Following the announcement of an FBI probe, Mayor Joe Ganim on Tuesday took disciplinary action against his appointed Public Facilities Director John Ricci for turning scrap-metal sales into cash used presumably “to pay for meals, cakes, event tickets and other morale-boosting activities”. Ricci told the CT Post “I take no issue with the mayor’s action. I am a director and subject to the same discipline any of my subordinates are subject to.”
From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:
Ricci reiterated what he had told Hearst last November when the scrap metal sales were first made public–that at the time he was aware of some scrap metal being sold for cash, with around $5,500 placed in a department “sunshine fund” or petty account to pay for meals, cakes, event tickets and other morale-boosting activities.
Ricci, whom Ganim put in charge of public facilities in 2016, had also said in November that the sunshine fund predated him.
“I did, in fact, continue an ongoing process that was in place which was in violation of an existing city ordinance,” Ricci said Tuesday, adding, “I did not take any money for any personal use. It was used for morale purposes.”
How deep does this go into the department? Three more city employees have been charged with violating city policies, according to a news release issued by the mayor’s office. Why does it take an FBI probe to take action?
Mayor Joe Ganim today announced that the City of Bridgeport has taken swift disciplinary actions against several city employees as a direct result of an internal investigation for mishandling funds related to the sale of scrap metal. In coordination with Labor Relations, and effective immediately, Director of Public Facilities, John Ricci will forfeit the equivalent of four weeks of pay, as two weeks of employment salary as well as two weeks of vacation time. Three additional employees of the Department of Public Facilities are also charged with violating city policies and ordinances and will be receiving charges.
“These disciplinary measures have no ramification on any criminal investigation that is moving forward,” said Ganim. “As I stated a month ago when we first learned of the possible mishandlings of monies, any employee found in violation will be subject to immediate disciplinary action.”
As a result of this incident the administration is in the process of restructuring a number of functions related to the duties and responsibilities of Public Facilities in coordination with the Financing and Purchasing Departments.
Citizens may be assured that all duties and operations of the Department of Public Facilities will be carried out as normal, and as needed should there be a storm related incident.