Will They Ever Catch Up? Filling Board and Commission Vacancies

Bill Finch had this problem. Joe Ganim too. Whether effort for the task, administrative disorganization, lack of interest by the public to serve, background check logjam; filling vacancies to boards and commissions has been a quagmire for a decade.

In light of the controversy swirling around ethics commissioner Noel Kayo’s recent legal and licensing issues, CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart examines the “broken” system to fuel key policy-making boards.

There again, however, politics cannot be ruled out as playing a role in recruitment. When, for example, Miscellaneous Matters interviewed Kayo last summer for a seat on the ethics board, Kayo, according to the meeting minutes, said he was recommended by Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa.

Testa’s role in municipal hiring and appointments is often assumed, but it is unusual to find it documented. Testa in an interview following Kayo’s arrest said he did not know the doctor well and did not recall their conversation.

There is also a debate that preceded Kayo’s arrest about how far the city should go to vet volunteer commissioners. Nominees fill out applications with questions about work, education, military and criminal history. They are then subjected to a police criminal background checks and interviews with the ethics commission.

“… You want to have background checks that are sufficient. At the same time, you want to be able to move quickly,” (City Council President Tom) McCarthy said. “I think that we need to continue to do a robust criminal background check. But I just don’t see that we have the kind of staffing to be able to do full background checks on resumes of appointments to boards and commissions.”

Full story here.



  1. “This is one more piece of evidence that the cancer at the center of (Bad) Governance in the City of Bridgeport is Mario Testa,his co-conspirator Joe Ganim and the Democratic Town Committee. They have created a culture of “What’s in it for me” that has infiltrated every body and form of governance in Bridgeport. Even if “reformers” won all Twenty Seats on the City Council(and even getting a majority is looking questionable)it would be insufficient. The true fight is defeating Mario Testa and his sycophants on the DTC.”
    The above quote was “copy and paste” from an earlier posting here on OIB. I think I will need to create a computer file so that i can continue to repost this comment. As far as I am concerned,the above comment is the “kernel of truth” in Bridgeport Civics and Governance.

    1. Frank Gyure, first, you have sum it up very good but a few points, not filling positions on City Boards goes back at lease 20 years.

      Next, you said, “Even if “reformers” won all Twenty Seats on the City Council(and even getting a majority is looking questionable)it would be insufficient. The true fight is defeating Mario Testa and his sycophants on the DTC.” This is so true, the power that Chairperson of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee has is to scare all elected officials that if they don’t toe the line then they will face a primary, nobody and I mean nobody wants a primary. Candidates want no Democrat primary because who ever wins the primary in September will win the position in the November against who ever the Republican candidate is. The DTC endorsement bring money and workers for the election and that’s not counting giving out jobs.

  2. Vacancys on Broads and Commissions always falls at the feet of the DTC Chair.
    It’s Mario Testa job to fill those vacancys with members of the DTC, not some Dancing Doctor from Black Rock who’s also waiting for Danny Roach to nominate him to the City Council so he can fill his kid Sister’s vacant seat.
    Just Imagine Scott Burns and the Dancing Doctor showing up at the City Council meetings in Fishnet!

    Is this what Danny Roach had in mine for the suffering Taxpayers of Black Rock?

  3. Simple solution. If a position is not filled in 90 days the person is automatically renominated. If the council does not confirm in 60 days the appointment is declared vacant.

  4. This goes back to JG1. He said that Mary Moran could not find people to serve so the boards could not ha e a quorum. He change the charter to say that someone continues to serve until replaced.
    Hence he has the power to replace at any time.

  5. During its final year, there was report of an intern in the Finch administration that had done research on the Boards and Commissions. Does Angel DePara have access to such a report? When was he assigned this “good governance” task? Mayor Ganim has been in office since 12-1-15 hasn’t he? Just getting around to it? What’s the problem anyway, where has anyone lately stood up in opposition to an administration action? The Port Authority? Very interesting….no financials in nine years….administration courtesy of the City….and their land is going where? and for how much? Is this genuine “economic development”?Time will tell.

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