Millions $$$ at Stake in New NHFD MOU

It appears the City and the Union removed the MOU from the internet, but you can find a copy by clicking here


I’m still digesting this agreement. But it appears to be a major giveaway by the City and will cost our taxpayers millions. Chief John Alston won’t speak to this agreement because it is indefensible. Something smells here and I intend to find out exactly what is happening and will do everything in my power to block it - including reaching out to the ratings agencies. If this is such a great deal for the City, then the City and the Union need to release the spreadsheets and the analysis.

I’m not going to let this go until we have all the information and the numbers, but I need some help. If anyone is available to assist with the research, then please email me in confidence at

Dennis Serfilippi


It has come to my attention that the City of New Haven signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NHFD Union on Friday July 12th. The MOU is far-reaching and covers many issues including staffing for the heavy rescue apparatus, minimum staffing, vacation time, health benefits for spouses of retirees, and pension buyback using accrued sick time. I am receiving conflicting information as to the impact of the agreement on City Finances. On the one hand, the agreement allows for the reduction in minimum staffing from the current 72 to a proposed 69. The reduction COULD save ~$1.5 million per year in the operating budget. The operative word is COULD bc the ability to get to the 69 MAY, repeat MAY, be dependent on hiring ALS staff which could take years. On the other hand, the agreement permits certain hires to buy service years using accrued sick leave, and would certainly increase the unfunded pension liability - PERHAPS by tens of millions of dollars. These are but two aspects of the MOU. Again, the MOU is far-reaching. My purpose in distributing this PSA and the link to the MOU is to make everyone aware of it’s potential to dramatically impact the City’s budget and debt, and make certain the items have been reviewed and accurately costed out so the taxpayers are protected. I have neither a legal nor legislative background. And I am not certain if the Board of Alders must approve the MOU or if the MOU is binding. The MOU can be found at the link below.

Regards, Dennis Serfilippi

Recap of Mtg Regarding Illegal Dirt Bikes

Overall, Turnout was Very Poor

  • Lt Jacobson (Intel & Major Crimes) Lt. Sharp (Patrol) from NHPD.

  • Adam Marchand was the sole Alder.

  • Channel 8 from media.

  • 8 members of the public.

  • Nobody from the business community.

  • Nobody from Mayor's Harp's office. 

Public Comments

Of the 8 members of the public who attended, four believe the illegal dirt bikes are NOT a problem. Some were concerned the issue would be used to 'compromise people of color', and youths. Others took exception with using the words 'terrorize' and 'criminalize' to describe  the dirt bike behavior, and believe the riders just want a safe place to ride. This group advocated for a dedicated public space for the riders, but did not have firm suggestions as to where or how.  Another suggestion was to close off a major roadway on a given weekend(s) and allow the riders to 'perform'. This idea raised questions regarding city liability and how to execute it.

The four members of the public in attendance who believe the dirt bikes ARE a problem, expressed the familiar concerns regarding quality of life, and public safety. Nobody in this group advocated for punitive criminal penalties or targeting youths. Everyone in this group agreed the riders are not from any one racial, ethnic, or age group. 

Lt Jacobson and the Facts

  • The dirt bikes are a major problem. The police get more complaints regarding dirt bikes, than for any other issue - including drugs.  

  • The police are concerned first and foremost with safety, everyone's safety - safety of the public, the riders, and the police. This is why the police don't chase.

  • ALL races are represented by the riders. The riders aren't only youths. It's people from teens to people in their 30's and 40's. Almost entirely males. . 

  • 70% of the riders come from out of town, 30% from New Haven

  • Most of the large rides are from people coming in from out of town

  • Riders aren't just looking for a safe place to ride. They are looking for a thrill and an audience. 

  • When police find a youth with a bike the first approach is to work with the parents. Legal action is only taken if parents don't respond.

    What Works/Doesn't Work   

  • Monitoring social media is no longer helpful. Riders are using apps that are more private.

  • Police rely on tips submitted to the Elm City Intel Center. It's Anonymous 203.946.6296. . Text "NHPD tip" to 274637 (CRIMES)

  • Don't use SeeClickFix. Police don't monitor it and most riders have taken to wearing masks. If you have clear video of riders faces, send to Elm City Intel Center.

  • Calling the 946-6316 helps police track and monitor (and disperse) the larger rides but for the most part won't result in bikes being confiscated. 

  • Trying to catch bikes while at gas stations is not safe given the gas, tight quarters, and presence of the general public.

  • Asking gas stations to deny service to riders might help, but it would need to be voluntary on the part of the gas stations.

  • Monitoring entrance and exit ramps for riders coming in from out of town might help, but the police don't have the resources.

  • Assigning dedicated resources on weekends can be done when the police have specific tips, but its expensive and takes time to prepare and can't be canceled (union rules rightly require reasonable notice) at the last minute, if for example it rains.

  • Building cases against riders has gotten harder due to changes in the way the court are interpreting the law    

Next Steps     
The NHPD is working on a plan of action. We'll cover it when it comes out. But again, there are limits, legally and practically, to what the NHPD alone can do. Absent help from the general public and any interest from our elected officials and business community, the situation will not change. Chief Campbell often quoted Robert Peel, 'the police are the community and the community are the police'. The police are doing what they can. it's now up to the community.

Lastly, thank you to Amy Hudak and WTNH for covering last night's meeting. You can view Amy's report here...

2019 Mayoral Candidates Top Priorities

Our New Haven reached out to the 2019 Mayoral Candidates and asked each to list the top five issues/priorities they would focus on as Mayor. The goal here is to get a general sense for what each is thinking, understanding that it is still early in the process. As we move forward we hope to be able to share (and compare) specific platforms. The candidate’s unedited responses are below, published in the order in which they were received. Note that we did not ask them to list the issues in order of priority, so you should not assume that #1 is more important than #5. Also, Justin Elicker chose to submit four issues at this time.

Lastly, we’ve turned Comments On. Please be civil and stick to the issues.

Updated 03-10-2019. Urn Pendragon has entered the Mayor’s race.


Hello Dennis,

It would be my pleasure to provide brief bullet points to describe my top 5 priorities.  There are so many layers of depth to the current issues and problems that New Haven needs to overcome in order to grow beyond a near flat line of annual trends over the last 20 to 30 years.  Sure, subjects like low crime rates, fiscal conservatism and political accountability are very important, but by strangling the resources needed to promote and sustain economic growth need to be reinforced and bolstered, not streamlined.

I will expand on my action plans in a future communication, but here are the top 5 ranked areas of my campaign:

1.  Wide-scale equitable, affordable housing so residents can have spendable revenue that can be circulated throughout the city's economy.

2.  Green, renewable and scalable energies to bolster power grid resilience, lower monthly reliance on imported electricity and provide jobs.

3.  Political accountability, by way of an easy-to-access progress report online, so the public can follow along with what the local government is doing.

4.  Centralize and organize all of the non-profits together into a citywide coalition, to provide efficient shelter, food, healthcare and job assistance to those in need, and fund-raise to stock-up needed resources.

5.   An audit of the city's spending and annual budget, to identify expenditures that need to be either streamlined, reinforced or cut entirely.

Everything on my list carries the same weight of concern, but since you asked for a ranked top 5, I did my best to briefly explain them.  Thank you for your time!

Take care and be well,

Urn Pendragon

Wendy Hamilton

Thank you, Dennis.  Of course nothing is written in stone.  I remain flexible as I hear more bad news about the city budget.

I now list top 5 issues:

1. Budget fix

2.House the homeless

3.More $$ for schools

4.Police contract

5.Improve mass transit

Of course I can easily expand and explain the list items at length, if desired.


Mayor Harp

Thank you for reaching out with this opportunity… the mayor’s continuing priorities are listed as highlighted edits to your e-mail below…

 Thank you again…


1. continue improvements in public safety protocol to extend five-year trend of lower crime rates

2. perpetuate New Haven Public Schools trends re: higher graduation rates, higher college enrollment and persistence rates, greater New Haven Promise participation, and lower suspension and expulsion rates

3. add to economic development, jobs creation, and private-sector construction to ensure vibrant New Haven economy going forward

4. maintain fiscal restraint to manage public funds responsibly and judiciously

5. act on additional initiatives to streamline city government, increase interactive capabilities, and make it more efficient in its operations 

Justin Elicker

I'll be formulating something more robust in written form in the future. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks. 


-Provide fiscal discipline to get the city's short and long term finances in order. 
-Focus on achieving real results in our school system and provide stability in planning.
-Implement economic development policy that isn't just about new buildings, but focuses on job creation for all and building our tax base by attracting more startups in New Haven, training residents through a pipeline to existing job opportunities and by growing our industrial base.
-Ensure transparent, honest, collaborative, accountable and accessible government that people trust and can rely on.

Petition to Investigate City Hall!

We need an independent investigation of City Hall. Please sign the petition below.

Many New Haven residents, taxpayers, and members of the media have raised concerns with regards to unusual, and seemingly inexplicable, financial and non-financial developments within our City government. The most recent development is news the New Haven Board of Education signed a $100,000 separation agreement with its COO Will Clark. Some prior developments (the list is too long to include within this petition) include the following:

  • An interest in borrowing $250 million in pension obligation bonds at time of rising interest rates.

  • New Haven Board of Police Commissioner’s long delay in removing an academy cadet with a history of domestic violence.

  • Numerous reports of UNITE Here backed Alders interfering with the progression/approval of development projects that don’t meet UNITE Here demands.

  • Refusal by City Hall to provide invoices supporting unexplained charges on the City of New Haven credit card.

To be sure, it’s possible the issues outlined above are nothing more than ‘politics’, or even incompetence. However, the optics are not good. And the refusal by city officials to provide explanations and respond to FOIA requests serves to magnify suspicions. Therefore, we the people of the City of New Haven call on our State and Federal authorities to investigate City Hall. This is OUR City, and we deserve to know the truth.

Petition can be found here..

Dirt Bike Season Just 75 Days Away!

The below is a comment I made on the New Haven Independent

I'm glad you raised the issue of dirt bikes. Nothing showcases our City's lack of leadership more than it's inability, and perhaps unwillingness, to address the lawlessness exhibited by the dirt bike gangs. Dirt bike season used to be June July August. But in recent years it has started earlier and ended later. I'm guessing we should see our first riders in early April - about 75 days from now.  So, last week during our Community Management Team meeting in Westville I raised the topic with District 2 Manager Lt. Rose Dell.  Lt. Dell has a long history of public service in the City and she's done a great job keeping the residents of Westville informed. She is dedicated, truly concerned with the community, and very professional. I asked Lt. Dell if the City/NHPD had a plan in place to stop the terror before it begins anew this Spring. She assured me the City was looking at new technologies to address the issue.  And at last week's COMPSTAT mtg Chief Campbell informed me that Lt. Jacobson is working on a plan. So, I am cautiously optimistic. However, I do question the City's will to address the issue. 

I say this because a few weeks ago I met with Officer Christian Bruckhart - he grew up and still lives in New Haven and has experienced the dirt bike chaos while on the job and at home in his neighborhood. It is clear from my conversation with him that he loves his job and this City, and we are fortunate to have him on the NHPD; he transferred from the Wallingford PD more than 10 years ago. Four years ago, Officer Bruckhart submitted to the City a proposal to use drone's as PART of a solution to safely track and then arrest the dirt bike riders. Officer Bruckhart researched and authored the report on his own time. The proposal was so good that the NHPD gave Officer Bruckhart an award for his proposal. But it was never put into action - for reasons I do not know. 

Again, I hope the City/NHPD will have a plan in place to stop the dirt bike madness before it begins this Spring.  Perhaps they should revisit Officer Bruchart's proposal. Either way, we plan to follow the topic on our website - it's one of those issues that cuts across most City neighborhoods, and destroys the quality of life for those of us who live here, while sending the wrong message about New Haven to the those who visit. 

The proposal is a few years old and  likely needs to be refreshed, but we have posted a copy on the website Let's hope the City revisits the proposal. Click here for a copy of the proposal