The city’s national search for a police chief in 2018–now engulfed in a federal imbroglio–produced three finalists from which the mayor appointed a top cop, according to the City Charter regulations.
The order by ranking: New Haven Assistant Chief Luiz Casanova, Bridgeport Acting Chief AJ Perez and Bridgeport Captain Roderick Porter, the highest-ranking African American in the department. Ganim selected Perez who was charged federally on September 10 in a scheme that allegedly provided him insider help in the testing process.
Following Perez’s resignation, Ganim appointed Assistant Chief Rebeca Garcia as the acting top cop. The City Charter specifies a police chief vacancy be filled from the three candidates ranking highest among the employment list.
Is Ganim legally bound to offer the job to Casanova or Porter?
Several members of the City Council will conduct a news conference on Wednesday in front of the cop house to address this question.
From the City Charter:
Whenever a vacancy arises in the position of chief of police, the personnel director shall, upon request, certify to the mayor the names of the three (3) candidates standing highest upon the employment list for such position. If no such list exists, the personnel director shall, within 150 days of the request, hold a test for such position and shall, upon the establishment of an employment list, certify to the mayor the names of the three persons standing highest thereon.
Within sixty (60) days of receipt of the certification required by subSection (a)(3) of this section, the mayor shall appoint one (1) of the persons so certified as the Chief of police and shall notify the Civil Service Commission and the Board of Police Commissioners of such appointment. The mayor may designate the time when such appointment shall take effect, provided it shall not be more than ninety (90) days from the date of his receipt of the personnel director’s certification. Unless otherwise stated such appointment shall be effective immediately. In the event that the mayor fails to appoint a chief of police within sixty days of receipt of said certification, the board of police commissioners shall, forthwith, make such appointment.
But, but but there’s this section too:
Whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of Chief of police, the mayor may appoint a member of the Bridgeport Police Department as the acting Chief of police. The person so appointed shall possess all of the qualifications established for the position of Chief of police. Any provision of this charter to the contrary notwithstanding, the person so appointed may serve as acting Chief of police until the position is filled as provided in this section.
Confused? Welcome to the club.