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Timpanelli Prepares For Business Leadership Exit After 28 Years

March 11th, 2016 · 12 Comments · Analysis and Comment, News and Events

Paul Timpanelli at 2014 Barnum Festival ringmaster announcement.

Paul Timpanelli at 2014 Barnum Festival ringmaster announcement.

A 28-year run on any business level is mighty impressive. Paul Timpanelli, who has served as president and chief executive officer of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council since 1988, is expected to announce soon his retirement from the business organization effective sometime this summer.

Bridgeport native, Sacred Heart University alumnus, Trumbull school teacher, first selectman of Trumbull for six years, 2014 Barnum Festival ringmaster, Timpanelli has been part of the Bridgeport area political and business fabric for about 40 years.

Timpanelli joined the business group when the banking industry was the backbone of the business community led by People’s Bank, Citytrust, Mechanics & Farmers, Bank Mart and others. New England’s economic crisis in 1990 changed all that. Now the one bank standing out of the bunch is now called People’s United Bank. The rest folded. Still, People’s today is not what it was back in the day when executives such as David Carson and Jim Biggs (full disclosure: I am their biographer) invested heavily in the city both in job creation and corporate good will. Most of the People’s executives today drive into the city from suburban towns and leave without a clue about the makeup of the city.

The banking decline impacted both statewide influence and potent dues-paying members to the business organization.

Timpanelli was at the helm of the business community when a young Joe Ganim became mayor and shepherded progress such as tax relief, lower crime, ballpark and arena. Timpanelli was also there when Ganim’s first mayoralty imploded, replaced by John Fabrizi whose personal issues also imploded, followed by eight years of Bill Finch, who once worked for Timpanelli, as mayor.

Despite six years as first selectman of Trumbull, Timpanelli’s political skill set was dubious. He sometimes freelanced positions when it was prudent to sit back and let things play out. It was never more evident in the most recent mayoral race when Timpanelli publicly announced over and over a Joe Ganim return to the mayoralty would set the city back. This despite Timpanelli and business leadership never taking a stand against city employees serving on the City Council in defiance of the City Charter because they wanted to appease Bill Finch and City Council President Tom McCarthy, both of whom said one thing and did another when it came to government reform. Privately, business community leaders all said no checks and balances in government were bad for taxpayers, publicly Timpanelli and company said nothing because they feared taking on Finch and McCarthy.

When the dust settled in the last mayoral election the business community-backed Finch lost to Ganim in a September primary. Much of the business community then supported Mary-Jane Foster as a petitioning candidate in the general election. Ganim won handily. Ganim issued a sarcastic shiv to Timpanelli at his business community address last week thanking the business leader who worked against his comeback for moving up his table from last year.

Going out the door, Timpanelli can embrace successes in recent years such as the Steel Point redevelopment site that is home to anchor tenant Bass Pro Shops.

All in all, Timpanelli’s 28-year run is remarkable for a business community often out of touch with city politics.

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • BptPorter

    Thank you for your service. After 28 years you could be proud of saying Bridgeport has one of the highest taxes in the country (if not the highest) and poor families were pushed out of the East Side for Steelpointe and after 28 years three retail stores were placed at Steelpointe. At this rate by the year 2044 there will be a total of six stores. The arcade mall is still empty, the downtown supermarket lasted six months, the parking meters were never updated in downtown, Magic Johnson never developed across from Webster Bank Arena, and GE is now leaving Fairfield. The point of a regional business council is to mobilize the business community. Thanks again for your pony show service to Bridgeport.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Paul did a lot for Trumbull (and Shelton and Stamford) during his protracted tenure at the helm of the BRBC. He had phenomenal success steering businesses such as incinerator, waste-disposal, waste storage, and waste recycling operations to Bridgeport while he kowtowed to the BCFC and diverted financial operations away from Bridgeport to Stamford (think of the RBS North America HQ moving its planned location from downtown Bridgeport to Stamford). He was also very successful steering much of Bridgeport’s remaining manufacturing and upscale retail to Trumbull and Shelton. I guess he must have believed he was creating great “potential” for Bridgeport by helping to create so much vacant retail and manufacturing space in our city. (The creation of more workforce housing and workforce transportation capacity for Stamford in Bridgeport are also among his accomplishments, e.g., the second Bridgeport train station and the Seaview Avenue Corridor/Lake Success projects.)

    But again; an amicable guy on a personal level, and an excellent musician. Good luck in that second career, Paul.

    I wonder what visionary Bridgeport-phile the BRBC/BCFC will appoint to replace Paul in overseeing the final phase of the political-economic subjugation of Bridgeport. As our resident fiscal watchdog JML would comment, time will tell.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Good riddance to this anti-Bridgeport jerk. My best memory of him was a meeting that was held to discuss Monroe tying into our sewer system so a home for the elderly could be built. Timpanelli stated that if Bridgeport installed water-saving toilet flushes there would be enough room at the treatment plant to accommodate Monroe. I would not believe it if I did not hear it myself. Get lost Paul, Bridgeport does not need you.

  • Zena Lu

    Was it 28 years in that job? Were there no performance goals tied to his contract? Assuming it was in fact, an employment contract situation.

  • Black Rockin

    Twenty-eight years of bulls#!1.
    A well-deserved legacy.
    Give the little guy a monkey and an organ grinder box, perhaps his future will be better.

  • Ron Mackey

    Paul Timpanelli is the modern day Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum and his dog and pony show was here 20 years too long. He was out of touch with the residents of Bridgeport and what was truly needed and what was doable. Two down, Finch and Tippy and more to follow. Don’t let the door hit you …

  • flicka

    Thanks a lot for nothing.

  • Bob Walsh

    Excuse me folks, but Paul T worked for the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. He was for the most past a lobbyist for business. What did you expect from him?
    Businesses paid his salary through the dues they paid to the BRBC.
    If you didn’t like Paul, his replacement may be a lot worse.
    Paul and various other business types would donate and raise money for various Bridgeport politicians not because they wanted Bridgeport to do well but because they wanted an administration that would be friendly when business comes calling looking for favors for them, not for their employees.

  • Jeff Kohut

    And what was your point here, Bob?!

  • Bob Walsh

    Andy and Jeff,
    What is your point, exactly?
    You think Paul is paid by the city of BRIDGEPORT? Wrong.
    You think Paul is paid by the Taxpayers? Wrong.
    You think Paul’s job description is to represent the citizens of the city of BRIDGEPORT? Wrong.
    So why do you and Andy think Paul is supposed to work for you?

    • Andrew C Fardy

      I don’t think about any thing you say. Timpanelli has lobbied for many things that were not in the best interest of Bridgeport. Like I said in an earlier post about this guy and the sewer treatment plant. BTW, don’t be so condescending about what we think about this shyster.

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