The desperate spin coming from Town Hall regarding the failed Michael Bolton concert continues. You would think that Tim Herbst and the Trumbull Republican Party would be anxious to put this aborted concert behind them, but apparently not yet. Recently, Herbst surrogate and fellow Republican Elaine Hammers sounded off on the concert. Unfortunately, her words were more of the same frantic effort to spread the blame and avoid any accountability whatsoever.
It's hard to imagine how any reasonable Trumbull resident could give our First Selectman a pass on the failure of this concert. First, and most importantly, Herbst was responsible for selecting Michael Bolton. The First Selectman's judgment was poor when it came to what would appeal to potential concert-goers. Second, Herbst refused to tell the Town Council who the performer was when he personally requested a $60,000 appropriation of taxpayer funds to support the concert. Third, Herbst stated that the concert lost only $20,000, which was a clear lapse of judgment. The $20,000 loss is the net sum of one concert, another canceled concert, this canceled concert, and the transfer of over $12,000 that was left in the Trumbull Day account. It's entirely misleading to report that the concert lost $20,000, when Trumbull's own Finance Department's figures show the concert lost exactly $76,955. Fourth, Herbst said the loss on the concert came from "non-taxpayer funds."
Wait a minute. All funds which are held by the town are taxpayer funds. If they do not belong to the taxpayers, who do they belong to?
Finally, Herbst and Hammers continue to maintain that the vote of the Town Council was "bipartisan." Ten Republicans voted for the concert. Two Democrats did. Is this what Herbst calls bipartisan? Does he really think Trumbull residents believe this?
One year ago, we had a serious town debate over saving our schools’ reading specialists, our computer paras and updating outdated text books. There was no money available. We were told that tough economic times warranted tough choices and an austere budget. $76,955 could have had a significant impact elsewhere in Trumbull.
It's time for honesty from First Selectman Tim Herbst. If he continues to try to pull the wool over our eyes on this, how can he be trusted in anything he says? Take ownership of this failure, Mr. Herbst. Trumbull voters will have far more respect for you than if you continue with the spin and trying to find others to blame.