City, Fire Union Reach Concession Agreement, Will Cops Step Up? Ganim Appoints Thode Fire Chief

Ganim, fire officials
Ganim with fire officials.

UPDATE: Mayor named Thode fire chief today (Friday)

Mayor Joe Ganim on Wednesday was joined by local Fire Union President Robert Whitbread and acting Chief Richard Thode to announce the city and union have reached a wage agreement on a contract extension through 2020. Ganim says the agreement will save the city more than $1 million over 12 months. The first year calls for a zero wage increase.

OIB friend Donald Day, a retired city firefighter, reports in the comments section “The old contract ran until January 2019 with a 2.5 raise in 2017 and a 2.5 raise in 2018. The new contract called for a 0 raise in 2017, a 2.5 raise in 2018, a 2.5 raise in 2019 and a 2.0 raise in 2020. It also gave them two additional captains in training, one being Emergency Management and Safety/EMS and .30/hr night differential upon ratification of this contract.”

Bridgeport Fire Union Vice President David Dobbs Thursday afternoon confirmed with OIB the numbers shared by Day. “We understand we work in Bridgeport and not Greenwich so when asked to step up we decided to do our part,” he said. “We’re always sensitive to the financial situation of the city. Both sides in this situation came away with something.”

Will the firefighters agreement encourage the Police Union, still to be heard from, to provide the concessions Ganim seeks?

“All parties and departments worked hard together to reach an agreement that will bring our city enormous savings, and that will make a positive impact on our budget and ultimately a savings for our residents,” said Ganim.

“We are pleased with the restructuring and our overall agreement,” said Thode. “I’m also proud to say that we reached these savings with absolutely no reduction in line force.”

The current budget year approved by the City Council that ends June 30 calls for $4 million in collective union concessions. So far, the city reports it has attained zero wage increases from six unions for one year.

The finalists for fire chief are Thode, former Washington DC fire chief Dennis Rubin and former Trenton, NJ deputy chief Leonard Carmichael. The mayoral appointment, per City Charter, is for five years, with the possibility of another five-year contract.



  1. As usual my brothers in THE BFD threw the retirees under the bus with this new contract. The old contract ran until January 2019 with a 2.5 raise in 2017 and a 2.5 raise in 2018. The new contract called for a 0 raise in 2017, a 2.5 raise in 2018, a 2.5 raise in 2019 and a 2.0 raise in 2020. It also gave them two additional captains in training, one being Emergency Management and Safety/EMS and .30/hr night differential upon ratification of this contract.

    This will ensure Richard Thode will be chosen as the new chief of the BFD. During my tenure on the BFD we never threw the retirees under the bus with anything that would hurt them financially and there isn’t anything in this contract that will stem the tide of overtime which is plentiful right now. Thank you Bobby Whitbread for nothing.

  2. Donald, Andy and (hope you are well) Ron,
    As retired fire personnel of the City, you have known for years you are not represented by the union after retirement. You taught that to me in recent years and it has stuck with me, how did you get into that position, allow it? When you were younger, working and healthy in your career, representation by a union was helpful in negotiations so you supported them with dues and they supplied the arguments for compensation increases, benefits and contract terms. However, after retirement, when you have no more days to trade for dollars, you are ignored by that same union, and find that younger members are more interested in their own needs than yours. Are you really startled?

    Isn’t it time for you (or at least two of you) to focus on each labor agreement by the City? Ask the questions about the give and take that form an agreement? Point out the areas where the taxpayer has been hung out the window, please? At the end of the day you are taxpayers, and former union members. Maintain your pride in your service to the community, but help the community in this new time where fairness and justice for you and for many is in danger because of secrecy, private agendas, and low standards of accountability on the part of the executive branch. Will those of you who were willing to run towards burning buildings, rather than away, help us fight the fires that are destroying our City through failure to identify and control them? Time will tell.

    1. John, state law prevents the union from negotiating anything for retired people. It shows with this group of self-centered fire union people that if they could negotiate for us we would all be on welfare because they would bargain away our pensions for their own gain. This not the fire union I knew, these are namby-pamby out-of-towners.

  3. One thing I picked up is this. From what I understand, there was a contract in place through January 2019 with a 2.5% raise in 2017. The contract has been re-negotiated. Zero increase in 2017. My take is Ganim is having a tough time finding money for this coming FY 2017-2018. Also, is not the Police Contract already expired (as of June 30th 2016) so the BPT police are working without a contract? As for Good Governance, who approves this contract and how much public examination will be allowed? Same questions for the Police Contract. Same question for ALL contracts. Please remember the infamous, surprise Finch/City Administrators Contract (I forgot the name of the union) that contributed to the $20 million “deficit” halfway through a budget year.

    1. The Firefighter union sold out every retiree and every fire widow by renegotiating a zero for 2017. The guys on the union negotiating committee are self-centered whores.

  4. I’m in total agreement with both Donald Day and Andy Fardy. During my four years on IAFF Local Union 834 negotiation team we NEVER entertained the City’s proposals to throw retirees and new recruits whom we didn’t even know under the bus. There is a pie on the table and the issue is how do you cut the pie. The City would offer bonuses or our birthday instead of a pay raise, that’s great piece of the pie for those firefighters on the job only. Well we said no because we wanted to share our slice of the pie with those whose shoulders we stand on and who paved the road for us. This is what families do because we are one big team and there is no “I” in the word team but it seems like Local 834 has forgotten those who came before them.

  5. Andy Fardy, you wrote, “the city today selected Thode as the chief of the department. So much for bringing new ideas to the dept.” Andy, I’m in total agreement with you, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Thode is a nice guy and I like him but that’s not a reason to make him chief. Bringing new ideas to the Bridgeport Fire Department is something that won’t happen, in the entire history of Bridgeport Fire Department tracing its roots to 1796 every fire chief has been a white male and during that same timeframe there has been ONLY ONE Bridgeport Fire Chief who was not a member of the BFD, and he was only here for five years. Bringing new ideas to the Bridgeport Fire Department or to Bridgeport is just a dream, just look at the person who is running Civil Service and gives all the testing is David Dunn who is in an “Acting” position for over seven years, where are the new ideas for Bridgeport? Mayor Ganim needs Thode and Dunn to control both departments.

  6. Andy, I personally know Lennie Carmichael and he is a highly skilled individual with a strong background in fire science, one which would have made him the most knowledgeable chief in Bridgeport’s history.

    Andy, you also called the chief’s exam a phantom test, which is a accurate characterization of that exam. Each candidate was sent an email with the test questions enclosed with the directions of answering and sending back to Civil Service. If this is the way to hire a person who leads a multi-million dollar department then there is no doubt Bridgeport will stay mired in mediocrity. Shame on you David Dunn and Mayor Ganim, the people of Bridgeport deserved better than this.

    1. Don, thanks for the information. I read up on Chief Carmichael. I have never heard of e-mailing questions to a candidate. Were there any face-to-face interviews? This is bullshit, you can’t give an exam by e-mail. David Dunn is illegally in his present job and these results should be challenged.
      Joe Ganim is 100% an asshole. He was during his first term and he is during his second term. The cat’s out of the bag, AJ Perez will be the next chief of a lame PD.

  7. Maybe Ganim and Dunn did not want a black chief. This is really ready for a lawsuit. Where in the charter or civil service regulations does it state you can e-mail test questions to candidates for the chief’s job? Why didn’t they do this with the FF and Police candidates?

    1. Andy, Hartford has had six black Fire Chiefs and one Hispanic Fire Chief. New Haven has had four black Fire Chiefs. West Haven, Bristol and Greenwich all have had a black Fire Chief but Bridgeport which has the largest number of blacks in their City in Connecticut has NEVER had a black as the Fire Chief. Mayor Joe Ganim got elected because black voters gave Ganim a second chance but he can’t hire a black to be the Fire Chief. The black community and the black pastors can now see for themselves Mayor Ganim has no respect for them and he really doesn’t give a damn about them.

      1. Phil, did you ever hear of a mayor serving nine years in prison coming out of prison and then convincing the IDIOTS who live in his town to reelect him mayor? This same shyster then gives himself nine years more seniority than he should have. WHO IN HELL EVER GOES TO PRISON AND GETS PENSION AND OTHER BENEFITS WHILE IN PRISON? I WANT TO THANK Stallworth and the other minority leaders who voted for G2.

  8. There are things that need to be done NOW.
    1. Fire David Dunn and hire a personnel professional.
    2. Rebid the fire chief exam as the one they claim they gave through e-mails is wrong and against civil service.
    3. Get rid of Guedes as she does not live in Bpt and should not be on any board. She claims residence at her brother’s office even though we know she resides in Trumbull.
    While we are at it Ganim & Testa let’s get rid on the following who are making big salaries for doing basically nothing.
    Former chief Chapman
    Former FBI guy Adams
    Rev Stallworth bought out because he is black
    Danny Roach
    John Gomes
    C. Curry
    AJ Perez spends all his time in front of a camera.
    Feel free to add to the list.

  9. No problem Andy, as you know Mackey and I have been calling for the ouster of David Dunn for seven years for a myriad of reasons. While we would like a black chief in the BFD, we want one who is qualified with the credentials, knowledge and the educational background that would enhance the department and not just one for the sake of having a black chief. Lennie Carmichael meets those criteria.

    Our whole career all we heard about was merit, that no one should be hired or promoted for anything other than having the most qualified person. Now when it comes to the chief of the BFD, merit isn’t as important as the ability to kiss the Mayor’s ass and to act like you enjoy the journey. I can assure you, David Dunn isn’t going anywhere as long as Mayor Ganim can get what he wants when honesty and integrity aren’t part of the equation.

  10. Don, I agree with you. My first choice way back would have been Earl Pettway but Maglione got the job because his aunt was good friends with the mayor. Ganim and that asshole Dunn along with the civil service commission killed civil service and made it a political arm of the mayor.

    1. Andy, Pettway was offered the position of Deputy Chief of Operations but he turned it down, he was asked again and he said no, so Rooney was given that position. Then six weeks later Chief Grover decided five years as the Bridgeport Fire Chief was enough which left the chief position open, so Mike Maglione was appointed chief. Now if Pettway had taken the Deputy Chief position then he would be in line to become chief. Remember, the Connecticut Post ran a news story where Pettway’s wife shared letters and notes from her husband where he wrote about racist statements and discrimination in the Bridgeport Fire Department.


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