As Feds Probe Perez For Insider Help With Top Cop Test, City Defends Search Procedures

Was the November 2018 selection of chief of police compromised because AJ Perez had an unfair testing advantage over other candidates?

That is in part what federal agents are probing as the city’s legal and consulting bills mushroom in response to a summer 2019 federal subpoena for records, city employees and current and former police officers face questioning while criminal defense attorneys position clients in what could emerge as a messy situation.

Federal investigators are probing allegations that Perez received an unfair advantage in the testing process such as advance help with question by a subordinate. That contention places Perez directly in line with the federal investigation.

Investigators from the Southern District of New York are actively involved interviewing witnesses in Connecticut and New York.

In November 2018, following a national search, Mayor Joe Ganim announced the appointment of Perez, his long-time friend, as the city’s top cop after Perez had served in an acting capacity since early 2016.

The city recruited five professionals in the field of police and municipal government to serve on a panel that conducted interviews Oct. 19, 2018 from a list of seven semifinalists. Executive search consultant Randi Frank, who has represented the city in several national searches, assembled the police chief search panel: Hartford Police Chief David Rosado, Yale University Police Chief Ronnell Higgins, municipal human resource official Bernadette Welch, UConn Health Labor Relations Director Caroline Beitman, and former Hartford City Manager Lee Erdmann.

The panel short-listed the search to three: in order New Haven Assistant Chief Luiz Casanova, Perez and Bridgeport Captain Roderick Porter, the highest-ranking African American in the department.

The City Charter, authorized by voters more than 30 years ago, empowers the mayor to select a chief from the three recommended finalists.

One of the key questions of the federal probe centers on the potential assistance Perez received in the testing process to position himself as one of the finalists. If true, who provided it?

On Monday Rowena White, Ganim’s Communications Director, distanced the city from the core of the probe focused on potential Perez testing assistance.

The City of Bridgeport police chief search was conducted by Civil Service in accordance with the Charter and the assistance of an outside consultant. In addition to those standards, the city sought to initiate open forums that allowed for public participation.

The administration stands by the process that was utilized, as it was utilized to hire other chiefs.

Translation: if there was any funny business involved blame it on bad actors not the process.

Supporters of Perez have been grousing about the distance Ganim has kept from Perez in the midst of this probe. Yes, Ganim puts up appearances when they are in public together but they are not nearly as chummy as yesteryear. It’s chilly.

As legal and consulting bills mount, now more than $300,000 in taxpayer dough in response to federal inquiry, a large question looms: are taxpayers picking up the bill for city employees who are lawyered up?

White added:

As a matter of practice, the city attorney can and does hire outside counsel for employees when appropriate. These determinations are made on a case by case basis as were done here.

Who are they and how many? Paging the City Attorney’s Office.

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14 comments

  1. It appears as if Mayor Ganim is drawing the line between David Dunn and himself when he said, “The City of Bridgeport police chief search was conducted by Civil Service in accordance with the Charter. That’s Trump speak for, don’t ask me ask David Dunn!

    Mayor Ganim is just like 45 when they just tell their subordinates what they would like to see and leave them to their own devices on how to get that done, right David Dunn? Like 45 he can say it wasn’t me I just followed what was presented to me. Mayor Ganim isn’t going to prison again because his subordinates did something illegal that they THOUGHT he wanted and to please him so that they could stay in their illegal position, Right David Dunn? I’m going out on a limb right now, in this day of our Lord, March 3rd, that David Dunn has lawyered up. Once David Dunn is gone we can get women and Black’s hired fire the fire service again!

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  2. Federal Probe Of Police Chief Selection Process – The topic above stated, “Executive search consultant Randi Frank, who has represented the city in several national searches, assembled the police chief search panel: Hartford Police Chief David Rosado, Yale University Police Chief Ronnell Higgins, municipal human resource official Bernadette Welch, UConn Health Labor Relations Director Caroline Beitman, and former Hartford City Manager Lee Erdmann,” there was nothing mentioned about the beginning of the search which started with the City’s “Acting” Personnel Director, David Dunn. Question, why did Dunn select Executive search consultant Randi Frank? The question above asked, “One of the key questions of the federal probe centers on the potential assistance Perez received in the testing process to position himself as one of the finalists. If true, who provided it?” Randi Frank created the exam and before the final exam was used Dunn had to review the exam, let’s remember that Dunn knew the relationship between Joe Ganim and AJ Perez just like most people in the City. Why was Randi Frank’s company selected considering that Frank’s company has NEVER given a police and fire exam that has the population of the size of Bridgeport and also the racial demographics of Bridgeport so why would Dunn hired a testing company like Randi Frank?

    Here are 2020 and in the history of the Bridgeport Fire Department there has NEVER been a black Fire Chief, NEVER but New Haven has had 3 black fire chiefs including their current fire chief and Hartford has had 6 black fire chiefs including their current fire chief. NO women have hired in 12 years under David Dunn and when the record of hiring blacks over the past 12 years is nowhere near that it was before David Dunn, please don’t take my word just look at the record.

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  3. Oh come on guys!! Stop being so dramatic. Everyone knows that Ganim & Company didn’t do anything wrong. That’s why the city is now preparing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars “defending” the fact that they did nothing wrong!!!! lMAO!!!
    More probing and more questioning from someone like Maria P. will continue to force certain city leaders to make comments about what is transpiring. They will be forced to make comments on issues that they would much prefer to be silent on.
    And that’s what I’m talking about!!!!
    Viewing the surveillance tapes which the FBI have when they were watching the pizza place would be most interesting.
    Mario, AJ, Ganim, and others, all sipping espresso at the little table outside the kitchen door. Microphones anyone?
    What a photo op!!!!
    Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Yes Bob and if you recall what I wrote here over a year ago, how could it be that those bugs were planted in Mario’s restaurant back then when he was there are almost 24 – 7?
      Mario came out unscathed didn’t he? So that means he never had ANY conversations about anything being done wrong while those microphones were active??? Yet all those others were convicted and went to jail.
      You would have to wonder if it happens again. LOL!!!
      I hope they enjoyed their espresso.
      Cheers!

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      1. I can tell you that I personally observed many a conversation Mario was having as he spoke beneath the fan vent on Madison Ave.
        I was told that helped keep the bugs away too.

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  4. Lennie why do you feel obligated to say charter changes approved by the voters 30 years ago.
    Would it make a difference if it were 20,10 or last year? The voters did not approve abuse of the process.

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  5. Bridgeport absurdities abound….
    I have come to know Chief AJ at a series of public meetings in recent years and he is warm and friendly for sure.
    I have attended an event at the Klein where new US citizens took their oath. AJ told his story of coming to the US as his land of opportunity.
    I saw the appointment of a high ranking PD officer with the charge of reducing overtime where he was successful, caused distress in the ranks, and was dismissed, but is seeking recompense from taxpayer voters for PD mismanagement.
    I have watched the Police Department budget increase more rapidly than the Grand List, the Education budgets, and saw that Chief AJ topped the list of City earners for 2019 a little shy of $500,000.
    I also have seen racial incidents, violence in the ranks to citizenry and family members, and no signs of “community policing” where relationships with people and officers is policy, monitored, and successful.
    Yet the story of Officer AJ Perez carrying one or more cases of valuable wine for his passenger, then an untainted Mayor of Bridgeport, to his automobile and likely providing other assistance to Ganim1 remains central.
    Which test(s) was AJ awarded the Chief position for? Isn’t it about time, for time to tell?

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    1. JML, I think you summed it up pretty good. AJ Perez is a real nice guy and most people would will you that. John, you made two other points, Chief AJ topped the list of City earners for 2019 a little shy of $500,000 and the story of Officer AJ Perez carrying one or more cases of valuable wine for his passenger, then an untainted Mayor of Bridgeport, to his automobile and likely providing other assistance to Ganim1 remains central.
      Which test(s) was AJ awarded the Chief position for? Joe Ganim owed AJ Perez big time and most people know that. John, did AJ Perez move back to Bridgeport yet and have you heard anything about Charles Ramsey’s report concerning the running of the police department and did the city pay him yet?

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  6. I mean who in this city didn’t know Joe was going to select Perez for chief when this “search” was announced??..It was a no brainer,Mario&Joe needed a chief who does what he’s told,Perez definately fit the bill.

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  7. The attorney representing the city in a federal criminal investigation consulted last year with lawyers for the police chief and municipal civil service director David Dunn. I said this was going to happen and if the Feds are reading OIB, please investigate David Dunn and his handling of Civil Service office with respect to hiring for the fire and the police department’s. I know he was doing illegal and nefarious activities as it’s Director! Bridgeport went over thirty years hiring women and when he was unceremoniously given the position no other women were hired. Black’s have been in every class since our original lawsuit in 1976, yet under David Dunn a class was put on without any Black’s. Feds, please we need a level playing field again and we need you to remove David Dunn’s thumb off the scale of justice!

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