Truth About the $700 Office Chairs

Here are the facts about the $700 Office Chairs. You decide.

Mayoral candidate Bob Joy has tried tirelessly to recast the fact that his first vote as a newly elected Alderman in 2009 was to approve a whopping $700 a piece for city office chairs. He has defended his vote by saying that, in the end, the city didn’t actually end up spending the total amount he approved.

Of course, what was eventually spent on the chairs is not the point here. Bob Joy and his fellow Aldermen are charged with the responsible oversight, allocation, approval and disposition of our tax dollars. Approving $700 a piece for chairs is inexcusable and concerning, something I do not believe Mr. Joy would do with his own money.

Background: At Bob Joy’s first meeting as an Alderman, on December 7th, he voted “yes” when asked to approve taxpayer dollars to fund office chairs at  $700 a piece! This is a fact that can be verified by reading the Board of Aldermen meeting minutes, page 5 and 6, posted on the city website at http://www.ci.milford.ct.us/Public_Documents.
At a time when neither Joy nor Blake was running for mayor, we get a look at how they behave without the campaign framework. The meeting minutes note that while Joy was approving the dollars, Blake was challenging the motion and pushing back, reminding his fellow aldermen that the outlook for the economy was poor and this was not a good use of tax dollars. Blake is on record asking if there had been any investigation into lower cost chairs. Yet, in the end, Blake's objections fell on deaf ears and the vote to approve the motion carried along Party lines, 8 to 4, with Ben Blake voting a clear, “No”.
The fact that, in the end, the City Purchasing Department was not able to use all the money Bob Joy approved misses the point. The point here is that we get a look into Mr. Joy’s willingness to approve a reckless amount for office chairs, an amount I trust he would never approve in his own household. His vote demonstrates a pathology of spending, I submit, we cannot afford to have in the Mayor’s office.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

RONALD M GOLDWYN September 27, 2011 at 07:04 PM
What a bunch of Baloney. If this came from a neutral source it might be worth the ink it takes to print this out. Just what dollar amount did Ben Blake propose during the discussion? The board gave the motion a maximum figure to spend. The fact that the minority voted no to me indicates that they felt it was better not to purchase the chairs as there is no indication for the Democrats that they felt $700 was too expensive. I find that the history of Ben Blake is such that were someone to analyize his statements one would come to the conclusion that he is an ardent T Party Republican who advocates cutting, cutting, and cutting. There are times when he proposed cuts to members of Milford serving in our Armed Forces were good, but when the proposal was to cut fees for residents who suffered from Hurricane Irene, Ben said and voted NO to giving them relief. He admitted he didn't know how Insurance policies treated our residents when it came time to rebuild, but rather that say to the Director of Permitting and Land use, just don't charge a fee when issueing the permit Ben voted to let the fees remain in place so the city would not lose that money which he says will be paid by the insurance companies. As I began, so will I end. What is being fed to us is just a bunch of Baloney that our educated voters will see it as such.
Rich Smith September 27, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Ron, thank you again for your thoughtful and cogent comments. Unlike you, I don't know how people "felt" when they voted no but I guess they felt that $700 a chair was too much. You don't approve $700 unless . . . well, you approve spending $700 a chair. Isthat too complicated to understand? Somehow I'm sensing you didn't take the time to actually read the meeting minutes but, then again, they say everyone is entitled to an opinion. As for the fee waiver issue, again, you may want to spend less time publishing your theories and more time understanding and researching the issues. Blake voted against the Fee Waiver because, in it's current form, it was unworkable , as per the Director of Land Use. If Bob Joy truly cared about passing an ordinance to help the people of Milford, most would agree he would have ensured that the issues and concerns of the very people expected to implement and manage the change were addressed. When you bury the Director's list of concerns and tell her NOT to attend the meeting, something's up. Crafting good public policy takes work, it should never come from cheap campaign gimmicks.
Michael Brown September 28, 2011 at 01:25 AM
The idea that Ben Blake should have made another suggestion or an amendment to the $700 chair appropriation is thoroughly without any merit. Have you ever attended a Board of Aldermen meeting chaired by Alderman Greg Smith? The Democrats are only 5 of 15 Aldermen, and Chairman Smith makes sure they know that. Most votes to spend money go down 10 to 5 on party lines. Then it’s time for the taxpayers pay, pay, pay. Unlike the tough-love Republicans in Washington, these Milford Republicans have no regard for taxpayer money. Let’s hope the Democrats take back this Board and throw these spendthrifts out.
John Pasnau September 29, 2011 at 03:12 AM
I was in the office furniture business for 25 years before leaving to open my own company 6 years ago. The truth is that 700 dollars for an office chair is not a lot of money and no where near top end. Any office chair under 300 dollars is a cheap chair that will probably not last more than 2 years and will never give the comfort necessary to have its occupant preform at top efficiency for 8 hours a day 240 days a year. 300 - 1000 dollars is mid market and where most people will find both comfort and quality that will last 5 - 10 years in a full time office environment. If you are paying someone $45,000 a year to do an important job that needs doing 5 days a week 52 weeks a year, 700 bucks amortized over 10 years is a trivial amount. The truth is that this whole issue is a cheap campaign gimmick, a mountain out of a mole hill as my Grandma would say. Budgeting $700 a chair, then spending somewhat less is exactly what should have been done. Time to focus on the important issues. The economy sucks, taxes are forcing people from homes they paid for all their lives. Education costs are growing faster than inflation and the economy, all the while enrollment is falling. Time to get your eyes on the real issues. This one is nonsense.
BJ September 29, 2011 at 09:38 AM
Hear, hear! As an income tax practitioner, I spend a lot of my time in a chair-- during tax season, 15 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Over the years I've ordered numerous chairs from Staples, the assemble-it-yourself kind, to save a few bucks. At long last I ordered (not from Staples) an $850 Aeron chair, and what a difference! And it's guaranteed to last far longer than the 2-year life expectancy of a cheap chair. The payback on this investment will be realized over the long term, something that's not considered amid all the posturing of an election year. Cheap chairs are like asking the fire department to roll out in pickup trucks or telling the police to carry peashooters.
Michael Brown September 29, 2011 at 12:06 PM
Maybe you guys have never heard of a thing called THE BUDGET. This Republican dominated board hadn't even passed their first one yet, but that didn't stop them from cutting into to coffers to give Mayor Richetelli his chair request. When the Republicans had a chance to make a budget they cut 80 teachers and closed a school. NO CHAIRS WERE HURT IN THE MAKING OF THIS BUDGET. Now the kids play musical-chairs in poorly funded schools. PRIORITIES!!!
RONALD M GOLDWYN September 29, 2011 at 02:34 PM
There you go again Mike. When your headline over chairs are debunked, you find something else to attack. I thought you would next say the Republicans controlled the weather and we were responsiple for the hurricane. Mike dreams of the day when Milford has a Democratic Mayor,It has been decades since the voters were convinced that the Republican candidates have done a bad job. When given the opportunity to lead the Board of Aldermen, with their Nominee for Mayor as the Chairman of the Board, he and his majority were found lacking and were thrown out of office by a huge majority that exists today. In other words, Ben Blake and his policy was found lacking by the electorate. This bird has not changed his feathers, he is just a T Party Republican in disguise. I am one Republican who doesn't mind saying that on the national level those t party republicans are bad for my party and country. Mike , you complain at the cost of government here in Milford, but you would go out of your mind if you lived in my former hometown in Nassau County. When I lived there, it was the most highly taxed county in the USA.
Michael Brown October 09, 2011 at 03:18 PM
I truly hope your logic is flawed. The Milford electorate cannot be as mean spirted as you paint them.
Linda October 20, 2011 at 12:29 PM
I hope Ben Blake is bringing more to the table than $700 chair story and $27,000 story about spending money out of town. Poor Ben, being lead by the nose by Rich Smith. Rich Smith who after years of running the Democratic party in Milford has one year of victory and not one elected Mayor. If he was a baseball player he would be sitting the bench with that batting average.
robert frank October 21, 2011 at 09:47 PM
Rich how about a 4.2 Million Dollars firehouse that everyone else buys for 1 million? Does that bother you?
Rich Smith October 21, 2011 at 10:15 PM
Linda, you're obviously a frustrated woman.
Joe Della Monica October 26, 2011 at 11:16 PM
Asking a Democrat to wrap their hands around a really important issue is like asking a 3 year old to split an atom.
michaelumb February 07, 2012 at 06:31 AM
This is great inspiration for me. <a href="http://www.offique.com/en/">design office chairs</a>
Banana Sam February 07, 2012 at 01:04 PM
I once spent 200 dollars just to use a chair for 15 minutes. I was in the champagne room of course.


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