Lawsuit Settlement With Ex Assistant Chief Nardozzi In Hands Of City Council

The City Attorney’s office has crafted a legal settlement with former Assistant Chief James Nardozzi who sued after he was let go in 2016 charging he was canned for union-backed political reasons after he cut overtime spending.

The settlement will be referred to the Miscellaneous Matters Committee at Monday’s City Council meeting. The city has not yet disclosed the amount of the proposed settlement, only to inform council members it’s more than $20,000.

The position had been vacant for nearly four years until the appointment of Training Academy commander Rebeca Garcia on Monday.

Nardozzi was appointed the number two top cop seven years ago by then-Mayor Bill Finch with a reputation for reducing overtime from his days as deputy chief in Waterbury. His starting pay was $113,220.

Upon Joe Ganim’s return to the mayoralty Ganim brought back former Chief Wilbur Chapman as a consultant to serve as his department hatchet man. Assistant chief is one of two positions (chief) outside of the union structure.

In January 2016 Nardozzi was let go earning $123,000 under a “reorganization” of the Police Department.

In 2017 Nardozzi filed a state lawsuit asserting he was booted by Ganim because Nardozzi hit the pocketbook of cops, by millions of dollars, who supported Ganim’s comeback campaign.

OIB chronicled Nardozzi’s efforts to cut overtime against the wishes of police rank and file. The lawsuit cited the City Charter which specifies that a termination must accompany a hearing before the Civil Service Commission. A hearing for cause did not occur. As a result the commission violated a term of the contractual relationship with Nardozzi, according to the complaint.

In the complaint Nardozzi’s lawyer claimed Ganim acquiesced to the wishes of the police union: we’ll support you for your election but Nardozzi and Joe Gaudett as police chief must go. Nardozzi was terminated for “political reasons.” The police union was angry with Nardozzi, according to the complaint, because Nardozzi “enacted a plan, at the command of then Mayor Bill Finch” to reduce overtime expenditures. Nardozzi slashed overtime in one year from $8 million to $4.3 million and to the point that a $900,000 surplus existed for the 2014 budget year, according to the complaint.

In 2018 Nardozzi was one of seven finalists for Bridgeport police chief job. Ganim appointed AJ Perez with whom he’s had a long friendship to a five-year contract.

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10 comments

  1. As I stated back when this happened this will cost the taxpayers plenty. Get that checkbook ready!!
    Then we can wait for the legal outcome from the fight in the chiefs office between the captain and the union head. Keep the check book out. Etc etc.

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    1. And the attorneys office recommends the settlement and only lists more than $20,000. Lol. What’s the number????
      It’s more ……. A lot more!!!!! Cheers!!!!

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  2. Who dropped ball, was it Janene Hawkins the Director of Labor Relation, or the City’s Personnel Director, David Dunn, the entire City’s Attorney Office or did they all have a hand in this very costly failure that the taxpayers must pay out because of the incompetency of city officials. Will someone pay a price for this failure?

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  3. Narduzzi reduced police overtime by $3.7 in just one year which represents a significant savings in the short term, but the savings longterm in pension obligations would be significantly greater.

    In most reputable municipalities this notable accomplishment would be worthy of a promotion not termination.

    We now have Chief Perez who has repeatedly demonstrated he is incapable of being fiscally responsible with the BPD Budget as evidenced by the exploding and unchecked OT Budget.

    Incompetence is consistently rewarded and competence gets you terminated.

    Many Bridgeport high level employees are allowed to fail up instead of being demoted or terminated.

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  4. It can only happen in BPT . Get fired for doing your job. What a joke. The Union us good and the UNION IS BAD….. Bits history proves that the union has always been bad. How many companies left??? The Union wants wants and wants more

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    1. We all know how good management and owners look out for their workers, safe working conditions, health insurance, retirement benefits, a honest day work for a honest day pay. Yeah, who needs unions when owners are so good to workers.

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    2. I just want to be clear that I am pro-labor/union.

      The job of any worthwhile union leader is to fight for their members. If they are not representing their members they should be ousted at the ballot box.

      Ultimately the union had no authority to terminate Nardozzi. Only Mayor Ganim had sole authority to terminate him, and he did. He didn’t have to succumb to the BPD union leadership’s lobbying to terminate Nardozzi.

      If Nardozzi was successfully fulfilling the directives given by Chief Gaudett and Mayor Finch, and Ganim wanted Nardozzi to go in a different direction he should have sat him down and explained his concerns and given Nardozzi the opportunity to implement his priorities and vision.

      No one that is clearly competent and accomplishing good work on behalf of residents and TAXPAYERS should be terminated as part of a quid pro quo AKA we will back you for Mayor and in turn you have to get rid of Chief Gaudett and Nardozzi.

      By the way, that is completely illegal.

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  5. A classic Joe/Mario move,do ANYTHING to get elected.Obviously,Nardozzi gets fired because the union wasn’t happy with him cutting OT.Joe,doing whatever it takes to win the police union favor going into the election,fires him soon after he wins..Then fast forward a couple years to Joe’s “nationwide search” for a police chief.That dog &pony show went on for awhile for no other reason than to try to convince “the idiot taxpayers of BPT” that he was looking for the best candidate.All the while,Perez was a shoe in for the job.The same AJ who loaded Joe’s stolen wine into the trunk,the same AJ who knows alot of “secrets”.There was never any doubt he would chosen Chief…Fast foward to 2019,our city’s police force is in chaos,moral is at an all time low,most of the inner city don’t trust the police etc. Nice job Joe!…I hope Nardozzi gets a huge settlement,he was screwed.

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