Sikorsky Airport Suffers Another Leadership Death

Forced out as airport manager a few years ago by then-Mayor Bill Finch, Public Facilities Director John Ricci must now pay more attention to the municipally owned Sikorsky Memorial Airport in the short term following the death of operations superintendent Steve Ford who suffered injuries from a fall over the weekend at his home in Shelton. It was the second death involving airport leadership in less than a year. The airport comes under the umbrella of Public Facilities, a super agency also managing public works, parks and engineering.

CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart has more on this:

It was the second time in less than a year that the Stratford-based airport lost a key staffer.

Pauline Mize, hired to run Sikorsky in 2013, died last June after a battle with cancer. Ford, 60, had temporarily assumed her duties for a few months.

“Another big loss for the airport,” said John Ricci, a former Sikorsky manager who now helps oversee the airport as Bridgeport’s director of public facilities.

The exact details of Ford’s death were not immediately available Monday. But people who worked with him said he was hospitalized at Griffin Hospital Friday after he slipped and fell at his home in Shelton.

Full story here.



  1. I still don’t understand how this blog and this city aren’t up in arms over Ricci being hired as Director of Public Facilities. You are sure seemed upset about that d*mned driveway and its $400k+ price tag, but don’t seem plussed at all he’s been put in charge of the department that essentially oversees all capital projects the City’s involved with. Mind blown.

  2. I do not know Mr. Ricci personally.
    He did manage the Airport early on in Finch’s terms as a carryover from Fabrizi, I believe when the Airport managed a balanced budget. Into the Finch years, more employees, less attention to rent revenues and we have been in the red by hundreds of thousands.
    Then the ++$40 Million safety makeover of the location became a rush to complete and a driveway expense, zoning process, legal expense, etc. became compromised and Bridgeport taxpayers paid for the party. It seems Mr. Ricci took a fall, but with Finch and McCarthy on the Airport Commission does anyone feel a genuine story was told about this matter?

    From what I remember, Public Facilities has not been the oversight “on all capital projects” as you state. OPED, Education, Police, Fire have received and separately monitor their own capital requests within their structure. Naturally, if you have some other info to share, that would be fine. As an example, the School Building Committee with three Council persons included, BOE representation and others is the group monitoring the $700 million capital school building and renewal projects ongoing for much of the past decade.
    Perhaps Ricci was a “fall guy” but had “clean hands?” Or not? But what is it essentially OIB or “this city” and I take it you mean, the citizens of this city, should be “up in arms” about? Time will tell.

  3. It seems Mr. Ricci has been part of the same cabal of political appointees who have been playing musical chairs with various positions in the last couple of decades. Considering Mr. Ricci’s previous experience with Sikorsky Airport, he might be considered the last person who should be even allowed near the airport. I don’t know if there is someone else who can take over immediately but Sikorsky airport always seems to be a problem even though, IMHO, it has some prospects for specialized air travel business. I believe several months ago a venture was announced of flights (sea plane service) going directly into NYC/Manhattan. I looked it up and it is called TAILWIND but it looks like it’s virtually by appointment and I wonder if it really got off the ground. Beyond that, Sikorsky Memorial has really been an orphan project and I just wonder if we really need to make a FINAL DECISION about what to do with it and I don’t feel that decision can be made without State of CT involvement.

    1. JML, I did some limited research on Mr. Ricci and I don’t know how anyone can consider or even mention the words “clean hands” in the same sentence that contains his name. Another one of the same-old same-old political hacks having city jobs for the last couple of decades. AND Ganim brought him back. Ricci should retire or go back into the private sector and let him sink or swim on his own talents.

  4. John Ricci has forgotten more than you will ever know! He has held many leadership positions in Bridgeport government. He’s a smart stand-up guy who was thrown under the bus by Finch. Frank, your Gyure cheese is more like Limb urge in your attack on Ricci.

    Go source out the truth on OIB under the heading of “You Are The Judge!”

    1. i don’t want to know what Ricci has forgotten. Where there’s smoke, there is fire. You confirmed what I said, he’s been part of the same old group just playing musical chairs over the years.

    2. i looked under “You Are The Judge!” and found nothing specific to Ricci. If there is a specific article you would like to bring to his defense, please copy and paste. Thank You.

          1. The whole thing stinks and I don’t believe there was ever a final resolution between what Mr. Ricci claims and all the things the City said AT THAT TIME. It remain a “he said–she said” or in this case “he said–he said” or even “he said–they said.” Reading Mr. Ricci’s rebuttal, he says he recused himself. When one recuses oneself, you COMPLETELY take yourself out of the project or issue and have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the project. As Mr. Ricci himself said in his rebuttal, that was definitely not the case. He remained heavily involved although he claims he did everything at the direction of various City officials. There are limitations to the defense of “I only did what I was told to do” both in a legal and ethical sense. IRREGARDLESS, I still point out Mr. Ricci has been involved in city employment serving several masters and he brings “luggage” to this new administration. Again, the same-old, same-old.

  5. So “I have no moral backbone” is good as both a defense of wrongdoing and qualifications to run a multi-million dollar public-tax-funded municipal department? Rock on, super high standards! OIB.

  6. Silly silly forgetful me. It just dawned on me “yes men” are precisely qualified for top-level positions in corrupt administrations. Let me get back to thinking about some other less-depressing matters.

  7. Frank Gyure,
    The only difference between your parting comment and the way the Finch administration handled such discussions is they just left the table without indicating “END OF DISCUSSION.”
    Snowstorm problems, police overtime, $400,000 driveway, termination of CC legislative assistant, political and charitable support by CC with public money, termination of City workers with City responsible for settlements for bad fires.
    Lots more, but you get the idea. The failure to finish conversations, to admit mistakes occasionally and to rely on photo ops rather than City systemic data showing results based accountability turned a popular man into someone who could not be depended on for a truthful message. And the voters spoke in November … and Time will tell.

  8. *** That’s a job for an old “TOP GUN” like me, no doubt! Joe, if you need an old, “well not that old” but a good man for the job who can spell, walk and chew bubblegum at the same time (no more tobacco), just call my “HONEY BUDDY” Lisa and she’ll get in touch with me, ASAP! *** UP,UP AND AWAY! ***


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