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Council Members Urge Ganim To Reimburse City For Campaign-Related Security

January 13th, 2018 · 17 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, City Council, City Politics, Law Enforcement, News and Events, State Politics

About half the City Council, and the number appears to be rising, want Mayor Joe Ganim’s campaign for governor to reimburse the city for police security when he’s on the stump. Ganim has reimbursed the city for mileage. Why not for police detail? Why would Ganim need police outside of the city? What’s wrong with campaign operatives driving him around?

CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart has more:

Meanwhile Councilman Peter Spain and some colleagues submitted a resolution calling on Ganim to reimburse the city for security while running for governor.

The resolution is on the council’s agenda Tuesday for referral to the budget committee.

Ganim’s security detail, its cost, and his sometime use of both a city vehicle and police driver last year while exploring a gubernatorial bid, had already come under fire locally. Then Jan. 3, Ganim’s first day as an official gubernatorial candidate, his rented campaign vehicle, driven by Garcia, was stopped by a state trooper in Southington for speeding at 87 mph.

Full story here.

Pete Spain resolution:

Submitted by Councilmember: Pete Spain (130th District)

Co-Sponsors(s): Marcus Brown, Kyle Langan, Eneida Martinez, Ernie Newton, Christina Smith.

District(s): 130th, 132nd, and 139th.

Subject: Resolution for full reimbursement and transparent reporting by Mayor to City of Bridgeport

Referred to: Budget and Appropriations Committee

Whereas the Bridgeport City Charter Chapter 9, Section 4 states the authority of City Council to procure information.

Whereas the City Council established an annual budget as detailed by City Charter Chapter 9, Section 5.

Whereas Police Department overtime expenses have exceeded budgets in recent years and has required measures to address overtime spending.

Whereas the Mayor has chosen to utilize police officers for driving and security duties with resulting regular overtime payroll expenses.

Whereas the Office of State Ethics Advisory Opinion No, 1993-23 details appropriate reimbursement for use of Connecticut State Troopers for driving and security during the campaign of Lieutenant Governor Eunice Groark.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Mayor reimburse the City of Bridgeport for all expenses related to the use of Bridgeport Police Department officers for driving and security duties during his campaign for the Office of Governor of the State of Connecticut.

Be it further resolved that a report of all expenses related to the use of on-duty Bridgeport Police Department officers reflecting location, event and hours and all resulting regular and overtime payroll expense be presented to the City Council by the tenth day of the month following the month of those expenses.

Be it further resolved that these reimbursements reflect regular and overtime salary, as well as pension contributions.

Be it further resolved that the City of Bridgeport Finance Director certify receipt of reimbursement for those expenses by the twentieth day of the month following the month of those expenses.

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17 Comments so far ↓

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    You left out the juicy oart:

    A Hearst reporter in the car at the time saw the speedometer needle hit 100 mph.

    Anything over 85 mph is reckless driving. Garcia received a verbal warning from the trooper and, back in Bridgeport, from Perez.

    Subsequently the council’s budget committee this week pledged to examine the costs of Ganim’s security detail in February. But Spain decided to go a step further and introduce his resolution: “Constituents want a clear statement, without delay, that demonstrates that their elected representatives are watching out for them and their interests, using the council’s authority to demand sensible safeguards.”

    Spain has six co-sponsors: Marcus Brown, Karen Jackson, Kyle Langan, Eneida Martinez, Ernie Newton & Christina Smith.

    “He (Ganim) should have protection as long as he’s doing the business of the city,” said Newton. “But not the business of running for governor. Newton added: “Especially when we have a city that’s strapped” for money.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Moses is right. The city is strapped for cash and Ganim’s security detail is ringing up the overtime. The OT budget should be spent serving the public trust and upholding the law, not protecting hizzoner from a pie in the face.

  • Tom White

    Lennie, can you post a copy of the resolution?

    • Jimfox

      To all Council members: Please let me know if you’d like to co-sponsor the following resolution I’ve drafted to take a stand on this important issue on behalf of our constituent taxpayers, in light of their, my, and perhaps your own fair concern:

      Whereas the Bridgeport City Charter Chapter 9, Section 4 states the authority of City Council to procure information.

      Whereas the City Council established an annual budget as detailed by City Charter Chapter 9, Section 5.

      Whereas Police Department overtime expenses have exceeded budgets in recent years and has required measures to address overtime spending.

      Whereas Mayor Ganim has chosen to utilize police officers for driving and security duties with resulting regular overtime payroll expenses.

      Whereas the Office of State Ethics Advisory Opinion No, 1993-23 details appropriate reimbursement for use of Connecticut State Troopers for driving and security during the campaign of Lieutenant Governor Eunice Groark.

      Therefore, be it resolved that Mayor Ganim reimburse the City of Bridgeport for all expenses related to the use of Bridgeport Police Department officers for driving and security duties during his campaign for the Office of Governor of the State of Connecticut.

      Be it further resolved that a report of all expenses related to the use of on-duty Bridgeport Police Department officers reflecting location, event and hours and all resulting regular and overtime payroll expense be presented to the City Council by the tenth day of the month following the month of those expenses.

      Be it further resolved that these reimbursements reflect regular and overtime salary, as well as pension contributions.

      Be it further resolved that the City of Bridgeport Finance Director certify receipt of reimbursement for those expenses by the twentieth day of the month following the month of those expenses.

      Pete Spain

      City Council Rep for the 130th District

  • Harvey Weintraub

    Does anyone think Joe is going to be honest about the hours spent on Bpt business vs campaign business??..of course not,expect him to try to quiet the masses with a check for a few thousand dollars.He’s a convicted thief,getting “away” with things is what he does..

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Sounds very Iffy. Will there be a need for the mayor to sign-on or veto the resolution? Has the question of making or expecting a resolution to be retroactive crossed the minds of at least those submitting and co-sponsoring the resolution? Again, I remind everyone of the benefits and importance of looking into and considering the “flip side of the coin.”

  • Tom White

    It is reassuring to see that one member of the city council actually knows the role and authority of the city council.

    It is encouraging to see a few others who will stand up and be counted by co-sponsoring the resolution.

    It is likely that other members of the city council will be offended by it. After all, they have shared their opinion that reimbursement should be made.

    In a legislative role, your opinion is worthless unless it is reflected in a position taken by a vote.

    The Budget and Appropriation Committee will meet with city officials regarding the matter? Well, isn’t that special.

    The committee members will be seated around a table, having no understanding of their role and authority, having done no research and will be satisfied to hear that the Ganim campaign will make a ‘good faith effort’ to address their concerns.

    Make note of the votes on referring this resolution to committee. The votes to deny referral will be showing their hand as to their obedience to Ganim.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Tom the last paragraph of your above comment says it all. I, too, am waiting anxiously to see where those “hands, votes” go. It will speak volumes of what future votes hold in terms of those not understanding their responsibility to the voters of their districts. We both served and experienced much during our time on the Council, let’s see!!!!

    • Harvey Weintraub

      I’d be shocked if Amy Vizzo Pannicia goes along with this,in fact,I’d be shocked to have her take a position on anything frankly..

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Lisa, don’t you think it’s too convenient and wrong to simply cherry pick certain City Charter chapters parts such as: “Whereas the Bridgeport City Charter Chapter 9, Section 4 states the authority of City Council to procure information.” While ignoring City Charter rules as to who are empowered to make internal Police Department Decisions.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Good work to each of your who know that the City Council has much more responsibility for calling attention to good governance issues in the City. Some recent examples of Council “routine failure continuation” are the numerous Council Committee meetings called off, not because there is failure to fill a quorum (as I understand it) but because there is not business on the agenda!!! Wow, there is no initiative on these committees to look at recent past activity of each committee and see what is lacking?Learning about past responses that may have failed or not solved an issue? Maybe use that scheduled Committee session, already on the member’s calendar, to invite the public to an open session to share what is on their mind??
    Instead the meetings are canceled because CIty Hall has sent nothing for them to discuss or review? Is that the story? Certainly a way to practice continuing failure to serve the City with energy, vision, and opening results for taxpayers, residents and students, among others!!!

    Is it the position taken by Council members, or the actual information brought to bear, the Q&A they experience, the learning that is made public, the alternative manner of doing things learned from constituents as well as junkets to other cities spending our Stipend funds that needs revelation and demonstration to voters? Time will tell.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Look at the Comprehensive Audit for FY 2017 just out last week. It tells us that the Police Department expenses including overtime were within budget in that year. Did you know that, or is it news? Is that a positive, or did OPM raise the budgeted amount high enough for the FY 2016-17 budget that they would not over spend?

    Well B&A for some reason was persuaded last year to increase the personnel services line by over a million and at this moment through December, Ken Flatto is projecting a surplus variance of $3,300,000. Although the second personnel line has a lesser negative variance at this moment, a deep and long look at the Police Department budgeting and actual over the past ten years might perhaps get people to question what decisions were made that put us here? What contractual decisions were made (or are currently on the table with PD and recently rejected) and are being offered today, as well as the contemplated expenses going forward?
    Finally, did any OIB reader understand that the line item for Fringe Benefits for PD in this year’s budget is larger than for contractual salaries? $34.9 Million is greater than $34.3 Million. Anyone surprised? Know any business in the private sector organized this way? (Now Flatto estimates a reduction in salary spending by $3.3 Million, but only a reduction in fringe benefit expense by $500,000. Why isn’t public safety Council Committee meeting jointly with Budget and Appropriations to look at this long term dysfunction? If the Contracts Committee joined them and began to ask questions why certain outside contracting firms may be facing increased costs for Outside Overtime and others are not, the answers might be very illuminating. Anyone curious? Ask questions. Expect responses. Time will tell.

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