Following a shake-up of top-level officials last month, Mayor Joe Ganim has also altered salaries. With the start of 2017, as well, two women have emerged with influential roles, Chief Administrative Officer Kimberly Staley and de facto chief of staff Christine Bartlett-Josie who has government and political experience. Ganim does not have a long political or professional history with either.
The CAO, at $127,555, oversees department heads, helps set public policy, vets key hires and builds and monitors the budget in conjunction with financial officials. It’s a different animal than overseeing the internal mayor’s office staff.
Technically, Bartlett-Josie has been hired as deputy chief of staff at $98,286, but in practice she’s running the mayor’s inner office. Basically, the position serves as the dragon protecting the castle. You are the closest extension of the mayor in government, making sure government business flows, judicious in scheduling and balancing inner office personalities. The job also requires political sense with a versatility to learning Ganim’s protean brain; when you can push back, when you can’t, decisive when the timing is right. Ganim eschews drama. He’ll allow some push-back but get in his face too often and he will shut down on you. When that happens walk away, regroup and try a different approach. Bartlett-Josie was a campaign strategist for Ganim’s 2015 election.
During JG1, Ganim enjoyed a core group of department heads who lasted years into his mayoralty. That did not happen overnight. It began jelling in his second year. During JG1 Ganim placed a premium on performance over politics. For the most part his department heads were professionals who brought no votes to the table. Ganim understood if his department heads performed well Ganim would be rewarded by voters come election time.
Long-time Ganim loyalist Black Rock District Leader Danny Roach had served as chief of staff Ganim’s first year. He has been reassigned as a special projects coordinator working for the Public Facilities Department headed by John Ricci. His pay has been cut from $129,778 to $119,500. Most political observers projected a short stay for Roach in the chief of staff role as Ganim sorted out the most effective roles for his hires.
John Gomes had served as chief of department heads Ganim’s first year. Gomes and Staley have reversed roles. He now reports to her. His annual pay has gone from $127,555 to $119,500.
Another key initial hire Charlie Stallworth has been shifted from the mayor’s office to serve as head of the minority business office. His $100K salary has been halved while he also serves the dual role as elected State House member during the current session of the General Assembly.
The role of Ganim’s Communications Director Av Harris is also evolving. Harris has extensive experience working in state government where he built legislative relationships key to enhancing additional dollars to the city. He now also serves as head of legislative affairs during the current session of the General Assembly. His salary has been reduced from $100K to $83,326, but he now has a much closer commute to Hartford from his home in Massachusetts. Harris worked with Bartlett-Josie in the Office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State.
CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart has more on Ganim’s personnel changes here.