Mayor Joe Ganim generally does not enjoy idle time. If he can fill time running a city, working out, running for statewide office, raising money, fixing holes in fences, logging frequent flier miles overseas and anything else that floods his brain, so be it. And oh yes, teaching a weekly political science course at the University of Bridgeport.
Time, Joe had lots of time–six years–to think about stuff in the joint before making an incredible comeback to the mayoralty in 2015. And 18 months into his return a number of people wonder, including some of his hires, if his brain is focused everywhere else except on the city.
CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart had been poking around, asking questions about the mayor’s teaching gig.
Lockhart reports …
“Hearst began making inquiries about the mayor’s unannounced educational gig last Friday, reaching out to both his office and to UB with questions including what he was paid and whether anyone reviewed the arrangement for potential conflicts-of-interest.
Ganim already enjoyed a seat on UB’s Board of Trustees. But now the university has been paying him–an individual who, given his role running the city, has plenty of influence over how City Hall partners with the South End-based UB.”
Full story here.
Ganim, an alumnus of UB law school, has embraced the university that was crapped on by his predecessor Bill Finch. Ganim, however, is having difficulty getting ahead of stories. Swoop out of the country on a surreptitious family vacation, running a dubious rooming house in Black Rock, coy about his residency, secrecy about professorial moonlighting. Many of these stories are easy to address before the fact and not after, especially for a comeback candidate who promised the most transparent administration in history.
Ganim kicked out a news release only after Lockhart had pressed him and the university about his teaching gig. Had Ganim kicked out a news release when he started the teaching gig he’d diminish the now-growing narrative of a chief executive choosing secrecy over his promised transparency. It would also avoid putting the university on the spot.
City news release:
Mayor Ganim just finished his first year co-teaching American Government at the University of Bridgeport. The first semester of the undergraduate Political Science course started in Fall 2016, and the Mayor enjoyed his experience and time with the students so much that he continued teaching into the Spring 2017 semester. The American Government course covers the Constitution, branches of government, Civil Rights, political parties and elections, and other topics related to the structure of American Government.
Mayor Ganim was asked to speak at the University of Bridgeport in April 2016 to share his vision for the city’s future and discuss revitalizing the gateway to UB and the South End. This address to the students and faculty led to the interest and opportunity for the mayor to teach American Government the following semester.
“This has been a rewarding way to share my personal and professional knowledge of state and local government. Being a mayor and teacher is an amazing way to educate. Real actions and real challenges of our municipality as they happen in city hall are periodically brought to the students as part of the weekly discussion,” said Ganim. “This has also been a unique way to get to know these young residents of our city. There is such a positive energy and intellect on the UB campus.”
During the mayor’s class time, prominent speakers from the media, judges, city attorneys, and other elected officials participated in the discussion and offered their knowledge as part of the weekly lecture.
Ganim joins other mayors throughout the country who have also enjoyed the opportunity to bring their political knowledge of government and policy to the classroom, like the mayor of Cayce, S.C. and adjunct professor in the Arnold School of Public Health, as well as Mayor Walling, an instructor of Political Science at UM-Flint.
Mayor Ganim serves on the University of Bridgeport Board of Trustees and is an advocate of UB. The Mayor and his administration have been building stronger bonds between the university and the city since taking office in December 2015. The university has partnered with the city on a master plan of the South End to revitalize the gateway. While fostering relationships with UB, the mayor is also building stronger ties with HCC, as evident in the most recent MOU for manufacturing scholarships as part of the MIRA Second Chance Program.
“We appreciate Bridgeport’s universities and colleges as valued institutions for our city and its future,” stated Ganim.
Mayor Ganim will have the opportunity to teach American Government again next semester and is looking forward to the weekly conversations and engaging discussions in the classroom.