Town Car Decals: Needed or Not?

One Legialative Council member says she doesn't like to see Hamden cars out at far-off shopping centers on weekends obviously being used as family vehicles, and thinks these cars need to be appropriately marked as Town of Hamden vehicles.

As the Legislative Council considers approving the funding to purchase 11 new police vehicles, one council member says she wants the town's police on how town cars are marked qualified.

Councilwoman Betty Wetmore said she wants to see tighter controls on which cars are allowed to remain unmarked and who is allowed to drive those unmarked cars where.

It's upsetting for residents to see Hamden town cars parked in shopping centers in far-off towns and the town employees filling those cars with groceries and packages, she said, or to see town cars used to run errands or drop children off at school.

"The taxpayers get mad," she said, "and so they should."

There are only a handful of cars that are assigned to officials 24/7, Chief Administrative Officer Curt Balzano Leng said, and those include the Police Chief, the Fire Chief, the Public Works Director and the Mayor.

A car will now be assigned to the Building Official, who often does work on his own time on the weekends, Leng said, which warrants his access to a town car on the weekends.

But in general, town cars need to be plainly marked with permanent decals on them, Wetmore said, so taxpayers can easily identify them.

Leng said he would come up with a policy for the council to review at its next full meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Government Center third floor conference room.

Thomas Alegi November 08, 2012 at 02:04 PM
This issue of how Hamden town owned vehicles are used and marked came up many years ago, under the Henrici administration and under the Amento administration. Guidelines lines where developed under both of these administrations, which insured no town employee would be able to abuse the privilege of using a Hamden town vehicle for personal use. If I recall correctly Mr. Leng was a member of the L/C when these guidelines were developed. Now Mr. Leng is the Chief Administrative Officer for the Jackson administration, so Mr. Leng should have no problem helping Councilwoman Betty Wetmore tighten the controls on how town owned vehicles should be used by Hamden town employees.
Don Charles November 08, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Betty, these piciune matters may be important to you but they are all smoke screens as to what the Council really does.Why don't you pay attention to the Leg admin in your office who is making 70,000 and now you people have put her up for a big raise that will bring her up to 78,000. If she was reliable fine, but this office is closed quite often and in fact early morning she is never there till 9 or 9:30. I believe working hours start at 8:30. Do you have an answer as to why she gets away with wasting taxpayers monies with her disregard of office hours and the office beimng closed during working hours.
Thomas Alegi November 08, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Don, I do not believe any L/C member has the power to investigate any alleged wrongdoing by a town employee. Don, you would be better off contacting the L/C president with your alleged concerns of wrongdoing by a town employee or you can contact Hamden’s Ethics board, the ethics board has the power to investigate based on the merits of a complaint filed with them by a Hamden resident.
Anne Tirrell November 08, 2012 at 04:22 PM
How else would we know when they're at the bars?
GerryGag November 08, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Last Thanksgiving (morning), I saw a New Haven's official car (the head of public works, license plate NH-2) on the Cross Island Expressway on Long Island. When I called city hall to ask about it (I own some property/pay taxes in New Haven), I got the biggest run around, and never received an answer as to what city business this official had on Long Island on a Thanksgiving morning. Not only are these officials using gas paid by tax payer money, but the wear and tear on these vehicles also adds up, meaning vehicles have to be repaired and replaced more often (again, with taxpayer money). Every mile should be accounted for and reported...oh wait...wasn't this an issue under the last administration?...how quickly things are forgotten in this town!
Nonyabusiness November 08, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Lol you still at it Don? First of all she's worth every penny of her salary as she is now one person as opposed to two in the office and as far as her hours, she's just following her predecessor's hours. At least she doesn't take lunch and still puts in her 7 hours! Worry about where your tax dollars really go Don. I'm onto you Don. You're either a town worker yourself or a former. Get a life...
Linda C November 08, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Take the same action some private companies have who experienced the same abuse by employees. Outfit the new cars with a GPS device and allow full disclosure tracking on line. Allowing Tax Payers to Monitor where THEIR cars are and for how long? Waste doesn't come only with out of town errands, but in 2 or 3 hour lunches with vehicles parked at their own residence or others all afternoon! We as tax payers have every right to know where our PAID officials are during working hours. Bet that will put a stop to the abuse!
Thomas Alegi November 08, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Nonyabusiness, interesting point you made "she's just following her predecessor's hours." Are there flex working hours for town employees, if not who authorized the predecessor and this town employee’s working hours? Linda, your suggestion of GPS tracking of town owned vehicles is excellent but sorry to say it would just highlight who is in bed with whom, politically speaking that is.
Don Charles November 09, 2012 at 01:21 PM
All I know Nonyabusiness is that I have been to this office several times and the doors were locked when they should have been opened. A note was on the door back soon, and this was not during lunch time. As to hours the hours as I understand are from 8:30 AM and this office is at times closed till much later. Asking other employees about this office being closed seems to get a shrug and a slight smile. AS to being a former or present employee, not at all, I am a taxpayer who resents people taking advantage and getting paid for not doing what they should be doing. Guess Nonyabusiness is a close friend or one of the council protecting an employee .He/she seems to know a lot about her office, her lunch time and the hours she puts in. Interesting Ehh!!!
Linda C November 09, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Exactly Thomas! Bet that would be one busy site. I'm sure they can deduct the cost under Entertainment Tax.
Carl C November 11, 2012 at 02:48 AM
"It's upsetting for residents to see Hamden town cars parked in shopping centers in far-off towns and the town employees filling those cars with groceries and packages, she said, or to see town cars used to run errands or drop children off at school." Nonsense. If the cars in question are currently unmarked, how does anyone recognize them as Town of Hamden vehicles? If they're already being recognized even in their current, unmarked state as Town of Hamden vehicles, and this is happening with such frequency that a Councilwoman feels obligated to make this statement based upon actual complaints, then it is obviously not necessary to take any action to make them more recognizable. "Having solved all other problems, the Town of Hamden has decided to plaster their Town-owned vehicles with high-visibility decals in an effort to increase the already high number of complaints among citizens upset with seemingly inappropriate use of the vehicles."


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