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Interim Port Authority Chair Previously Left Post Under Cloud of Mismanagement

To the Editor:

I once road a freight train from Dover, NH to Scarborough, ME.  Around 2:30 in the morning I jumped off the moving train and cut my palm. Walked up a bridge embankment to the road. Put my thumb up to the first car I saw coming, which happened to be a police cruiser. Bleeding and alone on a very rural coastal stretch of road; I was carrying a knife when the visibly skeptical officer searched me. Wouldn’t tell him where I came from, only that I was going home.  

His solution?  Put me in the hard plastic back seat of his car and haul me to the edge of town. His headlights backlit my walk out of sight. I’m not joking, it was raining. On the way to the town line, I had asked for a ride to a train station; the officer said no. I wasn’t his problem. “Let the next town deal with him,” seemed to be his solution.

No one can deny that recently appointed CT Port Authority Interim Executive Director, Ulysses Hammond, has burnished a lot of local credibility. Former VP of Conn College, former chair of the Lawrence Memorial hospital board, trustee of Chelsea Groton Bank, board member of MLK Scholarship fund, Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce, and United Way.   

An excerpt from a Washington Post article describing the circumstances under which Ulysses Hammond left his job with the D.C. Court system remind me of a rainy night in Maine.

Ulysses B. Hammond, who resigned under pressure as executive officer of D.C. Superior Court, has landed on his feet, starting a new job this week as vice president for administration of Connecticut College.

Hammond, 49, announced his resignation in October and officially left Superior Court on Feb. 18. He started work at the private, liberal arts college in New London on Monday. His departure, along with the resignation of financial officer John F. Schultheis, reflected an attempt by the court’s managing body to restore confidence in a system criticized by Congress and others for financial mismanagement.

“We have a new personnel director, a financial officer from the Office of Management and Budget, and the court is now looking for a new executive officer,” said a Superior Court judge familiar with court management issues. “Without saying anything negative about anyone, those hirings alone would tell you it’s a new day.”

The Port Authority’s shortcomings have regularly exceeded their immense responsibilities. It is important that the press and legislators fully vet who ever will lead the organization; no matter how impressive their resume may be.

Kevin Blacker
Noank, CT

P.S. Someone from the press should have reported on the new $1.2 million State Pier cost over run announced by the Port Authority at their meeting last Tuesday.

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