In Testy Vote City Council Approves Gaudett Consulting Contract, Perez To Become Acting Chief

Gaudett at council meeting
Joe Gaudett, at Monday night’s council meeting, will resign as chief to accept consulting gig.

Several irritated City Council members Monday night including President Tom McCarthy groused through the proposed three-year contract with Joe Gaudett in which he will resign as chief and become a consultant in the Emergency Operations Center, a move that now allows Mayor Joe Ganim to appoint ally Captain A.J. Perez as acting police leader likely in a few days. The contract was approved by a vote of 13-6. Gaudett will receive $125,000 per year, in addition to his city pension of $78,534 accrued through his years as a police officer.
In addition to McCarthy, councilors Kate Bukovsky, Scott Burns, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia, Michelle Lyons and Jose Casco voted no.

McCarthy urged council members to vote against the contract claiming it violated the city’s bidding procedures. McCarthy recently worked out a severance package with the city leaving his job as deputy director of Labor Relations, a Ganim campaign pledge to reduce conflicted city employee councilors.

Schmoozing concerned council members, Ganim said Gaudett has the expertise to efficiently coordinate emergency operations and dispatch center in conjunction with police and fire to improve response time. He urged the council to approve the contract. “We’ve developed a good result here.”

Councilwoman Eneida Walker asked how they settled on the $125,000 a year compensation. Associate City Attorney Mark Anastasi said the number was arrived at between lawyers for the chief and the city, adding “there’s no secret” hiring Gaudett as a contractor frees up another position (police chief) to be filled.

While Gaudett has been a genial public face of the Police Department, many members of the police union that supported Ganim’s comeback bid wanted Gaudett out including union chief Chuck Paris who attended the council meeting. He applauded the contract approval saying new leadership will benefit the department. Perez, well-liked within the Police Department, also observed the council meeting. He said he’s looking forward to his new role as acting chief. The civil service selection process for a permanent chief could take up to a year.

AJ Perez, Ganim victory
Captain AJ Perez, left, fronts Ganim’s entry onto podium election night last November.

During the Contracts Committee meeting prior to the full council vote, Chief Gaudett said “I believe that I can bring value to this position.”

McCarthy asserted “this doesn’t look like to me an independent contractor […] Will he be supervising employees?”

Anastasi said there is an expectation Gaudett will be operating through an appropriate chain of command reporting to the mayor.

McCarthy said it “sounds like you’re stepping over the line as an independent contractor and this is more like a city employee.”

McCarthy questioned the need to bypass a formal bidding process to determine if anyone else was more qualified.

Anastasi countered Gaudett has an expert skill set no one else brings to the table, especially during the city’s fiscal challenges. Anastasi added Gaudett’s presence will help streamline the department to save money.

At 6:45 p.m. the Contracts Committee adjourned its debate of the contract vote to attend a special meeting of the full City Council. The full council eventually adjourned its meeting so the Contracts Committee could reconvene to vote on the Gaudett contract. The committee reconvened at 8:10 p.m. and voted to approve, sending the measure to the full council for a vote.

Addressing concerns about bypassing bidding, Finance Director Ken Flatto added Gaudett has a unique skill set. He said a freeze in spending has made funds available to cover the $40,000 to pay Gaudett for the rest of the fiscal year ending June 30.

Councilman John Olson, backing the contract, said “this is a political thing, two men (Ganim and Gaudett) got together and compromised something that can work. Everyone is going to win. It’s a good deal for both of us.”

Councilwoman Michelle Lyons said she’s concerned Purchasing Agent Bernd Tardy was not asked to attend the meeting. City officials said Tardy signed off on the process to select Gaudett outside of a formal bid process because of his unique qualifications.



  1. Your council members took the easy way out–we vote against it, but it still passes. Congratulations to all parties involved.

    Lennie, I find McCarthy’s opposition out of political character. Could we expect some more pushback from the council president in the future? I think Frank Gyure just became a McCarthy fan.

    1. Just stay in the ‘burbs and suck down BRIDGEPORT taxes. You deserve each other.
      What are you saying, actually? Now that Gaudett is gone the Police Department is actually going to start doing the job? Like a bunch of spoiled brats simply because Gaudett cracked down on OT.

      1. Don’t be sad because you didn’t have the foresight to leave when you could. Blame yourself and stop acting like a lunatic and please continue to pay your outrageous taxes, high insurance rates, and the rest and get zero for them.

  2. Schmoozing concerned council members, Ganim said Gaudett has the expertise to efficiently coordinate emergency operations and dispatch center in conjunction with police and fire to improve response time.
    If Ganim really wants to improve response time, hire anyone from Primo’s Pizza!
    Just think how much money we can save!
    Primo’s Pizza response time from oven to door. 40 minutes.
    Gaudett’s past response time from Duncan Donuts to door. 46.5 minutes.
    I’m betting dollars to donuts Gaudett reapplies for the Chief’s job, now that would be something.

  3. It’s nice to see Mark Anastasi is still doing the heavy lifting in the city attorney’s office. I guess this was too hard for the boy wonder.

  4. If there are any Dems in the 132nd district I urge them to vote against Brantley and Olsen in the DTC Primary along with the rest of that slate.
    Everyone is happy, John??? How about the taxpayers?

    1. Alex Trebek: Let’s play Jeopardy. The answer: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
      Contestant: What is Bob Walsh!
      Alex Trebek: Sorry. The correct response is, what is insanity.
      Contestant: Aren’t they the same thing?
      Figure it out, Bobby. Nothing in Bridgeport changes.

  5. On the bright side, in a break with recent practice, the Council actually debated the agreement in public, not in a caucus or executive session.

  6. Has any black council person ever voted against a Mayor about any issue, at any time for any reason? It appears any white Mayor can tell those blacks to vote any way he wants and they do what was told to them. How did that benefit your constituents or was it designed to benefit their next run for the city council?

    1. Donald, sad but so true, they walk blindly and ask no questions. We all should have known Hamilton Burger was still running the City Attorney’s Office, remember he was very loyal to Ganim so he makes the legal case for Joe and the black council members say nothing.

      1. Hector Diaz, come on man, that was over 30 years ago when the mayor was a Republican and it was the Republican council members who broke the tie vote for Council President that made Ernie Newton the Council President.

  7. On the dark side, Joe Ganim, with the assistance of Junior Deputy City Attorney Mark Anastasi, has determined he can bypass mandated competitive bidding by claiming there is a fiscal emergency.
    Hold on to your wallets and purses taxpayers, because Joe has free rein to award contracts to whomever he wishes. Back to the future. This is exactly what got Joe in trouble to begin with.
    And I am sure the Deputy Junior City Attorney once again failed to put in writing a legal basis for his opinion.

  8. McCarthy is actually giving his own opinion??? Wow, it’s been awhile. I knew he could come up with his own thoughts. Let’s face it, last year if Finch came up with this Gaudett thing, McCarthy would have been all for it.

  9. “Anastasi countered Gaudett has an expert skill set.”
    “Ken Flatto added Gaudett has a unique skill set.”

    Unique skill set. I’m not sure if they are hiring for the BPD or casting him for the “Taken” movies with Liam Neeson.

    Quote from movie below. LOL LOL.
    Bryan: I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

  10. In addition to McCarthy, councilors Kate Bukovsky, Scott Burns, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia, Michelle Lyons and Jose Casco voted no. So what are you alluding to, Joel? Hector, how many decades did you have to go back to find a black politician with an individual thought?


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