CO dated 8/21/14 is issued. This is the same date my letter appeared.

Incredibly, in a Darien Times article Dave Campbell said: “a letter from resident Walter Casey triggered him to remember to get the permanent occupancy certificate.”

After postponing the issue, the RTM, in a close vote, transfers 35 Leroy from the Town to the BOE. Questions remain regarding cost and whether the “as-built” survey was ever done and how a permanent CO could have been issued.

This timeline, I believe, exposes a completely unacceptable level of incompetence and a deliberate attempt at a cover up. This was not an accident. The timeframe is just too long. There is much blame to go around. I have no confidence in those charged with bringing transparency to this matter including town counsel. I have no confidence that 35 Leroy is a healthy and safe work environment.

Walter Casey

No Candid Camera

The headline on this past Saturday’s edition of the Stamford Advocate, the Stamford Advocate, concerned the Darien BOS rejecting cameras for police officers. In fairness, the Darien Times also covered the story on its front page in its weekly Thursday edition. To me, the fact that the Stamford Advocate also covered the story on its front page speaks volumes.

It is my impression that in most cities in the US, the police have to be dragged kicking and screaming by civilian government to wear cameras. In Darien, the police chief wants the cameras and the civilian government turned him down. This strikes me as extraordinary. The Chief and his officers are willing to put themselves under scrutiny and they are turned down.

One reason given is that the technology will get better. That is always true because of Moore’s Law and the harnessing of the speed of light. If we followed that logic, we would still be using land lines and pay phones while we waited for cell phones to max out.

Cost was another reason. As technology continues to improve, the cost per unit declines and its power increases. The same will be true of these cameras and their archival systems. The main cost concern was the annual cost which, according to the Darien Times, Chief Lovello estimated to be $68,500 after the program’s first year. I believe this is less than the cost of one officer. In essence, cameras would be the equivalent of one watch dog officer at a below market rate. The cost argument is simply wrong.

Let us be honest about why Darien should have cameras. Darien’s demographics are very different than many nearby communities. The main stream media would love nothing better than to turn Darien into a Ferguson if there was a police incident involving a minority. The facts would not matter. Cameras could save us that grief and we are talking real money.

Let us understand where this leaves Darien. The police want cameras but the government doesn’t. The opposite is true almost everywhere else. Almost all communities where it is feasible to have Paramedics have them. Darien’s First Selectman doesn’t want Paramedics while people die.

Walter Casey

Fire the Lawyers

A week ago in the Sunday edition of the Stamford Advocate, there was a story that the Stamford BOE had fired law firm Shipman and Goodwin from representing the BOE except in the case of contract negotiations. The reason for the firing was Shipman’s work or lack of work in a case of the sexual exploitation of a student by a teacher. Besides giving incorrect legal advice, Shipman showed no concern for the student involved. You would think that the student would come first.

Shipman is the law firm that represents Darien’s BOE. It was the law firm giving legal advice leading up to the special education scandal. When the scandal broke, it’s best advice was to cover up and hire a PR firm. Hiring the PR firm was probably the worst PR advice that could possibly have been given. Why is Shipman still the Darien BOE’s law firm? Because Darien loves a good cover up, that’s why.

We don’t have to kill all the lawyers as the Bard suggested. We should just fire the bad ones.

Walter Casey

2500 Thank Yous

This past Thursday, 2/11/16, this blog had its 2500th unique visitor since 11/15/15 when I installed new metric monitoring software. A unique visitor counts an individual once no matter how many time that individual visits the blog. The interest in this blog is because you want the truth about what is really happening in Darien. Thank you.

Recently, the tragic story of two women who died of cardiac arrest after waiting for Stamford Paramedics garnered a large number of visits. This should not be happening in Darien. It is hard to believe that a cold bloodied “Gone Girl” can care only about herself as others die but that is what is going on.

The follies of Weeer Burn (more Wee, less Burn) members have been a big hit. First, there are the Weeer Burn members who were scammed by Darien’s Madoff. The ABC movie about the New York Madoff probably helped to spur interest in the Darien Madoff story. Second, the story of the Koons duo, father and son Weeer Burn members who led the purge of the RTC, has attracted much interest. The Weeer Burn brand may have been done irreparable harm by these incidents.

The inept and corrupt administration of “Gone Girl” always makes for strong reader interest. 35 Leroy is a favorite and there will be more coming. The massive planned developments and the near disastrous gas leak were very popular. Readers can’t seem to get enough of the “Mean Girls.”

Once again, thank you for your interest. Remember, I DERIDE, YOU DECIDE.

Walter Casey

The RTC Strikes Back

The letter below was sent from the outgoing RTC to Political Eunuch Kip Koons and Susan “The Troll” Marks, both of whom are Republican Selectman. Clearly, it is not a love letter. The divisions within Darien’s Republican Party run deep. What else is new?

The letter will be ignored by Koons, Marks and their boss the Queen of Mean Republican First Selectman Jayme, “Gone Girl” Stevenson. “Gone Girl” is in charge of everything and simply does not care what the outgoing RTC members think. Besides, she has bigger problems because of her inept and corrupt administration. She also really doesn’t care about her record of incompetence and corruption because no one can do anything about it.

The people who are probably most upset about the RTC imbroglio are the members of Weeer Burn (more Wee, less Burn) who were not involved with the RTC and were not taken to the cleaners by Darien’s Madoff. First, these “virgin” Weeer Burn members had to endure the publicity of the Darien’s Madoff fraud and the involvement of Weeer Burn members. Then came the ungentlemanly surprise attack on respected RTC members by Kip Koons and his RTC member son Charlie. If you are a Weeer Burn member not involved in these two fiascos, Roton Point is looking pretty good.

Here’s the letter

DARIEN, CT 06820

February 10, 2016

Kip Koons

Susan J. Marks

Dear Kip and Susan:

As you know, one of the primary purposes of the Republican Town Committee (the “RTC”) is to “recruit and recommend Republicans for appointive offices on local boards and commissions,” which numbers over 130 at last count. This Town Committee, and indeed local government itself, depend heavily on encouragement and support of our fellow Republicans’ spirit of volunteerism, commitment, and ethics to achieve this goal.

You are recent beneficiaries of volunteerism by the RTC, whose leaders and members planned and carried out last summer’s Republican Municipal Caucus, which endorsed you both. You both were elected as Selectmen with organizational, financial, PR, Election Day, and other politically significant RTC support.

Immediately prior to last month’s Republican Town Committee Caucus you both, as sitting Selectmen, participated in circulating a sample ballot with the names of all twenty-six of the candidates for election to the RTC. This sample ballot specifically delineated five sitting members of the current RTC who should not be re-elected to the Committee of twenty-one. The names of these three Officers and two Committee Chairs were marked through with red lines on your sample ballot.

Despite collective decades of political volunteerism by RTC members, we remain unable to recall a single prior occurrence of such behavior by sitting Selectmen. The circulation of material specifically and negatively targeting individuals by name is inappropriate for our Town. Its precedent contradicts the chief purpose of the RTC to encourage and elect or appoint volunteers. We should be guided by basic and necessary civility in process and procedures lest we compromise volunteerism as an essential feature of our Town.

The Darien RTC
Walter Casey