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John Gomes Chats About Mayoral Candidacy And Taking On Political Sacred Cows

October 15th, 2010 · 8 Comments · City Politics, Interviews

John Gomes, former chief of the government-efficiency program CitiStat, who had a falling out with Mayor Bill Finch and now wants his job, shares in a video interview with OIB his perspective on running for mayor and the collision course that led to his departure from city service.

Gomes and his wife Janet, parents to four daughters, own and operate the Red Rooster Deli on North Avenue. Gomes represents the immigrant experience that is Bridgeport. He came to Bridgeport from Cape Verde, an island country off the coast of Western Africa. With his family settling in the Hollow, he worked hard, learned five languages (I have trouble with one), earned corporate credentials and was named by Finch deputy chief administrative officer.

What happens when government efficiency collides with political sacred cows? That’s what Gomes says was the reason behind his termination. His insistence to reform government, he says, was resisted. Nearly a year ago city police responded to a complaint at a Cape Verdean social club event. Police claim Gomes touted his city position; that was tantamount to interfering with law enforcement. He was charged with interfering with an officer and breach of the peace. Gomes says the city used this as an excuse to get rid of him, as he details in the interview.

Gomes is the only officially declared Democratic candidate against Finch. Others are expected to jump into the September 2011 primary. We chatted on Thursday at the vegetarian restaurant Bloodroot, one of the city’s cuisine jewels on Black Rock Harbor (if you’ve never been check it out www.bloodroot.com) A big OIB hug to Steve Krauchick of www.doingitlocal.com for filming the interview.


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8 Comments so far ↓

  • Up On Bridgeport

    Is that BPEF’s Marge Hiller eavesdropping or just in a cameo role? Word Up!

  • Mojo

    *** Mr. Gomes by living in Bpt 20-plus years & supporting some past local elections must have had an idea of the political Scared Cows, family & friends hiring practices used in getting city jobs in Bpt. After all his job with the city was a political appointment made by the Mayor in which I believe has no civil-service bearing to Human Resources in case of a termination by the Mayor. Political jobs given by a Mayor (unless a contract is in place) can be taken away by a Mayor! Also just how long did Mr. Gomes hold this OJT director’s job while with the city & was it enough time to give him the overall experience needed to really make a difference as Mayor, along with his small business experience? Also, there are always two sides to a story & somewhere in the middle you might find the truth in the Halloween Party Raid @ his club. However I believe since this Admin’s existance many residents have read, seen or heard of many job layoffs & firings that seemed very questionable to say the least. I credit his determination after getting a sour taste of this admin’s many poor decisions in general and wish him well in his quest for a better way for Bpt. *** Time will Tell ***

    • carolanne curry

      Mojo // Oct 15, 2010 at 3:44 pm
      Responding to your posting

      You make some relevant points only if John Gomes were part of the political machine that’s directed Bridgeport Democratic politics for more than 25 years …

      We know he wasn’t and isn’t … part of that machine …

      Also Finch wouldn’t or couldn’t appoint any of the patronage types as not one would have the will or the moral courage to begin the reform he asked John Gomes to begin at CitiStat-Bridgeport.

      There is no dispute that an appointment can be given and taken away by the Mayor … but is it that you would have us accept the Mayor should take away his appointment with a deliberate intent to intimidate and humiliate a person?

      As to whether there was enough time to absorb and gain experience to incorporate best practices for a CitiStat-Bridgeport program in this City, count the hours …

      Don’t you think when all the hours get added up, there was more than enough time to approach and evaluate major city departments and begin recommendations modeled on the successful CitiStat model of Baltimore, Maryland?

      Even you know Mojo, that if you really work, SHOW UP for work, and you’re a pretty smart individual, you’re going to meet your objectives.

      In this case it means the CitiStat OJT pays big dividends when it comes to John taking care of citizens as Mayor … he has a huge head start.

      • Mojo

        *** The fact is Mr. Gomes was part of the “Finch Machine” and was given this OJT-CitiStat job for his support. Also the job really could have gone to any of the other Fitch supporters who were considered capable as well. Remember each district leader wants something in return for their T/C’s support, some more than others. And as far as the Mayor’s reasons for taking away Mr. Gomes’ job, I’ve heard many sides of the story of which I still don’t condone the action taken! Many other political employees have done far worse & are still working today. Political promises can be fulfilled & taken away by any means unjustifiable, it’s the nature of the beast! It’s too bad Mr. Gomes was never really allowed to do his job & have a dedicated staff to back him. *** Time will Tell ***

  • Mother Nature

    I have never met the gentleman but must say I am very impressed with the way he handled himself on the questions and in front of the camera. He did say he has 4 children? In Bridgeport schools?

    This is of utmost importance to me having children in the schools myself and being involved as Mr. Gomes’ wife is. The schools are in terrible shape with an awful dropout rate. I’m betting the schools will be much improved under Mr. Gomes. If the mayor’s kids are in public schools I feel better about mine being there.

    I also admired that he didn’t throw the sacred cows’ names under the wheels of the bus and I’m sure he must have some serious dirt and documents, I’m tired of the nastiness of these elections and I’m hoping this one will be run clean. I do know Mr. Finch and I like him as a person, and feel he never wanted this job and the city is being run by a third party whoever that might be.

    Overall I thank Mr. Grimaldi for having Mr. Gomes on here and thank Mr. Gomes for opening my eyes to a bright young man who could very well be our next mayor.

  • BPT 1

    Well isn’t that refreshing! This is exactly what Bridgeport needs–someone who is not beholden to the corrupt political machine and whose kids actually go to city schools. Someone who truly loves this city and not in it to make it his own personal cookie jar. We’ve seen the same washed-up players over and over. Hopefully the sacred cows will finally see the slaughterhouse.

  • eyedoctor

    But does he approve this message?!?!?!

  • Testosterone

    It’s all good — So Far!

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