Gambardella Outlines Platform for 7th District Campaign

"Tax and Spend" town government is in need of reform, he says.

To the Editor:

From the many campaigns that I ran as a candidate, I can tell you for certain that people want someone who will do what they say.

They also have had it with the old bait and switch candidates who say one thing prior to the election and do something quite different after the election. Additionally, voters want a clear choice between candidates. If there isn’t a distinction between two candidates, then why change?

People in the town of Hamden and in the particular, in the 7th district, know me from the years I have been publishing in the newspapers and electronic media. They also know me from the four years I served on the Legislative Council in an At-Large position.

In other words, my politics are well known. My voting record is well known. My ability to communicate is well known. You may not always agree with what I say, but you know I am not afraid to say it. In fact, I can promise you if elected, I will frequently communicate what is going on within the Legislative Council.

Regarding my opponent, I don’t believe you have seen a single article pertaining to relevant issues facing the Town of Hamden. His strategy has been to lay low and hope nobody notices his voting record - specifically his never-ending support of tax increase after tax increase. Rest assured if he is elected again he will do more of the same. He has a well-known and established tax and spend philosophy of government.

From my articles and voting record you know that I am opposed to the tax and spend mentality that this town has embraced for the last 20 years. You know I am opposed to dismantling the unions by utilizing privatization schemes that only create more burdens on the taxpaying public. You know I believe we need to reform pension and benefits to sustainable levels, and you also know that education spending in Hamden is out of control with around $100 million in current spending when you consider benefits.

So here is what I propose:

  • Negotiate with the unions clearly demonstrating that it is to their advantage to work with the administration to reform pension and benefits by considering a 401K plan with matching contributions for all employees with 10 or less years of service. Employees with more service would keep the plans they have. The 401K plan would be completely portable and would go with the employee if they decide to leave Hamden’s employment.
  • Propose a cafeteria style benefit package allowing employees to pick and choose what they need rather than one size fits all.
  • Hire an independent non-partisan consultant group reporting directly to the Legislative Council that can facilitate cost saving measures by applying national research to local issues. The intent is to provide specific recommendations to the Board of Education when they again request an increase in spending during the budget process.  The BOE is out of ideas.

Thank you for your consideration to my candidacy.


Ron Gambardella
Candidate for 7th District Legislative Council Seat

LINDA September 20, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Professive Mom September 21, 2011 at 11:05 AM
All good ideas Ron - as usual. But I must say - your opponent in the 7th is hardly the most egregious tax and spend dem - why not run for BOE? or LG at-large as an independent? And Ron, I have one question on one of your proposals. You stated 'You know I am opposed to dismantling the unions by utilizing privatization schemes that only create more burdens on the taxpaying public'. However, your proposal to move guaranteed pension benefits to a 401K plan (currently known as a 201K) and the legal battle that will follow is essentially that. You know and everyone knows that the 401K merely shifts the risk away from the municipality and onto the employee. All public employees know (or should know) they have a great deal with guaranteed pensions - why on earth would they give that up? I happen to think that ALL Americans deserve some kind of guaranteed pension to grow old with a financial safety net and with some sense of dignity. I think that net is called Social Security. In light of your Republican party's recent attempts at the national level to dismantle one safety net after another for working Americans - I'm very curious about your position on that.
Ron Gambardella September 21, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Thank you for your question. My opponent has a consistent record of supporting tax increase after tax increase. His record is there for all to examine. He has done little in the way of substantive proposals that will yield any sort of curb on spending. With respect to your specific question, unions understand that the world is changing. My proposal will not impact those who have worked most of their life under the existing retirement rules. They will not be hurt by any proposed changes. That would be unfair and result in bad policies. Also, these employees have no other alternative, since many of them have not worked 40 quarters under the Social Security System guidelines to qualify for benefits. I agree that there should be some sort of safety net and I believe that safety net is Social Security. The Social Security System has helped millions and I continue to believe it should remain as a safety net in the foreseeable future. Social Security will most likely have to change from its current form to remain solvent and I believe Washington will eventually settle in on a solution. The 401K plan will be both beneficial to employees and the municipality as folks begin to realize the flexibility and control they can exercise within the plan. I hope that answers your question.
Professive Mom September 21, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Ron - fair enough - I'm glad you recognize the importance of federal safety nets. If you are saying that the solvency problem with the SS system should be settled by raising the minimum retirement age and implementing a means test to insure only those who need an SS check receive an SS check - then I'm with you. If you are saying that the Republicans in Washington will continue to hold the net hostage for middle and lower class Americans so that millionaires can have tax breaks - then I'm not.... You may think my concerns on issues at the national level are irrelevant - but that is not true. How you view the federal crisis gives me an idea on how you will solve problems closer to home. Most progressives (and professives) understand the need for fiscal carefulness and most are willing to consider moderate republicans for office at the local level to bust up the democratic monopoly of power and offer a fresh perspective on financial issues that is based on common sense, value and fairness - with a touch of empathy.
Ron Gambardella September 21, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Wow - excellent analysis. I agree we need to consider minimum retirement ages and means testing as a possible remedy for what ails the Social Security System. It is a pleasure exchanging ideas with you. Hopefully my responses will give you some insight as to my philosophy of taking a reasonable approach to solving our problems.
Marty September 21, 2011 at 05:01 PM
Yes town employees know they have a great deal with a guarenteed pension, but the point is the taxpayers can no longer afford it. Why should town workers get such a better deal than those who have to pay for it? If a 401K is good enough for the rest of us, it's good enough for town employees who have better pay and benefits as it is than the rest of us.
Thomas Fortuna October 06, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Very good points. Over the last 30 years more and more companies have shifted from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution pensions. Most pensioners are not sophisticated enough to understand the difference, yet alone trade in the stock market.
Thomas Fortuna October 06, 2011 at 02:34 PM
A defined contribution pension plan is no safety net. A 401K plan is like telling the worker, "here is a hundren dollars, ....now go into the casino (stock market) and if you win, you can retire with a roof over your head and hot food. If you lose, you live on the street and eat garbage. Is that the retrirement you would want. And as far as giving town employees less because we all have less, that is excusing poor behavior because others are doing it.
Professive Mom October 06, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Then is it fair to ask one sector of society (private) who does not have a guaranteed pension to pay for a guaranteed pension for another sector of society (public)? People in the private sector are now working 10 hours days - and remember in the big picture - it is the private sector that enables us to have a public sector - to have schools, police, and fire protection. What is fair is that EVERYONE who gets up and puts in an honest days work receives an honorable pension - whatever our society can afford. As far as I'm concerned - dismantle all of it - guaranteed and defined contributions - let wall street starve without our 401K money - and put it all directly into the guaranteed federal pension called social security.
Ron Gambardella October 06, 2011 at 10:29 PM
With regard to 401K investment choices, folks can choose from stocks, bonds and money market accounts. The choice is up to the individual. There are also products that guarantee principal. If the individual is uncertain as to where they should invest, there a plenty of advisers available that can guide them through the myriad of options. The plans are very flexible and will meet most everyone's tolerance for risk.


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