Ganim To Waive Four Weeks Of Pay

Sending a signal that “everyone has to give a little” to offset a budget deficit pegged at roughly $20 million, a spokesman for Mayor Joe Ganim says the mayor did not accept a salary during his first two weeks in office and will also be working another two weeks without pay in the near future. The amount Ganim will save the city is about $12,000 which will have the net impact of bringing the chief executive’s pay for his first year back to an annual $132,500 where it was before former Mayor Bill Finch authorized a last minute raise for himself and discretionary employees. Finch received a retroactive increase of $17,000 going back to the summer of 2013.

Ganim will be directing his discretionary appointees to follow his lead and give up a month’s salary, says his spokesman Av Harris. That savings of about 60 direct appointments some of which Ganim has not yet made is expected to achieve roughly $500,000. Meanwhile Ganim has begun a dialogue with municipal union leaders to achieve savings to help close the budget gap that administration officials say occurred on Finch’s watch particularly increases in overtime for public safety and Public Facilities as well as pension obligations to the state that were not paid.

“The mayor feels it’s important to give back the raises authorized before taking office,” says Harris. “The city’s in a serious fiscal bind so the mayor and rest of his team are looking for any savings. It’s also a signal that everyone has to give a little bit, he’ll be looking for union support as well. The mayor is trying to do more with less by reducing the size of government.”

This is not new territory for Ganim. Elected in 1991 at 32 years of age, Ganim faced a budget gap he inherited from Mayor Mary Moran. Back then the city was under the thumb of a Bridgeport Financial Review Board put in place by the state to ensure city budgets were in balance.

Now 56 years old, Ganim is challenged to close the budget gap with six months left in the fiscal year.

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28 comments

  1. Trying to remember who said I was full of shit when I said Ganim’s office was doing a month’s furlough and not taking home city vehicles. I hate being right all the time.

    1. Frank Venna, somebody told me the other day you and city hall smoker were one and the same and you appeared when s/he disappeared. I said what’s the difference! I do not know either of them.

  2. *** Right on Joe, that’s the way to lead by example, now the rest of your admin. team needs to follow suit. Maybe not to that level but something close; say maybe 10 days of work without pay within a three-month period? Keep working on the budget ’til it’s budget time again in the spring! *** Go Joe, Go! ***

    1. City Hall was buzzing yesterday that Tiago was getting a promotion from Pothole checker to an actual real job that he would have to work at.
      The wildfire rumor went anywhere from in the Public Facilities department to the Mayor’s cabinet, must be good to be related to the “boss”

      1. Not related yet, Frank! How exciting, a Finch appointment staying and getting a promotion. So many on this blog made an issue of Finch’s appointment! Though that position could take care of two people who need a job!

  3. As I have mentioned many times, the city council participated in austerity efforts in Ganim’s first administration in 1991-92 by reducing their stipend by 50%. $5,000 was saved by reducing the stipend from $500 to $250. It was a statement.
    Will this city council do the same? A 50% cut would save taxpayers $90,000. How about a reduction to $3,000 per year, still higher than New Haven, which is the only other municipal legislative body with a stipend. (Hartford has a ten-person board of aldermen who are considered part-time employees.) That would save $120,000 per year. Will it happen? Are they getting ready for their next biannual National League of Cities junket? Let’s see what they do.
    I recall when Mayor Fabrizi ordered a ban on out-of-state travel, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia declared “that doesn’t apply to us” when I suggested council members skip the next NLC conference. Guess what, they ignored my suggestion.

    1. Tom, ten thousand here, one hundred thousand there and then a million dollars more? That is certainly a way to austerity and balance that has been needed for years. However, the City Council needs ASSISTANCE and it is not named McCarthy. He cannot teach what he does not practice, can he?
      Instead of cutting their stipend and letting those dollars flow to the General budget where fiscal control is a sometime thing, why not dedicate themselves to hiring TWO Legislative Assistants, one a financial specialist and the other perhaps more generally oriented to constituent questions, for example. This would speed their potential for learning what they are responsible for and at least assure voters they are materially prepared for the questions on which they vote.

      Cutting stipends by one third to $6,000 per Council member and using most of the Other Services budget that in most years goes unspent would fund this material suggestion. Wouldn’t it be nice if AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia was as certain of maintaining the independence of the City Council on other matters more dear to taxpayers? Time will tell.

  4. Good for him.

    You know, after all the mudslinging and vitriol of the mayoral campaign, all I can say is “Thank the Almighty George Lucas is still making ‘Star Wars’ movies.”

  5. I can understand a small stipend for council members, they should be reimbursed for gas, food while in committee meetings, etc, but why on earth would they need $9000 EACH?? End this now, Joe.

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