Paging Canned Assistant Chief James Nardozzi–Who Needs Gold, Frankincense And Myrrh When Cash Is King?

New Assistant Chief Rebeca Garcia is now on board with a six-figure salary while the last person to occupy the rank James Nardozzi is on his way to a six-figure settlement after filing a lawsuit contesting his 2016 termination.

The Miscellaneous Matters Committee approved the settlement Thursday night. It will be on the full City Council agenda at its next regular meeting January 6, the Three Kings Day feast of the epiphany. Who needs gold, frankincense and myrrh?

The Bible doesn’t tell us a whole lot about the three wise men’s visit to baby Jesus and so far we don’t know a lot about this settlement except that it’s six figures, or something in that range.

This story begins in 2012 when Mayor Bill Finch and Police Chief Joe Gaudett courted help reeling in police overtime. They looked around internally. Curtailing overtime in the police department is like getting between a doberman and a bone. For cops it’s the pasture to milk and honey. Who wants to take on that mess among a peer group?

The Civil Service Commission, validated by the City Council, approved the assistant chief position in 2008 as a non-competitive rank outside a collective bargaining unit. Lynn Kerwin was appointed to the position in 2009. She retired in 2011. Gaudett became familiar with Nardozzi via police channels as someone unafraid to tame overtime.

Even though Nardozzi was the guy they wanted, a national search commenced. Sometimes that’s good to curtail the meowing that comes with wiring the job for one person.

Nardozzi was hired and he went to work in ways that jabbed pins in his police-molded voodoo doll. Insert here, please.

Nardozzi cut back overtime by millions of dollars.

Fast forward to 2015. Joe Ganim’s on the campaign trail stumping for his old job. Finch and Gaudett had become pariahs among the police rank and file. Cops overwhelmingly supported Ganim. They wanted Gaudett and Nardozzi out.

Ganim won. In one of Finch’s last moves as mayor, he reappointed Gaudett to another five-year contract. In lieu of buying out the contract directly, Ganim crafted a deal with Gaudett to oversee the emergency operations center as a consultant. AJ Perez replaced him as chief. Gaudett’s no longer paid by the city. Nardozzi was handled differently.

Ganim hired former Chief Wilbur Chapman as a consultant to serve as his henchman. In January 2016, the assistant police chief position was “eliminated.” Nardozzi was out. He filed a lawsuit charging an illegal termination deal between the union and the mayor. For background see here.

Rather than risking larger taxpayer exposure in court a financial settlement reached between Nardozzi and the city does not include his return to the department.

Come Three Kings Day, Nardozzi will receive his pound of flesh.



  1. A perfect example of the disastrous level of governance in the City of Bridgeport. All the parties in this(ALL the defendants) should be ashamed of themselves but they have no shame whatsoever.

    1. I’m sure Mark Anastasi or John mitola Gave some illustrious advice from the City attorney’s office. Great job guys…. what $123,000 among taxpayers money…….

      Their should be repercussions when someone screws up like this!!!!

      But, it’s bridgeport……. They will just raise taxes to cover the lawsuit payouts…..

  2. The problem is the people who make these decisions does not effect them. The money paid out because of a lawsuit does not come out of their pocket. The city in-house counsel either was not consulted, their recommendations were not heeded or the powers that be did not care how this played out, again it was not their money.

    Between the lawsuits filed by citizens and the ones filled by the Officers in the department against one another, Mr. & Mrs. John Q has to bear the burden because of poor the decisions being made. You would think by now someone somewhere would say enough is enough. You just can’t whistle past the graveyard any more.

    The department could not curb overtime on its own so they go outside the department for help. The hired gun did his job although be it too well and they found a way to get rid of him. That poor decision will cost the tax payers. It seems none of the Officers were capable of coming up with ideas to make things better on the street. Who has a better idea then the boots on the ground?

    How hard would it have been to have a sit down with all the front line supervisors and hammer out some ideas? The department keeps crime statistics for a reason.

    The police department hires someone to do that job for them. The last I heard he has not been paid and his report has not been made public. What did that decision cost?

    The old chief was removed to get a “better” chief. Based on the news reports the city does not seem any safer nor does the department seem to run any more efficient. Now the new chief handpicks an assistant while there are still deputy chiefs on his staff. What is their job anyway? That sparked another lawsuit before the ink was dry on Chief Garcia’s promotion. There is no telling how this is going to drag out, what the remedy is going to be or the cost.

    That must one cut throat place to work.

    The city not just the police department needs fresh eyes on the day to day operations, personal allocation the expenditure of overtime and waste.

    The status quo should not be the norm.

  3. Just read that Joe Tiago’s &Jose DeMoura’s appeals are in the final stages and decisions about getting their jobs back are coming soon.I fully expect them to be reinstated with back pay costing us more$$$…Also read that Maria introduced a resolution asking the mayor to refuse to accept Ricci’s resignation….Maria,why would you ask for that?.Let the guy retire,he has sucked every dollar out of the city that was humanly possible.The pressure of keeping secrets,making backroom deals etc must be exhausting.Let him enjoy his retirement..

    1. Ok but,you’re scaring me Maria,I know you’re friends with Ricci and he has donated to your campaigns,so obviously you must have did this for his benefit.You’ve been on the council a week or so,are you already paying favors back??

  4. John and I became friends in 2013, well before he donated to my City Council campaign.

    I am NOT on the bash John Ricci bandwagon, nor have I ever been.

    I truly believe that John Ricci is a decent human being regardless of his political alliances.

    I know our friendship is puzzling to those involved in politics. I completely oppose Mario Testa and Joe Ganim and he has been quite loyal to them.

    We are POLAR opposites when it comes to politics and who we align ourselves with, however he has consistently done his very best to help my neighbors, treated me with respect, dignity, and has never attempted to marginalize me.

    That is really all anyone can really ask for.

    Now, if John was to disrespect me or marginalize me I would let him have it. I will not start it, however I am more than happy to finish it.

    We have agreed to disagree on most local politics, and we have been able to listen to each others point-of-view respectfully.

      1. You know how I always say never listen to what a politician says, watch what they do.

        I asked John Ricci’s permission to introduce that resolution because he needed to stop listening to City Council members private remarks and see what those very same City Council members would do in public on the record.

        Only 5 of 19 City Councilmembers present and voting voted in favor of the resolution.

        Now John Ricci knows whose support was authentic and whose support was just rhetoric.

        Nothing more, nothing less.

        1. Maria,believe it or not,the taxpayers who elected you to represent them and to be their voice on the council could give a shit about Ricci and who supported him and who didn’t on the council…What benefit do the taxpayers gain by you wasting time,asking for resolutions to prove to your friend who he can trust on the council?…You should be doing this shit on your own time.

          1. Harvey, I have to agree with you, Maria should do whatever she’s going to do but not on OIB as for as John Ricci.

  5. Harvey,

    Everything I do is on my “time.” Please remember I don’t receive $1 in compensation as a City Councilmember.

    Part of the resolution highlighted that John Ricci runs the largest City department earning only $29,000 annually. John is NOT collecting his annual pension of $110,000 per year.

    Now John Ricci will be collecting his annual pension of $110,000 per year, a new Director of Public Facilities will be hired for at least $130,000 annually and it is likely that the Public Facilities will be decreased and a Director of Parks will be reinstituted at a cost of $100,000 per year.

    This directly impacts taxpayers.

    1. Ok,so you said that Ricci gave you “permission” to bring up the resolution ?.. Why? He doesn’t want to retire?, he wants to keep on doing the job for $29,000?…. It all doesn’t make sense to me. There is something missing here.

      1. Harvey,

        It would be disrespectful to introduce an entire resolution about John Ricci without seeking his approval first.

        It was simply common courtesy.

        There is more to the story about John Ricci’s departure but it is not my place to share it.

  6. Harvey, how long did it take Maria to become part of the establishment Party? Her explanation is a bucket full of holes that won’t hold water. How Long, Not Long!

  7. Nardozzi did his job & cut millions in O.T, a new regime comes in & they do what Bpt. has always been good act. Firing or terminating a good worker’s job without just legal cause, which leads to a law-suit that the city always ends up losing in the future for big money! Nothing new cause its not really city halls money so guess who ends up with the short end of the stick, law-suit after law-suit? HELLO!


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