Finch Pads Retro Paycheck Last Day For Himself And Loyalists, Ganim Pay Scale Benefits Too

Joe Ganim is now officially mayor again.
Joe Ganim is now officially mayor again.

In one of his final acts as mayor based on inaction by the City Council, Bill Finch authorized retroactive pay increases for dozens of discretionary appointees–about a dozen of whom received termination letters on Monday in anticipation of Joe Ganim’s arrival as mayor–that some outgoing city employees described as a nice departure bonus of more than $10,000 packed into their Monday paychecks including Finch who benefited from his action. Finch could have left the matter for the Ganim administration to handle, but as he did with last week’s new five-year appointment of Police Chief Joe Gaudett, used his mayoral powers albeit going out the door.

Salary increases of the discretionary appointments, including the mayor himself and close advisers, come under the Bridgeport City Supervisor’s Association that had negotiated retroactive wage increases, covering about 150 city employees, of three percent starting July 1, 2013, three percent starting July 1, 2014, and 2.5 percent July 1, 2015. The rub is the City Council did not act on it so Finch did.

Ganim is screaming foul, saying the move may put the city in “dire financial straights.” But here’s the reality based on Finch’s move. The mayor’s salary goes from $132,500 to $144,000 based on the agreement so Ganim receives a pay bump heading into office. The Connecticut Post asked Ganim if he could reverse it. His response, “I don’t think so–they were already direct deposited. It’s pretty appalling.”

Strategically it’s smart for Ganim, now mayor again, to pound Finch. And we may see a lot of this in the coming months. And oh, by the way, all the incoming Ganim appointees benefit as well because even if Ganim starts them at the bottom of the pay scale it’s up from where it was previously, in some cases six figures including inner office staff and department heads.

On November 18, the attorney for the supervisor’s association Ed Gavin sent a letter to Director of Labor Relations Larry Osborne, a Finch supporter who’s also a member of the Democratic Town Committee, citing Connecticut law regarding inaction by the legislative body to act on collective bargaining agreements.

“Such requests shall be considered approved if the legislative body fails to vote to approve or reject such requests within 30 days of the end of the 14 day period for submission to said body,” Gavin wrote.

One day later Osborne who benefited from the agreement and announced his retirement this week, wrote a letter to Chief Administrative Officer Andy Nunn, a Finch appointee, recommending that the “City move forward with putting the contract into effect, including any and all payroll adjustments as of November 27, 2015. If the City does not implement the contract, it will be subject to Municipal Prohibited Practices and other claims from the Union.”

Under the city’s chain of command, Osborne reported to Nunn who reported to Finch.

The contract had been tabled by the City Council.

Likely the agreement would have been implemented under Ganim, but Finch and his discretionary employees leaving city service would not have benefited. What’s the price tag? That won’t be clear until the Ganim administration shares the math.

On the very day the retroactive pay fatted the paychecks of Finch loyalists, Bridgeport Personnel Director David Dunn issued this termination letter Monday via email to about a dozen discretionary Finch appointees including some mayoral staffers. Several outgoing employees shared the email.

I have been notified by Mayor-elect Joseph Ganim that your employment with the City of Bridgeport will officially be terminated as of December 1, 2015.

In the interest of governmental efficiency please arrange to vacate your office and turn over any City property that you have in your possession to the Human Resources office by the close of business Monday, November 30, 2015.

Please be advised that the ITS department will disconnect and disable any phones or IT devices that you may have in your possession at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, December 1st. Your cooperation is appreciated.

A letter from Civil Service on behalf of Mayor Joseph Ganim noticing your termination will be available for pick up at the Civil Service Office, City Hall, Room 106, after 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, December 1st.

Thank you for your service to the City of Bridgeport. If there is any further information you think I can provide please feel free to call my office at 203-576-7101.

David Dunn
Personnel Director

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41 comments

  1. According to the Connecticut Post, Bill Finch gave himself and his political appointees retroactive pay raises today, before he left Morton Government Center for the last time. What a piece of shit he is, just a no-good, no-account motherfucker. He professes great love for the people of the city of Bridgeport and then gives the high hard one to the taxpayers because he was voted out of office. This is going to cost the city a large chunk of change.

    The former mayor has no shame, none at all.

    1. I took the high road with this. Eventually there will be payback. I thought Mario Testa requested nothing be done until the new administration came in. I could be wrong.

    2. And for all the taxpayers?
      Less money to spend for holiday gifting. Between the union, Finchettes, and please don’t forget, the Ganim new appointees if we ever get an accounting on that.

  2. This doesn’t surprise me. Finch is a vindictive, angry and bitter man. I was thinking two weeks ago, okay Finch lost, but it was sort of nice to for him to have that grand opening at Bass Pro, kind of his “last hurrah.” That night would have been a good way for him to go out. But no, he has now proven what kind of person he is. Thank God he was voted out, could you imagine what he had in mind for the next four years if left in office??? But once again, it is the taxpayers who get the shaft.

    1. Bill Finch has no class, couldn’t give a farthing about what the people of the city of Bridgeport thought of him while in office and he ain’t gonna give a shit now. After all, this is the man who responded to a question about improving the quality of education in BPT by saying “I built a water slide.”

      It’s a safe bet Tax Bill will not be frequenting downtown any time soon.

  3. Finch will never hold an elected position ever again, but where was McCarthy? He’s also at fault. In two years the people of his district should vote the fucker out of office.

    1. I wonder if Tom McCarthy is one of the individuals who received a termination letter today. He is a good guy. I do not see him voted out as he was just voted in! He is very well liked in his district. I expect he will be council president.

  4. Do people just look for something to demonize people with? From what I’ve read the council doesn’t do its job, and Finch did. We talk about how bad Finch screwed the taxpayers. Why don’t the same people who are demonizing Finch for granting the raises ask Joe and his appointees who are going to benefit from the raises to decline them? Like they are asking the chief to decline his $500,000 contract. Joe has the power to make the cuts for himself and his appointees. Right. PS Joe, don’t do if they ask you too. They hate you too.
    www .youtube.com/watch?v=6rHhW3Fnk6I

  5. Outrageous and inappropriate last-minute actions by Mayor Finch! Why did the City Council fail to act on this matter within the 30-day period? Just another example of how Tom McCarthy has blatant conflicts by being both a City employee and City Council President. It’s time to end that conflict! Actions speak louder than words.

    1. And another reason why McCarthy didn’t get a termination notice? Because Ganim gets a raise. All Ganim is asking for is to make it effective a few days later so he gets a raise and Finch gets the shaft.
      Same old B’port politics.

    2. Dave, not only did they fail to act, they never questioned the consequences of what would happen if they didn’t act. My guess is no one other than McCarthy knew they should have asked the appropriate questions before making a motion to table. They didn’t have a clue. Ganim is in for a culture shock as he presides over the coming Council meetings.

      1. Lisa and/or Dave, was the council’s failure to act during the tenure of Ricky Torres? I ask because he was the council watchdog to keep an eye on those members who didn’t always question or do what was in best interest of the residents, as opposed to what was best for the party.

        1. Donald, it was, but in his defense being a freshman council member he wouldn’t be expected to anticipate the consequences of not acting one way or another. However, McCarthy knew.

  6. Lennie,
    I believe the minimum on the pay scale is not mandatory so Ganim can go below it if he so chooses. Or at least that was how it was way back during G1.

      1. Lennie,
        On November 26, 2015, Thanksgiving Day CT Post edition LEGAL NOTICES page C7

        NOTICE
        The City Council of the City of Bridgeport adopted the following ordinance, said ordinance available for public inspection during regular business hours of the Office of the City Clerk, City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace, Bridgeport, Connecticut.
        1) Updated ranges for Officers and Unaffiliated Employees Salaries pursuant to and as required by Municipal Code Section 2.36.010. ADOPTED September 4, 2012 [126-11]
        Attest: Fleeta C. Hudson, City Clerk

        So I visited the City Clerk office late Monday November 30 to find Fleeta Hudson had departed after her party and Lydia Martinez was present preparing for today, when she assumes the elected office.
        I was able to learn the notice appeared this year because it evidently had not appeared previously in the CT Post as necessary. Details and more details? Errors? Time will tell.

  7. Ganim sworn in and sworn at today.
    In G1, it took Ganim 4-6 years to grow arrogant.
    It seems like his arrogance is in high gear starting day 1.
    He is creating jobs, which he does not have the authority to do.
    He is obviously setting pay rates for new positions, which he does not have the authority to do.
    He is complaining about Finch retroactive pay raise but not turning it down for himself and others.
    Yea, this is the new Joe. Same old Joe.
    How do I complain to the Minister of Integrity?

  8. Lennie, did David Dunn get his walking papers? Under Dunn fewer blacks and women were hired for the fire department than at any time in the last 40 years, and now civil service is running a recruitment drive for the fire department.

    Mayor Ganim, please postpone the fire exam until you have the opportunity to look over the roadblocks of exclusion David Dunn has added. Brother Mackey and I would be more than happy to show you those roadblocks and how they are an exclusion of participation for blacks and women.

    1. Donald Day and Ron Mackey,
      It’s a safe bet Ganim is going to be rolling up the carpets to expose the dirt and slime of the previous administration. What we’ve known for a long time, Bill Finch is a petty, deceitful man, was confirmed by his reappointment of Joseph Gaudett and giving himself and his cronies retroactive pay raises.
      Joseph P. Ganim is not likely to resort to the behavior that landed in prison for seven years. He’s been given a second chance. He does not want his political legacy to be “convicted felon.” He is burnishing his image. Making the police and fire departments, and the city government as a whole, more inclusive and representative of the greater Bridgeport community is one of his top priorities.

    2. Donald,
      Yes. However, he was the sole Republican and was not part of the Democrat caucus, which is where all the real discussion happens. This failure to act has to be laid at the feet of the Council President, Tom McCarthy. He needs to be held accountable. It’s time to address the clear conflict he has in his role as a high-level City employee in the Labor Relations Department and as Council President! Honor our City Charter. Both Tom McCarthy and Mayor Ganim have the power to eliminate this conflict. It’s time to do so!

  9. Lennie,
    If Larry Osborne retired, then Tom McCarthy is head of Labor Relations. With a Brannelly brother-in-law in the office and a former treasurer of the DTC also working there.
    All Finch loyalists.
    What’s Joe gonna do?

    1. Troll, I’m not sure Joe knows what he’s gonna do yet. He’ll weigh if McCarthy will be a bigger pain in the ass on or off the payroll since he’s likely to remain council president. If not Joe himself, he may send in Danny Roach who’s now on the payroll as a mayoral staffer to have a conversation with McCarthy or perhaps Town Chair Mario Testa will weigh in as well. Most of us have operated on the assumption as deputy director of Labor Relations McCarthy works at the pleasure of the mayor. What if McCarthy says mess with me and I’ll file a lawsuit? And oh by the way I’ll be a big pain in the ass on the council if you mess with me. Or maybe Joe forces the issue and follows the city charter prohibiting city employees from serving on the council. Make a choice, city council or the job? I’m not sure Joe knows yet what move he’ll make.

    2. Bubba, McCarthy has future political aspirations, and he should. He’s smart, likable and has gained experience while on the council. If he draws negative press and opinions because of this situation, he’s shooting himself in the foot. On the other hand, if he doesn’t make a decision, and Joe doesn’t act immediately, Joe can count this as his first major mistake, and there are thousands of voters out there who didn’t vote for him; they’re just waiting for him to screw up.

  10. Lennie, just a guess. Joe knows very well the experience of working with difficult council members. To name a few, Bob Walsh, Lisa Parziale, Ed Gomes, Andre Baker, and that’s just to name a few who served at the end of his last term. Back then, if you were perceived as difficult, it was because we were doing our jobs. Sorry Tom M., can’t include you as doing your job. You knew better!

  11. Donald,
    I have read your question twice and I do not understand it yet. The part about “the tenure of Ricky Torres” is confusing me. Rick Torres was one Council person of 20. He asked a lot of questions, received many fewer truthful, fair and timely answers but persisted. If you saw him as a watchdog, I did too. But being a single watchdog, as a part-time Council person, of a different party, with the underwhelming “legislative instruction” of Tom McCarthy to all the new 2013 Council members and then running for two offices himself, he was busy. What is your point, Donald? Who are you looking at to pick up the habit of questioning? Best guess? Time will tell.

    1. JML, are you trying to anticipate my motives for asking and do you think there were some nefarious reasons I asked?

      Believe it or not, it was as a point of information in that he said something about the unfair taxes paid on the East End or the unfair boot and tow program that was implemented. JML, I knew Ricky was the voice of discontent and conscience in a den of party loyalists and wondered if he knew this but never got the opportunity to expose this unfair practice. Assumed?

      1. Tax fairness, in calculated amount, relative to real values, and in applying penalties was something raised by Rick and others during this campaign season. I was not looking for “nefarious,” just for your point or direction that was absent from your posting.

        Our late revaluations, now overdue two years and counting have allowed a period when almost all property values decreased, but then many rose, not to where they were before but scattered all over the spectrum. That means each property, currently taxed on a “fair” valuation from 2008 will now be taxed on that same valuation, that no professional would call “fair.” Unfair taxation creates resentment certainly. (People in some neighborhoods felt if revaluation were done today and “fair” revaluation occurred, some neighborhoods would be hammered in the name of “fair” practices. But aren’t values for real and to be used not only for buying and selling but also for taxation?

        When someone on the East End fails to pay WPCA or property tax, how rapidly do interest or fees lead to tax lien or sale of tax liens? In comparison to property in another neighborhood? We reported more than one contrast between property treatment in Black Rock and that in the East End.

        The idea of five-year revaluations has substance and is the reason for the State guidelines. Finch, and Ganim before him, played with the flexibility of the system by asking for exceptions and/or postponements. What will be the response of Ganim II to the current problem of fairness? What will become of the opportunity raised by Representative Torres to explore “land-based valuation” as a way out of future problems of sitting on land without current development to keep property taxes low? Time will tell.

  12. I think it’s fair to say attempting to remove McCarthy, or any other city employee/council member, in the face of a state law allowing them to serve in an elective office would raise significant, and potentially expensive, legal issues. Despite what you may have heard in the last campaign, mayors don’t get to simply “ignore” state laws they don’t like.

  13. *** Talk about showing his true “Grinch” colors during the holidays, “Mean Green!” These last official moves by Mayor Finch will end up hurting the city and its residents, no doubt. However, everything that is negative energy and vindictive he leaves behind today will in time come back to bite him in the ass in the future! *** Whatever good Finch did as Mayor of Bpt during his eight years in office will be overshadowed by these last vindictive moves he claims he needed to do before leaving office. *** SHAME ON YOU! ***

  14. Bill Finch/wood never had the intelligence to think of this on his own. That being said, he didn’t have the intelligence to know how damaging his actions would be. Someone else did, and talked him into this.
    He simply took the money, and ran.

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