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Ganim Appoints Former Police Chief Chapman Senior Adviser For Public Safety, The $64,000 Question: How Long Will He Stay?

December 15th, 2015 · 29 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Law Enforcement, News and Events

Ganim, Chapman

Joe Ganim with Wilbur Chapman during the summer. CT Post photo Brian Pounds.

He served as police chief under Joe Ganim, joined him on the campaign trail in Ganim’s comeback and is currently on Ganim’s transition team. And now Wilbur Chapman is back as “senior adviser for public safety.” Translation: Chapman will help Ganim run the Police Department. Chapman will receive $64,000 for the next six months. How long will he stick around? Perhaps long enough to help Ganim reorganize the Police Department and place a check on Police Chief Joe Gaudett.

“I am very pleased to welcome Chief Chapman back to municipal government in Bridgeport, we will all greatly benefit from his wisdom and expertise,” said Ganim in a statement.

The retired New York city police official and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation has been in Bridgeport the past couple of weeks on transition team matters involving public safety. Ganim has made it known he would like a change at the top of the city’s Police Department but former Mayor Bill Finch threw a wrench into that when he appointed Gaudett to a last-minute five-year contract renewal. How does Ganim work around that in the short team? While Ganim examines his long-term strategy with Gaudett, he leverages his operational authority over the police department with the hiring of Chapman as senior adviser overseeing public safety. So Chapman serves as the bridge between the mayor and Police Department carrying out orders from the mayor’s office with which Gaudett must comply.

Ganim says Chapman will review the city’s public safety agencies to improve operational efficiency and service delivery of the police, fire, Office of Emergency Management and Communications Administrative Division for the city.

Ganim appointed Chapman as the city’s first African American police chief in August 2000. Chapman resigned in 2005 accepting a buyout when John Fabrizi was mayor.

Chapman, 67, joined Ganim on the campaign trail last summer declaring transparency was an important ingredient to public safety. Chapman said then he wasn’t interested in returning to Bridgeport, but circumstances have changed with Gaudett receiving another five years.

Chapman has had a checkered career with his share of supporters and critics such as this Village Voice story here.

The New York Times wrote a piece about Chapman joining the Bridgeport department in 2000 here.

Short bio about Chapman from city website highlighting police history.

Wilbur L. Chapman. He is a former Commissioner for the New York City Department of Transportation, appointed by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani on June 19, 1998. Prior to that appointment, Chief Chapman served as Chief of Patrol, the Police Department’s largest bureau, for 29 years. His duties included command of all uniform and civilian personnel assigned to the Patrol Services, Special Operations Division and the Resource Management Section.

Chief Chapman joined the New York City Police Department in March 1969 and began his career as a patrolman in the 23rd precinct in Manhattan. During his tenure he also worked in the 26th precinct (Manhattan), the Personnel Bureau, and Patrol Borough Queens. He also served as the Executive Officer in the Police Commissioner’s office and the Commanding Officer of the 81st and 113th precincts, the Applicant Processing Division, the 12th Division of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South and the Recruitment Section.

Born and raised in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Chief Chapman graduated from Newtown High School in Elmhurst and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Manhattan College. He is also a graduate of the Police Management Institute at Columbia University. Chapman later moved to Queens with his family. He has two daughters, Leslie and Lisa, and has been an avid Jazz musician for 38 years.

Ganim also announced on Monday that former city councilor Angel DePara has been appointed special projects coordinator serving under Chief Administrative Officer John Gomes and Kelly Perez, veteran public school teacher, has been hired as administrative assistant in the mayor’s office.

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29 Comments so far ↓

  • Mojo

    *** Let’s hope not, talking about having a big ego and spending “mucho” city money is talking about ex-chief Chapman. I though the idea of voting for Joe was to re-visit the good times again while he was Mayor but in the upcoming future of the city, no? I sort of like AJ Perez myself as the P/D Chief, how about you OIB bloggers? *** WHOOP ***

  • Frank Venna

    I’ve never heard a bad word spoken about AJ Perez, which in Bridgeport is as close to a miracle as they come.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Wasn’t AJ the mayor’s driver way back when? Didn’t he pick up some of the wine the mayor received and didn’t he testify at the trial? It’s time to go outside the department. Chapman is not the person. We already know his history and we had to buy him out to get rid of him. One of his claims to fame in New York were the number of visits he made to the Playboy Club while chief.
    For you Ganim fans, are we going to add another chief-level person to the PD who reports to the mayor? You talk about a fkd-up situation. So if this comes to be we will have Chapman, Gaudette, Nardozzi and four deputies running the department. How much brass do we need?
    Joe I am sure knows Gaudett’s job description is either in the charter or civil service and he will have a hard time superseding those rules. Talk about screwing up morale. Keep Chapman away from the PD, he had his shot and fkd it up.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    We do not need a 67-year-old chief. Let’s hire someone younger and smarter than this old reprobate.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Hey Joe, tell me what Chapman knows about running the fire department. Okay I will tell you, he doesn’t know squat. Congrats Joe, you not only hired outside the city, you hired outside the state.

  • Phil Smith

    We also don’t need someone running the police department from the Mayor’s office.

  • Mojo

    *** Just who is giving Joe advice on hiring ex-employees who were not good for the city, its workers or the taxpayers in general? Come on Joe, you don’t have to hire everybody for your admin so quickly. Take time to research the jobs, their needs and the people you may have in mind! Get a handle on what the pending budget is right now and how much you want to spend on jobs, etc. before the new upcoming budget. *** SLOW DOWN, BRO. ***

  • Bob Walsh

    I laughed ’til I cried when I saw the picture of Willlbur campaigning with Joe. Now I read where Joe hired him, I’m just crying.
    Ganim is really fucking this shit up.

  • Bob Walsh

    I recall some story about one of his deputies taking a city-owned SUV down to New Orleans or Florida for a Super Bowl. Can anyone recall anything along those lines?

  • Park City too

    I don’t think the outgoing mayor should have the authority to appoint five-year contracts. It smacks of retribution rather than city governance. All major appointments should halt after a losing election, there must be a way to make a rule about that, there are rules for everything else. I was not a fan of Ganim coming back, but I would not expect to see people throwing in the towel already.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Park City,
    Does anyone think the Mayor ought to be able to hire his own fire chief, police chief (and perhaps throw in emergency operations too, as a component of public safety)? Well that is not what the folks who wrote or amended the Charter intended. And if you wish to change it you need to change the Charter (and there is much that can use a good look, open discussion with the public, and a vote subsequent to a new appointed Charter commission). At the moment, if that is on the stove, it’s on a back burner.

    So what you need to understand is the folks who reviewed and set a four-year Mayoral term and the folks who set two five-year terms maximum for public safety chiefs did not intend to provide a mayor with the power. It just happened this year to coincide with the passing of a mayor.

    At the moment there are two or more firings that do not serve the public in that the new person on board or in mind is not or will not be an improvement over an efficient and competent person who was filling the position and doing the work previously. But firings happened anyway, because they can, but was it to a plan? Did we hear about it, or just watching the carnage, a favorite OIB crash scene?

    So isn’t it wise to investigate the numbers, as thoroughly as possible at the moment? And that ought to be pretty thorough because Blum Shapiro, the external auditors, will have cranked their last table and comment by this time and be ready to hand the report over to the City. Will Joe Ganim have Ken Flatto complete the City narrative for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Plan-2015 and what will that report say about our Net Taxable Grand List at this moment? Time will tell.

  • Phil Smith

    John Lee is correct. The Chief of Police is not an “appointee of the Mayor” in the normal sense of that term. For as long as Bridgeport has had a civil service system (about 80 years), the position of Chief (or Superintendent) of Police, like the Fire Chief, has been in the classified service. As a result the incumbent enjoys all the protections available to others in the classified service. In addition, under state law (and the Charter) “just cause” is required to terminate a police chief.

    When the position does become vacant, a civil service test is required with the mayor getting to make a selection from among the candidates with the three highest scores.

    • Park City too

      Well, this public will not get even the idea of looking at the charter, because they vote incompetence as a reflection of themselves. The idea will not rise to public consensus. I get the point about the timings, it is unfortunate Finch chose to exercise the timing, though perhaps the current chief is better than a Ganim appointment. It appears Ganim has already set the tone of distance between himself and Gaudett by hiring another chief as intercessor. Whatever they do, I hope the discordant waves can level out for the benefit of the city. During the election, I watched the CT Post fabricate stories to steer public opinion, so I don’t know how much good they would be in helping to form public consensus on charter issues. I guess if it doesn’t affect their business relationships, they would explore an issue.

    • Ron Mackey

      Phil, yes what you wrote is true, but mayors have gotten around that by making provisional appointments. Now by charter those appointments are for only 120 days then a exam is given but the fire and police department have had made the chief and others for a much longer term, some for years. The process of hiring a police and fire chief leaves the public totally out of the process.

      • Andrew C Fardy

        The public should be left out of the process. The tests at this level should be given by professionals in the field. The public would be picking on personality, race and whatever. The public votes in the city elections and look at what we get stuck with.

      • Phil Smith

        Ron,
        You are correct about the on-going abuse of provisional appointment. Just one of many aspects of our 80-year-old civil service system that needs to be fixed.

        • Ron Mackey

          Phil, the City has the Personnel Director who gives all the exams for the City and he is in a “acting” position, that is a tested position and a very important position is this person has been in this position all during Finch’s term and a test has yet to be called for, now that’s sad.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Hey Joe, so much for savings paying Chapman $10,000 per month and now we get another special projects coordinator for How MUCH?

  • Bob Walsh

    Well, it didn’t take long for Joe Ganim to show his true colors. Screw the rules and regulations, screw the Charter, screw ordinances and contracts.
    I’m gonna do what I want to do and screw the voters if they don’t like it.
    What took G1 4 – 6 years to develop this level of arrogance is taking G2 less than 30 days.

  • Bob Walsh

    Where is the transparency, Joe? He has hired a slew of people, he did not make public their salaries, he changed titles to hide what they are making, he did not explain who was replacing whom at least as far as the budget goes AND he has gone out and hired his own Police Chief!
    Gots damn!
    What has all this cost us and when will it stop?
    Joe “I’m gonna hold the line on taxes” Ganim doesn’t realize first he has to hold the line on spending.
    A complete and total mess. And a do-nothing, don’t ask don’t tell City Council.

  • Robert Teixeira

    Bridgeport’s Governing philosophy.
    www .youtube.com/watch?v=YlVDGmjz7eM

  • John Marshall Lee

    RT,
    Thank you for the Rodney Dangerfield input. Bridgeport’s full-blown reality lessons provide learning opportunities in terms of takeaways. It happens too frequently, instead of looking for the takeaway we look for a “bad guy” to point at and cast aspersions on rather than look at the “victim” who is too often us in the cheap seats paying the taxes. Finch forgot that (assuming he ever understood it) and reaped a huge amount of anti-Finch unpopularity. The ‘victims’ for the most part forgot how we became victims, through multiple examples of the failure of human and structural checks and balance, and thus we are still vulnerable. Can we improve? Can we prevail on G2 to make some improvements we can see, hear and feel? Time will tell.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Ganim says Chapman will review the city’s public safety agencies to improve operational efficiency and service delivery of the police, fire, Office of Emergency Management and Communications Administrative Division for the city. You are going to have a retired cop improve efficiency in the fire department. Joe, you are full of it.

  • Mojo

    *** Is there a city ordinance or maybe a State ordinance that can be passed to limit an outgoing Mayor’s authority on making certain last-minute political appointments 48 hours before their last day in office? If not, maybe it should be something the city council looks into, no? ***

  • Mojo

    *** Even though I feel this public safety position is a waste of city taxpayers’ money; I can understand why Joe would want an experienced ex-chief to be his eyes and ears in the police dept; since the present Finch-appointed police chief was not Joe’s choice! ***

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