Three Valley Lawmakers Counter Derby Parking Director’s Statement
by Eugene Driscoll | Mar 7, 2014 7:48 am
Posted to: Derby
An off-the-cuff remark by the director of the Derby Parking Authority triggered a pointed response Thursday from three lawmakers who represent Derby in the state legislature.
During an Aldermen meeting on the status of the beleaguered Derby Parking Garage Tuesday, parking authority director Leo Moscato, Jr. criticized state Rep. Linda Gentile, state Rep. Themis Klarides and state Sen. Joseph Crisco for not being in attendance.
Moscato made his comments as he discussed short-term and long-term repairs needed at the garage, which the Board of Aldermen closed Feb. 27 out of a concern for public safety. The Parking Authority has a report showing the structure needs almost $7 million in repairs.
“Who I’d like to see here tonight, where is Mrs. Gentile, where’s Mr. Crisco, where’s Mrs. Klarides, where are they?” Moscato asked during the meeting. “I mean they come to your inauguration party. I want to see them here so we can get some money, because the state of Connecticut actually operates 90 vehicles out of that garage,” he said.
The three lawmakers responded to Moscato’s comments Thursday by saying no one from Derby has picked up a phone to ask for assistance.
“We stand ready to advocate in any way possible, and welcome feedback on how best to address the deterioration of the garage,” Crisco, Gentile and Klarides said in a prepared statement. “However, the lack of communication from municipal officials is preventing our ability to assist and be informed about the situation. If we had been requested to appear before the Board of Aldermen to specifically discuss this issue, we certainly could have been there.”
The lawmakers’ full statement is embedded at the bottom of this article.
The lawmakers said it’s unusual to simply drop by a local meeting to insert themselves in a municipal issue.
“We rely on them to connect with us about status updates so we can determine what, if anything, can be done on the state level. We’re always here to help when called upon, but at this point we haven’t received any calls, and can’t step on toes when it comes to determining the fate of city-owned property,” they said.
The press release doesn’t mention Moscato directly, but Gentile told the Valley Indy it was prompted by his comments.
“We were being taken to task for something we had never been informed of,” Gentile said.
The lawmakers said they’re willing to work with Derby officials on the issue, but they need information.
Klarides said she reached out to discuss the issue with Moscato.
“He told me it wasn’t meant in a negative way per se, just that we weren’t there. I don’t think he was aware whether we had been contacted or not. I just think it was a miscommunication at a certain point, but the reality is we cannot read minds,” Klarides said.
In an e-mail Thursday, Derby Mayor Anita Dugatto said the ball is in the Parking Authority’s court.
“The fact is the BOA are waiting to hear from the Derby Parking Authority for their plan to address the 64 trouble spots,” Dugatto said.
The mayor is referring to an engineer’s report discussed by the Aldermen Tuesday.
The report said the garage could re-open as long as steps were taken to isolate 64 spots in the structure where there is a potential for concrete to fall from the ceiling.
The Derby Parking Authority is working on a plan to isolate those spots. Before the garage can reopen, the parking authority needs to get the plan approved by the Aldermen, then implemented.
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