Rarely ever is a negotiation with Joe Ganim smooth sailing. It can be a choppy ride. You’re up, you’re down, you’re up, you’re down. Thinking he was headed to a communications job with the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services after volunteering as Ganim’s government spokesperson for five weeks, Av Harris received a call from the mayor to stay on as a paid communications director. On Tuesday, Harris and Ganim came to terms on a $100,000 annual salary. Under the last-minute financial grid approved by outgoing Mayor Bill Finch, the communications director pay range is $98,518 to $108,364. Last week, the City Council, citing an amendment to the Bridgeport City Supervisor’s Association contract that sets executive pay, rejected the pay scale that may require court intervention to sort it out.
Harris, a single dad of two young daughters, has endured a gas-guzzling daily commute from Holyoke, Mass. He’s now looking for an apartment in Bridgeport to reduce his commuter time.
As mayor, Finch had a communications team of four with a higher price tag than what Ganim is currently paying. Ganim currently has three, Harris, Michael Giannotti to handle police and fire and a support staffer to split time between the mayor’s office and Board of Education. Harris served as communications director for eight years for the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Office.