Joe Ganim eschews drama. Michael Giannotti marinates in it. Ganim is stoic. Giannotti, emotional. When Ganim launched his unlikely comeback last year Giannotti, a former journalist, stepped up to volunteer as his spokesperson. It was something Ganim needed to rebuild public credibility and he saw Giannotti’s value. But value on a campaign trail does not always apply to public service, especially when a larger picture applies at taxpayer expense. Giannotti felt he deserved the top spokesperson position for the administration. Ganim tapped what he thought was a leveler head for the position in Av Harris who toiled for many years in state government. Not losing value of Giannotti’s contribution on the campaign trail, Ganim offered him the media job for public safety. After a few weeks on the job Giannotti has announced his resignation in part because he did not want to report to Harris. Sometimes when you take a job you must take your ego out of the game. Giannotti was not willing.
The job of the public safety spokesperson, no easy beat at $63,500, is to place the brightest face possible on police, fire and emergency services while being forthcoming about the good, bad and ugly of daily occurrences. Giannotti aired on his Facebook page the difficulty he had fielding all the media calls about the murders, shootings, stabbings, etc. He says he found himself being a newsman again, something he did not want at age 61. If you’re going to be a spokesperson in government you cannot allow circumstances to overtake you. Many good men and women every day put their lives on the line in public safety. And often times we never hear about them. It’s important for citizens to know so public safety personnel can build relationships with them.
Giannotti, a former scribe for the Connecticut Post, is no stranger to serving as a spokesperson in government. He had that role in the last year of John Fabrizi’s mayoralty. But Fabrizi, like Giannotti, is an emotional personality. They were a better fit. Ganim likes advisers who don’t crack up over hangnails. Joe doesn’t sweat the small stuff and it’s a mighty strength of his holding it together when so many stress around him over nothing.
But Joe sometimes doesn’t sweat the big stuff too. And sometimes he’ll need an adviser to take an anvil to his head when it really matters to wake him up. It’s a balance.
Giannotti, who gave two weeks notice, just was not a fit.
Early in the new Ganim administration, people will come and people will go. It’s the nature of the beast.