City Council Approves Residency Preference Rule

The City Council Monday night approved a new Civil Service regulation that requires public safety candidates and other specified job applicants to prove residency for one year to achieve preference points for jobs. The measure was introduced by City Councilman Ernie Newton who proposed in order for applicants to receive 15 percent credit they must prove residency in Bridgeport one year before the exam.

In an effort to award more jobs to city residents, Newton says it will put an end to people moving in to apply, or claiming a dubious residence, and then moving out.

“This protects bona fide residents from carpetbaggers,” says Personnel Director David Dunn.

Applicants must prove residency via utility bills and rent agreements, etc.

From the City Council agenda: Full agenda here.

Miscellaneous Matters Committee Report re: Revision to the Civil Service Commission Rules to Amend Rule XV regarding Residency Preference.

Budget and Appropriations Committee Report re: Approval of the Issuance of Pension Deficit Funding Bonds and the use of the Proceeds of the Pension Bonds.

Budget and Appropriations Committee Report re: Approval of Tax Anticipation Notes (TANS) – To Pay Current Expenses and Obligations of the City – FY2020.

Budget and Appropriations Committee Report re: Approval of General Obligation Bonds – To Fund Certain Capital Improvement Projects.

Budget and Appropriations Committee Report re: Approval of General Obligation Bonds – To Refund Certain General Obligation Bonds



    Pension Plan A: A Bridgeport History or Current Mystery?

    Mayor Ganim1 recognized a long-standing Bridgeport problem back in the late 90’s. His solution was to seek advice from “financial experts” for an answer. Actuaries told him that based on their assumptions, 90% of the money necessary to be invested so as to provide retirement incomes to police and fire retirees over the next 30 years, would amount to $350 Million. If the City borrowed $350 Million at market rates around 7% and invested assets wisely by 2029 that group of former public safety employees and their widows would be securely provided for. Thus Plan A Pension was initiated. Keep in mind that borrowing the $350 Million committed the taxpayers to a cost of repaying over $900 Million before 2030!!!

    Investment losses to Pension A investment accounts particularly in 2001 and 2008 volatile markets as well as routine income payouts to retirees and widows of $30 Million annually have decreased the actual Plan A value to about $50 Million today. (Our unfunded accrued actuarial liability today stands at about $250 Million.) For a dozen years or more City taxpayers have made additional contributions totaling more than $126 Million to Plan A to deal with the liability as well as regular bond repayments of over $30 Million. Neither Ganim2 or his advisors have talked about the subject in public. Therefore between Plan A initial expense of over $900 Million, we have contributed additional dollars so that the overall expense of this plan is guaranteed to exceed $1 Billion by its planned close in 2030.

    Today Ganim2 sees a problem facing the City but has failed to alert anyone in his Annual budget talks where priority subjects are expected. He has waited for this political moment in the same week that his campaign office opens with bragging rights for his campaign war-chest. His current pension strategy is to return to the financial markets another time to borrow $125 Million additional principal to place in Plan A for assumed investment returns that bear risk as Bridgeport has learned. Pension A Plan will extend 15 more years to 2044. The $125 Million is to be repaid plus nearly $220 Million of new interest for an expense that nearly doubles the original amount Ganim1 told us would solve the problem. Kicking the can down the road without fingerprints??

    Why don’t we just pay as you go at $17,000,000 this year increasing to $28 Million ten years from now? No expense of issuing a new bond! No added principal repay of $125 Million or interest expense of $220 Million. Currently, we have found our way to this pay as you go solution without any notice to the public other than a footnote in the annual audit, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Review. The subject has not been mentioned by candidates during the past three mayoral runs!!

    Regarding Mayor Ganim’s ability at financial and public administration, past and present, some questions must be asked:
    • Has City budget process been tested under Ganim2 as much in recent years as he has caused the City Board of Education to be, in terms of cutting back to live within actual limited revenue and legal commitments? NO!!
    • Has Ganim2 measurably improved City financial results to move us away from being a qualifying candidate for Municipal Accountability Review Board (MARB ) that would add regular serious financial oversight to our City finances? NO!!! Mayor Ganim why are we not in MARB, today?
    • Has Ganim2 explained that the primary reason for seeking to spend taxpayer funds with added Plan A borrowing is to take pressure off City budgetary payment schedules over the next ten years?? Is it worth going into added debt today? NO!! NO!!

    The Budget and Appropriations Committee last night was presented with four bond resolutions including Plan A that would total more than $200 Million of new activity and expense. One of the resolutions today authorizes Tax Anticipation Notes, a cash flow assist, when tax revenues are weak. Isn’t this a sign to MARB of City weakness??

    Four years ago Ganim came to a church in Bridgeport and professed his sorrow for past activity at the expense of the citizens of the City of Bridgeport while he was Mayor. He spent seven years behind bars. Perhaps it is time for him to come out of his office and into the public square to discuss this part of his public administration activity. Will he admit to the weaknesses of the original Plan A strategy or blame it on the “expert handling” through two decades? Causing the B&A to hear a one-sided sales effort to support new Plan A funding, without backup data including alternative strategies available to be studied before the meeting, and looking to the State as providing oversight going forward is pure recklessness. (What do various Monte Carlo simulations suggest about future investment results?)

    When I raised my hand to address the group, the Chair said I was not allowed to speak, even though Council members, not on B&A had raised questions, and were allowed to speak. This appears to be in conflict with recent re-training of City Council members on Freedom of Information process. Why is the City so adamant to have its own way, despite taxpayer expense? Can it be that neither Ganim1 or Ganim2 cares? Time will tell.

    John Marshall Lee
    A City taxpayer
    With apologies to Chair and Members of the Budget & Appropriations Committee. I checked up on FOI rules and found that I was quoting the rules for an Executive Committee session (and rights of public speakers). Chair Zambrano was correct in refusing to allow me to speak according to CC rules. However, every CC member who relies on that rule (and the power to silence the public) is guilty of failure to observe the values of OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST governance, IMO

  2. This shit is too funny!! Just a few years ago, 25% of the city council lived out of town. Anyone who ever tried hand delivering mail to “their houses” could tell you that…… jus’ sayin’ ….

  3. The residency requirement would make for good headlines, but when it comes down to it,there are so many loopholes,ie, use a relatives address,use a rental you own, etc, etc, that it wouldn’t matter. And face it, if Joe& Mario want a particular person in a position,it wouldn’t matter if they lived in Kansas, they are getting the job. But have at it Ernie, it will look good on your resume come election time.This is how it works in Bpt.

  4. Harvey, I don’t know what Ernie submitted to the Civil Service or to the CC, but what I gave him as a proof of residency went far beyond utilities bills and rental agreements. It looked at voter registration, vehicle registration, driver’s licenses, bank statements and the aforementioned utility bills.

    It had a caveat that said, If you fail to provide the above information/documentation for bonafide residency, it may result in your disqualification as a non-resident and you will not be considered further in the recruitment process. I added this to discourage cheating although I knew that some would find a way to skirt the process, but keeping it at a minimum. I don’t know what Ernie submitted or what was changed by the dastardly David Dunn, but I do know what I gave to Ernie because I still have my original.

      1. Ron
        I’m the first council person who has said anything about residency and changing ordinances to hire Bridport people first and awarding contacts to minority companies. I guess you are dam if you do and dam if you don’t. My goal is to have new recruits Police and Fire while on probation for a year or so live in the city. After probation is over live where you like. The chiefs told me just because you take the oath of office you must go through a period of probation. Even though you are paying union dues. Remember one must open the door first so we can add to it. Ron and Don i respect you guys but let me do my job like you did yours.

        1. Ernie, with all due respect, that is the told opposite of the proposal that was given to you. We were talking about candidates residing in Bridgeport one year prior to taken the exam, at this point they have NO union rights because they are not employees of the City and they are not dues paying members of the union. It doesn’t matter once they are on probation it doesn’t matter where they reside.

  5. Screw residency.
    Pensions based on TIME have long been removed in the private sector. Just because you’ve shown up for thirty years doesn’t mean you’ve added value for one minute. Performance-based SAVINGS rule the day. All others have been over-promised.
    Determining cost is easy, easy, easy. Determining VALUE is made possible by newly-available tools.
    The evaluation is complete. Bad news: 100% of state and municipal employees have costs that exceed their value.
    You know what that means, don’t you?

    1. Showing up every day that you work and PUTTING YOUR LIFE ON THE LINE is much different than what is done in the private sector. What have you done for 20 years in your workplace that could lead to you getting killed or getting hurt?

      1. Good morning! Private sector fireman here.
        I know what it means to drop the pizza I was about to deliver and extinguish the fire I faced. It was bigger than I was and I used improvised equipment to stop it–no crew or pumper truck and no survivorship benefits. You asked a bad question.

        1. How many floors did you have to climb with 70 pounds of on your back and pulling up a charge hose line with water before you got to fight the fire while inhaling toxic gas because they displace oxygen in the blood and therefore limit the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues?

          1. I was at ground level. I didn’t save any lives and it was over in thirty seconds. I was too fast for the toxic fumes.
            You ask bad questions.

  6. Perhaps this selection from Only In Bridgeport should be used to have some higher power take over City processes? Pension Obligation Bonding in the title and 22 responses so far with 95% off the topic of the financial issue that is to be voted upon on Monday evening? Does no one care about the less than truthful info that is used to make risky decisions that penalize taxpayers and do not bite those who pass them? Time will tell.

  7. I have underestimated the damage done by Pension Plan A. It represents an annual liability caused by the fixed costs nobody objects to. This is why Connecticut is a high tax state and Bridgeport taxes have an upward bias. Is PPA underfunded or are the beneficiaries overpaid on an ACTUARIAL basis?
    In addition, Pension Obligation bonds are municipal poison.

    1. You also underestimated the damage done to those firefighters and police officers who faithfully paid 8% of their paid every week until they retired with their money being deposit into the City’s General instead of a separate account for Pension Plan A. their money for their pension was being use to run the City and to keep your taxes low, we had no control or say so about anything.

  8. Residency requirements are just social engineering.Why not have the best people hired regardless where they live.
    So a applicant with a Masters degree may not get hired due too a local resident with a GED/HS diploma. ?
    Where’s that logic .

    1. Better yet, let’s have all City Council members, all mayors, all state elected members, the Congress of the U.S. the President just for a starter and they must be a resident.

      1. And they must have a Masters degree. By the way, what is President 45 educational background compare to the candidates he ran against in 2015? Why are there elected felons like the mayor holding a elected position.


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