City Sheriff Dennis Scinto, North End District Leader, Dies

Dennis Scinto receives oath of office from friend Johanna Dorgan.

Long-time City Sheriff Dennis Scinto, who presided over North End politics as Democratic leader of the 134th District, passed away on Tuesday, according to several political sources. He had fallen ill in recent days. He was 80 years old.

Scinto was a mainstay in city politics for decades serving as city sheriff for nearly 30 years. He retired this year as an employee of the department of Public Facilities where he managed the disposal of hazardous materials and for many years organized drop-off locations on the grounds of Blackham School for the public.

Scinto was an establishment figure in city politics, but every now and then he could show an independent side such as when he broke ranks and supported Marilyn Moore for state senate in 2014 over incumbent Anthony Musto. Moore won a hard-fought Democratic primary running up large pluralities in the city to offset Musto’s suburban base in Connecticut’s 22nd District.

Moore’s upset win was part of a series of victories for insurgents in city politics laying the groundwork for her leadership position in Hartford and her near-win of the mayoralty in 2019, losing a close primary to Mayor Joe Ganim.

Scinto spoke proudly of his extended service as city sheriff that ranks him among the longest-tenured in terms of duration to the two-year term of any city office. Scinto achieved a special milestone when he surpassed the 24 years of city service of legendary Socialist Mayor Jasper McLevy who served from 1933-57.

Statement from former State Rep. Chris Caruso:

I’ve known Dennis Scinto for about 35 years. After the death of longtime North End District Leader Richard Pinto, former State Representative Jackie Cocco asked Dennis to join the 134th Democratic Town Committee. We weren’t always on the same side politically, but we remained good friends. After all, we were North Enders. There were times when he would seek my advice such as Marilyn Moore’s second run for the State Senate in 2014. He asked me whether he and the 134th should support Marilyn. I told him he should. It would be a good choice. She won that year.

Dennis was furiously loyal to the City and the Democratic Party. He loved Bridgeport. He grew up here and knew a lot of people especially in the North End. He understood their issues and reminded the candidates he supported. He would often show up at zoning meetings to support the neighbors. Over the years, Dennis was instrumental in helping candidates get elected. In a good sense, he was an old-fashioned district leader who would personally knock on doors and make phones calls for the candidates he backed. Dennis helped a lot of people. He cared. He kept his word. He made a difference.

Since Dennis and I were both retired, we’d hang out at the Crown Café in the North End of Bridgeport. After golfing at Fairchild Wheeler, he’d stop by and we’d talk about city politics and just things in general. We were both of Italian descent who loved our heritage. We enjoyed each other’s company. I will miss him and I dare say Bridgeport will too.

With Dennis’ passing, our City has lost another one of its old-time politicians who led with loyalty and a sense of decency. He was a gentleman.

At the next election, we’ll certainly miss his faithful presence, greeting the voters by first name in front of John Winthrop School.

Dennis, my friend, rest in peace! Amen.

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10 comments

  1. *** Sorry to hear the sad news about the passing of a very nice man, “Mr. Dennis Scinto”. Long time city worker, democrat, public servant to his district & city politics in Bpt. Most important, a great family man, city worker, & friend to all who knew him in general, he will be missed. ***RIP***

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  2. ***OFF TOPIC*** Regardless of political party, how can an out going “misleading” U.S president, disregard making the usual incoming & out going government process by the U.S. current admin. & the new president elect’s staff? Also, Trump a Vietnam draft-dodger, pulling a quarter of the U.S military presence in Iraq & Afghanistan out against the pentagon general’s advice, because of a possible defense vacuum & no positive moves or attempts by the enemy in country. Also there are rumors of a possible strike against Iran by the U.S before Xmas? No possible meetings in sight with the Biden people on the out-come with the Covid vaccines that may help quell the pandemic? And lets not forget all the present qualified Trump workers that are being blamed for anything & fired, only to be replaced by Trump supporters with little experience in those type of jobs! All these negative W/H actions with bad intentions towards the new incoming admin. in hopes of promoting political failure & chaos in the nations capitol by Trump & his supporters. “GOD BLESS AMERICA” each & everyone, because we will all need it in 2021. ***

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  3. At some level, all of Trump’s spiteful, dangerous, transition-sabotaging measures are definable in terms of treason. This guy — if he doesn’t have enough sense to seek asylum in Russia, Turkey, or North Korea — needs to have charges of some level of treason added to the list of state and federal crimes for which he’s already facing probable prosecution.

    And truly; it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of reasonable expectation for the VP, et al., to invoke Article 25, immediately, to derail Trump’s dangerous antics before they further complicate and derail more life-and-death aspects of the transition of power that any adult, exiting POTUS, of normal IQ and sound mind, would be committed to enacting in facilitation of a peaceful, efficient transition of power…

    He doesn’t need, or deserve, 60 more days to clear out of the White House. He needs to be involuntarily removed before he can set us up for more death and destruction.

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  4. Of course, I beg pardon for straying off-topic from the original post regarding the sad passing of one of the “nice-guys” of Bridgeport politics. I can’t recall ever seeing him angry of hostile in regard to politics or anything else during any of the many times that I had a chance to have a brief chat with him. Always a gentleman, and friendly… RIP, Dennis.

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    1. *** You did not have to reply to the (off-topic) especially like that “Wingnut”, the entire blog knows its about Mr. Scinto’s passing! You must be a disgruntled Trump supporter or just a plain old fool in need of a swift kick in the derby, no? ***

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  5. Thank you Chris Caruso for your Commentary. Dennis was everything you said. He will be terribly missed. We will always have a reason to smile when we think about Dennis. But today , all who knew him and worked with him and spent time with him are very sad. Having just celebrated his 80th birthday, I was always amazed at the energy he had. You could rely on him. We had walked together miles and miles on many campaigns and stood for 14 hours at most elections at Winthrop School. we walked and knocked on doors in the dead of Winter and the grueling heat of Summer. He made me laugh. He was a good spirit and I hope that his memory will be a blessing to all that loved him. May he rest eternally in peace. Condolences to his family and his Partner Marilyn Santacroce. Dennis was a good loyal friend and saw bullshit artists for what they were. Things have changed forever as they often do when a person leaves this world and there is a void that only time can heal Thank you again Chris and Lennie for the tribute to our friend Dennis. I thought the world of him.

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  6. Dennis was always ready to break into a smile, a comfortable way for his features to assemble as ordered by his temperament and spirit. That is how I shall remember him. We were newer friends and he was open to folks new to him. Barriers were for other folks.

    He did not (and does not today) call for a guard to protect him, does he? After all, the one person to declare “Goodnight!” only served to get Kelly to look for a longer and more appropriate salute from Shakespeare. Time does really tell.

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