Chief Norwood Resigns, Plus: Saluting Mayor Mike, New Hook For Blues And Zoning Violation

Bridgeport Police Chief Bryan Norwood has resigned to accept the top cop post in Richmond, Virginia. The story first broke at this site and came as a shock to the police department and the community.

“Cops are dancing a jig in the streets,” one officer told OIB.

Norwood has not been popular with rank and file officers as overtime spending and police layoffs moved to the forefront in the department in recent weeks. Norwood was appointed by former Mayor John Fabrizi in 2006. See Mayor Bill Finch news release below:

Mayor Finch Announces Chief Norwood’s Resignation

BRIDGEPORT, CT (October 8, 2008) – Mayor Bill Finch has announced Bridgeport Police Chief Bryan Norwood is leaving the Park City to take a new position with the Richmond, Va., police force. His last day as chief is October 31.

An announcement about the appointment of an Acting Chief will be made by the end of the week.

“We are sad to see Bryan [Chief Norwood] leave the city. He’s done so much with our department to streamline workflow, increase police presence in the neighborhoods and to help diversify the ranks,” Finch said. “In his two-and-a-half years here, he’s instituted many 21st century policing techniques that have resulted in a double-digit drop in violent crimes, and a reduction of drugs and guns on our streets.”

Police Commission Chairman David Hall said, “Chief Norwood has been a tremendous asset to the department. Richmond will offer him the opportunity of a larger force, a bigger budget and fewer restrictions.”

The Mayor said a nationwide search for a new chief would be posted immediately. “We would hope to have a new chief in place in several months.”

A special meeting of the Police Commission will be held Friday, Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. in the Mayor’s Conference Room to introduce the new Acting Chief to the commission.

So much going on that I don’t know where to start: Chief Norwood resigns, the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team has a new owner, the city loses a land-use expert, an arbitrator rules in favor of the Black Rock Art Center in its rent dispute with the city, and John McCain fails to impress in his second debate with Barack.

I’ll begin with Mike Peters, ex-mayor of Hartford with a toastmaster’s touch. When Joe Ganim, my vertically challenged candidate, was running for governor in 1994 we had this running joke: Joe becomes the Democratic nominee and asks Peters, equally vertically challenged, to be his running mate. We called it the munchkin ticket.

When the nomination wasn’t in the cards for Joe we backed out of the race one week before the Democratic convention throwing our support behind likely endorsed candidate State Senate leader John Larson with the hope he’d select Joe as his running mate. During the Democratic convention in Hartford, as Larson’s boys pondered selection of the second slot, a contingent of Connecticut mayors that wanted one of their own on the ticket adjourned to a watering hole in the Hartford Civic Center, among them Mike Peters and Waterbury Mayor Ed Bergin.

Mayor Mike and Mayor Ed were lubing up the joint. Finally, we got the call. Larson had made his decision. We all squeezed into a conference room while delegates in the civic center convention hall waited for an answer.

Larson, facing dozens of Democratic big shots, announced, “I think it’s time to embrace Rich Balducci,” he told the crowd. Balducci, a long-time legislator, had also been a candidate for governor. Emerging from a back room thumping his chest, Balducci announced, “I want everyone to know that I’ll be running as an independent lieutenant governor,” suggesting he’d take the second slot but he’d not be breaking his ass for the ticket. (I guess he was upset he wasn’t offered the second slot sooner.)

Bridgeport Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, equally vertically challenged, pounced. “Wait a minute, Mr. Balducci, are you telling us you’re not going to support Larson?”

Balducci stammered on his words.

“What the fuck is going on around here!” Mayor Peters screamed.

“Yeah, what the fuck is this!” Mayor Bergin yelled.

Peters walked up to Larson and declared: “We’re going to settle this right now.”

Peters, Bergin and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano circled with Ganim. “Joe,” Peters asked, “do you want to be lieutenant governor?’

Joe nodded yes.

“That settles it,” Bergin chimed in.

The mayors walked up to Larson and said “Enough of this horseshit, Joe’s gonna be the candidate.” So, it was done. That’s how 34-year-old Joe Ganim became the candidate for lieutenant governor in 1994. It didn’t work out. Larson lost the primary to Bill Curry and Curry lost the general election (with Joe as his running mate) to John Rowland.

But in that one moment in time, Mike Peters (aided by Mario Testa) settled the deal.

Mike Peters underwent an eight-hour liver transplant on Tuesday after he was diagnosed with cirrhosis. All the best Mayor Mike.

Zoning Out

Patricia Fardy resigned from the Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday after years of successful service, and regularly contributing 40 hours per month of volunteer work. Few people in the city understand land use regulations and the city’s master plan like Pat.

Pat’s husband Andy had supported Mario Testa for Democratic town chair. Whether this played into Mayor Bill Finch’s vacillation to reappoint her is unclear. But a couple of things are clear: Pat grew tired of Finch delaying her reappointment and the city has lost someone intimately familiar with the regulatory system in an administration that needs lots of economic development help in a stressed economy.

Hooking The Blues

Frank Boulton, founder of the Atlantic League and owner of the successful Long Island Ducks, is purchasing the Bluefish. Boulton will assume all of the team’s growing bills from the majority management team Mary-Jane Foster and Jack McGregor. This is good news for the city. Sure beats an empty stadium next year. Play ball!

As for the Black Rock Art Center, an arbitrator ruled the city must negotiate a lease of the art center space on Fairfield Avenue. I’ll let the likes of The Bridgeport Kid weigh in.

Shays: There’s No Place Like Home

Here’s the newest ad from the Shays campaign:



  1. Barack (it used to be Barry) Obama was looking very Presidential last night while Senator McCain was looking very grandfatherly, much like the current coach of the N.Y. (football) Giants and look what they did last year!

  2. Word on the street is Chief Norwood, or should his name have been Norwouldn’t, has resigned. He was good enough to play basketball at Masuk, but could never have been good enough to play at Bassick.

    Maybe Finch will pull a Fabs and name Tony “The Woman Beater” Armeno his interim chief.

  3. According to an article that appeared on page two of the Connecticut Post, “A third party has ruled in favor of the Black Rock Art Center after a nearly year-long dispute with the city over a long-term lease for the building the group occupies on Fairfield Avenue.

    “Frederick Ury, a Westport lawyer, served as arbitrator in the lease dispute.

    “Ury said the original lease agreement for the former bank building at Fairfield Avenue and Brewster Street provided ‘that not only will the parties negotiate a mutually agreeable long-term lease, but that they will negotiate in good faith in order that the licensee [the art center] can become a long-term member of the city of Bridgeport’s art and cultural community,’ according to a statement released Tuesday by the art center.

    “The building, at 2838 Fairfield Ave., has been home to the center for nearly five years. It encompasses 17,000 square feet, including a basement, ground floor and second floor.

    “During John M. Fabrizi’s mayoral administration the city tried to evict the art center to sell the property or lease it at market rates to commercial or retail tenants.

    “Mayor Bill Finch has said he also supports selling the property and relocating the art center, but Finch could not be reached Tuesday afternoon for reaction to the arbitration decision.

    “The organization, however, has refused the city’s offer to be relocated.

    “Joseph Celli, director of the International Performing Arts Center, which runs the art center, has offered to lease the building for $600 monthly, escalating to $1,500 per month over a 10-year period, while pledging to raise more than $3.5 million for building improvements.”

    The third paragraph is yet another example of the disingenuousness and outright obfuscation employed by Joe “Up On Bridgeport” Celli in his cynical attempts to bypass city hall. In actual fact, Mr. Ury ruled that the city failed to negotiate in good faith with IPA, Mr. Celli’s faux “nonprofit” organization, and ordered that both parties must negotiate for another thirty days. After that the city plans to begin eviction proceedings against IPA, which has been unlawfully occupying the biulding at 2838 Fairfield Avenue for too long. It is not about the art center; it is about Joe “I’ll get the volunteers to do it for free” Celli’s sense of entitlement. Mr. Celli, you are not entitled to ANYTHING from the city of Bridgeport.

    No one involved in Bridgeport’s arts and cultural community wants anything to do with Joseph Celli. His arrogance and Leona Helmsley-like attitude toward the little people that make up most of the Park City’s population has rubbed too many folks the wrong way. Am I saying anything that ain’t the truth? No, but ol’ Joe will go out of his way to tell people that I hate him and that I’m carrying out a vendetta against him on behalf of others. He will make these claims after he posted my resume in the front windows of the art center after the Post published a letter from me that was highly critical of him. He will make these claims after he confronted me on the street, telling passersby that I was “full of shit.” He will make these claims after haranguing me on this blog, bellowing that he was “going to put [my] ass out on Fairfield Avenue.” So let’s get it straight, Joe: If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out. You’re a crook, and everyone knows you’re a crook, a charlatan, a con man, and a thief. Now the city is going to throw YOUR ass on the street. Not turn it out, THROW IT OUT.

    You have no one to blame but yourself.

  4. Hit the road Joe Celli, now you can find some new volunteers to walk on and I pity the place or city that will have you; forget Hartford, Miami, Bridgeport, New London, and I am sure there are others places that know you. See Joe, it would have been very simple to just be honest and decent to people.
    “Con” Artist is a correct and proper way to address people like you.

  5. Well the march out of Bridgeport continues. People are leaving the city employ willingly or by layoff. We even have volunteers saying enough is enough.
    Finch and his band of incompetents continue their reign of terror. The band of incompetents includes Adam Wood, Tyrone McClain, Andy Nunn, Tom McCarthy and John Stafstrom.
    Leaving of their own free will were:
    1. Mike Lukas, Treasurer’s Office (Now working in Meriden)
    2. Chief Norwood (Now working in Richmond VA)
    3. Pat Fardy, Unpaid Zoning chairperson
    Leaving because of layoff or dismissal
    1. Nancy Hadley, Economic development
    2. Joseph Minopoli, Long-time housing code chief
    3. Andy Abate, WPCA
    4. A number of ranking Police Department brass
    I can tell you from first-hand experience that Finch, McCarthy, Wood and Stafstrom do not have a clue on how to manage this city. They use intimidation as a factor and if you disagree they lay you off. McCarthy who is in labor relations backs up every dumb-ass decision they make.
    Adam Wood is the main culprit here. Finch used to be a guy you could talk to and reason with. No More! Everything goes thru this shithead Wood.
    Finch has managed to split the democratic party into small pieces. He speaks in front of the DTC or the democratic womens group and says how wonderfull he and Mario Testa get along. That is so much bullshit. The only one that comes to see Testa is Wood and he just shows up to tell Testa more lies and more bullshit.
    This city is in a management crisis stage and what is happening is a good example of why we should have recall powers. I have more on this band of incompetents.

  6. I know who the Bridgeport Kid is; it’s Mark Anastasi. Because only a member of the Bridgeport City Attorney’s office believes that in Bridgeport the city cannot be bound by binding arbitration. And that supposedly was the crux of their defense. We agreed to argue in good faith. We agreed to binding arbitration if we reach an impasse. But we never agreed to abide by the arbitrators decision.
    And Mark will convince the city to fight it. They will go out and hire outside legal counsel and they will lose. So they will waste more taxpayers money, delay the inevitable and waste more time before the BRAC can get up and start running. All so that Poppa Ganim can buy the building. Ain’t it so, kid?

  7. Over a month ago, when the Bridgeport Police force dilemma started, I was taking my break in the rear of the Department when Chief Norwood pulled into his parking spot. He slammed the door and as he approached the door, I asked, how are you doing chief? He responded, I’m doing ok, I still have a job. My reading into his response was that he was threatened with his job. I later heard that he had applied for positions as Chief in other places such as Maine. It is true that many officers were glad to hear the news of his departure. However, I’m sure that no one is happier than Chief Norwood. Thanks for your service to the City Chief Norwood and good luck in Richmond.
    Who will be the acting chief? A woman from the Detective Bureau is my best guess.

  8. Hooking the Blues or hooking the taxpayers? It’s too early to tell. My take is that the City’s Administration will give some more concessions to Frank Boulton. Had the City given the concessions to McGregor and Foster, we all know how that would look. Talk about putting a L.I.D. (lid) on that issue. Let’s hope that Frank Boulton doesn’t “duck” his responsiblity of paying the rent when it is due.

  9. Patricia Fardy would be a tremendous asset to any law firm dealing with zoning issues. I just hope that if Mrs. Fardy decides to take this route, she doesn’t go with the unindicted co-conspirator.

  10. Hmmm … not a word about the bumbling BOE who handed out big-time raises to the suits last night??? Especially a certain boss who is out at least a few days a week and has been on vacation more than in the schools??? The men in blue keep the city safe and get layoffs … the men in the BOE who wear the ties are no-shows and get huge raises … only in BPT baby.

  11. Word out of City Hall on State Street is that Mayor Finch will appoint Mitch Robles’ Future Grandson as the new chief thus adding to the Robles monopoly of City Jobs and appointments.

  12. It is with great sadness for Bridgeport that Pat Fardy finally threw in the planning and zoning towel yesterday. Four years ago, Mrs. Fardy left the Zoning Board of Appeals and was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Mrs. Fardy took hold of the 2005 Urban Land Institute’s challenge to seriously overhaul the City’s land use policies and redirect the city’s economic development policies to more accurately reflect the marketplace with a deep belief in sustainable development, reduction of Bridgeport’s carbon footprint, transit-oriented development and balanced growth for this great city. Mrs. Fardy, a volunteer who loves her city, co-chaired the development of the city’s new master plan of development and conservation, participated in the development of the city’s new comprehensive economic development strategies, and almost made it to the goal line with the new zoning map and zoning regs.

    Mrs. Fardy’s term expired in December 2007, ten months ago. Mrs. Fardy has been waiting patiently for Mayor Finch to fulfill his pre-election promise to reappoint her to the PZC. He promised her. Waiting, waiting, waiting, while meeting multiple times per week to get the new zoning map and regs ready for public hearing. Waiting, waiting, waiting while volunteering hundreds and hundreds of hours always with a smile and sense of duty. Then news came down that the Mayor wanted to have his ‘own team’ on the PZC. Well, what in heaven’s name has he been waiting for? It is the Mayor’s perogative to make a change, only one would hope it would be for more than political reasons. He won, the election is over, he has to be the executive and manage the city’s future development. If he appointed new members in January, those new members would have participated in the new zoning reg development and receive the essential training to make sure that development and implementation of these new regs would happen. But no, still more waiting and mixed signals to the development community, planning and zoning commissioners, and the public at large.

    It is no surprise that Mrs. Fardy finally threw in the towel yesterday. She knew she was not going to be reappointed; she knew that the most dramatic upgrade in the city’s land use policies were in their final stages, and it was essential that those that would be charged with implementation get appointed and take the helm.

    Here is the real tragedy. Four years of detailed training and development on the very complicated land use policies have just received a serious setback at a very critical time. The new zoning map and regs, as well as the new processes must be put in place before the economy turns around. Four years of leadership that would make the transition to implemention smooth and seemless has been lost. The Urban Land Institute clearly cited the city for untrained commissioners, lax land use direction and chronic, overuse of the zoning board of appeals, and chronic loss of appeals to backroom negotiation and poor decisions. Mrs. Fardy was leading Bridgeport out of the dark ages of land use development. For serious quality development, sensitive to the environment and marketplace to occur; for quality development to happen in the neighborhoods and downtown that would add value and not negate the stability and growth of the city’s taxbase; for the neighborhood stakeholders to participate and be heard; the PZC commissioners needed in-depth training and the staff needed to do many things much better to oversee the outcome of the board and appeals processes.

    With Mrs. Fardy gone, all of this hard work has lost its dedicated leader. The final public hearing on the new zoning map and regs is scheduled now for November. There will need to be an intensive final cleanup of the new zoning map and regs since the success of those new regs needs accuracy in every paragraph, chart, and table. The feedback at the final public hearing is essential to make that final cleanup a success.

    Then the real work will begin, i.e. implementation. Developers that will need to go before the PZC, Inland Wetlands, and ZBA will be required to follow the new policies of the Master Plan and new zoning regs. Staff, lawyers and commissioners will need to support and act responsibly in accordance with this new world. How does this get done without seasoned, experienced leadership?

    In my opinion, Mayor Finch was shortsighted and acted out of political considerations rather than the long term best interests of quality and responsible development. It is a sad day for the City and a true disappointment in our Mayor. It didn’t have to be like this. Mrs. Fardy is supportive of the Mayor’s goals, of the city she loves, of the streets and neighborhoods she has walked, and plans that have been reviewed, modified, and challenged always for excellence in design and quality.

    This resignation is not a surprise. It is understandable that Mrs. Fardy lost hope. But really, it is Bridgeport that has lost hope. We thank Mrs. Fardy for her dedication, leadership, wit, tenacity, and attention to detail. She will be missed.

    Mr. Mayor, you preach green development; you believe in sustainable growth. Get your act together and make sure you get trained, experienced leaders to walk in Mrs. Fardy’s shoes. She is a hard act to follow with very big footprints to fill. The bar is high and the City expects only the best. Your PZC appointments have to be the best that this City can muster.

  13. Joel – I don’t always agree with you and I certainly don’t agree with your posts about the next President of the United States, Barack Obama. However, I do agree with what you posted about Chief Norwood. I too wish him well. I thought he was doing a professional job under very tough circumstances and I think Bridgeport’s loss is Richmond’s gain.

    countdown – I don’t know a whole lot about Pat Fardy. But I do feel she was the victim of the Finch – Testa feud and if nothing else, her years of service to the city should have earned her better treatment.

    This has not been a good day for Bridgeport.

  14. So that’s how things get done, eh?

    Go for a couple too many drinks, throw your weight around, drop a couple of “F” Bombs and you get your way.

    Now I see why the old ‘Port is so “F”ed up. Less like politics, more like adolescent playgroung bullying. No wonder nothing gets done here.


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