Av Harris, Legislative Liaison, Leaving City Service To Rejoin State

Av Harris dances
Oy vey, this is scary. From June 2016, Av Harris cutting a rug at Testo’s Restaurant during a fundraiser for non-profits. Sue Katz photo.

Mayor Joe Ganim’s legislative liaison to state government Av Harris is leaving city service to work in Governor Ned Lamont’s administration as director of communications and legislative affairs for the Department of Public Health. The pay is much better than his $83,326 city gig and his gas-guzzling commute much closer to his home in Massachusetts.

Harris, a former radio journalist, leveraged his media and state contacts in the cause of pushing Bridgeport’s agenda at the state capital where relationships matter. He was the guy who kept score of the legislative bills and served as a bridge between the mayor’s office and decision makers in Hartford.

Harris served for many years as the spokesperson for the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Office, the chief elections agency, and had a hand in breaking one of OIB’s top stories of the 2015 municipal election when a filing snafu blocked then-Mayor Bill Finch from placing his name on the November ballot after losing a close primary to Ganim. Talk about agita for the Finch camp.

Be it state or municipal government, Harris is an accessible public spokesperson who also provides a straight answer. He also enjoys a warped sense of humor, something that comes in handy in the circuitous world of government. Check out his dance step in the above photo.

Ganim said on Monday “He’s been a pleasure to work with and will be sorely missed.”

Harris resignation letter to Ganim:

This letter is to inform you that effective 12:00 p.m. on February 22, 2019 I will be resigning my position of employment with the city of Bridgeport.

It has been an honor to serve with you and I am proud of the work we have done together to improve the lives of thousands of Bridgeport residents. I thank you for the opportunity to serve the residents of Bridgeport in your administration. I have learned a tremendous amount and I will never forget these past three years. Bridgeport is a terrific city that has unlimited potential. I will continue to admire the progress being made to revitalize Bridgeport and the entire regional economy from afar; and I am glad I was able to play a small part in this success story.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to work for the city of Bridgeport and serve your administration.

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12 comments

  1. A fluttering of “resignations”?? Dennis B and now Av H
    And such is the memory…..”proud of the work we have done together to improve the lives of thousands of Bridgeport residents.” Av, provide us with a couple of hints so that we can see what you are proud of? Is it the budget priorities that Ganim2 laid out to voters and was later able to bolster with examples of ACCOUNTABILITY? Which thousands of lives were ignored other than kids in school? Was it folks in the Park City Communities where year after year fiscal and management problems were not brought forward to get settled and solved after years of fear for security and safety? Av, the quiet action of Ganim2 to ignore new and full term appointments to too many Boards and Commissions and to ignore evaluations of personnel so that Joe could brag (like Trump) about getting the best people to serve has set the City back with poor decisions. From the seat I occupy, the best move Ganim2 took was to pawn off the elimination of PLAN B Police and Fire pensions to MERS where actual overtime earnings now would count for retirement earnings. 25 years to earn a basic pension but if you organized yourself to serve three years of OVERTIME on top at the rate of your base, you could DOUBLE your retirement earnings. Av, did you share that fact as part of your communications duties? Is that why Ganim2 really did not provide for all of the citizens faithfully, equally, and justly? Thousands of taxpayers left holding the bag for OT Pension expense that is not collected from the external overtime employer collections? Tell me I am wrong, please? Time will tell.

      1. The photo captures Av Harris coming to grips with his I’m too sexy for my shirt moment. His dance partner’s outstretched arms seem to agree.
        Expect Hartford to be the capitol of the next dance craze.

  2. Looks like Av had his resume circulating for some time. The timing of this departure is telling… When a highly-regarded spokesperson leaves a position for “better-paying”/”more convenient location” reasons — despite a juicy counter-offer — it generally means that they’re reading ominous messages in the tea leaves concerning the future feasibility of their job description (as well as the short- and long-term prospects for the existence of the position…).

    Good luck with Ned, Av. Covering any aspect of “Lamont’s Connecticut” will certainly be challenging — and probably as stressful as “Joe’s Bridgeport” (and maybe not much longer-term) …

    Now: If only we could get the news of the impending departure of Sarah Huckabee Sanders… 🙂

  3. *** Two less rubber stamping, seat warming, yes men off the city roles & BOE, stone stepping their way to State political jobs, no? *** On a much better note, since its Feb. & black history month, the one man play at the Klein, “Frederick Douglass” has been held over for one more show this Sunday @ 5:pm. The actor that plays “Fred Douglass, the abolitionist” is a Bpt. native who graduated from Bullard Havens. Great historical story for all to listen & learn in a comfortable setting; only $10. ***

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