Gaudett Reaches Tentative Exit Agreement As Chief, Deal Requires City Council Approval

Joe Gaudett
Joe Gaudett

UPDATE: Mayor Joe Ganim has been trying to move out Joe Gaudett as police chief without buying out his five-year contract worth close to $700K. Ganim and Gaudett have reached a tentative agreement in which Gaudett resigns as chief but stays on as a contract worker overseeing a police division such as the Emergency Operations Center reporting to former Chief Wilbur Chapman, a senior adviser to Ganim for public safety working out of the mayor’s office. The contract appointment would allow Gaudett to continue receiving his city pension. Chapman, himself, signed up for a six-month gig worth $64,000 to carry out mayoral directives on police matters.

“We’ve been in talks with Chief Gaudett for some time about his future and the restructuring of the police department,” says Ganim’s spokesman Av Harris. “We’re very close to an agreement. Any agreement would need approval by the City Council.”

Gaudett’s agreement with the city could be referred to a council committee Tuesday night. If that happens the agreement could go before the full council for approval in March. Sources say the structured deal is for three years at roughly $125,000 per year.

In the last days of his administration Bill Finch reappointed Gaudett to a new five-year contract as chief rather than allowing Ganim to select his own police leader. A charter reform measure approved by voters more than 25 years ago allows for the chief to be appointed up to two five-year terms. The chief cannot serve more than 10 years.

Gaudett is well-liked in certain segments of the community but not loved by some rank and file officers, many of whom supported Ganim’s comeback as mayor.

The current salary range of chief is $129,778 to $142,576. Buying out the entire contract is a big ticket so negotiations ensued with Gaudett if he was amenable to a lesser figure. But in lieu of a buyout another option has been negotiated as a result of Gaudett open to a regular pay day through another job within the police department. Gaudett’s departure as chief frees up Ganim to select his own in an acting capacity.

One of the names at the top of the list for Ganim to appoint is Captain A.J. Perez whom the mayor trusts implicitly. In recent weeks Ganim has made Perez the face of the police department as head of a high-profile investigative unit featuring him at press conferences.



  1. First off, why would Gaudett stay in the police department in a lesser role? Why would he work for Chapman, a bona fide shithead and key holder to the playboy club in NYC?
    Gaudett has a contract, pure and simple. He doesn’t need to go anywhere.
    The police department does not need AJ Perez at the top. He has been here too long and has done little. Retire.

    1. Hi, Andy. How did the Klan meeting go? It’s no shock to see you ranting against Perez. Anyone who knows him thinks the world of him. You however, have been wildly spewing racist postings about Ron Mackey and Joel Gonzalez, so this post isn’t a shock to me.

      1. So now you are a racist if you question a minority’s qualifications for a very important job. TFB if that bothers you. Ron Mackey and I have been discussing (arguing) the fire department and Judge Daly for 40 years, the same is true with Donald Day. Joel Gonzalez does not need your protection, Joel is smart and knows what’s happening.
        Now to you who has no balls and posts with a fake name. Is that because you are a city cop? BTW what is Perez’s educational background?
        We know you graduated high school with a Moron’s degree. Pussy.

        1. No. You’re a racist because you called Mackey a racist name. You’re a racist because you called Joel a Puerto Rican goat f@&$3r. Now you’re all over Perez. Shocking.

          1. Gee, Ron Mackey did not complain and what was the word I called him?
            Joel in joking I did call him a Puerto Rican Goat Fucker. He is Puerto Rican but admittedly I don’t know about any relationship with goats. How is that racist? All over Perez by asking about his educational background? Too fucking bad, you actually are the racist. You are trying to stir up racial shit. Why is that? It is because you are a gutless asshole?

  2. There are lots of problems as well as opportunities in the City at this moment. Perhaps Chief Gaudett holding top position in the Police Department is not one of the top 25. Why so much attention? Because Finch saw fit to make a last-minute appointment that frustrated plans to reform and repopulate the Police Department? Hiring Chapman as a consultant for some 75 days now without sharing a plan of reform is expensive for a City that cannot endure such “extra outside expenses.” And wanting another high-ranking officer in as chief seems to be counter-intuitive if it bears an outsized current expense to arrange.
    Let the Chief run the Department all by himself (for a change from recent years where the Mayor’s office tried to control everything) and the Board of Police Commissioners until they prove incapable, not just unpopular with the troops. After all, public safety officers got huge retirement benefit opportunity from the City when they put three high-income years fueled by overtime pay. And City taxpayers did not even get the courtesy of a full story of this cost when Sherwood left a budget that did not include funding of Police retirement benefits with the State.

    Balancing the budget without increase taxation
    Stabilizing and increasing the Taxable Grand List
    Working out a plan that puts our City contribution to educating 20,000 City youth on a par with what Hartford and New Haven contribute; and then going after the State for a fairer sharing also.
    Reviewing “project labor agreements” to assure that real jobs come to City firms and residents who work for them, small and large.
    Strengthening the City Council with timely and enough info
    Reporting on Capital projects and budgets regularly, more than annually
    Providing the public with an understanding of all pension funding expenses, due from City taxpayers currently and annually hereafter; special attention to Plan A where Pension Obligation bonds have another 14 years of paydown at $30 Million per year from Police and Fire operating budgets, but where the Plan A assets are currently below $90 Million and decreasing, what is a “Plan B” for Plan A inadequacy?

    Which of these above issues does not represent something we currently face that is more important than a Chief Gaudett buyout? Are there other issues that loom large with OIB readers? Time will tell.

    1. Considering the activities of the Bridgeport Police Union prior to the Democratic Primary and General Election, any thought or hope of reforming the Police Department is NIL for four years.

        1. Police Commission
          Seven members
          Three members appointed by Mayor in December of each odd year
          Four members appointed by Mayor in December of each even year
          Two year term from the 1st of January
          City Council can remove with 2/3 vote
          Members serve until a successor is appointed and has qualified.
          Regular Meetings 3rd Tuesday of Month

          Anna Cruz (U)
          68 Perth Street
          Bridgeport, CT 06606
          Term Expires: 12/31/2009

          Rev. Simon Castillo (D)
          555 Maplewood Avenue
          Bridgeport, CT 06605
          Term Expires: 12/31/2016

          Edwin P. Farrow (U)
          93 Chalmers Avenue
          Bridgeport, CT 06605
          Term Expires: 12/31/2011

          Thomas Lyons (D)
          91 Jewett Avenue
          Bridgeport, CT 06606
          Term Expires: 12/31/2010

          Daniel S. Roach (D)
          19 Quinlan Avenue
          Bridgeport, CT 06605
          Term Expires: 12/31/2005

  3. Andy said nothing when Brian Rooney was chosen fire chief although he had only a high school education. The gentleman who was passed over had a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and was working on his doctorate, all in fire science.

    Now it’s about educational qualifications. It is because Perez isn’t white or because Perez isn’t his friend like Rooney?

    1. I am sorry Donald but for a couple of years I did not know Rooney was the chief as I was never home in fact not even in the state.
      I never said yea or nay about Rooney and his education one way or the other. Donald, word is Rooney had a triple bypass operation recently.
      BTW picking up wine that was given to the mayor as a bribe is something for people to think about. Maybe you and the Phantom should write a column together.

    2. Hey Donald, the candidate you are talking about, is he black, Hispanic or other? I can’t believe you are for a white chief. If you are then I know why you hate Rooney.

      1. Andy, the gentleman is white and he was formerly a Deputy Chief from Salt Lake City, Utah and he’s now the fire chief in Concord, New Hampshire. Daniel Andrus wanted to relocate to this area because his wife’s family is here. Dan is a really nice guy and has the professional background to run a fire department anywhere.

  4. Bridgeport is in this mess because the Civil Service director David Dunn and the Civil Service Commission allowed the police chief and fire chief Rooney to retire and draw their pension and then allowed both of them to sign new five-year contracts which has never been done before and the City Council said nothing because that was what Mayor Bill Finch wanted. Then Finch renewed Gaudett’s contract for another five years.

  5. Ron Mackey, you are absolutely right, and it defies credulity to think two seemingly intelligent individuals like Mayors Finch and Ganim would allow this individual to stay in a position he has never been qualified to hold. Joe, do the right thing!

    1. Don, remember, the City did a nationwide search to get the best candidate to run the state’s biggest city fire department, theysaid Rooney was the best with his high school education and who placed second to Dan Andrus who scored 6 points higher than Rooney, that was a waste of taxpayer money. But they can’t find the money to give a nationwide exam to hire the best person in America to give all the City’s exams, what a disgrace. Joe, you can do much better than David Dunn and even if you like him, we deserve better.

      1. Ron, you don’t deserve anything, you are retired. I do agree Dunn has to go but the problem is he is tight with Ganim.
        The other person who has to go is the president of the civil service commission. Ms. Guedes who lives in Trumbull and has for years. Let’s get Ganim to replace all the commissioners whose terms have expired.
        In case no one knows, Ms. Guedes’ brother is a big-time developer. Big money.

  6. If the deal is as described it appears to violate several provisions of the City Charter including those dealing with the Civil Service and the management of the Police Department.

      1. Lennie,
        According to your report, Chief Gaudett will resign as Chief and be hired as “a contract worker overseeing a police division such as the Emergency Operations Center reporting to former Chief Wilbur Chapman.” I guess that means the Mayor intends to waive competitive bidding and award him a $375,000 no-bid contract.
        Sadly, that would be the least of the problems with that scheme. Just saying someone is a contractor doesn’t make it so. There are clear standards for determining who is an employee and who is a truly independent contractor. A person who is supervising the provision of city services and is supervised by a representative of the city is an employee not a contractor, regardless of what you call them.
        The Civil Service provisions of the City Charter clearly require “all positions and offices in the Police Department” (and most other city positions) be in the classified service. I’m not aware of any vacant civil service position that is available for Gaudett to assume. Yes, the Civil Service Commission and the Council could create a new position for him, but under existing civil service rules he still has to finish first on a test in order to be appointed. Unless, of course, the Mayor is planning to circumvent the testing process in order to get his way. Talk about politicizing civil service.
        Apparently the plan is to have him report to former Chief Wilbur Chapman. In other words Chapman would be responsible for oversight of a part of the Police Department. That clearly violates Chapter 13, Section 5(a)(1) of the Charter which vests the responsibility–and accountability–for the “administration, supervision and discipline” of the Police Department in the Chief of Police. Legality aside, it is a formula for chaos.
        Then there is Chapman’s own position. If the deal is as described, it gives a member of the Mayor’s staff responsibility for managing Gaudett and, by extension, an important part of the Police Department’s operations. That is a horrible precedent.
        The problems don’t necessarily end there. A Paoletta-era court decision and the language of the Charter that requires the Mayor to exercise his authority “through the Chief of Police” and not an intermediary as Mayor Paoletta had attempted to do, suggests his current role may violate the Charter.
        Finally, where is the money to pay for this deal going to come from? The Mayor and his Finance Director keep telling us the city is in dire financial condition. We all know the Police budget is awash in red ink. Is this expenditure really necessary? Of course not.
        I understand Mayor Ganim wants “his guy” as the Chief of Police. That is entirely understandable. But that’s not the system we have in Bridgeport. It’s not a coincidence the Chief of Police is a civil service employee not a mayoral appointee. It was done to provide the professionals in that department with some measure of protection from the kind of political manipulation we have seen recently.
        In the final analysis the issue is bigger than Joe Ganim or Joe Gaudett. The issue is whether we are going to follow the law or allow the Mayor to use taxpayers’ money to get around it. It really is that simple.

  7. This eminently sensible solution to the BPD leadership logjam speaks well for all involved, especially Chief Gaudett and Mayor Ganim. This solution speaks powerfully to the administrative challenges facing the Ganim Administration in its effort to restructure the vital aspects of municipal government services/oversight.

    To Steve A, Andy, and Frank, who questioned the possibility of a win-win situation for the Chief and the City (and the logic of the Chief moving to a different position within the department); let me reiterate, per the related piece on OIB on 2/4:

    Jeff Kohut // Feb 4, 2016 at 5:52 pm
    “… Gaudett is a cerebral chief well liked in certain segments of the community but not loved by some rank and file officers, many of whom supported Ganim’s comeback …”

    It would seem Gaudett, being “cerebral,” as Lennie makes note, and knowing the city, department, and modern policing techniques, could be valuable as a “special projects” supervisor for BPD who could be charged with making sure BPD is kept up to date with all the latest crime-tracking, forensics, and crime-prevention technology. Also, since the detective bureau, along with the rest of the department, is understaffed, his training and experience could be used in several capacities in crime investigation and case-solving.

    Bridgeport desperately needs to retain experienced officers. If a useful position that doesn’t ruffle rank-and-file feathers could be carved out for Gaudett, it could possibly be a good situation for all involved, including the taxpayers. It would certainly be better to give the chief a new job and a new office, along with a legitimate workload, rather than going further into a rancorous legal situation. It can only be damaging to the chief’s career for him to contribute further to the department’s difficulties by clinging to his position when he isn’t wanted there by his boss, his staff, or a large segment of the population of Bridgeport.

    It would be good if there could be circumspection and flexibility by all parties involved in helping the chief to move on to a new position in a positive way.

    It would seem if Chief Gaudett were to think things through and use his intelligence to create a new, useful job description and position for himself in BPD so he could vacate the chief’s position with dignity and continue to get paid and do police work, he would find himself and those around him in a much happier, productive situation. I’m sure the chief wants to retire, at some point, in a positive light.

    1. Joe Gaudett was never known as a street cop. Joe was known as a computer geek. Now according to the sage of the North End Jeff Kohut, Gaudett could be “special projects” supervisor for BPD who could be charged with making sure BPD is kept up to date with all the latest crime-tracking, forensics, and crime-prevention technology.
      So let me get this straight. We will be paying Chapman $12,000 a month to help run the PD. If Gaudett is out of the way we will be paying Perez to run the PD and we will be paying Gaudett to do nothing.
      Fucking great. Good work, Joe.

  8. Bridgeport has had this issue when Mayor Lenny Paoletta was in office, remember when he came up with the new position of Safety Director who would be over both the police and fire department? It was his way of controlling Joe Walsh, then the head of the police department. The City Council blocked the two men Paoletta put up for the position.

  9. Phil,
    Thanks for helping us to “follow the law, the rules and the regulations” such as they are. When they get as confused by “politicization” such as we have seen for years, who is really protected, other than those in “power” and lawyers who are paid for their representation? Were we to “follow the money” instead, we would not find any to fund this folly. The cupboard is bare. G2 has realized this and is renewing his practice in kicking things down the road. The financial results of finally having to face one or more gut-wrenching issues (pension funding with State, Wheelabrator cases continue anew, BOE fiscal brokenness) passing through his office are of such magnitude they are not even mentioned in polite company.
    And the external audit of the last complete Finch year, 2014-15 due before January 1, 2016, then extended to February 15, 2016 but not on the Finance Department web site this morning February 16, 2016, where is it? What does it tell us about City fiscal strength, or not? Net taxable Grand List? City fund balance? Any material weaknesses or deficiencies in handling of State or Federal funds? Time will tell.

  10. Difficult to avoid being cynical about this situation. Add this to the Finch legacy. Phil, thank you for the sobering reality.
    Let’s see if the city council does as directed, complete with executive sessions, no public record of their position and then approval by consent calendar. Then the police union will file a suit. Only in Bridgeport.

    1. Why would the police union sue? Unless it’s just another way to line their pockets. The Police Union has won, big time. Got rid of Finch and they own Ganim. Got rid of Nardozzi and Gaudett (essentially). Perez and Paris will run the Police Department and we will continue to have a castrated Police Commission.

  11. Phil and Andy: According to the City Charter, the mayor has–especially in cases of presumed exigency–very broad powers that supersede most other Charter provisions. (Read the charter section copied below.) There is ample flexibility, given by way of the described/prescribed powers of the mayor in our charter, for mayoral appointments to be made, such as in the present case with Chief Gaudett. For instance, he could appoint Chapman Deputy Chief and have Gaudett report to Chapman.

    Section 1. Selection; Powers; Duties.
    (a) The chief executive officer of the city shall be a mayor, elected pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 2 of this charter.
    (b) The mayor shall take care that the laws are executed and enforced within the city; shall be the conservator of the peace with the city; shall have and may exercise, within the limits of the city, all the powers given the sheriffs or other officers as provided by law; and shall exercise ultimate operational control of all departments and agencies of the city.
    (c) The mayor shall devote the full time necessary to the duties of the office and shall be responsible for the proper performance of their duties by all the appointive officers and departments and employees.
    (d) The Mayor shall be, ex-officio, a non-voting member of every board and commission of the city and shall have the right to attend all meetings of every board and commission of the city and to address it at any meeting. No board or commission shall have the authority to exclude the mayor from its meetings. The mayor shall have the power to convene a special meeting of any appointive Board, provided he/she specifies the reasons for calling the special meeting and the business to be transacted. Unless expressly provided for in this charter or the ordinance creating the board or commission, the mayor shall have no right to vote at any such meeting. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to the Planning and Zoning Commission; the Zoning Board of Appeals or any other board or commission whose decisions are appealable to the superior court based on the record before such board or commission.
    (e) It shall be the duty of the mayor to recommend the adoption of all such measures connected with police, fire, and public safety, public health and social services, public facilities, planning and economic development, finances, policy and management of the city, and the improvements of its government, and improvements all of which shall within ten days thereafter, be entered in the records of the city council.
    It shall be the further duty of the mayor to fill, by appointment, any vacancies in office in all cases in which the Mayor is given by law the power to appoint.
    (f) The Mayor shall have authority at any time to examine all data and property of the city in the possession of any officer, agency, department, commission, board, authority, employee or any other member of the municipal government, and may exercise this authority in person or through any other official appointed by the mayor for that purpose by written designation and authority.
    (g) In addition to the powers enumerated herein, the Mayor shall have authority to perform such acts and duties as may be prescribed in this charter or by the laws of this state or the United States or by the ordinances of the city of Bridgeport.
    (h) Subject to the availability of funds, the Mayor may appoint such assistants as the mayor deems necessary for the administration of the duties of the office of mayor.
    (i) Any mayoral appointment to the positions listed below shall possess the requisite academic and professional qualifications generally recognized by professionals in the appropriate field: Directors of Finance, Office of Policy and Management, Health and Social Services, Public Facilities and Planning
    and Economic Development.

    1. Jeff,
      Simply stated, your contention is without basis in fact or law. Nothing in the section that you quoted–or anywhere else in the Charter–comes close to granting the Mayor the “power–especially in cases of presumed exigency–very broad powers that supersede most other Charter provisions.”

      As for your claim the Charter would authorize the Mayor to “appoint Chapman Deputy Chief and have Gaudett report to Chapman” it is, for reasons I have explained elsewhere in this thread, nonsense.

      Good grief.

    2. Jeff Kohut, can you please explain in very specific terms the condition of presumed exigency that may exist at this time? If we are not in a state of presumed exigency, then the rest of the quoted code is NOT APPLICABLE.

  12. Phil, Frank and Quentin: Oxygenate your brains and re-read the Charter passage pasted above–especially sections a, b, g, and h. Your failure to make any plausible effort at parsing and analyzing the passage (in the context of the commentary) before rendering a decision on its applicability does not make you appear intelligent, much less informed. Actually, your commentary might be construed as indicative of challenged reading/reading comprehension abilities. I know you are intelligent gentlemen from previous posts, but your postings on this matter don’t resonate with that belief.


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