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The Nuances Of City Residency

September 27th, 2018 · 39 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Civil Service, News and Events

Eleanor Guedes

Eleanor Guedes, from Primrose website

A city ordinance requires municipal officials both elected and serving on boards to file residency forms every January with the Town Clerk’s Office validating their home addresses. While some have complied, others have not and in at least one case there’s movement to consider removal of the chair of the Civil Service Commission whose residence has often been called into question by OIB contributor John Marshall Lee.

The question of residency for Civil Service Commission Chair Eleanor Guedes was a hotly debated item on OIB in 2009. See here. What’s bona fide residency? In the case of Guedes she has a family business outfitted with a bedroom in Bridgeport she declares as a residence, but the evidence then and now argues she was a resident of Trumbull based on her voting habits that places her in conflict with the City Charter. She has toggled Bridgeport and Trumbull. When the issue came up nearly a decade ago Guedes explained she spent a few nights a week in Bridgeport that satisfied City Attorney Mark Anastasi’s interpretation of residency.

Guedes’ family-run construction company Primrose was selected last week as part of a development team to build nearly 100 units of housing Downtown. While strict conformists of the City Charter argue that provisions must be enforced OIB readers have sometimes debated the necessity to revisit the residency regulation in a charter revision to extend the boards and commission appointment pool to include those who also work in the city, but live outside city limits. Don’t they have skin in the game as well?

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:

Dozens of volunteer board and commission members who oversee everything from education to zoning to ethics have not complied with a new residency reporting regulation aimed at ensuring they live in the city.

Hearst Connecticut Media also confirmed this week that Eleanor Guedes, long-time chairman of the Civil Service Commission, was registered to vote in Trumbull from late last June until February while she continued to carry out her duties in Bridgeport, seemingly in violation of the city charter.

Guedes is again a Bridgeport voter. But as of Wednesday, at least one councilman–Peter Spain–said his colleagues should interview and consider removing Guedes from office. The Civil Service Commission deals with a variety of personnel issues.

“The day Ms. Guedes became an elector in another municipality, Ms. Guedes forfeited her appointment to the … Civil Service Commission,” he said.

Full story here.

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39 Comments so far ↓

  • Bob Walsh

    There are no nuances. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and smells like a duck it’s a duck. And this one stinks!

  • Bob Walsh

    Once again Attorney Anastasi gets to decide who is a resident. There should be a simple test that determines residency not a City Attorneys opinion. She obviously registered to vote in Trumbull. That makes her a Trumbull elector. Case closed.

    • Ron Mackey

      Bob, Hamilton Burger role has always been a nuances under the direction of Mayor Joe Ganim, all of this is at the foot of Mayor Ganim and it can stop at any time that Mayor Joe Ganim says STOP.

    • Frank Gyure

      All of this is one more reason amongst many that there needs to be any absolute termination of any association between Mark Anastasi,especially since he “retired” and the City of Bridgeport.

    • Local Eyes

      When Bob Walsh left the CC for OIB, he upgraded his political gig.
      He had a chance to leave gracefully but instead he took a perfectly good blog and started treating it like the minor league of Bridgeport politics.

    • Marshall Marcus

      @Bob Walsh
      The moment Geddes registered to vote in Trumbull last year made her ineligible to serve on the Civil Service Commission. That act should have been considered a resignation.
      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
      Now that she is again registered to vote in Bridgeport, Joe Ganim could appoint her to fill the vacancy on the Commission. Does the Council have the guts to reject the appointment, or will they rubber stamp it?

  • Bob Walsh

    She registered to vote in Trumbull. She thought Mark’s ruling from a decade ago would absolve her for a lifetime. She stopped being an elector in the city of Bridgeport a requirement of the City Charter.
    What’s not to understand?

  • Marshall Marcus

    I don’t know this woman. BUT, I don’t want Bridgeport residents registered to vote in Trumbull or Trumbull residents registered to vote in Bridgeport.
    I suggest Bridgeport check to see where her personal vehicle is registered and taxed (Trumbull property taxes are lower). Which address has she used on her State and Federal Income Tax Returns?

    Our overzealous Republican Registrar of Voters, Bill Holden, hired a Private Investigator to stalk TDTC Chair Tom Kelley at his summer home near the beach in Stratford.

  • Jimfox

    The corruption continues!

  • Coach T

    I know that there are good people that work at city hall, but the one’s that do ,don’t make decisions. WIPE OUT CITY HALL COMPLETELY AND STATE OVER

  • Frank Gyure

    I wonder where CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart got wind of the Guedes residency issue. Maybe Brian has been reading OIB!

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Don’t hold your breath. This is the sort of arrangement that benefits the men at the top of the DTC pyramid.

  • Mojo

    ***Nothing new for Bpt. but as usual nothing will happen thats even close to being right! ***

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ms. Guedes is a smart lady. However, as of this past week she had not registered a change of residence that is a requirement within 30 days of a change of residence according to the City Ordinance.

    I wrote a letter to the SEEC some months ago with no response. Perhaps claiming a residence on voting documents and voting, but serving as a Civil Services Commission chair in another community (that by Charter requires a person serving to be both a resident and an elector. She lived “two lives” for several years!! Will she look to Bishop Anastasi for absolution? Does she express an explanation? (Last year she said that she only Chairs and does not vote?) Any remorse for the years of “duplicity”? Time will tell.

  • Common Good

    I’m sure this is like a tax bill – even though you didn’t receive it in the mail you are liable for it, but as someone who does serve on a Board I was never notified of this requirement to report – or I would have – and I recently reappointed and wasn’t informed that I was not in compliance – its a little like if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there did it really make a sound? There is no form on the City Clerk’s website – I just checked – helping someone comply with a new requirement isn’t too much to ask, is it?

    • John Marshall Lee

      Common Good,
      Perhaps you do not follow City Council Ordinance approvals? Perhaps you do not regularly follow OIB subject matter? 2018 is the first full year that this Ordinance took hold. I have written about it on multiple OIB trheads and spoken about it earlier in the year at City Council meetings so that adherence by the CC has been nearly 100%.

      I have also wondered why Joe Ganim did not take this “good governance” initiative and send out a memo to all appointees. Base d on his travel schedule while running for Governor, or whatever his target, adherence to a residence listing is not high on his TODO list but he did it. Angel DePara has responsibility for Boards and Commissions as part of his duties. How difficult to draft a memo to all of them informing them of the responsibility? Perhaps he does not read OIB comments either? Perhaps the City Council could have asked the City Clerk to send out such a message on their behalf? One memo to the 150-200 people possibly included would not take much time from City Clerk’s dedicated clerical assistant. Stalling? Failing to work together? “Privilege” of those who are appointed to serve, but don’t understand the full import of the word “serve”? Time will tell.

  • Donald Day

    Get it done Peter Spain, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

    • Ron Mackey

      Don, there was a time when I knew that Pete Spain would step up and do what you said and for those reasons but now I’m not so sure. Christina Smith was the biggest vote getter in the last election for the City Council just ahead of her 130th district City Council member Spain and they both have the support from their voters and being new is no reason for not speaking out. Let’s see what happens Don.

      • Ron Mackey

        Don, here is an update on my concern above and hopefully Pete Spain will post his concern and action on OIB. I would like to know what Christina Smith and the other council members views are.

        It’s come to my attention that Ms. Eleanor Guedes apparently violated both the City of Bridgeport Charter, Chapter 2, Section 13, and the Code of Ordinances, 2.02.80, when she signed and dated (6/27/2017) a voter registration form to vote in Trumbull, CT, which was accepted by the Town of Trumbull on 6/29/17. Ms. Guedes remained registered to vote in Trumbull through January 31, 2018 — all the while serving on the City of Bridgeport Civil Service Commission.

  • Bob Walsh

    Thank you Pete.
    Now let’s see where the rest of the council stands.
    Here is a Trumbull-lite who feels the need to lie about where she lives in order to tell Bridgeport how to treat their workers.
    Is it any wonder that Bridgeport workers do not make up the vast majority of police and firefighters?

  • Bob Walsh

    And with a Civil Service Commission like this is it anyone that the head of Civil Service has not been tested in so many years?

  • Donald Day

    Very well said Bob and now you see why David Dunn, Mayor Ganim and now Eleanor Guedes are fighting hard to use an expired firefighter exam. They have no interest in keeping city police and fire jobs with Bridgeport residents because none of them live in Bridgeport.

    I was just informed by Ernie Newton that David Dunn and Mayor Ganim was going to continue to use that expired firefighter exam even though Ernie told me and the readers of OIB that David Dunn said it was not going to be used. Five Bridgeport residents are competing against 25 individuals that live elsewhere for jobs in Bridgeport from a list that will have been expired by over six months.

    Right on David Dunn, Mayor Ganim and Eleanor Guedes this is fair and the residents of Bridgeport deserve to be treated like shit, like 2nd class citizens in a city that they grew up in, live in, were educated in and a city that they pay taxes in. Good job, at least for those that want a great career and don’t live in the city of Bridgeport.

    • Ron Mackey

      Don, as you well know that ALL of this can be corrected by Mayor Joe Ganim but Mayor Ganim is continuing to allow all of this but no body is putting any pressure on the mayor or even calling him out. Plus the City is getting ready to violate the City Charter again by hiring from a expired hiring list that is only good for two years.

  • Bob Walsh

    And Donald,
    How does A.J. play into all of this?
    Could it be that the fix is in between Joe, David and Eleanor to railroad the Civil Service Commission into selecting A.J.?
    The unholy alliance will see this one trough too. And if need be they will call in Mark Anastasi to save the day with a ruling that says Ms. Guedes made a mistake and did mean to register in Trumbull. And 10 of the sheep on the council will go along.

    • Ron Mackey

      Bob, of course that’s the plan, it doesn’t matter what place on the testing list Perez is he will selected or if he failed the exam Dunn would throw out the window exam and give another exam in order to make Perez the Police Chief because Joe owes Perez big time and it’s payback time.

  • Bob Walsh

    Obviously, we need an out-of-towner because Bridgeporters just cannot comprehend the complexities of government.

  • Brick

    So she has a home in Trumbull, but we’re expected to believe she spends a few nights a week in a boarding room? Come on….

    The real question is why would a Trumbull resident want to be on a board in the city…..

    *Construction contract for downtown development*

    Ohhhhh…..

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    There are no nuances to city residency. You either live here or not. Vanilla and chocolate, those are the only two flavors.

    • Local Eyes

      Those who insists on the binary (either/or) world of yesterday are incapable of understanding the complexities today.
      Bridgeport is desperate for board members and the nuances of compliance allow for several types of creative residency. These conditions exist and remain open to interpretations but not certainty.

  • Local Eyes

    Besides, who knows more about Bridgeport than I do? Bloggers retreat from what matters and concentrate on the nuance and not the existing reality.

  • John Marshall Lee

    LE,
    The question is not “who knows more about Bridgeport” than you or any other writer on OIB. Part of the factual and rightful answer is that it takes a group of interested citizens, sitting around the OIB table, to offer facts, experiences and opinions with a certain subject to counter the “secret operations” of municipal management over the years.
    But when you say that “Bridgeport is desperate for Board members”, your statement needs a challenge. During the past five years that includes the end of Finch’s eight years and the start of Ganim2 there have been at least two waves of resumes and letters that have gone to the City. Residents wishing to participate more fully. Do these letters get answered? Do they get processed? Are they used to light a barbecue fire wherever the Mayor is living currently?
    You see, Ganim2 should have re-appointed the three current members serving with terms expired? And there is a fourth position open without an appointment that sometime causes a failure to have a quorum. Between Angel DePara, a former CC person, and Ed Adams, appointed to oversee Accountability and Integrity this should be an area of 100% compliance. What do Ganim2 publicity people report? Where is the list? Who meets whom? When? Public service??? Time will tell.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Last paragraph above refers to Civil Service Commission. Time will tell.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    This will be swept under the rug of confusion, misinformation, sawdust and the other baffling bullshit the City Attorney tosses to the City Council.

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