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Taxpayer Money Burns Pending City Employee Investigations

January 5th, 2015 · 7 Comments · Analysis and Comment

Retired city arson investigator Andy Fardy, in a commentary, argues city officials burn taxpayer money investigating charges against city employees. From Fardy:

When is the city going to stop taking taxpayer money to pay people who are suspended and are facing serious charges? The question is, Why are we paying them to stay home while the city investigates?

Let’s take two cases that are being looked at.
1. Councilmen Richard Paoletto was suspended for a second time on the charge of sexual harassment. Paoletto was suspended in late October and here it is January and no determination has been forthcoming. We have paid him for approximately 11 weeks to date meaning we have paid him approximately $11,100 to sit on his butt.

Having been an investigator for 24 years I know how investigations are done and the time it takes to complete an investigation. In this case the accuser needs to be interviewed and any evidence she may have such as e-mails from Paoletto and her need to be looked at. Paoletto’s work computer needs to be looked at and other employees need to be interviewed as does Paoletto. All of this should take 3-4 weeks maximum. It is now 11 weeks, why the stall?

The second case is that of the principal at Dunbar school who has been placed on administrative leave since November. The principal was arrested for taking money belonging to the school fund raised by students. She has just had her first court hearing and there will be many more. We have paid her in excess of $10,000 so far. I don’t know if she is guilty or innocent at this point.

The city should adjudicate these cases as soon as possible. In Paoletto’s case there should have been a decision at least one month ago. In the principal’s case we are at the court’s mercy. Why don’t we suspend them without pay? If they win their case we pay back pay with interest, if they are guilty we have not paid them anything if they are suspended without pay.

It’s time for Mayor Finch and Deputy Labor Relations Director Tom McCarthy to do their jobs.

If these suspensions are governed by Union contracts then in the next contract negotiation these protocols should be eliminated. If the contracts say they have to be paid while suspended, who repays the city if the employee is subsequently fired? The unions? I doubt it.


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7 Comments so far ↓

  • DavidDanielsIII

    There are several other cases you could have pointed to, even within the Police Department, same thing. Investigations of wrongdoing by city employees is done painfully slow, in fact in some cases it took years to be adjudicated, at the same time city taxpayer dollars are continually wasted. As a New Mayor I would definitely look at the way other municipalities have expedited the process and change the way things are done in Bridgeport.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Mr. Daniels, you can change things in contract negotiations. You can change things by putting the proper people on commissions. For example, what if anything has the police commission done? Have they fired any malingerers who are playing with the unlimited sick leave? Have they checked how many officers on injury leave cannot come back to work? If they can’t work they should be retired on a disability pension. Has the police commission fought to have a maximum age for rookies and have they pushed to have the entry test open to just Bridgeport residents?

    • Ron Mackey

      Andrew C Fardy, first you need to have police commissioners attend their meetings, in fact there should a listing on OIB and the Post of who attends their commissioners meetings and those who don’t attend.


    Andy–The reason for suspension with pay is because, in the USA, we are considered innocent until proven guilty. Consider this: after a mad rant about the mayor you get accused of misuse of a BFD vehicle after stopping for a cup of coffee on the way back to the station. You find yourself suspended without pay while the investigation is under way. Then you can see how long an investigation can take as you go week or months without pay. Come to find out, the guy spotted at the coffee shop was not you but you have already been punished. So who cares?

  • Steven Auerbach

    What if you are guilty? Do you return the money?????????

  • DavidDanielsIII

    Andrew C Fardy,
    I agree with all you said. I’m trying hard to put myself in position to change those things, they are very close to the core of the problems in this city we love.

  • tallguy316

    Andy, you constantly bring up opening the test up to only Bridgeport residents. Fact is there is an ongoing application process right now and not more than 100 people have applied so what difference does opening it to only Bridgeport residents when they obviously aren’t interested???

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