Finch Resigns, McCarthy Sworn In, Plus: Development News (for real)

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, squeezed by political pressure and an electorate angry over unfulfilled promises, abruptly resigned today setting in motion a special election for the city’s top post within 120 days.

City Council President Tom McCarthy received the oath of office as Acting Mayor just minutes after Finch’s resignation. Announcing his resignation in front of a Clean, Green, Lean sign, Finch’s environmental battle cry, a tearful Finch explained he will seek his old job in the state senate that recently was filled in a special election by Republican Rob Russo.

“I came to the conclusion that a legislative brain in a chief executive’s role just doesn’t work,” Finch explained. “I’m looking forward to returning to the senate and helping us create the leanest and greenest state in the country.”

Russo wasted no time jabbing Finch who as mayor called Trumbull, one of the three towns in the state senate district, oh so bucolic with no problems. “Let me be quite clear,” Russo said. “I love the oh so bucolic town of Trumbull and that oh so bucolic town of Monroe and that oh so bucolic city we know as Bridgeport.”

Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa, looking befuddled at Finch’s side, said “I didn’t know they liked osso buco in Trumbull. I should open a restaurant there.”

Finch’s announcement set off a mad scramble to replace him. For his part, McCarthy said his first action would be to make good on Finch’s promise to cut taxes $600 for every Bridgeport taxpayer. “The first order of business is the tax cut,” said McCarthy. “The city will lobby the state to pass a Homestead Exemption Act, paving the way for tax relief for our city.”

State Rep. Chris Caruso, narrowly defeated by Finch in a Democratic primary last September, immediately pounced on McCarthy.

“Here we go again,” said Caruso. “More promises. More corruption. I’m in this race to win and let me be very clear about my message just in case I was unclear last summer. This race is about corruption, corruption, corruption. I wasn’t sure I hammered home that message hard enough in the primary. This time I will leave no doubt.”

Former Mayor John Fabrizi also announced his candidacy in the special election. “We had a lot of momentum going in the city when the political wimps threw me under the bus. This time I run without the politicians.”

Probate Judge Paul Ganim also jumped into the fray. “Does anyone really think all those other candidates have, or will, govern the city better than my brother Joe? Ten straight balanced budgets without a tax increase, economic development, new schools, cleaner neighborhoods. I’m the Joe record without the Joe baggage.”

Former City Council President Lisa Parziale has emerged as the leading candidate to replace McCarthy as council president. Town committee members from the 133rd district, in a hastily called meeting, agreed to appoint Parziale to McCarthy’s vacated council seat on the proviso that she moves into the district.

Parziale, present at McCarthy’s swearing in, had a quick exchange with the new mayor.

“We have a lot of work to do,” McCarthy said.

“Honey, just remember, you get nothing through the city council without me. If you mess with me, I’ll cut off your cashews.”

Republican Town Chair Marc Delmonico said he would lean on retired Wall Street professional Bruce Hubler, a resident of Black Rock, to jump into the race.

“We need some sanity back at city hall,” said Delmonico. “The Democrats are a lame April Fools joke.”

News release from city hall regarding development issues

Mayor’s Economic Development Committee Submits Final Recommendations
BRIDGEPORT, CT April 1, 2008 – Mayor Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport) today hosted a press conference in which his Economic Development committee, Advance Bridgeport Economic Development (ABED), submitted its final recommendations for the City’s Office of Planning and Economic Development (OPED).

Committee Co-Chair Joe McGee said, “I commend Mayor Finch for investing time and resources into growing Bridgeport’s tax base. Our recommendations seek to strengthen the Office of Planning and Economic Development, particularly the regulatory side.”

“An important piece of our plan for OPED is a strong neighborhood component,” added Co-Chair Reggie Walker. “We recommend the creation of an Office of Neighborhood Development that would oversee façade, neighborhood planning, and NRZ administration and implementation in addition to commercial development and cultural affairs.”

“This notable group of people shares a wealth of knowledge and experience that they’ve offered to our City in an effort to improve economic development in Bridgeport,” said Mayor Finch. “I want to thank them very much for their hard work and for their recommendations. The implementation of many of their proposals will enhance the City’s ability to grow economically as well as grow Bridgeport ’s tax base by increasing commercial and housing development.”

The role of the committee, which has met periodically since its formation in mid-January of 2008, was to analyze the economic development function of City, find ways to facilitate economic development, improve the City’s capacity to attract private investment, evaluate staffing and department needs and review commission appointments and the City’s master plan. The committee also reviewed the parameters of a national search process that the Mayor commissioned for the City’s Head of the Office of Planning and Economic Development. The position has been advertised nationally and the committee has begun reviewing resumes.

The committee’s main recommendations revolve around reorganizing the City’s economic development function and increasing economic development capacity, including the creation of Land Use and OPED Operations Deputy Directorships within the OPED.

Members of the committee include:
. Co-Chair Joe McGee—Vice President of Public Policy and Programs, The Business Council of Fairfield County.
Mr. McGee is knowledgeable in the fields of economic development and transportation. He previously served as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic Development and was an executive at People’s Bank. Mr. McGee currently sits on the boards of The WorkPlace, Inc., the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, The Fairfield County Community Foundation, and The Housing Development Fund, Inc.

. Co-Chair Reggie Walker—Executive President, Hall Neighborhood House.
Prior to becoming the Executive President of Hall Neighborhood House in Bridgeport, Mr. Walker worked for 19 years in the City’s Office of Development Administration (the precursor to OPED), holding positions from Research Planner to Director of Economic Development in 1989. Mr. Walker is knowledgeable about the inner workings of OPED and its interactions with the community.

. John Carson—Former Economic Development Commissioner of the State of Connecticut.
Mr. Carson has years of experience in economic analysis, economic development, banking and higher education. He has worked as a bank economist, as state Economic Development Commissioner and is currently Vice President and CFO of the University of Hartford . Mr. Carson specializes in urban economic development, public policy analysis and economic development planning.

. Dr. Edward Deak—Professor of Economics, Fairfield University.
Well-published in economic publications ranging from “The New England Journal of Business and Economics” to “Growth and Change”, Dr. Deak is also a part of the New England Economic Partnership and serves on Governor M. Jodi Rell’s Economic Advisory Council, which advises her on state economic issues.

. Ron Van Winkle—Director of Community Services for the town of West Hartford.
Through his position as Director of Community Services, Mr. Van Winkle manages planning and zoning, engineering, building inspection, economic development, public information and the construction of all of the facilities and infrastructures for the Town of West Hartford. Previously, Mr. Van Winkle had served as the Director of Planning for the State of Connecticut Department of Economic Development and was a consultant to the Governor’s Infrastructure Task Force from 1983-1984.

. Paul Timpanelli—President & CEO, Bridgeport Regional Business Council (BRBC).
Before becoming President of the BRBC in 1988, Mr. Timpanelli served as both First Selectman and Town Clerk for the Town of Trumbull. He is a member of the board of directors for the Bridgeport Economic Resource Center, the West End Community Development Corporation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee and the Greater Bridgeport Regional Planning Agency.

. Keith Rodgerson—Former Councilman and Urban Planner.
Mr. Rodgerson is a former Bridgeport City Councilman with a strong background in Urban Planning. He will be participating in and assisting with Advance Bridgeport Economic Development and working as a consultant for the Office of Planning and Economic Development as directed by committee leadership and the Director of Economic Development.

. Dennis Murphy—Former Chief Administrative Officer, City of Bridgeport.
Dennis Murphy is an attorney who currently serves as Director of Human Resources for the City of Stamford. His rich understanding of economic development stems from his time as Bridgeport’s CAO while his experience as Bridgeport’s Labor Relations Director gives him an understanding of any personnel issues that would be addressed in restructuring projects.

. Edwin J. Maley, Jr.—Legislative Commissioner for the Connecticut General Assembly.
Mr. Maley is currently the Legislative Commissioner for the Connecticut General Assembly and previously served as the Chief of Staff for the State Senate Democrats. In these two key roles, Mr. Maley has been involved in the creation, organization and implementation of numerous statewide economic development projects.

. Juda J. Epstein—Attorney, Law Offices of Juda J. Epstein.
Mr. Epstein’s law practice includes real estate in Bridgeport and the surrounding areas. Economic Development in the City is a key element in his day-to-day professional dealings, giving him first-hand insight into the legal aspects of local Economic Development.



  1. Forgot it was April Fool’s Day…..Lennie, this literally blew my mind, actually spilled my morning coffee!!! You really had me there for a minute!

  2. LENNIE, your reputation as a reliable source of news in Bridgeport has been tarnished by a self-inflicted wound. The more betrayed your readers feel, the less likely they are to return. I hope Mayor Finch looks in the mirror and smiles as he realizes the folly you have imagined.

  3. What’s happening to you, Lennie?

    Nice Going!

    You and Orson Welles have a lot in common journalistically.

    Congratulations. Your are the Philistine of the Week for next week too!!

  4. Lennie, Let it go. This Orwellian post will only create panic. Four months of rocky road out of 48 does not equal a disaster. Politicking is done, the budget is done, and it is time to move on. I dare anyone on this blog to go up to Finch on a Mayor’s night in or out, and have a discussion about your gripes. I am not saying things are perfect, or even good. But crucifying someone for inheriting a huge budget deficit, making one bad campaign decision and having the unfortunate dilemma of what to do to a lawsuit by a disgruntled opponent does not a disaster make. Go one more, maybe you don’t agree with his DTC support, but what would the criticism have been if he backed Testa? And if he stayed out of it, as the figure head of the party everyone would complain about that too. He is not going to please everyone and in fact he will make some people very angry, but this crap about a vote of no confidence is lunacy. Just keep tearing Bridgeport apart for the whole outside world to read, pound those signs into the sand that says WARNING developers go home and you are just as guilty as those you accuse. Just because you disagree with someone’s policy doesn’t make them an idiot. Perhaps they have it right and you are wrong. With knee jerk reactions you may end up kicking yourself in the mouth.

  5. Hi Cliche:

    Just having a little fun. I want Finch to succeed, and so do most OIB readers. I’m looking forward to the day when I can write that it took Finch six months to find his footing, but once he became adjusted to the job he had numerous accomplishments. I hope it comes soon.

  6. “… this crap about a vote of no confidence is lunacy.”

    Not it is not. I have no confidence in Finch as Mayor. No amount of pollyanna horseshit is going to get this guy into gear and do a credible job with the problems we have and the problems that are mounting. All we can do is recruit the next candidate, organize an effective voter registration program and ensure the people get out to vote. BTW I genuinely hope Bruce Hubler will start talking to Rick Porto, Len Paoletta, Jimmy Carbone and Rick Torres.

  7. The one thing that Finch has not figured out is that the city and its people want a leader. They do not want a cheer leader, they do not want an enviromentalist that seems to only worry about clean and green. just ask anyone if clean and green is hign on their agenda and the answer will be a resounding No. Thats not to mean that people want a enviromental nightmare either.
    What people are worried about is paying their soaring utilities,safety for their families, paying their mortages, paying ever rising taxes and the list goes on and it grows. Somewhere at the bottom of that list is clean and green.
    Leadership is not an easy thing and their are very few true leaders. truley there are only about 2% of the [population that are reallyleaders. Finch by the nature of his job as mayor has to step up and become a leader which to date he has not.
    Finch can not react to things like the Fairfield University announcement with comments like its good for the HOOD. People do not want to hear that language from their leader(mayor).
    Does anyone expect the mayor to move mountains?No but people would like to see progress and movement no matter how small. i have a few examples of what I am trying to say.
    1. Fill out you cabinet (Economic Developmet & Public facilities. You cant profess that you want to see the city grow and yet leave a vital posssition like Economic Development unfilled.
    2. Fill all of the boards and commissions. you have not made one appointment. ( inexperienced staff)
    3. Stop trying to be all things for all people the comment about the Hood was dumb. Speak like a leader,.
    4. Stop appointing people to new jobs that are being created when you are about to layoff 30-50 people.
    5. Mend the political fences you knocked down and get the party moving in one direction, the last DTC fight tied up you mayoral staff for 3 weeks. Just some thoughts

  8. Good one, Lennie. You had me going until you had Russo using the word “bucolic” in a sentence. The Rob Russo I know is a man of the people. No $5 words like “bucolic” for him; he’d say “rural.”

  9. Good one, Lennie!
    Ah, my heart fluttered for a second when I thought that Mr. 40 Acres & A Mule had prematurely left the farm.

    But Lennie, are you aware that yours isn’t the first famous Finch April Fool’s Day hoax? According to the Museum of Hoaxes (Yes there is one. I’ve visited it. It’s in Sheboygan, Wisconsin right across the street from the Museum of Cheese Oddities – where the lifesize head cheese sculpture of Paul Horning draws over 25,000 rabid Packer fans each year. However the Harry Houdini made out of string cheese is underwhelmng.)

    In the museum’s website list of top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes, I found this Finch tidbit:

    #2: Sidd Finch
    In its April 1985 edition, Sports Illustrated published a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch, and he could reportedly throw a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy. This was 65 mph faster than the previous record. Surprisingly, Sidd Finch had never even played the game before. Instead, he had mastered the “art of the pitch” in a Tibetan monastery under the guidance of the “great poet-saint Lama Milaraspa.” Mets fans celebrated their teams’ amazing luck at having found such a gifted player, and Sports Illustrated was flooded with requests for more information. But in reality this legendary player only existed in the imagination of the author of the article, George Plimpton.”


    And by the way, taking the lead from The Cheese Oddities Museum, I suggest that Bridgeport fights off the coming tourism recession by finalizing its plan for “Great Edible Moments in Bridgeport Museum”. The kids will love the lifesize marzipan Jasper McLevy sculpture.” However, the caramel corn John Ratzenberger might frighten younger or more sensitive children.


  10. Great one, Lennie. I laughed until I cried. An Economic Development Committee that seems intent on spending more of the city taxpayers’ money on new promotions, new positions, new departments and calling for strengthening Economic Development “particularly the regulatory side” at a time when they keep trying to force through this illegal Kuchma tax bailout. Talk about a façade program, this is it. You are the greatest Lennie.

    And you have a committee reviewing resumes. That is the funniest thing yet. I always felt when I was told that a committee would be doing the interviewing then I would have a boss who can’t make up his mind.

    Paul Timpanelli, Keith Rodgerson, Dennis Murphy, Juda Epstein. I was going to say you can’t make this up, but you did! You are the best Lennie. Happy April Fool’s Day.

  11. Ladies and gentlemen; good bloggers and our valued friends.

    Anna and I would like to announce that we have decided to take our relationship to the next level and will leave this evening for the Elvis Chapel in Vegas where we will begin our lives together in nuptial bliss.

  12. yahooy,

    I must again quote the great Delman Mangrove’s essential work “A Layman’s Guide to Perspicacity”:

    “Young Elvis rocked.
    Fat Elvis was perhaps a perspective philistine who did not lack perspicacity or persperation. Young Elvis was the Plato of the pelvis. Fat Elvis was the Socrates of sweat.”

    Many happy wedding night returns! Play “In The Ghetto” and “All Shook Up” for the intial congical bliss. Really sets the mood!

    And may you itch like a man on a fuzzy tree. And if you do… try Gold Bond. It works wonders.


  13. well the 30 to 50 jobs being cut rose to 110 today !!! Unions are to give back on many levels including vacations and furloes!!! Health Dept taking biggest cuts !!! School nurses , schoolbased health centers, dental hygenists, clinics to name a few !!!!!also heard library staff and hours cutin half !!!! All this with 4 mill increase !!!! Wish this shit was a bad joke !!!!!!

  14. yahooy and Anna getting married, now that’s hard to believe, even on April Fool’s day I’m not buying that one…what say you Anna? did you accept the proposal?? clichebpt…excellent posting, I completely agree with you, enough of the bashing. So what if Finch used the word “hood” thats not so unacceptable, its commonly used everywhere these days, hardly offensive by any means.

  15. Suncat i usually agrre with a lot of wha you post but i have to disagree with your comments regarding the word Hood.
    The word Hood is commonly used in Rap music. It is not used in board rooms or business meetings. I find it unacceptable terminology used by the city’s chief executive. This was nothing more than an attempt to sound like one of the peple.
    I guarantee if that word is used at a business or corporat meeting the user will hear about it.
    If mayor moonbeam is auditioning for a rap recording thats another thing.
    Hood is not a common word where i go.

  16. I can’t marry yahooy.

    He was civilly united to Harold three years ago in Auden Grogins’ backyard.

    Besides, yahooy shouldn’t be allowed to piss in the gene pool.


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