Bridgeport Police Chief Bryan Norwood has resigned to accept the top cop post in Richmond, Virginia. The story first broke at this site www.wric.com and came as a shock to the police department and the community.
“Cops are dancing a jig in the streets,” one officer told OIB.
Norwood has not been popular with rank and file officers as overtime spending and police layoffs moved to the forefront in the department in recent weeks. Norwood was appointed by former Mayor John Fabrizi in 2006. See Mayor Bill Finch news release below:
Mayor Finch Announces Chief Norwood’s Resignation
BRIDGEPORT, CT (October 8, 2008) – Mayor Bill Finch has announced Bridgeport Police Chief Bryan Norwood is leaving the Park City to take a new position with the Richmond, Va., police force. His last day as chief is October 31.
An announcement about the appointment of an Acting Chief will be made by the end of the week.
“We are sad to see Bryan [Chief Norwood] leave the city. He’s done so much with our department to streamline workflow, increase police presence in the neighborhoods and to help diversify the ranks,” Finch said. “In his two-and-a-half years here, he’s instituted many 21st century policing techniques that have resulted in a double-digit drop in violent crimes, and a reduction of drugs and guns on our streets.”
Police Commission Chairman David Hall said, “Chief Norwood has been a tremendous asset to the department. Richmond will offer him the opportunity of a larger force, a bigger budget and fewer restrictions.”
The Mayor said a nationwide search for a new chief would be posted immediately. “We would hope to have a new chief in place in several months.”
A special meeting of the Police Commission will be held Friday, Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. in the Mayor’s Conference Room to introduce the new Acting Chief to the commission.
So much going on that I don’t know where to start: Chief Norwood resigns, the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team has a new owner, the city loses a land-use expert, an arbitrator rules in favor of the Black Rock Art Center in its rent dispute with the city, and John McCain fails to impress in his second debate with Barack.
I’ll begin with Mike Peters, ex-mayor of Hartford with a toastmaster’s touch. When Joe Ganim, my vertically challenged candidate, was running for governor in 1994 we had this running joke: Joe becomes the Democratic nominee and asks Peters, equally vertically challenged, to be his running mate. We called it the munchkin ticket.
When the nomination wasn’t in the cards for Joe we backed out of the race one week before the Democratic convention throwing our support behind likely endorsed candidate State Senate leader John Larson with the hope he’d select Joe as his running mate. During the Democratic convention in Hartford, as Larson’s boys pondered selection of the second slot, a contingent of Connecticut mayors that wanted one of their own on the ticket adjourned to a watering hole in the Hartford Civic Center, among them Mike Peters and Waterbury Mayor Ed Bergin.
Mayor Mike and Mayor Ed were lubing up the joint. Finally, we got the call. Larson had made his decision. We all squeezed into a conference room while delegates in the civic center convention hall waited for an answer.
Larson, facing dozens of Democratic big shots, announced, “I think it’s time to embrace Rich Balducci,” he told the crowd. Balducci, a long-time legislator, had also been a candidate for governor. Emerging from a back room thumping his chest, Balducci announced, “I want everyone to know that I’ll be running as an independent lieutenant governor,” suggesting he’d take the second slot but he’d not be breaking his ass for the ticket. (I guess he was upset he wasn’t offered the second slot sooner.)
Bridgeport Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, equally vertically challenged, pounced. “Wait a minute, Mr. Balducci, are you telling us you’re not going to support Larson?”
Balducci stammered on his words.
“What the fuck is going on around here!” Mayor Peters screamed.
“Yeah, what the fuck is this!” Mayor Bergin yelled.
Peters walked up to Larson and declared: “We’re going to settle this right now.”
Peters, Bergin and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano circled with Ganim. “Joe,” Peters asked, “do you want to be lieutenant governor?’
Joe nodded yes.
“That settles it,” Bergin chimed in.
The mayors walked up to Larson and said “Enough of this horseshit, Joe’s gonna be the candidate.” So, it was done. That’s how 34-year-old Joe Ganim became the candidate for lieutenant governor in 1994. It didn’t work out. Larson lost the primary to Bill Curry and Curry lost the general election (with Joe as his running mate) to John Rowland.
But in that one moment in time, Mike Peters (aided by Mario Testa) settled the deal.
Mike Peters underwent an eight-hour liver transplant on Tuesday after he was diagnosed with cirrhosis. All the best Mayor Mike.
Patricia Fardy resigned from the Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday after years of successful service, and regularly contributing 40 hours per month of volunteer work. Few people in the city understand land use regulations and the city’s master plan like Pat.
Pat’s husband Andy had supported Mario Testa for Democratic town chair. Whether this played into Mayor Bill Finch’s vacillation to reappoint her is unclear. But a couple of things are clear: Pat grew tired of Finch delaying her reappointment and the city has lost someone intimately familiar with the regulatory system in an administration that needs lots of economic development help in a stressed economy.
Hooking The Blues
Frank Boulton, founder of the Atlantic League and owner of the successful Long Island Ducks, is purchasing the Bluefish. Boulton will assume all of the team’s growing bills from the majority management team Mary-Jane Foster and Jack McGregor. This is good news for the city. Sure beats an empty stadium next year. Play ball!
As for the Black Rock Art Center, an arbitrator ruled the city must negotiate a lease of the art center space on Fairfield Avenue. I’ll let the likes of The Bridgeport Kid weigh in.
Shays: There’s No Place Like Home
Here’s the newest ad from the Shays campaign: