City To Launch National Search For Police Chief–Perez: Let’s Do It

Perez swearing in
From 2015, Ganim, right, hugs AJ Perez, after naming him acting chief.

Mayor Joe Ganim on Tuesday announced the city’s in planning stages to launch a national search for chief of police, a position occupied on technically an acting basis by his friend A.J. Perez who assumed the role more than two years ago following the resignation of Joe Gaudett who took on a city consulting position in lieu of a buyout of his five-year contract.

Generally, the way it works, the mayor launches a national search that is advertised and processed through the Civil Service office, a mayoral-appointed committee selects three finalists presented to the chief executive who makes the appointment. This process was approved by voters in a charter question presented nearly 30 years ago that limits the leaders of police and fire to two, five-year terms. The City Charter spells out a rough timeline for a search generally within 150 days so this process will likely last into late summer.

Perez swearing
AJ Perez receives oath in 2015.

Why did Ganim take so long for a search?

The genial Perez is well-liked within government circles, but some have argued the mayor is doing himself–and residents–a disservice by not ordering a national search that could lead to strong management alternatives. Either way, Ganim could order a search and select Perez, if he makes the final three cut. So what’s the downside of just conducting a search?

Perez and members of the police union were all in for Ganim’s mayoral comeback in 2015. Union members wanted Gaudett replaced. In one of his last decisions following his primary defeat by Ganim, incumbent Bill Finch appointed Gaudett to a final five-year term, not allowing Ganim his own pick. Ganim had promised on the campaign trail he’d replace Gaudett. So rather than buying out Gaudett’s expensive contract, he was transitioned into a consulting position with the city.

Ganim then appointed Perez as acting chief. To Ganim’s way of thinking Perez was a loyal supporter and he rewarded him with the police position for two years. But now, Ganim may simply feel he’s even with the house.

A national search could also help immunize Ganim from criticism if it’s a long, hot violent summer, especially while he’s in campaign mode running for governor and then mayor next year if his gubernatorial bid fails.

The city has retained municipal search specialist Randi Frank to head up the search that will include meetings with community stakeholders, elected officials and neighborhood organizations that will have input on the qualities they want in a police chief. Frank has been involved in other municipal searches for the city including the process that led to Gaudett’s appointment.

“I’m very happy and glad it’s finally happening,” Perez said. “It’s two years and almost a month. Let’s go. Let’s do it.”



  1. David Dunn the “Acting” Personnel Director for the City MUST be replaced first before having a national search for a chief of police because Dunn will be doing this national search and he is not qualified to hold the position of Personnel Director. This is a tested position and David Dunn has been in this position for over 10 years without even taking a exam.

        1. David Dunn was rehired back when in the 1980’s after dealing with some issues because he knows where the bones of the skeleton are in Bridgeport.

    1. Agreed, Ron. The City Charter states that an individual may only serve in provisional status for 4 months. We have over 32 positions in the BOE where some have served as provisional employees for as long as 8 years in violation of the City Charter.

      I have been pushing for testing and David Dunn sent us a letter he planned on testing Custodian I positions in April. He also stated in the letter that he has no money for testing. Bull.

      1. That’s why Bill Finch when he was mayor and now Mayor Ganim didn’t call for a nationwide job search for the City’s Personnel Director position because David Dunn knows where all those hidden City position that call for to tested but are not because of political favors for certain people.

  2. If we can find anything good about Joe’s pipedream of getting elected governor,is at least he’s trying to cover up…errr make right,all his mistakes and clean up the patronage jobs he gave his friends after being elected mayor..Also read today the city is getting rid of those meters downtown,once again,another botch job by Joe..Wonder when he’s going to get to making right and replacing Rich Paoletto at he WPCA.Rich was accused twice of sex harrassment,and was forced to step down from his council position because of it.Joe waited a few months,and gave him an unadvertised job for being loyal..

  3. If Acting Police Chief Perez doesn’t placed in the top three positions​ he will go back to being a Police Captain and if he decided to retire instead of going back to a Captain Perez would retire with the rank of Captain. I look for Mayor Ganim to make Perez a “Provisional” Police Chief which would allow Perez to retire as a Police Chief and receive a pension as a police chief instead of a police captain.

      1. This seems to be the pattern, Fire Chief Brian Rooney started this first, he was the “Acting” Fire Chief then the “Provisional” Fire Chief. A fire exam for chief was given and Rooney placed second then he retire and was entitle to a pension the fire chief then he was named the new fire chief thereby double dipping by receiving his pension as fire chief then getting paid as the new fire chief. Police Chief Joe Gaudett did the same thing. Look for Mayor Ganim to do the same thing for Perez.

  4. Its in the best interest of Mayor Ganim to leave an unqualified person as Director of Civil Service because this will allow him to manipulate the results of hiring exams. With no oversight David Dunn is allowed to do anything he wants to in civil service and David Dunn is beholden to Mayor Ganim for this position and will do anything Mayor Ganim says to keep this job without the benefit of an exam.

    Jobs that were once governed by civil service guidelines are now just a matter of telling the Director of Civil Service to circumvent the process and hookup my boy, or lose your hundred thousand dollar job. Integrity use to be the cornerstone of the Civil Service office and it’s philosophy and now, just business as usual in Bridgeport. Damn shame the City Council in almost ten years haven’t done anything to bring autonomy back to the Civil Service Office like it was meant to be.

    1. A national search is done through the media and Emails, candidates take the exam online and it’s not as costly as allowing a chief to retire and receive their pension and then get hired as the chief and get paid again, a retirement check as chief and a weekly check as chief.

        1. Acting Chief Perez has allowed himself to become an extension of the corrupt Democratic Machine.

          I noticed quite a few police officers and their families voted at Thomas Hooker School for the DTC elections. Many of them are hard to get out to vote in Mayoral elections. Why such an urge to vote in DTC elections?

          I confirmed with a BPD officer that Chief Perez thru his administration directed officers to get out to vote for Row C in the 138th District.

          Absolutely no integrity.

          1. “Acting” Police Chief Perez is a nice person and is well liked by the members but doesn’t mean that he’s a good police chief, next he has gone way to far with his relationship with Mayor Ganim.


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