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Mayor Moonlights As UB Professor

June 8th, 2017 · 16 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Education, News and Events

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.

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16 Comments so far ↓

  • Tom White

    Good pickup by Brian Lockhart. This does not reflect well on UB, having a disgraced alumni who was convicted of felony crimes for operating a corrupt administration. He may have an advanced degree (law degree) to meet requirements to instruct, but having been denied reinstatement of his license by the CT BAR raises a question of the status of his degree.
    The CT Post story says he ‘co-teaches’. Does he have faculty privileges or is he a guest speaker?

    • Marshall Marcus

      “having been denied reinstatement of his license by the CT BAR raises a question of the status of his degree.”
      Utter nonsense!!!!
      Once conferred, bad behavior does not affect status of earned degrees. Only honorary degrees may be revoked.

      • Tom White

        Yes Marshall, not having a license does affect the use of the degree in academia. No one can take away his law degree but how it is used is impacted by licensing.

        • Marshall Marcus

          NO,
          Not having a license means that a person may not call himself a lawyer, attorney or use the title Esquire OR practice law.

          There are many holders of JD degrees who do not hold a law license and work in academia. There is no requirement that any law school student ever get a law license.

          • Tom White

            In order to instruct a course such as business law, UB requires a license.

  • DC Faber

    I am not saying old Joe cannot talk to the kids over at UB. He is the mayor of the city and given his expertise of government it would make sense he would have something to say. My curiosity is on he has been doing this on a regular basis for the past year? That explains a lot. Now we know why he isn’t seen around town like he was during JG1. He was preparing lesson plans, no time to bring peace to a dysfunction BOE! JG2 seems to be interested in anything not involving his job as Mayor. Perhaps he is trying out new careers when he doesn’t run for a second term. Of course he would love to join his family’s law practices but alas if he could only get that pesky law license back.

  • Maria Pereira

    Mayor Ganim can hold a press conference on trash cans for businesses that is another failing taxpayer funded initiative, but he concealed serving as an adjunct professor at UB for almost a year.

    If you’re “moonlighting” and doing nothing wrong; why conceal it? Why not provide a prompt response to the CT Post? Why not publish your salary and benefits?

    Mayor Ganim is just a disgusting and unethical person. Shame on me for not realizing it until it was too late.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    What’s the matter with you OIB posters? Ever heard of a third chance? I have a question. Could this be part of or the reason Mary Jane Foster left her post at UB?

  • John Marshall Lee

    The “second chance” Ganim mayoralty has taken only 18 months to prove untruthful (Taxes and education), disappointing as to direction (no priorities and inaction on public integrity) and is now directed to statewide office. There are those who were unwilling to provide him a “second chance” and who seem wiser at this time. There was no pact with the community as to how he would verify the chance he was provided and the trust it indicated. Isn’t that the real shame present here. Wasn’t the second chance purely about Joe? How has he rewarded the community in terms of that trust? Is this only a tough life lesson? Time will tell.

  • Tom White

    I used my faculty privileges to check on the class that Ganim ‘co-instructed’. It is 100 level undergraduate class about American government structure and politics.
    The other instructor is a full-time associate professor who likely did the syllabus and prepared class plans, material, testing, assessment, etc. Class is authorized to have 50 students so it is likely a large lecture format and Joe Ganim is the guest’expert’. I would spend around 10 hours per week managing a 3 hour class.
    I doubt that Ganim is spending hours actually managing a class, but is more likely walking in and sharing his wisdom.

  • Jeff Kohut

    I would bet that if the majority of registered voters in Bridgeport — as well as prospective Bridgeport electors — were to participate in an anonymous poll and asked how important they consider the Mayor’s little secret teaching gig, his Airbnb investments, or even his foreign excursions, as compared to their local tax burden and economic prospects, they would not rate high in relative importance. If they were asked how they felt about the likely scenario of higher local taxes, lower property values, and dismal local job prospects going into the next ten years — as well as the negative prospects for the moribund, dismally-performing public school system, prospects for an increase in violent crime and public safety disarray, and the continuing decline in the quality of life in Bridgeport neighborhoods, they would express great concern and frustration and a great need for wholesale change at all levels of government…

    For instance; we are in a situation of generally declining business prospects throughout the state (with the exception of the excusive, SW- wedge of the state, and a few scattered suburban enclaves throughout the state — but the prospects for business in these locales are more tenuous than anyone would care to admit, given the state’s intractable SW-wedge-/Stamford-based logistics nightmare), and we have a highly distractible, unfocused, generally inept state GA and Governor who have no real plan to bring significant new development to the state even as our bedrock business anchors announce their decisions to flee the state and its cluelessness/policy ineptitude…

    And Bridgeport — the city with the greatest combination of potential, business-serving local, natural and human-designed assets in the state — can’t seem to create one new job or even a 1-mil tax rate reduction for its citizens…. So in this context, the majority of our state delegation votes against the lone chance to bring major tax-base and living-wage jobs ton our city…

    No. I don’t believe that Bridgeporters taking a poll such as the aforementioned would care much about anything other than the general need to get things moving in the right direction quickly in the city and state and having a chance at the polls to the political cluelessness and bs with movers, shakers, and planners focused on economics rather than politics… We don’t such people working for us at the state or local level at this juncture, and it would seem that we don’t have much of a chance of having that in the future — based on most of the present crop of local and statewide candidates looking for support in upcoming elections…

    Do I care about Mayor Ganim’s secret teaching gig at my alma mater? Not really… Do I care about the general, negative direction of the city and the cluelessness of its leadership and representation? Yes. Greatly… Am I impressed with the present crop of mostly mal-focused, clueless “reformers” who don’t even recognize the real origins of Bridgeport’s decline and distress? No. Not at all… Even if they all promise to live in their voting districts, not deal in Airbnb business, and not keep night teaching-gigs secret…

  • Bob Walsh

    We have gone from Mayor Moonbeam to Mayor Moonlight.
    Is this progress or are we regressing?

  • John Marshall Lee

    The City Charter states: “The mayor shall devote the full time necessary to the duties of the office and shall be responsible for the proper performance of their duties by all the appointive officers and departments and employees.”

    During his “second chance” term, especially in the past 7-8 months, have the “outside” activities of Mayor Ganim seemed to loom larger when revealed including embarrassments about wifi repair while condo marketing in Black Rock, academic gig (for pay??) at UB, frequent travel for extended periods, and decided interest in a run for statewide office? What are the priorities of the Mayor? What will he report in his required annual report on the city for this time period? Time will tell.

  • John Marshall Lee

    juneteenth Parade just finished. Mayor Ganim along with other local and state elected walking in the first division.

    As I reflected on his statement about the co-teaching gig I focused on his words: “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. This has also been a unique way to get to know these young residents of our city.” Glad that he is in interacting with some of the young, but are the UB college students likely to stay in this City (as are first time home buyers and new renters) as earners,tax payers, and voters? Is he spending an equal amount of time with ACTUAL resident, registered to vote, and tax paying money spending working young people?? Where is this heralded in his PRESS RELEASES? As basic governance issues and concerns has he shown how conflicts of interest are handled on our City Council by Charter, Ordinance and lack of attention? How about an important subject like “term limitation” and “appointment power” which in our city combine into lifetime appointments beyond any initial terms as long as you vote the way the executive branch desires? He can share how this limits opportunity for new people to try out their skills, gain some expertise, get evaluated (Bridgeport neither trains nor evaluates once you are appointed), and include many more diverse interests in the community to serve? Maybe Joe will have a heart to heart talk on the past, present and future of PUBLIC EDUCATION in poor urban cities? And what will he offer in the way of current municipal check and balance practices (for real)? Wouldn’t you like to be present for the Q&A on such subjects in the class? Time will tell.

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