On the night the City Council was scheduled to consider removal of Eleanor Guedes from the Civil Service Commission for violating the city’s residency code, the chair of the personnel body beat them to it, resigning in a letter to Mayor Joe Ganim.
The council was scheduled to take up this matter Monday night:
Ordinance Committee Report re: Resolution to consider if Ms. Eleanor
Guedes, a member of the Civil Service Commission, violated both the City’s Charter and the Municipal Code of Ordinances while being registered to vote in Trumbull from June 2017 through January 2018
The question of residency for Guedes has been debated on OIB for a decade. See here. What’s bona fide residency? In the case of Guedes she has a family business outfitted with a bedroom in Bridgeport she declares as a residence, but the evidence then and now argues she could be considered a resident of Trumbull that places her in conflict with the City Charter. When the issue came up Guedes explained she spent a few nights a week in Bridgeport, which satisfied City Attorney Mark Anastasi’s interpretation of residency. City Council members as well as government watchdog John Marshall Lee have recently revisited the issue in a quest to land answers about board and commission appointments and vacancies.
Guedes also has development interest in the city. In September, Ganim joined city leaders to announce two projects chosen in response to the Downtown North Development requests for proposals on Main Street and Congress Street. Bridgeport-based Primrose Construction, whose principals include Guedes, was selected to create nearly 100 units of housing and Park City Ice-Palace LLC Development Group proposes to build a hockey and ice skating training facility.
Ganim on Monday also announced the appointment of Dr. Herron Gaston as a new member to the Civil Service Commission. Dr. Gaston is the Associate Director of Admissions & Recruitment at Yale University Divinity School and Pastor of Summerfield United Methodist Church in Bridgeport, according to a news release issued.
From the release:
Dr. Gaston is a former lobbyist and legislative analyst. Dr. Gaston has served in the Governor’s Office in Florida as a Gubernatorial Fellow, and has worked for a cadre of politicians at the local, state, and national level. Herron is interested in the intersection of law, religion, and ethics. Dr. Gaston holds degrees in political science, public administration, public policy, and divinity. Dr. Gaston is also the founder and director of the Gaston Justice Coalition Group LLC, a faith-based, non-profit organization comprised of pastors, ministers, churches, educators, and community leaders whose mission is to address critical issues and reduce violence and incarceration, particularly in inner-cities.
Guedes’ resignation letter to Ganim:
I am writing this letter to announce that I will be stepping down from my position, as Chairwoman of the City of Bridgeport Civil Service Commission.
I have had the privilege of serving on the Civil Service Commission since I was appointed over 25 years ago, by then Mayor Mary Moran. I have done so as a volunteer, without favor or gain and with great pride in my service to the City of Bridgeport, which I’ve been proud to call home. I am a graduate of Beardsley Elementary, East Side Middle, Bullard Havens High School, and Housatonic Community College–all Bridgeport Schools. From there, I went on to obtain an MBA from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT. Throughout my life I have been involved and served the City in many capacities. In my 20s I conducted voter registration drives in the basement of our family church, Our Lady of Fatima, insuring that new Citizens were afforded their rights to participate in the electoral process. I later ran for the Bridgeport Board of Education, on the Keeley ticket. For several years now I have volunteered with Bridgeport’s Community hiring programs. And in 2016, I was awarded “Community Partner of the Year” by Senator Blumenthal for my work with the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative.
I have always been dedicated to helping Bridgeport succeed, and I am proud of all of the hard work and public service that the Civil Service Commission has provided to the people of this great city. I have never voted, or been involved with the community, in any city other than Bridgeport. However, at this time I believe it is better for me to step aside, than to bring any undue scrutiny to the good work of the Civil Service Commission.
I thank you and the City Council for allowing me the honor of serving on the Commission as its Chairwoman for all of these years. I wish the members of the Civil Service Commission well as they continue to carry out their work for the people of Bridgeport.