Pudlin Deal Extended
The Common Council voted Wednesday night to renew the contract of David Pudlin of Pudlin Strategic Communications (PSC) for $2,800 a month for economic development.
PSC, a political consulting firm, was hired for consulting services in 2012 and has been paid $30,800 since.
After filing a Freedom of Information complaint for information on PSC, the New Britain City Journal found that Pudlin was involved in a few phone conversations and lunches, but little else was given to document his work.
His hiring also became controversial as supposedly, Aldermen were not told who would be hired when the Council was looking to hire a firm because it was unknown. But, Democrat Mayor Pro Tem Michael Trueworthy recused himself because he used to work for Pudlin. But, this time Trueworthy did not recuse himself.
Mayor Tim O’Brien first knew Pudlin as he was hired by Pudlin as his aid when he was a state representative.
Alderman Suzanne Bielinski said PSC was actively negotiating with business for the Berkowitz building and the old police department.
When asked by Alderman Willie Pabon for specifics or anyone they have brought in for economic development, none could be provided.
“The organization has extensive connections,” said Bielinski. She also tried to defend O’Brien by saying that other mayor’s hire such associates.
“So we have been paying this guy for a whole year already and we can’t see what he brought in,” said Pabon. “He is getting $2,800 for doing nothing. So we are giving him another year to try a little harder.”
“We now are a year into a contract and thinking about renewing for another year and based on Alderman Pabon’s question we have nothing tangible that we can point to and say he did after giving him $2,800 a month for 12 months,” said Alderman Jamie Giantonio. “For me to renew a contact, I kind of would like to see some results. I haven’t seen any.”
Voting against the deal was Pabon, Giantonio and David DeFronzo.
This is the second political public relations firm O’Brien has hired.
In Dec. 2012 the mayor’s office announced it hired Global Strategies Group (GSG) for $100,000 to help in its fight against 911 fee misinformation. The office claimed it did not need to go through the council as it was an emergency. It is required that any spending over $3,000 requires approval from the council.
GSG is owned by Roy Ochiograsso, who worked for Gov. Dannel Malloy. It is also considered a political consulting firm.
Both of these firms are being paid through taxpayer dollars.