OIB friend, past CC member and past council president Lisa Parziale comments on the state of Bridgeport city management by both the mayor and City Council, and encourages others to get involved to fix the problems.
December 2015 ended two terms of leadership under former Mayor Bill Finch, and the torch was then passed to Joe Ganim who was elected for a second time in a history-making election in Bridgeport.
For those of us who supported his candidacy there was excitement and hope he would return matured, wiser, and show gratitude to the voters of Bridgeport who helped his second-chance message.
I was one of them. I unconditionally volunteered for the duration of his campaign because I was certain there was some of the first Joe Ganim left. I was already a four-term council member and president of the CC for four years when he first took office. I guided him through his beginning term, covered his back when necessary, helped him identify the likes of Mike Freimuth, Lennie Grimaldi, Jerry Baron and other credible, experienced members of his staff. I watched him work tirelessly, aggressively, his instincts were good, and he always asked for opinions. He didn’t necessarily take them, but he asked.
We all know the rest of the story. I never engaged in the Fabrizi or Finch administrations because after serving with both on the City Council they just didn’t do it for me.
I’m not suggesting JG and I had a love fest going, we knocked heads more than the public realized. It was strictly city business and constituent-related interests we worked together on. I know there were times he would have been happy if I just went away, but that didn’t happen then and it won’t happen now.
We are in the throes of the most difficult of times, financial devastation, a BOE in crisis, rampant crime, unemployment, poverty, and this is just what we know about. Joe Ganim didn’t cause this state of affairs, but as the Mayor of Bridgeport he has a legal and moral obligation to address them all until some relief is found where it can be found.
For starters, when has anyone known of a Mayor who has chosen to take a hands-off approach to the boycott of the most important Board in the City? Parents, students, teachers and all ancillary employees are left to languish because four board members made a decision they would not attend to the business of the BOE. There is no excusable reason why this is happening. There is also no excusable reason why the Mayor of Bridgeport has made no mention of this atrocity, let alone taken action to resolve it. He won’t open his door.
Second: We are on the brink of bankruptcy, entry-level employees were laid off while the Mayor’s budget soars with six-figure employees, most of whom are unqualified to perform to the standards of their job descriptions. In the meantime there exists a group of financial experts, men and women with decades of business experience who are begging for an opportunity to meet with the Mayor to generously share their expertise for the betterment of Bridgeport, and the State if needed. They have been meeting, doing their best to involve every area of Bridgeport, reaching out to everyone. This group of Bridgeport residents has the experience and knowledge the City couldn’t afford to hire, and the Mayor won’t open his door.
Next we have the same epidemic of crime seen throughout the country, yet our Police Department is understaffed, pensions underfunded, response time compromised, loss of life issues, forget quality of life issues, the latter could be fixed, but you can’t bring someone back from the dead. The only glimmer of hope we have is we have a Chief of Police who not only cares, but is empathetic, reached out for help from beyond our own first responders, and is a true leader and professional. In my opinion, the only substantial decision Ganim has made in almost a year in office.
This blog, OIB, allows interested individuals a place to vent, make suggestions, interact and engage. The readers of this blog far exceed the readers of the CT Post, a newspaper that is unreasonably selective in what and whom they cover. Whether anyone realizes it or not, we’re facing real disaster and the Mayor won’t leave his office, let alone let anyone in.
I won’t venture into suggestions that might change some or all the above-mentioned issues, but there are those who can and are willing to do so with no expectation of compensation other than to be of service to our City.
Everything I’ve pointed out is well-known by all my fellow bloggers. At some point we have to get on the same page, take a break from petty arguments and insults, keep the good input going, and keep an open mind, that’s usually when we discover we’re not always right, it’s time to open our minds and change our thinking by trying ideas never afforded us in the past. It doesn’t take much effort to blog, but it does if what we’re blogging about is going to change.
We know it will take time to undo and/or change antiquated practices. It will also take the determination to get out into our respective districts, talk with people, prepare for the next election, and the one after that, the one that could offer options for a new DTC, someone with the energy and willingness to keep the games at a minimum, and lead. I know the past experience the Council President had in his attempt to win a seat that was already well-represented had to be disappointing, but look at it this way, we have an experienced candidate for the State Senate, and may soon have new leadership on the City Council. The next election will involve the present members of the City Council, and the result of that election could be a game changer.