Judge Overturns Garcia’s Selection As Assistant Chief, City Will Appeal

In December 2019, then Chief AJ Perez named Rebeca Garcia, a captain in charge of the police academy, assistant chief without a competitive process. Other captains in the department hired former Mayor Tom Bucci, an employment law specialist, to represent them. Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens has sided with the plaintiffs.

In September 2020 Garcia was appointed acting chief by Mayor Joe Ganim following the federal arrest and subsequent guilty plea of Perez for scheming to rig the 2018 police chief exam.

Read decision here.

Deputy City Attorney John Bohannon says the city will appeal Stevens’ decision.

From the decision:

From Dan Tepfer, CT Post:

The city’s selection of Rebeca Garcia as assistant police chief was in violation of civil service rules and the city charter, a Superior Court Judge ruled Tuesday.

… “I am glad for the captains who stood up to protect the civil service system from the capricious and arbitrary practices of Mayor Joe Ganim and his administration,” Bucci said.

The ruling leaves open the question of whether Garcia can remain acting chief if she shouldn’t have been appointed assistant chief in the first place.

Deputy City Attorney John Bohannon said she can. He said the mayor can appoint anyone holding the rank of captain as acting chief in the Police Department according to the city charter.

“There is no issue there,” he added.

But Bucci countered it is a big issue.

“It’s their sham review of the charter. She was not qualified to be a candidate for chief in the last round, so how can they say she is qualified to be chief now?” he said.

… The judge stated that his ruling does not suggest Garcia is not qualified to be assistant chief but “The plaintiffs never truly received the opportunity to present their qualifications for the position in a way that fully complied with the civil service rules.”

Full story here.



  1. Great!.. Let the lawsuits continue!.. I lost count at this point on the dollar amount this has cost taxpayers.. Bottom line is, for Mario’s & Joe’s “operation” to run smoothly, a police chief that they can control is essential,obviously it’s not so much that they are qualified, it’s more important in this city that the police chief is controllable.Who will Joe name chief next?., Why not Danny Pizzaro at this point? .Oy vey!

    1. Harvey from what I read, it’s a moot point once Garcia was appointed Chief of Police. She is no longer the assistance Chief. The article stated Ganim has a right to appoint anyone to Acting Chief that has a rank of Captian. If so, the suit should’ve ended when she was appointed to Acting Cheif. No?

  2. Just as I have been saying for a very long time. No shocking development here. Harvey, I have asked Lennie, on this blog several times, to investigate and compile a list of lawsuits and their associated costs to the taxpayers. The amount would be staggering. Attorneys fees on both sides, monetary awards etc. We here on OIB of course understand that . However to actually see the figure would be shocking to the general public. Maybe Brian Lockwood could pick up the ball. I’m sure that a dollar amount in the headline could make national news, well maybe only on FOX!! Stories about characters like Pizarro describing what they really do and are paid would also open Pandora’s box. We could have FJG and FMT added to the local jargon as well! Maybe the feds could share a photo for the article like the social coffee crew seated at the round table outside the kitchen on Suburban Ave.
    Cheers!! 😝

    1. Rich, I don’t get the point of continuing the lawsuit for a year after the fact Garica left the position in question. If she can hold the current position of Acting Cheif what’s the bigger issue is Bucci talking about? It doesn’t seem to be a legal one. If there is no legal issue with regards to Garcia being appointed to Acting Chief the suit wasted a year of time and money, No? JS

  3. Rich,At this point, Joe has hidden,shredded,moved files etc to make it impossible to put together any sort of dollar figure on all this.Don’t forget,Joe is a master at these kind of things,EVERYTHING is a secret in this city…When is his indictment coming??

  4. Superior Court Judge ruling Tuesday tells a bigger story that just Rebeca Garcia as assistant police chief, what Judge Stevens wrote spells out what is wrong with Bridgeport and what’s wrong with the City Council on the checks and balances of goverment which is the City Council is responsible.

    BRIDGEPORT — The city’s selection of Rebeca Garcia as assistant police chief was in violation of civil service rules and the city charter, a Superior Court Judge ruled Tuesday.

    “The best characterization of the city’s compliance with the civil service rules is that it was either perfunctory or pretextual rather than substantial and actual,” Judge Barry Stevens stated in a 10-page decision. “The city’s overarching intent and goal in the selection of the assistant chief of police was not so much to comply with the civil service rules but rather to allow (former Police Chief Armando) Perez to choose from the ranks whomever he wanted in whatever manner he desired.”

    Perfunctory, adjective:
    performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial:
    perfunctory courtesy.
    lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent or apathetic

    The definition of perfunctory is done in a routine manner,
    adjective. 1’the guards gave a perfunctory look up and down the carriage’ cursory, desultory. quick, brief, hasty, hurried, rapid, passing, fleeting, summary. token, casual, superficial, uninterested, careless, half-hearted, unthinking, sketchy, mechanical, automatic, routine, offhand, indifferent, inattentive.

    What does Pretextual mean in law? A pretext is a false reason that is covering up for an employer’s true motives. … In the employment law context, pretext means a reason for an action that is false. It is essentially something that is covering up an employer’s true actions or motives.

  5. Who knows more about City practices as EMPLOYER than Tom Bucci? Instead of having bragging rights on best quality employment and labor practices, our City has to defend employment actions against its behavior with the City Attorney Office, loses the actions and settles, or…..Expensive way to operate? You bet. No wonder the City is less than forthcoming on the expense of such actions.
    At a time when the City has reached Tier 1 designation for its Police Department, it continues to bleed trained officers who wish to spend their years in other police departments. OK but when the number approaches 25 routinely PLUS normal resignations, you can begin to see our staffing problems.
    And Superintendent Testani laments his personnel problems for newer teachers leaving for greener pastures. If green is the theme, in two major departments, where is leadership commenting a contrasting opinion. What value are the majority of political picks, outside the civil service system, each year? What do they do to add integrity and accountability to this term in office? What is City Hall trying to accomplish and who is closely monitoring these efforts? Time will tell.

  6. Rich like you I would love to see what lawsuits and attorney’s fees have cost the city! Hell you don’t have to go back to Mandanici who cost the city $5.2 million with respect to the lawsuit filed against the Bridgeport Fire Department. Hell you don’t even have go any further than Joe Ganim’s 1st term and that other fool who served as Mayor. Hell you don’t even have to go to any attorney other than Tom Bucci who’s won millions on behalf of his clients that sued the city! The Mayor’s of Bridgeport have routinely treated the city’s coffers like it’s their money with no regard to whether the issue is right. Let me add that the City Council is complicit in every lawsuit filed and paid because they lacked the wherewithal, no the balls to say NO to those Mayor’s that wanted to pull the wool over the publics eyes by trying to get their way even if it cost the city that they profess to love!


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