City Hires Employment Law Specialist To Investigate Captain Fitzgerald’s Obstruction Accusation Against Chief Perez

Captain Brian Fitzgerald alleges Chief AJ Perez obstructed investigation. CT Post photo Ned Gerard.

Drama in the Police Department is like General Hospital, One Life To Live and Hill Street Blues rolled into one.

The latest involves a complaint brought to Mayor Joe Ganim by Captain Brian Fitzgerald that accuses Chief AJ Perez of torpedoing an investigation of an alleged sexual assault of a minor at Vazzy’s Restaurant. Why would the chief do that?

Fitzgerald alleges that restaurant owner John Vazzano asked the chief to intercede. Vazzano denies the charge.

“I have the highest respect for members of the Police Department,” Vazzano told OIB. “I hope they get to the bottom of it.”

Fitzgerald, a studious face of the department involving high profile cases, is unhappy with police leadership these days. He’s one of four captains contesting in court the city’s process to promote Rebeca Garcia assistant chief last year, the number two position in the department. He has retained employment law authority Tom Bucci, Bridgeport mayor 1985-89, who has a mighty legal record on behalf of municipal workers challenging management decisions.

OIB on Friday received an anonymous tip asserting “Chief Perez is attempting to squash a sexual assault complaint of a juvenile … Captain Fitzgerald was threatened by Chief Perez with removal from the detective bureau if he did not comply. Captain Fitzgerald refused to follow the illegal order … Assistant Chief Garcia and Deputy Chief Baraja are complicit in this matter as they are attempting to minimize Captain Fitzgerald for doing the right thing.”

Who’s right, who’s wrong, is this an ulterior motive by Fitzgerald? The city has hired an employment law specialist to figure it out.

Perez says “I have done nothing improper.”

Rowena White, Ganim’s communications director, issued this statement:

Mayor Ganim received a complaint by an officer in the Bridgeport Police Department that was forwarded to the City Attorney for handling. The complaint includes claims by one officer about another officer in the police department, namely the Chief by a captain. The claims also include grievances about decisions involving the reorganization of a number of police personnel.

The City Attorney has retained an independent and experienced employment law firm to conduct a prompt, objective and fair investigation of the complaint. It was determined that this matter will best be handled by experts who are outside the city and the department. Simply put, this will be thoroughly and independently investigated.

The city is not able to comment on matters regarding any alleged sexual assault complaints, as we are not able to comment on any active criminal investigation.

The city has hired the law firm Jackson Lewis to untangle the matter. Interviews with involved parties are scheduled to begin early next week.

It begs the question, with these splinters in the department among ranking officers, what’s not getting done?

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54 comments

  1. If true…Now why would Perez try to squash an alleged sex assault on a minor no less?,Is a friend or relative the accused?..a friend of Joe?,a friend of Mario maybe?…and let’s face it,if Perez is trying to cover this up,there is no way he does this without Joe&Mario knowing,the 3 of them are attached by the hip..One has to think there is truth to this,Captain Fitzgerald is highly respected…The fact that the City Attorney’s office hired an independent law firm causes me some concern though.

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      1. Lennie,I prefaced my comment with “If True”,so I’m definately not assuming,just getting the discussion going..Who would I like to investigate this matter?..hmm,Tom Bucci maybe?…I guess what I’m saying is I find it hard to trust our city attorney’s office to hire someone “independent”.

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  2. At least Bridgeport residents or members of the BPD are not knowingly selling guns to known felons.
    Check out the CT Post. A Trumbull resident who is a member of the Greenwich PD is accused of selling guns to a known felon.

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  3. Make your top Ten,

    I don’t know what’s sadder Harvey. Your comment on, You find it hard to trust our city attorney’s office to hire an “independent lawyer” to investigate this matter, or the BPD needs to be investigated on matter like this.

    This is part of the underbelly of becoming a police offer that’s never spoken of. The root cause of most mental health issues cops suffer from. They try to portray it to be stress of the job but in actuality, it’s from the covering of truth ugliness in the culture created from within that they call the blue line. They always say becoming a cop changes you. I sure it does, and I sure they eventually find that blue line to be pretty thin at times. JS.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaLsZEOovW8

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    1. Robert,our attorney’s office works for the Mayor, and “forms opinions”,finds”loopholes” in the charter,to please whatever Joe & Mario are trying to get passed the CC… Some on our own CC have come out and said they are no use to them, why should any of us trust they would hire an “independent” attorney to investigate this? With Joe’s past history, and Mario’s tyrannical reign, I find it hard to believe anything in our city would be investigated without their influence one way or another… Like someone else mentioned, the states attorney really needs to get involved if this has any validity.

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      1. P.S Like Jeff and JML stated. If this goes to the FBI and State’s Attorney’s Office who represents AJ and this case is brought to there attention? who provides him with a lawyer?

        Unless this captain rolls and has solid evidence that AJ tried to obstruct justice it goes nowhere. Can’t see it going to a grand jury. More politics than anything. Not saying police don’t sit or kill on cases. Been there see that. Like I said it’s a double edge sword, and that blue line gets thin not broken, well, not in this particular case with all the changes and reorganization going on in the department, right Frank? I’m sure Frank from time to time blocked some justice. BAM! 🙂 Frank in the blue (fitting) Case is the ball, and justice in the black. 🙂
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATuZjyiEmAA

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  4. It would seem that a situation within a police department in which there are allegations of efforts to suppress an investigation pursuant to the enforcement of a law related to a criminal act should involve an investigation by state and federal justice agencies. A private lawyer hired by a municipality to investigate such an obstruction of justice charge, investigating such as a labor dispute, seems quite absurd — even by Bridgeport standards… Truly the FBI and State’s Attorney’s Office would seem to be agencies that should already be involved in such an obstruction of justice allegation within BPD…

    WTHF is going on here?!

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    1. Jeff, you’re on point. Didn’t we just go through an impeachment for the removal of the President of the United States for obstruction of justice? The aiming seems low. Considering AJ transferred these cases to this Captain’s department because of the egregious mishandling of them. This political rabbit hole seems deep. I wonder sometimes if that blue line ever recovers and heels from the self-inflicted wounds that the department and its culture creates on those who put on the badge.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=dsScU2lYSTQ&feature=emb_logo

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  5. Bob: In a hierarchy of crimes, the Trumbull resident is higher-up in the sewage flow (quite near the top!), but obstructing a sexual assault investigation involving a minor victim (or any victim) by members of a police department — especially the leadership — is pretty damn serious an demands appropriate outside investigation…

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  6. Stay tuned on this one Me Walsh, see how much time the former cop gets?

    More shenanigans from the police department, not good folks.

    Can only imagine the termoil going on with the upper echechlon in the department.

    Stay tuned, like sands through the hourglass these are the ” Days of Our Lives”

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  7. Not news to me. I called this the Capt. Fitzgerald suit when I incorporated it along with other issues (which will cost the taxpayers a lot of money) when I commented on 2-13 under the “consulting firm payment swells to $250K” blog on OIB.
    No need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this and other upcoming issues are going to cost taxpayers a lot of cash.
    All due to Ganims great decisions to appoint friends and accomplices to positions where they are highly UNQUALIFIED for.

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    1. Rich, in politics it’s always about money. You were a cop. Help me understand that blue line. From the outside looking in on that the “blue line”, “blue family”, How does that work when they attack and play these political games with each other, and what effects does it have on the common people when they are out on the street who they are policing?

      Don’t want to leave the firefighers out. 🙂

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAIkRDv43kk&list=PLEmDhLfWwx7tFg6VyyGtZJL1hHWFnSoeV&index=7

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      1. A big question RT but a smart one. You probably need to study some white papers but I’ll try to give a short answer to a long question.
        So, what I believe we’re seeing here is mostly things occurring “at the top”. In reality things on the street don’t change much if I’m interpreting your question correctly. The grunts go about doing what they do in the usual way that they enjoy (or dislike) performing their jobs. Some like to be active, meaning seeking out various forms of actively occurring crimes, others not so much and just wait for “the radio” to tell them where to go. (Time on the job sometimes determines that.) Poor, or what can be perceived as corrupt management most always will affect morale in one way or another and of course sometimes filters down to the people who need help from the police. Response time, attitudes, productivity etc. can be negatively affected. Understaffed P.D.’s like Bridgeport coupled with unskilled management at the very top with a terrible political system of government which is what you have, is the worst mix you can imagine. My problem is that when the term thin blue line is used it often is said to describe tight lipped cops who stay silent about their own when something goes bad- and when I say bad Im not talking about wrongdoing. We all must remember that IS NOT what it means. The thin blue line IS the very few men & women that are out there protecting the rest of society. Most P.D.’s are severely understaffed as in Bridgeport. There’s a WHOLE lot more that can be said about this topic but I’ll leave it like this for now. Whatever issues one has with police, take it out with the brass and politicians not the frontline people and also please get informed as to why and how things work and affect that cop who is serving you. That’s why your question is a smart one. For those who constantly criticize or show dislike for police, try to survive without them. Good luck!

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          1. Yes. The thin blue line is a metaphor for police officers who wear a uniform and are out there protecting the public. Thin because almost always undermanned and also because it’s those few who stand between the good folk and those who seek to abuse them in any way shape or form. Many uniforms are blue but the term includes all police who may actually wear different colored uniforms.

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        1. The point of my question, be it a smart one was just an inquisitive one. Everybody knows shit rolls down hill. We had a discussion on the productivity of people. I believe it was said to be as answerable as the Holy Trinity.

          I think you confused my term of the “thin” blue line for the “blue line” The blue line take on many meanings, tip lip and protecting their own is one. I put the word “thin” in front of it because, well, here we are. So much for tight lips and protecting their own. I’m sure right now AJ is feeling that blue line to be pretty thin.

          While shit rolls down hill it also flows up. What you see with people having issues with the front line is because of their actions, not the brass. Different game at time. That tends to cross over though.

          No one had and issue with the brass in the Beardsley Park beating. But (I believe) the one cop who won their case was the same one who disseminated those racist letters within the department, and he was the guiltiest one of the all Just got out of his car to kick the dude, part of the an episode of then endless drama soap opera called the Bridgeport Police Department.

          P.S Rich those white papers that need to be studied will only teach you what the black letters are written on it. You are right thought, This comes from the top, but how high?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keth0g3CMK4

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          1. AJ is used to throwing his own patrolman and supervisors under the bus any chance he gets. Sucks to be on the other side of it, doesn’t it AJ?

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          2. So that what is, tit for tat? Clearly you are not in AJ camp and didn’t want him to get the top job. It seems getting thrown under the bus is not uncommon in the police force. Normally it’s when you have a public outcry, not always though. Sometimes they get thrown under the but when you are protecting one of your own. Seems politics is a contact sport in the department.

            Jo, I won’t say I have an understanding of the police department You, on the other hand, seems to have a position and grasp. However, I will tell you this someone is the opposite of happy with it. Bam, I’m out good luck. JS

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G_4KfrcYPg&fbclid=IwAR06TY34X2MsMRvlbgj5GXs6WZMhgLcS1aMQfnkgarU5QN9QlTS_bMc1OTw

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        2. Blue wall of silence. … The blue wall of silence, also blue code and blue shield, are terms used in the United States to denote the informal rule among police officers not to report on a colleague’s errors, misconducts, or crimes, including police brutality.

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  8. From my understanding,

    Vazzano asked Perez to squash it. Well that backfired. Welp, that’s Karma AJ. Your keep playing with fire like your in your little world of Tony Soprano, you will get burned. Hopefully that department gets a leader they deserve and one that isn’t manipulated by people like Ganim, the council, guys with juice like Vazzano!

    Everyone is forgetting that A Chief Garcia and Deuty Chief Baraja all knew of this as well. They’re just as guilty.

    Make room for a real leader!!!

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  9. What, what, what? The city is hiring an outside law firm to get to the bottom of this even though the city attorney’s were given raises from $136,214 to $148,257. Even though the city attorney’s were given 2% raises on top of the $18,700 bump up. I don’t understand why city attorney’s are given an almost $20,000 raise per year and can’t do the job as a lawyer! Would the city be better served by hiring an attorney that is experienced in employment law rather than hiring outside counsel for what maybe more than the yearly salary paid to the city attorney’s? How many times in the last four years have the city hired outside counsel and at what expense to the city?

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    1. Don, nothing new here, Bridgeport has been outsourcing legal cases ever since Joe Ganim has been mayor, along with Fabrizi and Finch during their time as mayor. The cases are outsource to donators to Democrats. This case involving Police Chief Perez could be the reason why Mayor Ganim has NOT been made public to the taxpayers the “Police study of the Bridgeport Police Department by former D.C and Philly Police Chief Charles Ramsey. The City Council refuses to demand that Chief Ramsey’s be made public. The City Council looks like a clown show the way that Hamilton Burger and the entire City Attorney Office.

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  10. Does this narrative begin with the alleged “sexual assault of a juvenile”? When was it fully reported, and how was it handled according to the record so far? Did it occur in a location that served alcohol? Where does Captain Fitzgerald enter the picture, or are there other police personnel, unnamed so far but also in the background?

    Perhaps the State Attorney office might be consulted and look for a response regarding the convergence of alleged abuse of a youth, alleged mishandling of such a complaint by a Police Department, and potential illegal activity happening in a liquor serving establishment. Why is the first response to hire an outside law firm specializing in “employment law” at a time when that office is on the front page for increasing budgets due to raises in compensation, possible changes in other employee benefits, and settlement of numerous suits with settlements looming, but public disclosure of risks and rewards are not open to oversight by the taxpayer who will pay the bills.

    Finally, what role is set out for citizen reputation by the current Police Commission? Do they have a role to play at all? What responsibility is shared with Internal Affairs for investigation, reporting and protecting the facts and the costs? Time will tell.

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  11. AJ sure did enjoy throwing good cops under the bus on things he ordered or his brass ordered. Once it went south, he threw them under the bus and acted like he was “unaware” or that he would “correct” the problem he made.

    Karma is a b&@*h AJ. That’s what you get, your own demons caught up with you. Your own department has no faith in you. Your a coward. Now enjoy everything you get for what you did to those who worked their ass off for the ungrateful city.

    P.S the FBI is already involved. The PD can’t investigate because the highest rankin members , the Chief, is implicated in the crime.

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  12. JML, not sure where an employment law specialist firm comes into play in a criminal case of obstruction of justice, especially an egregious case of sexual assault on a minor. But I would say it’s more about the reorganization of personnel as well as the suit about the hiring of Garcia by the other officers.

    It seems like the kids being used moves a point forward just like all the comments about finding funding for the tiger exhibit but nothing for the kids (schools) JOM, Time will tell though.

    My analysis is done, I’m out of here. It the Illuminati’s 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpYVXf4aoT4 🙂

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  13. Jackson Lewis a.ka. Jackson Lewis Schnitzler & Krupman is a management law firm known to side heavily with management against unions.
    Of course their website doesn’t mention municipalities as clients. What gives???

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  14. This “investigation” clearly indicates the need for federal and state Justice Department/law-enforcement involvement… Clearly there are signs of corruption in the BPD… (In that regard, when was the last time that a major narcotics bust has taken place in Bridgeport… Most neighborhoods, in virtually all parts of the city, have multiple “drug houses”/speakeasies with obvious drug-dealing activity directly from the houses and supported by nearby street-vendors and “look-outs”… If we citizens can readily observe these situations (and often report them) how is it, that these gang-controlled enterprises that support/encourage all of the gang-related killings/shootings/violence and other crime in our city, are not obvious targets for elimination by law enforcement/BPD?! BPD must be aware of them, with their bold, open, unmistakable, oft-reported operations…)

    Something smells fishy in Bridgeport…

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    1. That’s a result of a couple things Jeff.

      1) Majority of the tips come from anonymous complainants and it’s damn near impossible to act on an anonymous tip.

      2) Bridgeport cops, have become hesitant to get involved in matter pertaining to anonymous complaints because the way AJ works is if anything goes south as a result of a cop acting on that call, well then he’s the automatic scape goat. They’re scared to risk their careers and family’s well being because of the leadership in that place. It all starts at the top they don’t have support. The narcotics unit actually is the most successful specialize unit in that place. Those guys are getting tons of guns off the streets along with drugs. The issue is that they can’t display that on social media or the news because they use that case to build another one against someone else by flipping that person so that way they can us a CI and not have to risk an innocent civilian or cop to build the next case on their next bust. All the corruption you see, starts at the top. Most of these units are really working their ass off but can’t display it and can’t glorify it for investigative reasons.

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  15. Jeff, you and Salling have sum it up really good, I just want to add something, this is the Police Department that will be in charge of the Citywide curfew and who expect citizens to call in tips when they crime being committed. People are scare to report crime right in front of their apartment or home because they know nothing is going to happen if they make that phone call and what is Mayor Ganim doing, NOTHING.

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  16. I don’t understand this at all. Since when does an suspected criminal act *not* get investigated by a law enforcement agency? The CT State Police have the jurisdiction, as well as other (Federal) agencies.

    Hindering an investigation, Interference, conspiracy… ?

    Stand by for more retirements… 😜

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  17. Sorry Jo. Sorry Jeff. But this makes no sense.
    Cops don’t act on anonymous sources but when they do they are highly effective but we can’t discuss this because they act on other information that they get.
    But if they get caught AJ gives them up.

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  18. Harvey
    I’m in with that. Majestic is the answer!
    Can you tell me will they people living in the $1,000,000 penthouses get to look down upon the skating rink through a retractable roof? That’d be nice.

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    1. Bob,it’s going to be beautiful,Exact Capital just needs to secure about $489 million more of the $490 million total cost,then there will be shovels in the ground!

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  19. Also, can somebody answer me this?
    How is Guedes construction 🏗 going? Will it be ready for spring occupancy?
    And what about Harbor Point. Will people be moving in later this year???

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    1. Geez Bob I thought I was only one with the facetious & sarcastic comments. All true however. I’m waiting for Defilippo to open his store across from his bartending job at Mario’s so he can start selling the leftover wine, I mean vinegar. Can’t wait for him to have a blowout with his mentor/boss over the fact that people will complain that they can’t park in front of his store because of all the cars parking there for Mario’s.
      Right bartender?!! lMAO!!!!! Cheers……….and no tip for you Mike. How’s your attendance on the CC and committees?!
      Big lol.

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  20. Ron
    Since you have been named Director of all Things Curfewish, can you tell us have plans been finalized with the gangs in Bport to abide by the rules concerning no shootings before 11:00 weeknights and 12:00 weekends?
    I saw where a shooting occurred at 11:19 PM Saturday.
    Will there be a phasing in or a moritorium just like the curfew has been delayed once again?
    Also, can you explain what an emergency errand is? Isn’t this a contradiction in term?

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    1. Bob, Mayor Ganim will have to form another task force to deal with gangs and turf wars over drug business that provides jobs that pay more than the minimum wage but first the mayor will see the new Citywide curfew can help solve the problem before he comes up with a new task force. I wonder what former Police Chief Charles Ramsey study of the Bridgeport Police Department has to say about all of the shootings.

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  21. I really can’t temper my language. The shit happening in Bridgeport is unbelievable. And it’s gotten worse since the mayoral election and will continue to get even worse as the Mario Tests form of Governance virus infects every single facet of of everything that the City of Bridgeport does. To think that this past mayoral election we got soooo close to putting a dent in this Testa Titanic make this a tragedy almost incomprehensible.

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  22. Most folks do not need advanced classes in subjects they studied at school years ago to describe what they observe daily in and about Bridgeport.
    One example from the above thread is the observation that certain ‘often viscous bodily excretion’ tends to flow downhill. In this case the hill (inclined plane) allows material to go from a higher to a lower place (gravity).

    There are other comments about the Majestic/Palace/downtown rink and other City projects that are initiated with “hoopla” but extend in silence. Think of the observation that a body at rest stays at rest until power or force is applied? Fits for me. Who has the power? Where is the intelligent force?

    In 2016 Ganim2 was energetic and active briefly, but it was not about acting as Mayor of Bridgeport itself, (but the opportunity, without awaiting for remorse, provided by believers in second chances and do-overs for Ganim to spin a ‘phoenix-like’ narrative), to run for Connecticut governor. But only Bridgeport voters believed in that rendition so Ganim2 settled in for office of Mayor, ran and won again, but his attention to administrative detail is still wanting. And we are not getting much that is new or good for all of us. I cannot understand how the City site on Boards and Commissions continues to list Fair Rent and Fair Housing commissions, with no meetings, agendas, minutes or even any members appointed since well before 2007. Maybe we ought to move from Physics class to English and read Rip van Winkle and his ’20 year nap’? Where would we all become instructed in ALL PARTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY to discuss CHANGE that would help ALL OF THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY to participate equally and with justice? Time will tell.

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    1. I actually have been thinking the same question. Frankly,I really don’t think Ganim is doing the “job” of mayor on a day to day full time basis. The PR BS smokemachine continues to work overtime. Mario Tests is in full charge of hiring for City of Bridgeport and it sure seems that issues of policy might have his fingerprints on it. The Tests rule for hiring(and possibly policy) is,,,,What’s in it for me?. This destructive policy(virus)has been dead center if Bridgeport politics/for TWENTY YEARS. Mario Center is the root of the culture in Bridgeporte politics of the “What’s in it for me” mindset that affects virtually every single Bridgeport employee (some basic clerks may be exempt). This post started with A.J. Perez. I am reminded that Ron Mackey claims that Perez is not even qualified to be Police Chief according to Bridgeport City Policy. But Perez is just exhibiting one example of the Testa Governance Virus. Let’s remember the mess in Public Works with Scrapyard,BiddingGate etc. There are MORE disaster minefields in Bridgeport Police Dept. We have an ineffective City Council due to the Testa Virus. Private business dealings with the government of Bridgeport are infected with the Testa Virus. As Rich/Augie has been proving, City Boards AND City operating departments(OPED) are infected with the Tests Virus. IMHO,it now clear that ALL efforts must be made to create a political pesticide to get rid of this destructive Testa worm infecting ALL aspects of Bridgeport Governance. Once again,it is now tragic that People of Bridgeport got soooo close to putting a dent in the Testa gangbang but it fell short due to incompetent and incomprehensible mistakes. Unbelievable.

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      1. The 60 year old boy wonder mayor owes the continuance of his substantial paycheck solely due to the efforts of the 80 year old pizzamaker and the illicit AB operation. This begs the question. Who’s in charge of Bridgeport Governance?”

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  23. JMl, is not physics, gravity, equal participation of all the people of the Port. Shit is shit when it rolls across the inclined planes. Maybe a letter needs to be dissemination to get the attention of those who have read Rip Van Winkle to taken a 20-year nap? But for some reason I still think you will be reading your letters in front of the CC, not with the intention of seeking any real change for justice for the people, but because like sand in an hourglass these are the days of our lives in the Port.

    You are right though “Most folks do not need advanced classes in subjects they studied at school years ago to describe what they observe daily in and about Bridgeport.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AO_7YGma-I

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  24. It’s seems incredulous but one person in these postings “seems” to be defending Perez. I may be wrong because I tend to misunderstand or simply can’t understand this person’s rambling incomprehensible posts and this person seems only capable of doing research in YouTube and incapable of research beyond that resource.

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