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Have Cops Soured On The Ganim Land Of Milk And Honey? Police Brass Ordered To Turn In Take-Home Cars

January 4th, 2016 · 41 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, City Politics, Law Enforcement

Paris, Ganim

Police union chief Chuck Paris with Ganim.

As some police officers have described it, supporting Joe Ganim for mayor after souring on Bill Finch was a pasture to “milk and honey.” Overwhelmingly endorsing Ganim’s candidacy, many police officers donated personally to Ganim’s campaign, they prevailed upon family and friends to do the same. They threw on walking shoes, knocked on doors, banged phones, put up lawn signs while also providing Ganim a layer of credibility with voters concerned about his past. Ganim was a ticket to a happier work environment after what they described as low morale under Chief Joe Gaudett and Finch.

In Ganim’s five weeks as mayor, however, the Police Department has been a focal point of Ganim seeking savings to close what he has pegged a $20 million budget deficit he inherited from Finch. Overtime has been slashed, brakes slammed on take-home vehicles, Gaudett is still around courtesy of a last-minute reappointment by Finch, but now former Chief Wilbur Chapman is issuing directives through Ganim as a senior adviser working out of the mayor’s office.

police station

Can you hear the grumbling?

On December 30, about a dozen senior members of the department including Assistant Chief James Nardozzi, four deputy chiefs and four captains were notified that their take-home car privileges had been revoked.

In a memorandum, Gaudett wrote:

Per the order of Mayor Joseph Ganim, all take-home/on-call car privileges have been revoked for the above officers effective January 1, 2016. Accordingly, by the end of business on December 31, 2015, you are ordered to remove any personal belongings and/or specialized equipment that may be in the take-home vehicle assigned to you. The keys for the vehicle shall be delivered either directly to the Chief’s Office, or deposited in the lock box on the third floor of Headquarters adjacent to the Chief’s Office main door. Submit a memo to me indicating the location of the vehicle so that it can be retrieved by Garage personnel and reassigned within the Police Vehicle Fleet.

On December 28, Chief Administrative Officer John Gomes notified Gaudett, Fire Chief Brian Rooney and Emergency Management Director Scott Appleby that in order to have take-home car privileges reinstated, “it must be submitted in writing a detailed report containing specific dates, times, and reasons for response during calendar year 2016. These requests will be reviewed by the department heads and submitted to the CAO for approval.”

Welcome to the land of milk and honey!

It’s early in the Ganim mayoralty, but the police officer likely on the receiving end of most of the meowing is union president Chuck Paris who was front and center in the Ganim campaign rallying cop support for Joe.

When the police union endorsed Ganim last July Paris stated, “Joe Ganim has the experience, the courage, and compassion to make improving public safety and the expansion of community policing top priorities for Bridgeport. Joe Ganim has shown he can get things done and can work with all groups within the city to improve communications between the police and the communities we serve. Ganim will be a mayor who rolls-up their sleeves and takes real action in times of crisis,” said Paris.

Ganim stated then:

“I am gratified and humbled to receive the support of Bridgeport’s finest officers and I pledge to support their efforts to rebuild the Bridgeport Police Department so Bridgeport residents and neighborhoods have the police department they deserve. Additionally, in the wake of the tragic shootings in Trumbull Gardens, Mayor Finch’s failure to take immediate steps to increase police presence shows a failure of leadership, if not a cavalier disregard for the safety of Trumbull Garden residents. By restoring Mayor Finch’s cuts in our police department, expanding community policing, establishing new neighborhood command posts, and building greater cooperation between the police and communities throughout our city, we will build a better and safer Bridgeport for all our citizens.”

Ganim’s familiar with the music hall song It’s A Long Way To Tipperary.

When Paris asks Ganim, Hey Joe, what gives? I’m getting killed by my peeps, maybe Joe will rejoinder a line from the song:

“Don’t lay the blame on me!”

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41 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I applaud taking away the cars used by the brass of the PD. These cheap-asses are making in excess of $100K and can afford their own cars and to buy their own gas. The old BS they hand out that they need these cars to get to a serious crime scene quick is baloney. Whatever happened had already taken place and can wait for the chiefs and captains to get there. I am sure this will make for a great savings as most if not all of these people live out of town.

  • Bob Walsh

    What???
    Joe Ganim lied to get the union’s endorsement?
    What? Joe Ganim lied to get elected?
    What? Joe Ganim lied to the property taxpayers when he said he was inclined to stall implementing reval?
    What? Joe Ganim didn’t know what he was talking about when he said he would fully fund the BOE?
    What? Joe Ganim didn’t understand reval, Police OT, the financial status of the city, appointment process for police chief, the state of the school system?
    But Joe told us he was a good mayor and he will be one again.
    What? People actually believed him?

  • Four Flats

    $20 million gap, revaluation around the corner; taxes are going to go way up! I agree with Fardy about cars but savings isn’t really there and given only some lost cars but the former driver/head of task force on violent crime and his buddies did not lose cars I see some sour grapes going around in the land of haves and have nots. So overtime is cut no extra staffing but yet some rv thing is sitting running now for what like two weeks on Trumbull Avenue. Wwho or what is that doing? Oh I forgot, we fixed fences and sang songs so we have to pretend, even though we have cut the crap out of the ability of the department to fight crime we will placate our
    supporters with an rv. That’s sweet.

    • Booty

      A-flat major,
      Reval has nothing to do with the total amount of taxes. It only has to do with your fair share. If your property has appreciated more than the average of everyone else, your share will go up. If your property has appreciated less than the average, your share will go down. And if your property is sitting right at the average, your share of city taxes will remain the same, regardless of what your actual assessment is.

      What does have to do with the total amount of taxes is the city budget. If that goes up, everyone’s tax bill goes up, in proportion to their share.

  • park city fan

    Chief Rooney took his car home this weekend. What’s up with that?

  • Donald Day

    Why in hell is Bridgeport paying for gas and a car for fire chief Rooney to take home to Monroe when he is getting $100,000 a year in pension plus in excess of $100,000 a year in salary? Not to mention he has had three accidents with the city car with one being at a NYC airport picking up his wife.

    John Gomes, handle your business. With respect to the BPD, when the BFD gave back a million dollars in give-backs under Finch, the BPD gave up nothing, so give until it hurts, police.

  • Donald Day

    Don’t confuse a Point of Information with blame as one has nothing to do with the other. Point of Information, you continue to hide behind the cloak of anonymity. Blame, you’re not man or woman enough to use your real name.

  • The Phantom

    I hope he does continue to “handle his business.” He too is capable of sticking it to the buffoons in the FD who put their eggs in the Finch basket. The next correct FD Union move is their first. Your point of information was to ask for the mayor to go after the PD because you guys are led by fools. You stay classy, friend.

  • park city fan

    Phantom–if I were you, I would focus on PD issues. I think the PD has a contract negotiation coming very soon, no? I would suggest you focus your efforts there.
    Not sure who you are or why you have such a dislike of the FD. Referring to them as ‘buffoons’ and ‘fools’ and disparaging their union leadership, really? These are men and women doing a difficult and dangerous job much like yourself (assuming you are a cop).

  • Donald Day

    If putting your life on the line to save the lives of Bridgeport residents is being a buffoon and a fool then color me as those. I did that for over 20 years and never felt I was anything other than a public servant who was willing to die for the residents and the city I love. Those brave firefighters who do this job on a daily basis deserves our admiration, not your disdain. May I suggest you act like you have some class even though you may not?

  • The Phantom

    Don. I certainly respect the FD and what they do but am curious why you think it’s important for Gomes to go hard at the PD? I did my time like you did yours and that sets me off.

  • Donald Day

    I never said anything about the BPD, I said for Gomes to go after BFD chief Rooney for taking his car home after three accidents while living in Monroe.

  • Bob Walsh

    Donald,
    Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t Rooney allowed to retire with a disability (H&H) and double-dip on his Chief’s salary?

  • Harvey Weintraub

    This move is just for headlines. Take away the cars, then hire your own personal police chief for $65,000 for six months.

    • Godiva2011

      Harvey Weintraub, good point! His idea of cost-saving measures doesn’t measure up. The city is devoid of extra police coverage (promises, promises), yet he has the audacity to hire former chief Chapman, who lives in New York, for $64K.

  • Bob Walsh

    Harvey,
    You are right on the money. A lot of nickels and dimes but not a lot of substance and nothing permanent.
    Let’s start with the unaffiliated personnel. Rather than talk about starting them at the lower end of the pay range, let’s put the salary range right back to where it was and in 2016, maybe, implement the union raises and no retro pay raises. No giving back pay increases by taking furloughs.
    Let’s publicly and by ordinance state what the benefits are for this class of employee. And any future changes must be made by amending the ordinance following a public hearing.
    Let’s make public the salaries of each and every personnel move Ganim had made.
    If we have a budget crisis let’s put a real number on it now. And let’s start acting like it rather than dealing with take-home cars.
    Otherwise this is PR.

  • Bob Walsh

    Next thing you know Joe is going to start talking about selling City Hall Annex and hope people forgot he was the one who bought that white elephant to begin with and forget Finch has already played that game.

  • Godiva2011

    Attention all Bridgeporters who voted for Ganim. You’ve been had, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Local Eyes

    Bridgeport has a bad stigma. This city/blog needs someone who can remove it and replace it with something better. Outperforming Mayor Ganim might be an unintended consequence of my main goal, which is adding value to Bridgeport.
    Bonus: www .door24.mobi

  • Steven Auerbach

    So far “our Mayor” and John Gomes has done a commendable job. Whether headlines or not, it was something that needed to be addressed. The question is who will be watching to make sure they adhere to Mr. Gomes’ policy? I say good job John Gomes! He was one of Ganim’s appointments I am very happy with.

    Note to Jim Fox: Funny you should mention those $1 hotdogs. They were an excellent deal! I understand they will be selling them at the annex. Bass Pro did that as a gimmick. The Fish Bowl Restaurant is actually quite delicious!

    • Jimfox

      Thanks, Stevie, I think Mayor Joe and John Gomes have been doing a great job! The Mayor’s State of the City address will tell us the taxpayers should be eating dollar hotdogs for a long time to come.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Congratulations to Mike Giannotti. I think he will do very well as the spokesmen for the Police and Fire department. $65,000 is a fair salary.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Good luck to you, Mike Giannotti. If I use the term ‘public information officer’ rather than spokesman or ‘mouthpiece,’ I believe you will understand. Can you, better yet, will you attempt to provide baseline statistical info regularly (like weekly) on actual critical indicators of public safety performance? That would be a step towards OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST municipal reporting. One month ago Chief Gaudett was providing weekly crime statistic info. Where is that initiative today? Time will tell.

  • Donald Day

    Good question, who is watching to make sure the policy is being adhered to? It’s my understanding the superintendent of maintenance is still taking a vehicle home every night as well as Chief Rooney.

    Bob, Chief Rooney is indeed getting his $100,000 pension as well as his $125,000 salary, which was done by Finch. Why not let every firefighter retire, collect their pension and continue to work?

    A bigger issue has surfaced, on December 28th at 1614 hours a box came in that would have sent Truck 5 to 302 Highridge Dr for a report of a fire. Truck 5 couldn’t respond so instead they sent Truck 11 all the way from Black Rock because Chief Rooney had his grandkids not only playing on the aerial, but had them lifted 50 feet in the air. How could he have jeopardized the lives of Bridgeport residents so his grandkids could play on a piece of fire department apparatus? How could he jeopardize the liability of the city of Bridgeport should one of his grandkids have gotten hurt? Chief Rooney needs to be suspended for his actions and removed from his position because he doesn’t really care now that he only has five more months prior to his contract expiring. This needs to be done before a Bridgeport resident loses their life or the city gets sued.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      I find this hard to believe. If this happened, where are the photos? There has to be one firefighter who took pictures. Donald, you and Mackey have been bad-mouthing Rooney for years, it must be he found out what you two are really all about and did not cave into your wishes.

      • Ron Mackey

        Andy, you know whenever an officer is giving a demonstration of a fire vehicle and they know the vehicle cannot respond or there will a delay in responding, they must check with the battalion chief and with ERS. As for taking pictures, well the department is not taking pictures and neither are the firefighters, now maybe those whom the demonstration is for might have pictures. This story is easy to check out, first by seeing if the logbook has an entry of the demo happening and just by asking the firefighters who were there. In fact Andy you can find out for yourself by making one phone call.

      • Donald Day

        Andy, I received a call from an officer on the BFD. How do you think I told you the address, the date and the circumstances surrounding this incident? Andy, you have been an apologist for Rooney for years and before you call me a liar go down to headquarters and talk to some of the firefighters who were working that day or do what Mackey suggested, check to see if truck 5 didn’t respond to that box.

        • Andrew C Fardy

          Now with everyone having a cellphone and you are saying one picture was not taken by anyone. I’ve known Rooney for over 40 years, he was my driver at one point in time. If Rooney had his grandkids there I know for a fact he did not have his grandkids 50 feet in the air. There was no way he did this. BTW how old were the kids? I have not and will not be an apologist for anyone. You and Mackey have made it a career to go after Rooney every chance you got. Why is that? Rooney has fought more fires than you two put together. Give it a break. You guys don’t like Rooney because he was wise to the both of you.

          • Donald Day

            Andy, what in hell does fighting fires have to do with a lack of judgement on Rooney’s part? Call ya boy Dominick and ask him if it happened because I was told he went down to get into the truck’s ass about not responding, that’s when he found out what was going on. I don’t hate Rooney or anyone else, what I do dislike is his self-important attitude and the fact he accused blacks of cheating on promotional exams because we did better on promotional exams than our white counterparts. He forgot how he became a Lieutenant because ya boy Dominick went to 16′s with the questions and answers for that exam, remember when they gave the same exam, asked the same questions over four days and people whose names were L thru Z scored better? L thru Z, Rooney. Any questions?

          • Ron Mackey

            Andy, make that phone call then call us liars if we are wrong, shut us up on this. In fact I would hope Lennie would check this out. Time will tell (JML).

          • Ron Mackey

            Andy, you don’t know what you’re talking about, I’ve fought fires neither you nor Rooney have ever fought during my four years as a firefighter in the Air Force when we had to put out fires of an F-4 Phantom Jet carrying bombs and their fuel tanks.

          • Andrew C Fardy

            Ron really, how many of those fires did you really fight, one maybe two? What does Air Force firefighting have to do with this? BTW Carfi nor anyone else is my boy. Donald if what you wrote below is true why did you keep it quiet? Why didn’t the Firebirds go to court? You want me to believe when you and others complained about anything and everything. You know what you keep using that word, Ya Boy. You are a racist prick and always have been one and always will be one. I already made the call and I am glad to say IT’S BULLSHIT. Where are the photos? Are you telling me not one firefighter with a cellphone took photos? Bullshit. Just like your vendetta against Rooney. Bullshit.

          • Ron Mackey

            Andy, this is not about race or how many fires Rooney, Day, Mackey or Fardy have fought, it’s about response time to a fire and as you know that response time is so important in saving lives and especially not having Truck 5 on duty to respond. Chief Rooney knows how important response time and having a truck company at the fire as soon as possible, he could have had the Truck 5 on a delayed response, but no.

  • Mojo

    *** I don’t think either of the two chiefs will have to turn in their take-home cars; just the rest of the brass on the PD and FD. In most cities the two chiefs have take-home cars however no one else that’s brass really needs a take-home vehicle! The city had better start saving money wherever it can if it wishes to get a handle on the budget. ***

    • Ron Mackey

      Mojo, what is the policy when they have an accident with their City-owned vehicle while out of state and it’s not City business? Mojo, do the taxpayers have a right to be informed of the incident and who pays for the damage or the lawsuit that could come from that accident?

  • Mojo

    *** You can’t always have your cake and eat it, and the PD and FD should know this by now. Especially when it comes to politics and its “if possible” promises. Joe knows a safe city from crime and fires is a direct reflection on him and his administration as Mayor moving forward. If both depts are happy with their overall contracts, relationship and respect from the Mayor’s office, they’ll be much more willing to do that little extra in the performance of their duties that helps make their depts shine in the eyes of the public and media! Let’s hope that’s the case for the next four years in Bpt. ***

    • Ron Mackey

      Mojo, I agree with you except for one point, that’s when you said, “they’ll be much more willing to do that little extra in the performance of their duties,” firefighters do that all the time no matter the contract, mayor or internal issues, when the bell hits all that stuff stops because someone has called for help.

  • Bob Walsh

    I think the cops saw Ganim as the Land of Milk and Money; f the honey.
    Joe promised more community policing, more substations, more OT to address manpower shortages, full staffing. So far all we have gotten is a $150k Public Safety Consultant, cutbacks in OT and no take-home cars.
    All talk and no meaningful action.

  • Mojo

    *** City vehicle accidents get reported just like anybody else who’s had a traffic accident. And if the vehicle is at that time, at a place it’s not supposed to be, then the person’s supervisor and dept policy should come into play during and after the investigation, no? Cops and Firefighters are ready to do their jobs 24/7. However if you have a Mayor and city admin. that respects, supports and recognizes their achievements and goes out of their way to maintain a good relationship with them; I’m sure the men and women doing these tough jobs would appreciate it much more than not, no? ***

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