By Peter Berman
NORWALK, Conn. – Anyone wondering how Norwalk, a town of modest household incomes, ever managed to underwrite the fifth highest public teacher salaries in the state with generous provisions seen nowhere else need only read the Jan. 14, 2013 edition of the NFT edition of the Vanguard edited by NFT Chief Bruce Mellion as follows:
“In those early days of the NFT, I used to stop in at the grocery store on North Taylor Avenue to visit with Frank (Esposito) and to see what was going on that was impacting the teachers and the NFT. He was always most gracious with his time and always had a smile, and he’d ensure me that everything was fine, as he talked and waited on customers.
“After he became Mayor in 1987, John Altieri and I would go to see Frank, usually in the driveway outside City Hall, to see what was going on with the operating budget or with teacher negotiations and he would respond with something like, ‘Ah you’ll be OK! And we were just that, for we did not have to go to binding arbitration from 1982 until this past fall. It was just that simple,’ You’ll be OK..
“Thank you, Frank, for all you did for the City of Norwalk and the Norwalk teachers.”
What a way to run a railroad!
The city owes a huge debt of gratitude to BOE members on the Negotiations Committee — Lyons, Haynie and Chiarmonte — for having the sheer grit and old fashioned civic pride of responsibility to take the NFT to arbitration and demonstrate for one and all the consequences of backdoor Norwalk politics.
Peter I Berman