City Council Approves Newton’s Hire Local Ordinance

By a 17-2 vote, the Bridgeport City Council Monday night approved an ordinance submitted by East End councilor Ernie Newton that urges developers seeking City Council approval on projects to make Bridgeporters “twenty (20%) percent local resident hires and five (5%) percent ex-felon hires.” Councilors AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia and Michael DeFilippo voted against the measure.

City officials describe the ordinance as a good faith effort and not something developers are “forced to do.”

For Newton, a former state senator who’s made a political comeback after imprisoned 15 years ago on public corruption, “It’s the first time we have a chance to hold people accountable on hiring Bridgeport residents first and giving a second chance to those who are qualified to work.”

Newton is employed by the workforce development group Career Resources where he assists in organizing job fairs and reaching out to local companies to provide second chances for former offenders.

Newton, with help from the City Attorney’s Office, presented the language below as part of the ordinance.


3.29 – Employment Opportunities with Developers Fostering Economic Development

For purposes of this Title 3. “Developers Fostering Economic Development” means those developers engaging in projects within the municipal boundaries of the city for which said developer has (1)(a) obtained any city incentive or inducement for said development under Chapters 3.20. 3.24. and/or 3.28 of this Code. and/or (1)(b) has or will acquire city owned real property as part of the project for less fifty (50%) percent of its fair market value as listed in the city’s tax assessor’s office at the time of acquisition. and (2) for which project developer has indicated that said project will result in an increase in jobs, either as to the developer’s own work force, or those of the second tier on the project.

3.29.010 – Contract Provisions

A. All municipal contracting agencies shall include in every agreement hereafter entered into with a Developer Fostering Economic Development, except for those exempted in accordance with the provisions of Section 3.12.060. the following provisions:

“The developer agrees and warrants that during the development of this project pursuant to the terms of this agreement, that first consideration of any additional employment of tradesmen/tradeswomen and/or any apprentices to be working on this project will be given to qualified applicants who are residents of the city and/or who are ex-felons of any category to the maximum greatest extent that any increase in workforce or apprenticeships as a result of this project meets the minimum requirements of twenty (20%) percent local resident hires and five (5%) percent ex-felon hires. The hiring or apprenticeship of an individual who is both a local resident and an ex-felon shall only count as either of one such hire. The developer warrants and represents that it will not replace any of its current workforce as a result of this requirement.”

B. The developer shall include the language set forth above in section A. in every trades subcontract to the project. The developer shall post in conspicuous places, available to employees and applicants for employment, notices encouraging local residents and ex-felons to apply. The developer will send to each labor union or other representative with which he has a collective bargaining agreement or other contract or understanding, a notice to be provided advising the labor union or workers’ representative of the developer’s commitments under this division and shall post copies of such notice in conspicuous places available to employees and applicants for employment.

C. The developer will provide the office of contract compliance [deleted Compliance Committee] established under Municipal Code Sec. 3.12.130 with such information requested by said office [deleted or Committee] concerning the employment pattern, practices and procedures of the developer as relate to the provisions of subsections A and B of this section and any rules and regulations and/or orders issued pursuant thereto.

D. Prior to seeking a building permit for the project, developer shall meet with the office of contract compliance with paperwork sufficient to establish developer’s satisfaction of this requirement or documentation sufficient to the office of contract compliance for said office to issue a waiver of this requirement for good cause shown.



  1. Ernie Newton, congratulation now let’s put on the books that Bridgeport will hired first for fire and police department residents of Bridgeport. You have all of the information that’s need to pass this ordinance. We are talking about taxpayers dollars being paid to City resident who the taxes for these positions and for the running of the City. We’re talking about careers for Bridgeport residents, we will always need fire and police to protest the residents of Bridgeport.

  2. Let me see if I understand.

    The city council voted on language presented by Council Member Newton. Is the city attorney’s office now reviewing the draft language for legality and accuracy so that the city council can follow the process to adopt it and add it to the code of ordinances?

  3. Also Ron, they need to try to pass a law that states that police and firemen hired by the city needs to live in the city while employed. They have been plenty of firemen and cops who were hired and then moved out….WHY…..They are making good money so they can afford to leave to a different town that has better schools and less taxes…

    1. There is a State law that allows police and fire to reside where they want but more importantly there is nothing to stop the City from requiring new employees from to live in the City that hires them like Hartford.

  4. “With help from the City Attorney’s Office'” it’s doomed right out of the gate. After a public hearing is held, the Mayor will veto it, his veto will be overturned, then the ordinance will be filed with all the other’s that can’t be enforced. Oh well, it looks good in print. I still applaud you Ernie, but you know I’m right. By the time that ordinance sees the light of day, or someone attempts to enforce it the entire Council will be long gone, and it won’t even be a memory.

    1. Lisa Parziale, my good friend, you are 100% right, between Mayor Joe Ganim, Hamilton Burger and David Dunn it will NEVER happen. Lisa the only answer is at the ballot box, Joe Ganim has been given his second chance and he has fail the taxpayers and voters and we MUST move on to elect a new mayor who has a vision and who will truly listen to the voters. Being the mayor of Bridgeport is just a pit stop for Joe until he can run or governor again in 2222. Also the City Council members especially those who can only act after they are told what to do by Mayor Ganim, Mario Testa and Hamilton Burger.

  5. Lisa.
    You said it very succinctly. That is why I keep asking Ernie (and others) if the ‘ordinance’ is in draft form and ready for review for legality and accuracy.
    If there is no enabling statute on the State level, then a municipality has no authority to enact it.
    And, as you said, it will likely die in this session.

  6. This just in……
    Shelton P & Z rejected application of Chic a Fillet because they didn’t like the design of the building.
    Do you think Bridgeport could go after them?
    My guess No. Too much work.

  7. There Mere fact that Vizzo-paniccia and Defilippo voted against it,tells you Joe and Mario dont support this and are not going to approve this.At least you tried Ernie.

  8. I may have not have all the facts correct but I heard a long time ago, cops and firemen had to live in the city. As a unknown consequence, it gave them and their families voting power. Of course this was when there were factories and a steady tax base. If someone can confirm this was the case why they changed the residency requirements.

    For any city to be attractive to anyone it has to have a good school system and reasonable taxes.

    Chic Fillet, Olive Garden or any other major chain would do well in Brookside it is close to the Merritt Parkway and Main Street. The SHU shuttle goes there too. There is plenty of patrons who frequent the other establishments in the area.

    You have to look at the current eateries in Bridgeport Mr.Guyre may be on to something why no other major chain has come to Bridgeport let alone Chic Fillet. Do they look at the demographics as a reason they come or don’t to the city? Look how long it took Starbucks to come here. I am sure these chains look at the cost to benefit ratio to see if they would be a good fit for the city.

    There had to be a good reason why the downtown McDonald’s closed, remains empty and why Subway has not returned since the fire.

    1. Most times the only reason a business closes or doesn’t reopen is simple, they aren’t making money.Hard to sustain fast food places like McDonalds or Subway when at 5:00 downtown empties out.McDonalds became a hang out for the less fortunate,and less desirables in the evening down there.

  9. Defilippo only voted against it because Ernie spoke out at a zoning hearing and asked for zoning to not allow more liquor stores in Bridgeport based on the city ordinance. Defilippo used Willinger and OPED’s Lynn Haig to successfully change that law for himself. You should have seen Liskov squirm in front of Judge Radcliffe yesterday in superior court where this case has landed. When asked where the language was for the new ordinance inspired by Willinger and Haig on behalf of Defilippo Liskov could not produce it saying it was basically unavailable adding to Mel Riley’s admittal that they didn’t really understand what they voted on and approved. I doubt that Willinger et al, working on behalf of Defilippo will be able to bamboozal the Judge as the did the zoning board. Actually they didn’t fool the board. Some board members were just told what to do. More to come-back to superior court on Thursday as Liskov et al were ordered to come prepared !!!! The saga that has lasted almost 3 years……continues!!!

  10. Would it help the City Council and ultimately the taxpayer voters they presume to represent to know more about the existing Ordinances that are on the books?? Speaking to that on Monday evening:

    Greetings to all of the “law makers” in this room. That is what the term legislator means. Making “new law” suggests that times may have changed and there may be no reference generally or specifically to govern certain behavior or activity in the City. What structure is in place to review past decisions and Ordinances? Have you ever discussed the subject at a public meeting? What are you waiting for? An invitation by the City Attorney office?

    A small example for your consideration is the Ordinance that covers the intersection of Main and Fairfield where court house, hotel and other commerce is located. The Ordinance precludes any turns from one of those ways to another by means of a left or right turn. However, if you check that corner out, only three of the intersections have directional signs and these only prohibit “left turns”. “No turn” legislation on the books actually means five of eight turns OK but 3 prohibited? Why are the rules and the signage not in agreement? Oversight? Review lacking?

    Publicly over the past 10 years your legislative budget has generated a surplus at year end. How did you do that? You budgeted about $90,000 annually of appropriations with no real discussion or plan of where that should be spent. Then you failed to spend most of it for current City needs, letting it flow to excess Police Department overtime or overruns in other departments. Isn’t that correct? Is there another way to tell the story? If I said that you and your predecessors have allowed your budget to become padded for the past decade, how would you respond?

    I have suggested on more than one occasion that you plan to spend some funds on one or more legislative assistant(s) who work for your Council, first and foremost, to get you the type of material some of you ask for and which may be unavailable at the present time. That is a loss for the taxpayer. That would be a research function likely. What sense does it make that you must depend on the Executive Branch, the administration, to get your facts correct in a timely manner? Is it a good example of checks and balance in operation in Bridgeport?

    Speaking of oversight, I call your attention to the Municipal Accounting Rule Board (MARB) set in motion by the State less than one year ago. It was in the news with Hartford supposedly getting a windfall of State support although that may not have been entirely accurate. David Walker, a local resident, is putting his financial and accounting experience to good use in my opinion by joining this group. From past limited discussion It seems that neither Ganim2 nor the Council sees much reward in creating three or five year financial plans that do not necessarily count on increasing State funds, itself in weakened position providing all of the new revenues. Were you aware that certain bond refunding activities can put you at risk of being designated a Tier 3 Municipality? Perhaps that should be investigated by your Budget and Appropriations Committee?

    Crying out for a review by your Public Safety group into how the State of CT MVD regulations work with our City Ordinances and PD process to allow the Linda Lee saga to continue (or conclude with an impersonal statement from the CAO?) Where were the communications to Ms. Lee mentioned in City and State process that were meant to protect her when the 30 day parking lot period was complete? You heard the Chief of Police, to whom a letter was delivered one week ago by Ms. Lee, tell you it would be cared for on June 17, didn’t you? Sixty days later and no responsible party wants to address the issue seriously? What happened to the van?

    Until you exercise your resources and your minds to grasp that you are the last line of defense for desperate citizen taxpayers, I shall imitate a watchdog of funds, other resources, regulations and municipal processes. Please don’t talk about me, but rather with me, or other community minded citizens who have the time, energy and integrity to ask “tough questions” and keep prodding for reasonable answers? Time will tell.

    John Marshall Lee
    September 17, 2018

  11. Good day everyone i know that many of you on this blog have little faith in passed City Council members. I can only speak for myself.I didn’t come back to the City Council to be liked but i saw the need to help make Change, as a former State Senator,State Rep,and as a Former City Council President. I wanted to see some changes between the Executive branch of Government and the Legislative branch of Government. I must admit much has changed since i served as Council President from 81-85 when the legislative body had great power as we worked with the executive branch of government. Back then people that worked for the Mayor staff had to live in Bridgeport or had to get a waiver from the City Council to live in another town or city.Our police and fireman lived in Bridgeport as well as teachers. This is why the ordinance hiring people from our city is so important. IT’s a start because once its on the books we can always go back and make changes to make it stronger. Just remember i’m not New to this But I’m true to this. STAY TURN TO WHATS NEXT!

  12. I told you all TO STAY TUNE While my last ORDinance i will we fighting for is this RON MACKEY AND DONALD DAY WILL LOVE THIS ONE. DOnald Day gave me a proposal and i put it in as a Resolution titled A Proposed Residency Resolution Concerning City residents to fill OPEN competitive Positions. I told you i’m not New to this I’m true to this! STAY TUNE!

  13. Brother Newton, I ask that you not let Hamilton Burger, David Dunn or any other city demagogue eviscerate the police and fire proposal like they did your Hire Local Ordinance. They took a good Ordinance and made it a good faith effort and not something developers are “forced to do.

    It is incumbent upon you and the other CC members to preserve the financial future of Bridgeport by giving jobs in the police and fire departments to qualified Bridgeport residents. The city of Bridgeport is sending tens of millions of tax dollars each year to the suburbs by hiring suburbanites that have absolutely no interest in Bridgeport other than the jobs that pay in most cases in access of $100,000 per year. Bridgeport residents deserve these well paying jobs. Bridgeport residents that were educated here, that pay taxes here, that live here should come with a priority over any suburbanite. City council, do what’s right, do what’s moral and do what’s just.

    1. Don, let’s not forget the number one Hitman is Mayor Joe Ganim. Don, Ernie and the the council members who are in support need to see and seek the advice from Judge Carmen Lopez because there are forces out there who will anything they can to make this effort fail

      1. Let me first say to RON and DON you all read the Ordinance.We never had any thing in a Ordinance to hire Bridgeport Residents or Ex-felons. Bridgeport have give many developer millions in Tax breaks in this city with the hope that Bridgeport Residents would be hired.This language may not be as strong as some would like but now we have a way to see if developers and companies are doing what they said they would do and if they don’t i’ll go to plan B which is to make sure this Ordinance is amended with some new language that will get everyone’s that we mean business about hiring Bridgeport residents First. I appreciate everyone’s opinion about what i should do and who i should get for help on this new ordinance on concerning city residents to fill open competitive position. Just remember as a former state senator, state Rep and former council president i know what to do and just because past city council choose not to address these issues its a new day.I’m am well knowledgeable on the Legislative Process.If i need outside help then i will seek it but until then i got this.

  14. This law injects negativity disguised as equality.
    This law doesn’t protect Bridgeport workers, it prevents economic development, hurts workers and slams the door on potential investment.
    This law creates a hostile environment for progress and should be reconsidered immediately.

  15. Ernie, my concerns aren’t your hiring local Ordinance, instead my concerns are the proposal that you are preparing to release dealing with the hiring of police and fire.

    Without sounding apathetic I don’t give a damn about that hiring local ordinance because it’s not going to protect those jobs that start off at $69,000 like police and fire. These jobs can change your life, these jobs can change the lives of your children and change your station in life. By all means help the residents of Bridgeport with these perceived construction jobs, but don’t lose sight of the REAL JOBS, those that are transformative in one’s life, police and fire.

    1. Don, that Ordinance that Ernie got pass is for something that might happen but what we have been talking about IS happening and is being paid and supported by taxpayers dollars, the hiring of fire and police to serve the City 24 hours a day 365 days a year, those jobs are right here right now and I fail to see why this is a problem.

  16. Ernie, I guess I have to speak only for myself, however, you have good allies including me. I don’t doubt your knowledge, experience, and tenure in the political sphere that centers around Bridgeport. You said it all when you stated “much has changed from ’81 to ’85. Remember, I joined you in ’83. We all protected our authority and responsibility, and the Administrations knew better than to push that envelope too much. For some of us, we comment because we know you know you’re colleagues, while well-intentioned don’t have that advantage. Please don’t take any input I offer as personal where you’re concerned. You can’t do this alone, take heed to the people you trust, we all need that. Once a leader, the potential to lead again is there for the taking. You know what to do, do it.

  17. In 2018, leadership means creating opportunities. This new law
    them by handcuffing developers.
    Don’t be surprised when smart money recognizes Bridgeport as the home of limitations and quickly finds greener pastures. This law discourages proposals, which are the lifeblood of economic development.

  18. Builders create permanent buildings and don’t want any outside control of a labor force that is task-oriented, stratified and ultimately short term. They’re here to serve and this law destroys. From start to finish, hundreds might be involved. None of these jobs are long term.
    This law is misguided.
    It makes proposals unlikely and creates roadblocks not bridges.

  19. Lisa, concerning your last post to Ernie I wasn’t going to comment but I had one strong observation that you mentioned Ernie that has cause me to say something. Lisa you wrote said this about Ernie’s comments, “Please don’t take any input I offer as personal where you’re concerned. You can’t do this alone, take heed to the people you trust, we all need that.” Lisa it seems to me that Ernie is saying that only he can get things done and he doesn’t need any help and he doesn’t need any advice from anybody and he doesn’t want anybody to question anything he does or states.

  20. Ernie Newton gets too much praise for a law that has no teeth. It’s all grandstanding and posturing and that delays developer’s interest.
    I think he should straiten his back and overhaul the law.
    If I worked at OPED, I’d be upset to the point of despair.


Leave a Reply