City Council Member Maria Viggiano To Resign Seat

Maria Zambrano Viggiano.

Maria Zambrano Viggiano, co-chair of the City Council’s Budget & Appropriations Committee, announced her resignation from the city’s legislative body effective the end of February.

“Due to some unexpected family circumstances, I am resigning my city council seat at the end of February,” she wrote in a statement issued Tuesday morning. “This was an extremely difficult decision for me and one I did not take lightly, but I know that it’s the right decision for my family at this time. I want to thank the voters and DTC leadership in the 136th District for their faith in me. While I am stepping down from my official role, my love and passion for Bridgeport will always live on.”

The council’s budget committee work is labor intensive for the months of April and May to examine the spending plan submitted by Mayor Joe Ganim. Michael DeFilippo is the other co-chair. Viggiano is one of the most independent-minded council members who has pushed back on some Ganim administration initiatives.

City Council President Aidee Nieves says she plans to fill Viggiano’s budget slot with an another experienced council member familiar with city finances. Scott Burns and Denese Taylor-Moye both have served as past budget co-chairs.

136th District Leader Wanda Geter Pataky, center, with City Council President Aidee Nieves, left, and West Side councilor Evette Brantley.

Viggiano represents the 136th District which covers portions of the North End, Upper East Side and the Hollow. The City Council will fill the seat with a Democrat with input from District Leader Wanda Geter Pataky.



  1. This is the worse news I’ve read today. While I never had the opportunity to get to know Maria, my political instincts along with what I heard of her, she would have been one of the exceptional council members. My hope is that the 136th district town committee members take the time to vet her replacement. Now I know Wanda’s not going to like what I’m about to say, but it is not her exclusive role to recommend a replacement for Maria. Lennie, you know that also, I’m surprised you annotated one person to that task. I go back to the ’80’s, this situation has presented itself in many districts and for many different reasons. When my partner Bernie Katz died a couple of weeks after we were reelected for our second term together, I, along with the other members of the 132nd district took at least a month before collectively agreeing that John Stafstrom was the right replacement; and he was. After that committee decision is made, the name is sent to the entire City Council for approval. Maria is leaving big shoes to fill, but if the members of the 136th district put the City first, maybe the result will equal the professional time, and decision the 132nd district made when John Stafstrom became one of the most effective members of the Council.

    Thanks, Maria
    I want to thank you for all your hard work in working with your committee, Budget and Appropriation. At last nights meeting you said nothing about it being her last committee meeting. Maria thanks for your Leadership in putting together a tuff budgets over the years,and it was an honor to serve with you this year on the Budget and Appropriations committee.When the mayor flat funded Education we work hard to find monies and other ways to help the Board of Education,which we got no credit for trying to help, and although it was a small amount, cutting taxes. I wish you and your Family the best. We have lost a great city councilperson. God Bless!

  3. I’d be lying if I said wasn’t disappointed by the announcement that the 1st act would be the Deftones! Who the hell are the Deftones? C’mon now that can’t be the best you can get for the inaugural act of the Brand New Amphitheater? The Deftones, REALLY?

  4. Anastasi refusing to answer questions about the what Guidepost is doing for the city….

    BRIDGEPORT — A lawyer for the city tried Monday to explain why a consultant hired a year ago to revise Bridgeport’s purchasing policies was diverted to working on unspecified “pending litigation” for the law department.

    Mark Anastasi, a veteran municipal attorney, repeatedly declined to offer details to City Council members about the case or cases New York City-based Guidepost Solutions is working on, other than his brief reference to last year’s scrap metal sales scandal.

    “Some of these involve personnel matters,” Anastasi told members of the council’s budget committee. “I really can’t get into specifics other than things are pending.”

    Anastasi also cited “attorney-client privilege” as another reason he could not be more forthcoming.

    He said that “the bulk of” the $152,036.59 the city has so far paid Guidepost was for “producing documents for the litigation” or “data-mining” and “electronic-discovery.” The money came out of accounts the law department uses to hire outside counsel and expertise.

    “This is technical data retrieval from computers, emails, texts,” Anastasi said.

    When Mayor Joe Ganim announced Guidepost’s hiring last February, the stated reason was to review purchasing and handling of cash “toward correcting some of the problems and challenges that have come to light.” Earlier that month, federal authorities subpoenaed the city for three years’ worth of records on off-the-books scrap metal sales and dealings with a handful of local contractors as part of a criminal probe of the public facilities department.

    The mayor’s office recently said it had no new information about the status of the FBI investigation. The FBI declined to comment.

    Anastasi at one point Monday mentioned Guidepost “had these other capabilities we took advantage of on scrap metal and other things.”

    So far, the only public litigation stemming from the FBI probe has involved two public facilities employees Ganim let go Feb. 1, 2019. Public Facilities Deputy Director Joe Tiago and Jose DeMoura, the recycling manager, lost their jobs following an internal review for unspecified involvement in the scrap metal sales.

    Both men challenged their terminations through an arbitration process. DeMoura recently lost his case and is considering filing an appeal in state Superior Court. Tiago’s complaint is still pending.

    Anastasi, in a brief interview following Monday’s presentation to council members, declined to state if Guidepost’s work was involved in helping the city defend itself against DeMoura and Tiago.

    Council President Aidee Nieves last year backed bringing in Guidepost for purchasing advice. But at Monday’s budget committee meeting, she admitted using the firm for legal matters “was never mentioned” at that time.

    “Somebody should have made me aware,” Nieves said.

    Guidepost has been working for the past year for the city without any scrutiny or follow-up from the council. The firm only ended up on Monday’s agenda after the Connecticut Post last month reported the Ganim administration issued three checks worth $12,223.08, $3,089.25 and $136,724.26 to Guidepost between August and December.

    “That’s a very big number for a cash-strapped city,” Councilwoman Maria Zambrano Viggiano, a committee co-chair, told Anastasi.

    “When you look at $150,000 and don’t see anything in return,” Councilman Ernie Newton said, trailing off.

    Councilwoman Rosalina Roman-Christy questioned how important Guidepost’s review of the purchasing guidelines really was considering the firm has instead been focused on the unspecified litigation.

    Anastasi said the firm’s attention should soon turn to the original reason Guidepost was hired.

    “Suffice it to say the money is being spent as prudently as possible,” Anastasi said.

    Monday’s meeting is likely not the end of the questions the Ganim administration will face over Guidepost. Councilwoman Maria Pereira in late January submitted a resolution calling on officials to provide details about the process for hiring Guidepost, payment information and the firm’s report to the council’s contracts committee, which Newton co-chairs.

    Pereira last month called the $152,000 paid Guidepost “outrageous.”

  5. Wow, powerful Harvey. Guidepost was hired for purchasing advice over a year ago? Yet Anastasi said the firm’s attention should soon turn to the original reason Guidepost was hired. Guidepost has been here a year to analyze purchasing and after a year they haven’t even given the city any purchasing advice as yet and were paid $150,000 to do what? Powerful Harvey!

    1. So what. You guys have the nerve to question how the city spends taxpayer money???!!!! Big LOL!!!!
      They don’t even have a story to tell except to assure you that the “money is being spent as prudently as possible”.
      Imagine that!!!
      On a serious note I hope that Viggiano’s family circumstances work out ok for her.
      On a facetious note: can’t co- chair Defilippo be as “independent minded” as Viggiano is described and also “push back on some of Ganims initiatives” as well? Ha ha ha!!!!!
      Oh, BTW, anyone know a good bookie?!!

    2. Don, Hamilton Burger ever since he has held his position with the City is the real power who truly does all the dirty work for Joe Ganim and Mario Testa, it’s Buger’s job to show and tell the City Council an City Boards and Commission on to vote and what to vote on. City needs to get rid of two people who are holding Bridgeport back, City Attorney Hamilton Burger and David Dunn, Dunn has feeding off the City for over 40 years and has been in his position as “ACTING” for over 12 years. NOBODY there’s Hamilton Burger and David Dunn what to.

  6. This is outrageous!!!
    $150K and they haven’t even done what they were hired to do. Show us what they have been doing. This is BS Mark saying they can’t say anything.
    And where is Chris Meyers? Isn’t he the City Attorney? If I was still on the council I would be having a field day on this. As far as I am concerned Guideposts should not have been paid a penny. And they are going to tell us how to correct our purchasing procedures???
    Yea, let’s start with the hiring and termination of Guidepost. Then we can get to the Mark and Chris show.

  7. And then let’s turn to the City Charter and rewrite everything in there that pertains to the City Attorney.
    Let’s get rid of the City Attorney and hire outside counsel.

    1. Bob didn’t they get rid of the “city attorney” awhile ago?? I thought that Anastasi “retired”, gets his benefits, and then got “hired” back on a contract basis? You know, saving the taxpayers money?!! Lol.
      Doesn’t Liskov get paid that way as well?

  8. How many times over the years,has the Council been told “ we can’t answer that” by this administration??.. So many secrets and back room dealings.The administration could care less about the CC,they only go through the motions because they have too.In the end the administration just does what it wants with no oversight.
    Would of really loved to hear what Maria would have to sayi on this considering she was actually at the meeting..

      1. Bob, that’s so true, it was more important for Maria to dog State Senator Marilyn Moore to make sure that those who read her on OIB didn’t vote for Marilyn, Maria knew even with the terrible campaign Moore was running that stopping Moore from being mayor was more important than keeping Joe Ganim as mayor and empowering Mario Testa for 4 more years. The voters of Bridgeport got what they voted for and so did Maria.

  9. Hey Lenin, I mean Lennie (lol!), the ct post article mentions “despite his overall meeting attendance” refering to the bartenders appointment to the committee. The attendance record of him and others would not be a news item if Maria had not mentioned it. Will you post issues like these in the future? I think info along these lines are both important and helpful to all readers that are so interested in the the function of city government. More importantly- the DYSFUNCTION of it!!!!

  10. Len, I realize this is after the fact, but you wrote about Maria Viggiano resigning, and this Guidepost issue trumped it. Maybe another story, exclusive to Guidepost, is warranted. I agree with Rich A., my friend, that more attention should be given to the performance, or non-performance, of the council members and City matters that don’t make the cut on OIB. You are my long-time, personal/political friend, and Maria P., who I met only five years ago is what I would call a personal friend first, then we play politics. I only wish we could have conversations without me ending up taking Tums. And I’m talking even when we’re agreeing on a subject. If she reads this, I’m in for it. Lennie, you’re the best reporter/writer that I’ve met in my many decades of public service, and Maria is the quickest study I ever met, not to mention her inherent skills and intelligence. When I served as Council President with 5 administrations, I had council members come and go for those 14 years. I could close a caucus room door and when it opened, we reached a compromise, always for the good of the City. There was hollering, screaming, once a chair went flying across the table, but when we left that room, there was a fix to any disagreements we may have had. I wasn’t impressed with myself, but I insisted on engaging with each other until we had something to show how seriously we took our jobs. How about you, Maria, and me, meet on an off-city business night, or afternoon in one of the caucus rooms, and let’s see if I still have it. On another note, you and I speak or email occasionally, usual if it’s a personal matter or informational. Maybe you and Maria, after we fix this standoff, should cut out the conversations and stick to your writing and Maria’s posting.

    1. Finally!!!! The voice of reason! Lisa that’s the best idea I’ve read here in a long time. Enough of all the agitators here- myself included of course. Make the peace and let’s move on with substantive information about the goings on in Bridgeport politics. Thank you Lisa.
      Maria, if you change up just a bit…..(just a bit I say)- then I think it can all work out for the betterment of the big picture.
      Your move Lennie.
      And happy Valentine’s Day ladies.


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