Ganim Names Thode Provisional Fire Chief, Lance Edwards Deputy Chief

Richard Thode
Richard Thode

Mayor Joe Ganim on Wednesday announced he has named Richard Thode provisional fire chief following the recent retirement of Brian Rooney and also appointed Lance Edwards deputy fire chief. Ganim says Thode will lead the department on an interim basis until a permanent chief is appointed through a civil service testing process.

Lance Edwards
Lance Edwards

Ganim has taken heat from past and current members of the Bridgeport Firebirds for not elevating blacks and Latinos to leadership positions in the Fire Department.

More from city Communications Director Av Harris:

Mayor Joe Ganim today announced a new leadership team for the Bridgeport Fire Department, naming Richard Thode to the position of provisional Fire Chief and Lance Edwards to the position of Deputy Fire Chief. Thode, a 29-year veteran of the Bridgeport Fire Department, had been serving as Assistant Fire Chief and succeeds Brian Rooney, who retired as Bridgeport Fire chief last month after a 44-year career in the department. Mayor Ganim has also named decorated Stratford Fire Department Veteran Lance Edwards as the new Deputy Chief of the Bridgeport Fire Department. Edwards, who is African American, scored highest on the civil service test for Deputy Chief and will now be second in command of the Bridgeport Fire Department, outranking the other two Deputy Fire Chiefs. Edwards recently retired from the Stratford Fire Department after a 27-year career.

“I am very pleased to announce this new leadership team for the Bridgeport Fire Department, a team that can really take this department into the 21st century,” said Mayor Ganim. “We are very grateful to have a true leader in the person of Richard Thode as our new Fire Chief. Chief Thode is a firefighter’s firefighter–he has worked at every level of the Bridgeport Fire Department in his nearly three decades of service to this city and he’s well-poised to lead the department. Joining him in partnership is Deputy Chief Edwards who has also had an exemplary career and scored very highly in our civil service process as we sought to strengthen the management of this department. Deputy Chief Edwards’ appointment to such a high rank as an African American also reflects the value we will place going forward on diversity throughout all ranks of the department. I have full confidence that Chief Thode and Deputy Chief Edwards will bring the dedication and expertise the city of Bridgeport needs. They will make an excellent leadership team in the Fire Department.”

Richard Thode is a 29-year veteran of the Bridgeport Fire Department, starting as a firefighter in 1987 and rising through the ranks as a Lieutenant, Captain, and Assistant Chief. He has commanded firefighters in the field, integrated technology to improve their safety, and overseen reforms to the deployment of fire department resources to improve the productivity and efficacy of operations.  Thode has also served on joint management-labor committees and is widely respected throughout the department. As Provisional Chief in Bridgeport, Thode will lead the department on an interim basis, as a civil service process to find a permanent appointee as Fire Chief is already underway. Thode is welcome to apply for the permanent position.

Lance Edwards has over 27 years of experience in firefighting and fire management. He started in 1988 in the town of Stratford as a firefighter, eventually moving up to the rank of Lieutenant and then Assistant Chief. He also has extensive background in labor-management mediation and negotiations. The appointment of Deputy Chief Edwards is a full-time, permanent position.



    1. David Dunn and Chris Meyer have decided the current Personnel Director is eminently qualified and no testing is required. Chris is in the process of writing a legal opinion for the CT Post.

      1. Bob,
        I can’t wait to see that legal opinion since the Charter expressly provides (Chap. 17, Section 204(b), “The position of Personnel director of the city of Bridgeport is included in the competitive division of the classified service.”

        1. They’ll just dust off the alleged opinion on the hiring of Wilbur Chapman. No need to follow City Procurement Ordinances, he is qualified and available. Next case.
          Whatever Joey wants, Joey gets. Sound familiar, folks?

      2. Chris had his annual bash this past weekend and is in the process of entering two new pups into his household, staggered in timing but still lots of attention and training required. These personal events may have him a bit dizzy with words and meanings as the newspaper, relating to the sale of City acreage for $4 Million and the language relating to Charter and Park Lands, mentioned that Chris had thought the meaning of the word “property” saw it as restricted to equipment, machinery and such. My Oxford American Dictionary of Current English defines property as: 1a something owned; a possession, esp. a house, land, etc. 1b LAW the right to possession, use, etc.
        1c Possessions collectively, esp. real estate.

        Maybe Chris will wish to let Mark Anastasi continue his lengthy string of interpretations of “word” and “laws” and precedents to keep the Bridgeport public safer? More safe? Out of trouble, momentarily? Time will tell.

        1. John Marshall Lee, Mayor Ganim didn’t even have the common courtesy to have a interview with the two black Assistant Chiefs who have the time on job as Thode but they both live in Bridgeport. Now that’s what you call disrespect, not only of these two Assistant Chiefs but disrespect to the entire Black community. Hey Joe, the next time you visit a black maybe you could come up with a story on why you couldn’t sit down with these two black Assistant Chiefs.

        2. JML,
          You don’t have to resort to a dictionary. The very next section of the Charter (Chap 12, Sec 22) begins “The term “park property” includes all parks, squares and areas of land …”

  1. We interrupt this posting for a more important Public Safety announcement from the CT Post:
    Bridgeport drug-dealer dragnet yields seven arrests
    Now, of course, this was announced at Tommy Macs PR event at Blackham School. Is this really what Joey G and AJ think Public Safety is all about? Well-timed PR stunts to combat the bad press they are getting?

    This should be happening DAILY!!!

    And of course there was no announcement of how much drugs and money were seized. Maybe that’s another Press Conference or maybe it wasn’t that much to begin with.


  2. Phi Smith, once again I’m in total agreement with you.

    It didn’t take Mayor Joe Ganim long to announced naming Richard Thode to the position of provisional Fire Chief, now when will Richard Thode retire from the Bridgeport Fire Department with his 29 years of service and receive his pension just like Chief Rooney did and still remain the fire chief? Ganim had to go Stratford to hire Lance Edwards instead of hiring one of the two black Battalion Chiefs in the Bridgeport Fire Dept. My comments are not against Thode and Edwards but they are against Mayor Joe Ganim. I guess the black voters should be happy because you put a black in second place from Stratford and overlooked two veteran black Battalion Chiefs in the Bridgeport Fire Dept. who live in Bridgeport, well you are full of shit. Keep on taking blacks for granted, Joe.

      1. Phil, they are too busy waiting for the crumbs to fall off Ganim’s table. Hawkins and Stallworh are in position to give Ganim some type of direction but it looks like they are just glad Joe gave them a job.

        1. Phil, on the golf course vote this happened: At the start of the meeting South End council member Jack Banta announced on a point of personal privilege he was protesting the council session because Ganim has not appointed an African American to replace the retired Brian Rooney as fire chief. Banta made his point and then walked out of the council chambers.

  3. I am outraged and appalled that Joe Ganim thinks he can bring in a black from another city and make him a Deputy Chief at the expense of two black Chiefs who are currently Bridgeport residents and the Black community will rejoice in his choice. I know Lance very well in fact when he couldn’t pass the Lieutenant’s exam in Stratford he came to me and Ron Mackey and we tutored him in how to pass an oral exam. He is a nice guy, but doesn’t know shit about firefighting in a city that is as big and as diverse as Bridgeport.

    Mayor Ganim has again cut the throats of the same blacks who offered him absolution when most of the city thought of him as nothing more than an ex-con. While running for mayor Joe found out I was supporting Mary-Jane and he told my cousin who was working for him I was on the wrong side of history and if this shit he is doing to the Black community puts me on the wrong side of history then I certainly made the right decision.

    Where is Charles Stallworth on this decision to bring in another outsider, Lance and Thode, to lead the fire department at the expense of black Bridgeport residents? Where are the black City Council members on this decision to bring in two outsiders to lead the BFD? This goes to show you while it’s against the law to buy or sell blacks, you can still rent one.

  4. Here is another good one from the CT Post:

    Last Labor Day weekend a contractor allegedly drove a truck through an area where planes taxi–a major problem for the FAA. In the course of investigating what happened, the agency found other issues with the management of Sikorsky, and the remaining runway work was brought to a halt.

    So for 9 months nothing has happened at Sikorsky Airport runway project! The urgent need to complete this project is what led Finch, McCarthy, Trachtenberg and Ricci to build Manny’s driveway with taxpayers’ money and then “the agency (FAA) found other issues with the management of Sikorsky, and the remaining runway work was brought to a halt.”
    This is just further prof of the fiasco on Manny’s driveway.
    What a crock.

  5. But Tom McCarthy is still on that Commission. What does he have to say?

    Back in the day, around Finch’s first year, it seems to me the Airport was about breaking even. That is something that can be checked, obviously. But personnel additions to the Airport workforce (including a City Council rep) and a decreased rent roll among other things caused us to see about eight years of deficits for this City property in Stratford. One Council person said it is because only one runway is being used that revenue is down, but aren’t there personnel cuts to bring such a budget into balance while we hold our breaths for completion? Why have we extended nearly $3 Million of taxpayer money for a City facility most never use to benefit the very few? And I am not including the $2 Million extra we had to spend to match the State and leverage the Federal funds. Money for schools? For debt payments or pension funding rather than kicking things down the road? Perhaps the Public Facilities Director has a careful, prudent and thrifty comment for the Bridgeport Taxpayer? Time will tell.

  6. You’re absolutely right Ron, to this very day he has yet to say thank you to us for giving him the knowledge that helped him pass his Lieutenants exam even though he had failed once prior to our assistance. This is what Bridgeport is getting with the appointment of Lance Edwards as Deputy Chief, an individual who took for granted the time, energy and knowledge of us and the IABPFF to help him get promoted. Never having to acknowledge the sacrifices of others in one’s pursuit of excellence is his way of feeling he did it himself and pulled himself up by his own bootstraps while not understanding we helped buy those boots he wears today.

    There’s a saying in the Black community, every Brother ain’t a Brother.

  7. Bob, wasn’t the work on the runway part of a settlement from a 1994 accident that killed 8 people? Here it is 22 years later and the work has still to be completed. Where did the funds go? Same place the funds for the Congress St. Bridge went?

  8. I’m not understanding. Mr. Edwards retired from Stratford. He gets the job in Bpt??? You going to give someone from outside the department the job, that’s ridiculous!!! What in hell are you saying to your firemen? They work hard to serve the city and you bring an outsider to fill such an important position??? Who you have in the city are not good enough??? What A SLAP IN THE FACE.

  9. Coach T, you’ve got it, sir. Those individuals on the BFD are some of the most trained, qualified, knowledgeable and dedicated people you will find. To have someone who hasn’t fought a third of the fires they have being made their superior is indeed a slap in their faces.

    What defies credulity even more is Mayor Ganim had the opportunity to hire a qualified Bridgeport resident instead of sending hundreds of thousands of dollars outside Bridgeport to this gentleman who hasn’t paid one tax dollar to the city of Bridgeport. Coach, it’s a disgrace and my hope is the residents of Bridgeport blow up Mayor Ganim’s phone lines with chords of discontent.

  10. I agree a billion %. Wrong message sent to the great firefighters of Bridgeport, and no I’m not a firefighter. There isn’t any loyalty. Reward your own. Promote from within, not bring in an outsider.


    1. Mojo, that’s not the issue, Thode and the two black Battalion Chiefs all meet what you have asked. The issue is Mayor Joe Ganim NEVER even considered the two black Battalion Chiefs, Ganim didn’t even talk to them, now you tell me.

      1. *** Okay, the Mayor did not consider any blacks period, understood but again my question was, is Thode capable/qualified, etc. to do the job of Bpt Fire Chief? And if the answer is yes, then should he be penalized by those who are not happy with the Mayor’s process in picking a Chief? What say you all? ***

        1. Mojo, your logic is convoluted at best. Every black who has been passed over for a job should not be upset because even though they were qualified so was the white person so that’s alright. So that makes it right?

  12. Andy, great point, it’s sad but true. In the fire service from the day you are sworn in there is a psychology that you could become the chief if you work hard, study and apply yourself. Competition and fair play is what we all look for. My complaint is about fair play, Ganim couldn’t even act like he was being fair, he could have given the two black Battalion Chiefs an interview for the position of chief and deputy chief. Black firefighters see as long as Joe Ganim is mayor they have NO chance of ever becoming chief. Ganim has been in office for seven months and he has set back the advancement to the highest level in the Bridgeport Fire Department by selecting someone from out of town and not even giving two highly qualify black Battalion Chiefs a interview but he can get in the faces of blacks in black churches and beg for their vote then shit on them.

  13. *** So the answer is yes, Thode is qualified to be the new Bpt Fire Chief, no? Even though the Mayor’s process is not fair to others also qualified, should they have also applied for the job or were just completely overlooked for whatever reasons! Is the position pick completely up to the Mayor without any civil service procedures or city policies that should be followed? If so, then it would appear regardless of who’s qualified or next in line, the final decision good or bad and pick is up to the sitting Mayor, no? ***

    1. Mojo really, how does Mayor Ganim know which of the candidates is the best without sitting down with each one and doing a interview? As for the Deputy Chief position Ganim just forgot about the Battalion Chiefs in Bridgeport and instead selected a guy from Stratford.

  14. Mojo, in the last 35 years the BFD has never made a Battalion Chief the Chief of the department and the Chief has always been at least a Deputy Chief. Thode was a Batt Chief who they made a Deputy Chief for a month and then they made him Chief. How in hell do qualifications fit into this scenario? Mayor Ganim with the assistance of former Chief Brian Rooney manipulated the process for benefit of Thode to the detriment of two black Batt. Chiefs. Different decade, same old games, playing fast and loose with the rules for what he wants, who he wants and how he wants it.

    Blacks in the BFD just want the same treatment their white counterparts take for granted. If Mayor Ganim and former Chief Rooney are willing to lie and cheat for whites why shouldn’t blacks expect those same lies and cheating for their benefit?

  15. Mojo, a little history. The Bridgeport Police Department has had three permanent Chiefs of the department who were people of color but the Bridgeport Fire Department has NEVER had one black and in fact they have NEVER had anyone of color even as an Acting Chief. Mojo, this is 2016 and the selection is up to the mayor and this mayor has no problem in going after blacks to get their vote but he has a big problem with them being promoted in the fire department.

  16. The proper way for selecting an acting chief was bypassed twice. First off, naming Thode an acting deputy chief was wrong. That job by past practice should have gone to the person scoring #1 on the Battalion chief’s test and that was a black man named Clark. Clark is also the person who should have been named acting chief.
    Making Thode a provisional chief just increased his pension by $17K. He should have been made acting chief.

  17. Andy, again you show how much you don’t know about BFD 2016. The only Chief on the BFD who scored number one on any Battalion Chief exam is James Cook. Stick to something you know about, never mind if you did that you’d never post again.

    1. Don, as I’ve said before, I have nothing against Thode, in fact I like him, he has always been fair and is a good firefighter and I feel the same way about James Cook Jr. I would take Thode over Rooney any day. I’m sure so would the members of the department. But for Mayor Ganim to totally disrespect Cook who came in first place on the Battalion Chief exam and didn’t even sit down with him and talk, thanks Joe, for nothing.

  18. Ganim, Rooney, Dunn, BFME,
    You gonna get used to wearing them chains after a while, Men of Color. Don’t you never stop listening to them clinking, ’cause they gonna remind you what we’ve been saying for your own good.

    Men of Color;
    I wish you’d stop being so good to me, Ganim, Rooney, Dunn, BFME.

    Ganim, Rooney, Dunn, BFME;
    Don’t you ever talk that way to me, (pause, then hitting them) NEVER! NEVER! (Men of Color roll down hill; to other prisoners.) What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some Men of Color you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here forever, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you Men of Color.

    The only way Men of Color will ever lead the BFD is by taking it. I’ve yet to hear personal outrage by those directly involved. Where is their press conference in front of Ganim’s office? Where is their full page ad in the CT Post? Until they feel strong retribution and angst for their actions, nothing will ever change.

  19. Sounds like your Depends are full of shit again, Mr. Investigator.

    At this point in your life you’re a great candidate for “Assisted Suicide.” VT being the closest state you could go to.

    Only problem, you have to be deemed mentally competent. That leaves you out, so keep changing your Depends and your bib when it gets too heavy from the shit that keeps coming out of your mouth.

  20. Don Tito, you really are showing what a complete idiot you are. Why don’t you drag your ass over here and assist me? What’s the matter, afraid? Are you one of the scumbags I had arrested? Probably. You are still a punk hiding behind a made-up name. What’s the matter sonny, afraid to let people know who you are? You are a waste of time and if you are Hispanic what a shame.

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