The communists had nothing to do with latest bonding flap

This time it had nothing to do with communists.

A few weeks after scrapping plans to help fund a controversial community center project in New Haven, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was criticized Friday in connection with a center in Bridgeport.

Sen. Andrew W. Roraback, R-Goshen, said his objection doesn’t rest with the administration’s decision to delay funding for the Cardinal Shehan Center — but rather the low-profile manner in which it handled the delay.

But the administration fired back that Roraback, who is a candidate for Congress, would have known what was going on if he had spent more time paying attention at commission meetings, and less time engaging in partisan politics.

When Friday’s commission meeting opened, Roraback noted that a $2.8 million allocation to enable the Bridgeport center to renovate a Boys and Girls Club facility in the city’s north end was removed from the commission’s June 4 agenda with no discussion.

Malloy already was having a rough time at the June 4 meeting, reversing himself and dropping his earlier support for using $300,000 in state funds to renovate the New Haven People’s Center. Though that facility houses a wide array of educational, civic and social service programs, it also hosts a Communist Party newspaper, and the governor acknowledged his office had heard strong objections from veterans’ groups.

Later that same meeting, a proposal to spend $8.1 million in total on eight different community-based projects was adopted with no mention that the administration — which controls the bond commission agenda — had removed one of those projects, funding for the nonprofit Cardinal Shehan Center.

“There was no recital or revelation” that funding for this project had been tabled, Roraback said, adding that he was aware, though, that there was some community opposition to the planned renovation.

“I think all of us deserve better, quite frankly,” he told Malloy.

The governor noted that commission members were made aware that the planned $8.1 million allocation had been reduced by $2.8 million, and that Roraback or anyone could have deduced that the Bridgeport project had been tabled simply by listening and by following the printed agenda.

Malloy nonetheless asked his budget director, Benjamin Barnes, to announce any specific projects by name that are tabled in the future. “Would you please make sure there is an announcement to that effect?” the governor said.

But Malloy’s senior policy adviser, Roy Occhiogrosso, noted later that Roraback — who is running for Congress in the 5th District and has served on the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee for many years — only now has begun to criticize how the bond commission operates.

“For Senator Roraback to portray himself as a victim is ridiculous,” Occhiogrosso said. “He should run for Congress outside of this building.”