Within a week of revealing his laughable intentions of running for governor, House Speaker Jim Amann showed how much he cares about our hard-earned money. He called a one-hour long special session for business that could have been covered in a technical session.
But sprinklers were being installed in the House Chamber, and scaffolding had been erected throughout the ornate room for the job. Amann ordered the scaffolding taken down for the session, and then re-erected afterward. The workers were paid $55,000 in overtime to remove and reassemble the scaffolding to complete the job. Special Sessions cost roughly $10,000 to begin with, so add it all up, and we all get a $65,000 bill for one hour of work.
Doing this was stupid enough. But Amann's inarticulate and combative response to criticism compounded the insult to taxpayers. House Republican Leader Larry Cafero suggested that the business could have been conducted in a technical session, the two leaders could duck under the scaffolding, and get the job done, saving the unnecessary expense. Amann was enraged. He was quoted in the Courant as saying:
"We're the majority party. I make the call for the session," Amann said. "It was the proper thing to do. I don't have to consult Larry Cafero on how to run the House. ... Tell him there's a war going on in Iraq. There's more important issues than this. When he becomes speaker, he can do what he wants. That's how democracy works."
Jim Amann's willingness to discard $65,000 of our money for an impromptu session shows hostility toward taxpayers, and is a disgrace. To further it by reflexively invoking the Iraq War when faced with legitimate Republican criticism demonstrated Amann's lack of good sense or intellectual dexterity. It is for this reason that I select this as the 4th Dumbest Thing Done by Connecticut Democrats in 2007.