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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Westport Seeking $15K for Obama Visit Costs

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The Town of Westport spent almost $15,000 in overtime costs for police and fire during President Obama’s visit here Monday, Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said today. He said the town will seek reimbursement from the Obama campaign.

WestportNow.com Image
Westport police and fire overtime costs were incurred as the president traveled to and from Sherwood Island State Park, site of his helicopter landing pad. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

“While we welcome the president visiting us, incurring unbudgeted costs are not welcome,” Joseloff said. “Westport may be more affluent than some other towns, but we watch over our taxpayer dollars very carefully.”

Joseloff said Police Chief Dale Call informed him that Westport police incurred $12,460 in overtime costs for the visit. This does not include overtime costs incurred by departments assisting Westport, which included Wilton, Trumbull, Easton, Monroe, and Fairfield as well as the State Police.

Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury reported $2,352 in overtime costs, Joseloff said. Westport fire units were on standby at Sherwood Island State Park where the president landed and took off, and the department also provided tactical support for the visit.

Joseloff said he would seek reimbursement from the Obama campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee. He said he would send a copy of the request to Westport resident Harvey Weinstein, who hosted the president at his residence.

The First Selectman said Westport had made previous attempts to recover similar costs without success when President Clinton visited three times in 1998-99 for fundraising events.

“I’m not optimistic we will be successful, but I need to make the effort,” Joseloff said.

Joseloff, a Democrat, did not attend the Weinstein event, saying earlier of the $35,800 entry fee, ““It’s a little steep for a first selectman.”

Obama campaign officials said he raised more than $2 million Monday with the campaign events in Westport and Stamford.

Posted 08/07 at 05:05 PM

Comments:     Comment Policy

Thank you Mr. Joseloff.  Let’s see if they pony up the cash.

Posted by Tom Leyden on August 07, 2012 at 05:12 PM | #

And what about the employees of Sherwood Island who missed out on a days wages?  Any hope they too will see some compensation?  Would be decent.

Posted by Gini Otway on August 07, 2012 at 05:14 PM | #

Thank you Mr Joseloff -glad to have the President -

Posted by Rob Adler on August 07, 2012 at 06:12 PM | #

Agreed Mr Joseloff!  Look if they had said they would donate money to a town like Bridgeport for their schools or sports programs I would say ok we can do our part too, but since the visit was entirely personal and solely for his benefit we shouldnt have to forcefully donate his campaign.

Posted by Juris Zauls on August 07, 2012 at 07:24 PM | #

Excellent!

Agree w/ Gini; what about the employees who missed a day’s pay?

What about the State’s expenses?  I can already tell you what they said, “Contact the WH.”  Seriously.  Our Gov doesn’t care, nor do the people who work for him.

Our tax dollars at waste.

Posted by Jean Marie Wiesen on August 08, 2012 at 12:43 PM | #

I think campaigns, dem or rep, could give back less than 1/2 a plate’s worth to cover our expenses.

Posted by Matthew Mandell on August 08, 2012 at 12:59 PM | #

I say this as a registered democrat, that for a party who in theory stands up for the ‘little’ man, this not thinking of the Sherwood Island employees really sticks in my craw.

Posted by Gini Otway on August 08, 2012 at 01:43 PM | #

Gini, according to an article in the CT Post the employees at Sherwood Island were paid.  I hope it’s true.

That being said, I’d like to put aside party affiliations for a second here, b/c as a registered Republican, it means diddly.  I’ve crossed party lines when voting as I’m sure some of you have. I vote for who I believe can do the job.  Period.  Besides, which party you’re registered w/ isn’t printed on our money, nor does it count when we pay our local & state taxes.  If we don’t end wasteful spending here and now, exactly when do we?  If we don’t stand up for our tax dollar usage on a local and state level to our representatives, regardless of party affiliation, then who exactly is going to?

Apparently, the fact that enough of us spoke our minds on this forum means that our voices were heard on a town level.  Not so much on a state level.  So, that means we need to speak up to our state reps and demand that the Obama campaign be billed for this.  Re-billed if necessary.  I don’t have enough money to be wasted; do you.

Posted by Jean Marie Wiesen on August 08, 2012 at 02:30 PM | #

Thank you, Jean. 
I certainly do hope hope CT Post is correct. 
And I agree with you 100% about speaking up - it is the only way politicians remember they serve at the will of the people, and are supposed to represent the people.
You are right, I cross party lines all the time.

Posted by Gini Otway on August 08, 2012 at 02:44 PM | #

Have to go, but I called Congressman Himes office, so we’ll see what kind of results I get.  They’ve got to be better than what I got from Malloy, “Call the WH.”  what a jerk!  I told the guy at Himes office what they wrote back to me…yup, I’ve got it saved.  They actually sent me to Dept. of Parks and rec, first!  Our illustrious Gov!!  Hollywood party boy!

Posted by Jean Marie Wiesen on August 08, 2012 at 03:34 PM | #

Its fairly well published in other sources quoting the DEEP that the park workers were paid, so you can rest easy on that account.

Posted by Elizabeth Thibault on August 09, 2012 at 01:06 PM | #

I actually spoke w/ the head of the parks dept. in Hartford who assured me that they, indeed were not paid as has been published, Elizabeth.  Goes to show how misinformed all us are.  It’s the same as if it’s a rainy day, they don’t get paid, but as was told to me, it all evens out w/ extra days, somehow?  Seriously, that’s how it was told to me.  They have make-up days, of sorts, apparently, since there are numerous days when the park can be closed for a variety of reasons or some workers won’t be required due to weather.

In short, don’t believe everything you read!

Furthermore, contact your congressman to get this law changed so that this never happens again by either party.

Posted by Jean Marie Wiesen on August 09, 2012 at 01:20 PM | #

Thank you to our town leaders for hearing our voice.  Now that the townsfolk have been heard, how about making the request for reimbursement standard operating procedure for any private political fundraising events?

Posted by mary ruggiero on August 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM | #

I may be beating a… but since Our First Selectman states that we are unlikely to be reimbursed, why not bill the sponsor of this type of event.  Non-profits have to pay for the presence of police when it is deemed necessary by a town.  Therefore, shouldn’t the sponsors of events where the police are needed, as well as any other town services, bear the cost of reimbursement?  It really is another cost of the event.

Posted by mary ruggiero on August 12, 2012 at 12:29 PM | #

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