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Pricey Public Safety Consultant Chapman Also Had Difficulty Controlling Overtime As Chief

January 30th, 2017 · 16 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, Law Enforcement

Wilbur Chapman

Wilbur Chapman. CT Post photo Christian Abraham.

Mayor Joe Ganim’s public safety consultant Wilbur Chapman, hired at $120,000 per year to reel in police overtime, had trouble doing that very thing when he was Bridgeport police chief even though he had 100 more sworn officers at his deployment disposal, according to a review of overtime statistics and staffing levels provided by multiple police sources.

In 2004, for instance, Chapman’s last full year as chief, Bridgeport had 15 homicides, 471 sworn police officers and Chapman spent $8.3 million in overtime. City fiscal hawks argue adjusted for collective bargaining raises, that overtime nut would amount to $10.5 million today.

In 2016, Bridgeport had 10 homicides, 351 police officers and spent approximately $10 million on police overtime. With a new class of recruits on board, current city police staffing is now 375. The city budgeted $5.5 million for overtime for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2016. Most of that is gone.

Ganim’s hand-picked Police Chief AJ Perez is receiving criticism for the bloated overtime spending in an understaffed department, but some city police personnel protest, Chapman was hired to keep overtime in check. What happened? Perez says he has launched a renewed effort to control overtime.

Perez swearing-in

Ganim issues oath to Perez last March.

According to one police source, when Chapman was chief “his answer to any crime trend was to throw overtime at the problem until it subsided … Since we spent less on overtime than Chapman, had fewer police officers, and experienced 50% less homicides, just what is Chapman doing for a $2500/week consulting fee?”

They also argue, when factoring each police officer is worth approximately $100,000 between salary and benefits, and the department is down nearly 100 police officers, the city realizes a $10 million savings just on police personnel vacancies alone. It is far cheaper, they insist, to pay overtime than to hire a new police officer.

It raises the question, however, how physically and emotionally strapped are police personnel as a result of the overtime commitment?

According to deployment statistics, Chapman as chief had 110 police officers on the evening shift. Today’s number is 48 under current staffing levels. The day and midnight shifts are staffed in the low 40s.

An early Ganim hire of JG2, Chapman was tasked with reviewing the city’s public safety agencies to improve operational efficiency and service delivery of the police, fire, Office of Emergency Management and Communications Administrative Division for the city.

Chapman had missed several months of work due to illness, but has recently resurfaced, albeit with a two-hour commute to work. His work appearances have been intermittent due to illness and the commute. A mayoral spokesman says Chapman was not compensated for the time missed.

Perez, Chapman

Chapman, right, shakes hands with Perez. CT Post photo Christian Abraham.

Ganim appointed Chapman as the city’s first African American police chief in August 2000. Chapman resigned in 2005 accepting a buyout when John Fabrizi was mayor.

Chapman, a retired New York city police official and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, joined Ganim on the 2015 campaign trail. After Ganim’s comeback election, Chapman was involved in public safety transition team matters.

During the mayoral campaign, as a promise to supportive police union members, Ganim made it known he desired a change at the top of the city’s Police Department but former Mayor Bill Finch threw a wrench into that when he appointed Joe Gaudett to a last-minute five-year contract renewal. Rather than an expensive buyout of Gaudett, Ganim negotiated a consulting contract with Gaudett working for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications Administrative Division.

It allowed Ganim to appoint Perez, technically in an acting capacity. So taxpayers are footing roughly $400,000 per year for current and former police chiefs.

To be fair Chapman, as chief, had years when he kept overtime in check, according to a review of records, such as 2001-2003 when OT averaged about $5.2 million per year with an average of 460 sworn officers. Year 2004 was an overtime problem. The next year he was gone.

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16 Comments so far ↓

  • Bepo In The Know

    Isn’t AJ Perez still “Acting” Police Chief?

  • Ron Mackey

    Police Chief AJ Perez and Fire Chief Richard Thode are in “Acting” positions but they will both retire and they will be made permanent Chiefs thereby together they will be being paid a half million dollars ($500,000) a year because they will be receiving both their pension and their pay as chief of their departments.

  • Baffled in Bridgeport

    Couldn’t control overtime or his own behavior. Sort of like his boss. No surprise here.

  • Donald Day

    Why is he still employed by the City of Bridgeport and what are the benefits of his employment? He’s useless, he was useless during his tenure as the Chief and Bridgeport deserves better than this transplanted NYC sambo.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Will someone provide data through the years for the breakdown between external overtime and internal overtime? Such info would provide us with a sense of the role basic policing costs the COB in overtime payout relative to the expense of outside contractors using officers for road guards at digging sites. Will you remember the regulations setting out “external” overtime was framed in a time previous to overtime earnings providing credit for retirement benefits? When overtime is included as factor for pension benefits, did anyone realize a 25-year career amounts to about 1300 weeks of work to earn a 50% retirement income. However, when overtime is included you can double your retirement benefit by working overtime for as little as 34 weeks per year for three years to qualify as highest three compensation years and this will double your pension? Taxpayers have you done the math? Is it correct that earnings for basic pension of 50% of base salary takes 1300 weeks of work but doubling the earning to double the pension requires as little as 102 extra weeks of work? Does Labor Relations employ mathematicians? Can they confirm or deny the questions? Time will tell.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    There are three people on the Ganim payroll who make a person wonder. They are the former FBI agent who did some bullshit running around helping the main investigators. Is former chief Chapman who left the job seven months prior to his contract’s end and now we have A.J.Perez, Ganim’s former driver during the high
    times. Here is a guy without a clue.
    What is happening in the police dept is next to criminal. We have senior police personnel making thousands of dollars in overtime. Where in private industry does this happen, nowhere. Why do we still have cops on the job for over 40 years? How do cops working inside for whatever reason make OT? When was a review last held for all those out on extended injury or sickness? Let’s not forget the sergeant who retired on disability and then was hired in Meriden as a patrolmen (this is illegal). There is more coming.

  • Donald Day

    Andy, there is a fourth person, David Dunn who has absolutely No Experience in Civil Service prior to being given this position by Finch. He has been in this position for going on eight years and under his direction No women have been hired for the BFD since being given this position. In fact he is the least qualified civil service director in 40 years. No exam for a qualified director has been a priority for either Mayors Ganim or Finch.

    I can only think of one reason to allow that person to keep that job, without any experience, so you can have him in your pocket to use to your advantage and to the detriment of the residents of Bridgeport. Any other reasons, Andy?

  • Stringfellow

    Mr. Fardy, this is one of the conflicts Mr. Lee spoke of in his post. The excessive overtime needs to be explained, what was really needed and what was not.

    Here lies the conflict between the relationships with the acting chief of police, the mayor and the union president. Is the mayor going to call the chief and demand he answer to the overtime of his senior supervisors? Is he going to ask what in hell did a captain and sergeant do to make $200K?

    The mayor, chief and the union president all have a conflict because of their personal connections to each other. All the more reason to hire a chief of police who has no connection to city hall or the police department. Since they do no have any connections they don’t owe anyone anything.

    It is highly unlikely the mayor, chief of police or the union president are going to point fingers but someone really has to answer to this. All the more reason why there has to be some oversight to ask the hard questions and hold them accountable. The taxpaying citizens are owed an explanation since they are footing the bill. These same taxpayers often become victims of crimes and did any of the overtime they paid for do anything to catch the criminal or criminals who victimized them?

    Joe, AJ, Chuck; are you listening?

  • Ron Mackey

    It’s bad enough Bridgeport has two City Halls and now Bridgeport has three police chiefs working at the same time, Joe Gaudett, Wilbur Chapman and Police Chief AJ Perez, what a costly joke and hardship on the taxpayers of Bridgeport. Who in hell has two city halls and three police chiefs?

  • donj

    Is the police department hiring anytime soon?

    • Ron Mackey

      donj, now I know you’re not looking to get hired by the Bridgeport Police Department because I know you being a young black man and a big Donald Trump supporter, the Trump campaign team and the Republican Party have put you in a good position for your strong support for candidate Trump, now President Trump.

  • Ron Mackey

    donj, with all the support you have given to candidate Donald Trump who is now President Donald Trump, you should have no problem in getting yourself a position in the Trump administration in law enforcement. donj, they could find you a position in the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security or a position with Rudy Giuliani’s security company. You are the perfect person for the Trump administration to showcase and to make a role model for other young black men to be like you.

    • The Phantom

      Agreed. Why in the world would you ever think of being an independent thinker, donj? Don’t you know you’re supposed to follow the herd and do what mindless liberals tell you is right? You’re not to have an opinion that differs from theirs. You’re supposed to hate Trump, agree to let confused adults go into a restroom with your child. You’re supposed to have forgotten terrorists want you dead and simply allow everyone in. You’re supposed to believe when they tell you unemployment is down and the economy is great. A wise man once asked, do you believe me or your eyes? Heck, if you don’t get what you want, you’re supposed to pout then go protest and disrupt those who don’t give a shit your feelings got hurt. What in hell is wrong with you, donj? You have to grab your ninth-place trophy from a game where no score was kept for fear of hurting a loser’s frail senses. LOL.

  • Ron Mackey

    donj, you continue to listen to those right-wing Tea Party Conservative Republicans and following a Phantom. donj, don’t be afraid to ask the Trump administration for a position in law enforcement, I mean after all they are giving out jobs to their supporters and everybody on OIB knows you were the one and only young black man who publicly spoke up for Donald Trump and I’m sure readers on OIB voted for Trump because of your strong support for Donald Trump and you should be rewarded for your work.

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