Councilman Paoletto’s Political Consequence Factor

The saga of Richard Paoletto, facing a second sexual harassment claim in five years while serving as a city councilor on the public payroll, has ramifications beyond his professional career. The reality is, in most situations of this type involving public office, he’d be fired from his paid position. If this were Joe Blow facing a second charge, and perhaps even a first, he’d be canned if the allegations have credibility.

The affable Paoletto, one of the senior members of the city’s legislative body as well as deputy director of Housing and Commercial Code Enforcement and a Democratic Town Committee member from the Upper East Side, has been generally a loyal soldier to Mayor Bill Finch.

And that creates a sticky situation for the mayor as Labor Relations Director Larry Osborne, also a Finch supporter, weighs the allegations made by a college intern against Paoletto and appropriate sanctions. Finch does not want to hand political opponents a campaign gift as he positions for a third four-year term next year.

Finch critics argue Paoletto was given a pass following the 2010 charges that produced a suspension without pay spread out over many weeks to soften the financial hardship against Paoletto.

Inside City Hall, Finch political operatives wonder about the public fallout for anything less than termination. Keep Paoletto on the payroll and Finch risks castigation for coddling a multi sexual harasser. It provides campaign opponents an instant issue to pummel the mayor who has $300,000 in the campaign bank and no publicly declared opponents in the game beyond a whole bunch of potentials sniffing around for support.

In 2007, despite revelations involving his prior substance abuse, then Mayor John Fabrizi still had the party apparatus behind him and a majority of the Democratic electorate as he sought another term. Things changed in the spring of 2007 when Fabs sought court leniency on behalf of a sexual offender who was friends with his son. The electorate freaked, a poll showed Fabs could not defeat party outsider Chris Caruso in a primary and the political established bailed on Fabs. Party leaders then recruited Finch as the endorsed mayoral candidate. He won a tight primary against Caruso.

Paoletto is suspended with pay pending review of the assertions. The city may wait on issuing a decision about Paoletto for a few more weeks. His mother passed away just before Thanksgiving.

Either way, potential public fallout has not escaped Finch’s political operation.

And then there’s the other question: what action, if any, will Paoletto’s peers on the City Council take if he’s punished for a second time?



  1. They are dragging their feet with this investigation. How hard is it to interview the woman who made the complaint? How hard is it to interview any witnesses presented by both sides? How hard is it to interview employees of the department? This investigation should have been completed after five days. If Paoletto is guilty, fire him; and the council should remove him. If he is innocent tell us and reinstate him. Enough of this foot-dragging for a political friend. The longer this goes on the more he looks guilty.

  2. Mayor Bill Finch’s silence is deafening on this subject. The mayor is showing he has no concern for this woman or for women. This is what you call “lack of leadership.” If this woman were Mayor Finch’s wife or his daughter, I’m sure action would have been taken. Richard Paoletto will have due process but Andy Fardy is right, they are dragging their feet with this investigation. Mayor Finch is showing his lack of respect for women.

  3. Ron, you are right on the money with this. Bill Finch and his administration have demonstrated at every opportunity presented to them they have no respect for women in general and for women in the workplace. Period.
    If it is true Richie Paoletto was given a 60-day suspension and was allowed to serve it one day a month for five years, that is the ultimate slap in all women’s faces.

  4. i do not think $300,000 or a million in the bank can cover up a sexual harassment suit. Look at Bill Cosby, a beloved comedian and the perfect father, has been totally destroyed. He has become poison to all networks and every business association Cosby has is done in a blink. An entire career over. If Finch wants to put his political career on the line, well, suffice it to say his warchest is worthless in the year of Cosby and sexual harassment. This is a different world. People have become become less tolerant and forgiving. I EXPECT THE INVESTIGATION TO BE OVER SOON.

  5. Rich Paoletto’s hat as an employee is the subject of this “saga.” The comments so far have been on target relating to workplace sexual harassment in 2014.

    But remember the role he plays as 5% of the City Council and more than that because he is also Deputy Majority Leader and Sergeant at Arms, probably fifth in the City line of succession, and is often seen assisting Councilperson Taylor-Moye, who is third in line when she presides.
    He co-chairs the Ordinance Committee with Eneida Martinez and serves on Public Safety and Transportation as well as the Committee on Contracts. One busy Councilperson!!!

    And if he is not attending these meetings, staying current on subject matter and quorums are often hard to assemble anyway, how does the Council competently handle its business?

    This is obviously another drawback to the problematic equation created when City employees are permitted to serve on the City Council. Lots of opportunity for leverage that causes conflicted interest. Lots of opportunity to stay out of sight in a mess like this. And the justification is City employees have a right to sit for office, even when our Charter say NO, because the State legislature has left this open? Another revolting development? OIB? Time will tell.

  6. Black Rock–A hapless man had to be “fished” from Ash Creek on Monday afternoon, after he’d become stuck in mud up to his knees. A large crowd of Black Rock onlookers quickly noticed it was Bill Finch, the Mayor of Bridgeport. It was clearly determined the Mayor was on the Fairfield side of the creek, and no one in the crowd of onlookers was dialing 911.
    Finch was unable to free himself, according to scanner reports, and Greenwich rescue boats from the Greenwich police and fire departments set out to assist the Mayor once they showed up, so say the Bridgeport Fire and Police Departments and they’re sticking to their story.
    But the water was so shallow, the rescue attempt had to be shifted to the land side off of Gilman Street, dispatchers said. Someone called 911, and the crowd thinks it was Sue Brannelly from Lake Ave.
    The site is across from the Ash Creek open space area, near Fairfield.
    The incident began at 12:40 p.m., about two minutes before low tide. The man, who was immediately identified, was being evaluated by a team of medics from Greenwich CT.
    Is it 2015 yet?

    1. Was there a fishing rod in his hands? Low tide at that location? Which member of his Cabinet was providing advice? Was he wearing boots? Are you sure he wasn’t checking out the siting for the pedestrian bridge footings? Time will tell.

  7. It’s good no one called Bridgeport 911 because he would still be there because of the way they feel about him. Standing in mud is about the right place for him.

  8. I understand the bloggers on OIB are determined to create the Barack Obama is a loser effect and project it onto Bill Finch. Fortunately for Mayor Bill Finch, in the real world the voters actually think Mayor Finch is doing just fine. If they didn’t people would be looking for his replacement and it is definitely obvious they are not. Of course, with a reevaluation looming Finch could be reelected and tar and feathered. There is nobody going to accept an increase when prices of houses are half what they were 10 years ago. OMG.

    1. Steven Auerbach, you are way off base, just look at the election results right here where you live in Bridgeport and look at the state results, remember Malloy ran on Obama records and the entire slate won. I can see that you don’t talk to a large number of people from other sections of the City because if you know how people can’t stand Finch. Voters are just waiting for the candidates who can raise the money to run against.

      1. Ron Mackey, John Fabrizi backed out of the race and I am still not running. There would not be any other candidate who not only can raise the funds or beat Finch. It isn’t just the money and contacts sir, it is the platform. There is not a candidate at all. I speak to a few … hundred people daily. Seriously! From across the socioeconomic and color spectrum. Do not take my word for it, though you should. Today, there is not one candidate lurking out there who has a platform other than being anti-Finch. For the record, I am not Finch’s cheerleader. I am just stating the obvious. You need charisma, a platform, knock on doors and know the country clubs with the people with money who share your vision and enthusiasm. Today, there is only the man who is focusing on Steelepointe. Everything else is pretty much irrelevant.

  9. Finch won’t say a word about this. Paoletto is one of his strongest “yes men.” I’m waiting for one of those patented “Anastasi “legal opinions” in defense of him soon. The longer this drags out, the guiltier Paoletto looks. Truth.

  10. Steven Auerbach, let me give you two reasons why Finch won’t get reelected. Finch’s takeover of the Bridgeport BOE and his failure to show any leadership in a sexual harassment case of a female City worker. Let me give you two names Finch needs to worry about, Joe Ganim and Chris Caruso.

    1. Ron, Chris Caruso, I have a lot of respect for him. He has a great and well-deserved job in the Malloy administration. He will not be Mayor, and Joe Ganim, honestly, give that up! He would never survive the public scrutiny or my unrelentless in-your-face criticism. He would add a little class to the mix, but that is clearly on the surface. There is nobody gonna give money to Joe Ganim to get his hands involved with Steelepointe.

      1. Steve, you and Andy suffer from a false sense of importance! If Joe Ganim wants to run for Mayor, his skin is a lot thicker than both your inflated egos! Here’s what Bill Finch should be worried about, is a one-on-one primary runoff, if Caruso, Ganim, MJF, JML or Tom Lombard entered the primary race for Mayor, Finch should win the numbers game.

        There are 43,000 registered Democrats in the City and Joe Ganim would need 13% of them to win a head-to-head primary against Finch, that’s if the turnout is the same or as close to the last primary, but this time Finch has a lot of baggage from Puppygate to Drivewaygate, not to mention the BOE brouhaha, and now the Richie the Repeatergate.

        Joe would need to raise about $560,000 at $100 a vote. Finch would have to raise well over a million dollars to beat back Joe, and he knows this. So Steve and Andy, your boy is a hell of a long way from a shoe-in.

        1. Jim, here you are posting false information again. I have never written a positive statement about Finch since he was mayor. Did you use my name because it is well known and yours is just a piss stain on the sidewalk? I have said I would not vote for Ganim and I will not vote for Tom Lombard who is a nice guy. Hey moron, look at what the topic of this blog was. BTW where are those 350 names of people in Black Rock who are getting tax breaks? More BS from you. Oh yeah, did you buy a house in Bridgeport yet?

        2. Jimfox, you are correct, Joe Ganim has every right to run. I am not beholding to Bill Finch as he has never offered me anything. I really have no ill feelings against Joe Ganim even though he separated me from the city of Bridgeport 25 years ago. That is water under the bridge. Who am I to stop Joe Ganim from his Napoleonic desires of conquering the world and redeeming himself? It does not affect me at all. He is a likeable guy and I believe Bridgeporters felt good under his leadership. Then came the scandal. The worst scandal ever to hit the city of Bridgeport. There is a whole new slew of voters who never heard of Joe Ganim and will be reintroduced to Bridgeport’s darkest hour. Of course there are the seniors like yourself who for the most part have a work ethic and totally despise Joe Ganim and what he did to their beloved city. Of course there are the developers who wouldn’t give Ganim a dime unless of course they wipe their asses with $100 bills. Who is going to give Joe Ganim the much-needed funds that can create a huge re-imaging campaign? Now I say run Joe, run. I take back what I said. I will not walk the city disparaging his character. That is not my style. Run Joe Run and Jim Fox ask yourselves, Does Ganim really hold more hope for you that you are willing to overlook his past and has Finch been so awful he deserves to hand over the keys to the city to Ganim? I do believe most of the people in Bridgeport are ignorant in many ways and I am sure I am ignorant in many ways. I just do not believe people in this city are that ignorant or desperate to rally behind Ganim to evict Bill Finch from the City Hall Annex. I will allow all those willing to run for Mayor to state their case without my condescending comments. I have serious issues to be dealing with and doing public announcements on behalf of the Mayor does not serve my purpose. I wish all candidates good luck. I thank them all for wanting to serve the great city of Bridgeport, including Joseph Ganim.

  11. Jimfox,
    Just a moment, I did not see Andy Fardy make a statement favoring any candidate on this thread. Did I miss it? Or were you so excited to answer Steve, you threw Andy’s name in for spice?
    And what substance have you been taking that has “JML” running in a primary? I know Tom Lombard is a friend of yours but that is the first time for his name to show in this regard also. Are you just floating rumors hoping they will catch a favorable tide? Or perhaps just muddying things up a bit? Time will tell.

    1. On OIB there’s one called Magoo,
      Claims “retread City” on OIB is true.
      He offers no potentials who are new,
      So leaves us with a tired B P T stew.

      This City has so much wrong is Why,
      Support from community is worth a try.
      But only shaking hands, walking streets and saying HI,
      Won’t produce anything but a candidate’s sigh.

      So Magoo please tell us for real,
      What qualities would make a person ideal,
      And earn your personal approval seal?
      Please share it with all how you feel.

      Time will tell.

      1. JML, you made a rhyme
        And for that I think it’s time
        To pour some gin and squeeze a lime
        Raise the glass and give a toast
        And knowing you’re not one to boast
        Yet, another year yourself did host …
        Happy Birthday–so glad you are not yet a ghost … 🙂


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