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.