Perez Among Three Finalists For Bridgeport Top Cop Contract

Perez swearing
AJ Perez receives oath in 2016 from Ganim. Will he again?

Mayor Joe Ganim on Tuesday announced that Acting Chief AJ Perez, Captain Roderick Porter and New Haven Assistant Chief of Police Luiz Casanova are the top three finalists to receive a five-year contract as Bridgeport’s top cop.

According to Ganim five professionals in the field of police and municipal government served on a panel that conducted interviews Oct. 19 from a list of seven semifinalists. The Department of Civil Service hired executive search consultant Randi Frank to assemble the police chief search panel: Hartford Police Chief David Rosado, Yale University Police Chief Ronnell Higgins, municipal human resource official Bernadette Welch, UConn Health Labor Relations Director Caroline Beitman, and former Hartford City Manager Lee Erdmann. The panel short-listed the search to three.

“I am pleased with the nationwide search and selection process for police chief,” says Civil Service Director David Dunn. “We saw as many as seventeen valid applicants from across the country and have taken great measures to ensure a fair and competitive process. Bridgeport will be served well.”

In a City Charter revision about 30 years ago, voters empowered the mayor to select a chief from three finalists for a five-year contract that can be renewed for another five years maxing out at 10.

A few months after Ganim’s return to the mayoralty in December 2015, he placed his long-time friend Perez in charge of the department. Chief Joe Gaudett was public enemy number one to the numerous members of the police union that supported Ganim’s race both financially and with boots on the campaign ground. Ganim promised his cop supporters that he’d jettison Gaudett. But Ganim’s predecessor Bill Finch, in one of his final moves as mayor, gave Gaudett a second five-year contract. Rather than buying out Gaudett’s hefty contract Ganim hammered out an emergency services consulting agreement with Gaudett opening up the chief’s slot and elevating Perez, who was a captain, to acting chief.

Ganim was slow to initiate the charter-required search for a chief keeping his friend Perez in charge for more than two years until directing a process this year following numerous calls from the community.

The genial Perez has both his supporters and detractors. To some he’s considered an accessible neighborhood figure responsive to concerns. For others he’s a dubious manager who’s allowed the police overtime budget to run amok.

In addition to Perez’s friendship and loyalty to Ganim, another factor that could aid a five-year appointment is the current violent crime rate. The city has experienced just seven murders this year which if it keeps on pace would be the lowest since the city began keeping records for homicides more than 40 years ago.

There’s also a political calculation for Ganim. What chief does he want in place as he seeks reelection in 2019? Ganim is expected to announce a decision within a few weeks.

Casanova is suing New Haven in federal court, claiming he was passed over for chief and has been subjected to harassment due to his testimony on behalf of another officer who had filed a discrimination complaint with the state.

More than a year ago New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell requested an internal affairs investigation of Casanova and temporarily removed him from his responsibilities overseeing the training academy.

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49 comments

  1. No surprise here, we’ve said it for months, David Dunn will manipulate the system so that Perez will be one of the finalist and Mayor Ganim will do the rest. Great job fellas the only loser in this process is the residents and the City of Bridgeport.

  2. Not a single Bridgeport resident served on this critical search committee for such an important position that directly impacts voter residents.

    What a sham. Several police officers and retirees have shared moral as at an all time low. Most say A.J. is a nice guy, however he is in effective as the Chief.

    He overspent the overtime line by $2.7 million last year and is on track to overspenD OT again this year.

    AJ should be shown the door.

  3. I am shocked. I had my money on Perez, Deputy Dawg and Quick Draw McCraw. A close forth would have been Dudley Doright.
    Less money for me to give Dennis Bradley.

    1. Bob, this was a nation wide search in the mind of David Dunn, Dunn has to give Ganim what he wants in order for Dunn to keep his “Acting” Personnel Director as he has for over 11 years. When will Mayor Ganin call for a nation wide search for a new Personnel Director? These are the three best candidates in a nation wide search, please.

  4. So, who were the four semi-finalists who did not make the finals?

    the Charter requires the Chief live in Bridgeport. Will A.J. Perez leave Trumbull and move back to Bridgeport?

  5. As Ron said fire chief Brian Rooney never lived in Bridgeport during his tenure and neither does chief Richard Thode. Like the fire department, Mayor Ganim isn’t looking for the best candidate, he’s looking for the candidate that will follow him with Blind Allegiance.

      1. Andy
        The president who stoke up the crowds with chants of “lock her up” and called “his kind of candidate” someone who attacked a working member of the press, and on and on and on.
        All of those comments from the president of the United States is shocked that members of the American public turn to violence the please their president.
        Give me a break. They just went a little bit farther than he anticipated.

        1. Tell me what eric holder said about kick them while they are down. You and the rest of the idiots on this blog think that Schumer and Pelosi can do no wrong.

  6. For all practical purposeses,it’s going to be A.J. Unfortunately,A.J.’s experience with Joe Ganim,Mario Testa and all of the political sub-culture,A.J.’s subservience to the BPT Police Union and the on-going issues with the actual functioning of the Police Department means that we will have hace Police Chief with a vote of NO CONFIDENCE right from the beginning. The next 5 years with the BPT Police Department/The BPT Police Union will be Bridgeporter’s Versus A.J.,Ganim,Testa,Roach,The Police Union. I don’t think it’s going to be pretty.

  7. I have to wonder why we picked a candidate tied up in civil rights litigation. Gee not one white guy in the whole country.A white guy would be to smart to take this fucking job

    1. A nationwide exam is given for police chief and there are no white candidates. Andy, did you feel the same way when didn’t promotional exams or hiring exams and there were no blacks?

  8. It would be interesting to see the scoring criteria for selection of the finalists.

    Perhaps this:
    Demonstrated Command experience/ability 10 points
    Minority member 90 points
    _____
    Total 100 points

    Perhaps this is the scoring criteria that Ganim will use to select the Chief:

    Demonstrated Command experience/ability 10 points
    Long-time friend 90 points
    _________
    Total 100 points

  9. This is such a no brainer, you get two for the price of one, Ganim hires Perez and Porter comes along in the deal only New Haven Assistant Chief of Police Luiz Casanova is the loser. If Perez is not chosen then he will retire, if he stays then he goes back to being a Captain and taking orders from Porter.

  10. I bet Porter gets the job, Ganim owes the black community big time.
    Porter will not finish the 5 year contract he will move on to bigger and better jobs just like the other you black cop we named chief a few years ago

  11. Gee not one white guy in the whole country.
    It would be interesting to see the scoring criteria for selection of the finalists.
    Perhaps this:
    Demonstrated Command experience/ability 10 points
    Minority member 90 points

    The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that 55 percent of white Americans overall believe white people are racially discriminated against in society today. Paging Andy and Tom.

    Wesleyan University assistant professor of psychology Clara Wilkins noted last week that as more white Americans have become convinced that anti-white racial bias is working against them, they’ve also become less convinced that black Americans face such bias.

    Paging Andy Fardy and Tom being White.

  12. Andy, you’re right but Ganim would have been in jail much longer if his driver, Perez, told the FBI everything he knew about Ganim while he was mayor and driving him everywhere. It’s pay back time. Andy, Ganim can’t let Perez retire as a Captain, remember he’s the “Acting” Police Chief. Now if Perez was the “Provisional” Police Chief then he could retire as the Police Chief and his retirement pay would be as the Police Chief instead of as a Captain.

  13. Besides Nardozi and Fitzgerald will Ganim ever allow the release of the other candidates who applied for the job. The headhunter hired to conduct the Nationwide search is laughing all the way to the bank. This was more like a local search. As the website says Only in Bridgeport. Remarkable.

  14. Here’s what’s really troubling about all of this, you hear absolutely nothing from the 20 members of the Bridgeport City Council, it’s as if they don’t care and they condone what’s going on with this process.

  15. Jose, you are assuming that there were other candidates involved? Knowing the parties involved would anyone be surprised if in fact there was just those three?

  16. Kid there is one thing you should know I retired from a job that paid more than the chiefs salary oh yeah one more thing my corporate pension is close to the chiefs salary. Dumb ass keep drinking from that $.25 beer BTW I qualify for that job.

  17. Here is one thing the dumb asses that live in Bridgeport dont know and probably dont care about. We voted way back on charter changes and to date Ganim and his administration have ignored them. Among them are :
    1. there shall be a nation wide search for police and fire chiefs
    2. They will live in Bridgeport
    3. They will be chosen by the mayor and given a 5 yr contract that can be renewed once
    4. Chief will live in Bridgeport
    5. Chief will have a college degree
    There are other qualifications but I cant remember them but here goes:
    The 2 fire chiefs Rooney and Thode were not picked by a NATIONAL SEARCH neither live in Bridgeport.
    I dont know the back grounds in education for Rooney or Thode.
    I know Perez does not have a degree I dont know about the other 2 candidates.
    We paid for 3 national searches 2 for fire chief and 1 for police chief and from a total of 300,000,000 we received 2 applications for fire chief and 7 for police chief.
    Civil service should be fired and the council as a whole should be recalled, censured or something. These dumb asses dont have a clue and are assisting Ganim in destroying the city

  18. Ron nothing surprises me/ I bet if you check the credentials of all 3 candidates you will find none of them qualify under the charter but nobody cares about the charter and Bridgeport gets screwed again.

  19. Andy; I think that a change was snuck in the Charter, at some point, rescinding the residency rule for Police and Fire Chiefs… If you’re right — and I hope that you are — this should be a deciding issue (especially given that the three candidates are all about on a par, with respect to qualifications/competence…).

    All department heads should have to live in Bridgeport, amidst the consequences of their decisions/performance…

    Perhaps OIB could do a little historical research on the evolution and current status on the language of the City Charter on this issue?

  20. Quite an impressive group of finalists resulting from a national search that should have been initiated over two years ago. Gee,I wonder if AJ Perez will get the nod? Wouldn’t that be a surprise? Not sure how this “ethical” mayor sleeps at night though it must be pretty quiet in Easton.

  21. Let’s not get ahead of our self, let’s from the beginning, all of this started and guided by the “ACTING” Personnel Director who is the head o Civil Service, David Dunn. The City Charter allows a person to serve in a “Acting” position for 120 DAYS, we David Dunn as been the “ACTING” Personnel Director for 11 years, this position calls for a nation wide search by charter but why in the world would David Dunn put out an announcement for Personnel Director, he’s not going to give up his job and benefits. This mayor and past mayors are able to control hiring and testing for all City jobs so they can placed someone in a “Acting” position as long as they want like A.J. Perez as the “Acting” Police Chief. Again, think about this, the person who does all of the hiring and testing for City jobs has NEVER taken an exam for the position that he’s in and that he has been allowed to serve in the position as the “ACTING” Personnel Director for 11 years and the City Council, all of the City’s unions, nobody has said anything. That’s why you have the results for the position of Police Chief.

  22. It is amazing no education in Management studies, Financial studies or anything that relates to managing a 450 person police department. So I guess if you have a degree in Fine Arts you qualify. Just great.

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