Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Vernon and the CRRA

Letters to the Editor
Journal Inquirer
April 24, 2008

We found the story about Vernon wanting to break free from the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (“Vernon looking to get out of CRRA contract”, April 15) interesting for a number of reasons.

In the story, Town Attorney Harold Cummings claimed that CRRA “threatens a lawsuit with anybody we talk to.” I don’t know who he has talked to, but I do know that since our new Board of Directors was seated in 2002, the only people we’ve sued were those involved in the Enron transaction. Those suits have brought us more than $150 million of the $220 million we lost. Meanwhile, we’ve been sued by many parties, including Vernon and the other 69 Mid-Connecticut Project municipalities in New Hartford v. CRRA.

Cummings also asked, “What is CRRA doing with our money?” We tried to tell them. Unlike dozens of other towns, Vernon representatives did not attend CRRA’s annual meeting and financial review Feb. 27, or three other public meetings on our budget (Feb. 14, 21, and 26), or even a recent budget workshop scheduled specifically for Vernon’s benefit April 11. In fact, Vernon had never asked for any financial information (perhaps because our financials are provided directly to all 70 towns as well as posted on the Internet at

Cummings also complained about CRRA’s legal fees, but when the lawyers who pursued New Hartford v. CRRA demanded a fee of $8.9 million in public funds — almost one-fourth of the total judgment — not only did Cummings not object, he actually told the judge presiding over the case that the lawyers were entitled to all that public money. Meanwhile, he complains about our legal fees, conveniently omitting the fact that all but $100,000 was paid by our insurance carrier.

Finally, Mayor Jason L. McCoy is interested in pursuing non-CRRA options for disposing of Vernon’s waste. Here’s what we say to all our towns: When our contract expires, if you can find a better deal, by all means take it. Your taxpayers expect you to do nothing less.

Thomas D. Kirk

The writer is the president of the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority.