Ganim’s Hiring Diversity Depends On Your Point Of View

Janene Hawkins, chief administrative officer.

Decades ago Cesar Batalla was the stick-in-the-eye, social agitator to the Bridgeport establishment. He did so while working for then community institution Southern Connecticut Gas. Hard to do that in this current world, challenge political decision makers from a corporate perch. The suits might cave.

Newspaper people loved Batalla. So did I. He was magnificent copy. He framed messages and built coalitions in ways that drove opponents nuts. They had to deal with him: child poverty, school busing, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, police brutality, stronger minority representation on municipal boards, commissions and payroll. He made proud his Spanish namesake “battle.”

Batalla had an endearing quality tending to puke up what was in his head, unless, of course, he was mischievously dropping a rumor to drive a dagger into a rival. Cesar could be cunning in his revenge.

John Gomes
Deputy Chief Administrative Officer John Gomes.

Batalla cudgeled mayors who did not diversify hiring practices. He also expressed cynicism when a minority was hired to keep up appearances.

“He may be Puerto Rican,” he commented to me, “but he’s not our Puerto Rican.”

It can be complicated.

Batalla also told me “I can compromise without compromising myself.”

Such was the nimble Batalla brain.

Mayor Joe Ganim has received some blowback in the OIB comments section as well as from political operatives about his hires. District leaders want their people hired. Other ambitious pols running for higher office cast for a wedge issue this legislative election cycle. They preen for attention. Goes with the neighborhood.

It does raise the question: what meets the standard of diversity?

Depends on your point of view.

So let’s get down to business regarding Ganim’s discretionary appointments, be they Black, Hispanic or a combination of both. The following hires meet that standard, all high-ranking positions.

Ganim appointed Rebeca Garcia assistant chief, the highest ranking Hispanic female officer in department history.

Police Chief Armando Perez

Assistant Police Chief Rebeca Garcia

Chief Administrative Officer Janene Hawkins

Deputy CAO John Gomes

Deputy CAO Herron Gaston

Budget Director Nestor Nkwo

Health Director Maritza Bond, to be replaced by Albertina Baptista

Labor Relations Director Eric Amado

Mayor’s Initiative for Reentry Affairs Earl Bloodworth

Deputy Fire Chief Lance Edwards

Small & Minority Business Enterprise Director Fred Gee

Seems like a mighty list representative of the community makeup.

So what is it? They may be black or brown, but not your black or brown?

Waiting on the C’Mon, Lennie, responses.



  1. C’mon Lennie, most of those Black’s are our color, but not our kind! There are over 40 departments listed in the city government and only 10 department heads. I see you listed Deputy Chief Lance Edwards, but he’s not a department head in fact he’s just the number four chief in the fire department and he had to take an exam for his job and Mayor Ganim had nothing to do with his hire.

    This list is a slap in the face to every Black resident and voter of Bridgeport because it merely confirms the Mayor’s disdain for the Black community. Moses, why aren’t you looking out for your people? Oh I know Ron Mackey, the Firebird Society and I should be seeing that Black’s are hired as department heads!

    1. What qualifies you to make that statement on behalf of the entire black community ” are our color, but not our kind.?” Black people don’t all think the same way. Martin Luther King believed in a different approach to liberation than Malcolm. Radical blacks like you said the same thing about Martin. Did they not? YOu would be crucifying KIng too. Civil rights is about all people.My question is what do you want? what resumes do you have? Who do you plan to meet with to get what you want done? What organizations you belong to? A lot of people talk loud but are not saying or doing nothing.

  2. Lennie, there’s a saying, “every brother (sister) ain’t a brother,” including this list. These individuals main concern is about their 4 and more, they aren’t trying to increase diversity in hiring. Mayor Ganim, try hiring some women into the fire department, NO women have been hired in 12 years Joe, 12 years and I have heard anyone speak up publicly against this discrimination.

  3. As Martin Luther King Jr is being celebrated today, here are a few inspirational quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. that has NO meaning to Mayor Ganim and his list of hiring diversity group.

    The time is always right to do what is right.

    Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?

    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

    The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

    1. Ron, If Dr. King were alive today you would be criticizing him too. Dr. King was a peacemaker, not a peace breaker, and when he did raise issues, his goal was always to unite, not to divide. The reason that we as a people can’t get ahead is because of negative people. I was not going to say anything on here for a while and take my seat in the corner, but this is terrible. Here it is we have diversity in our City and that is still not enough. Please give a full list of names of qualified people that you want to see in positions in the city. I will wait…. OIB will wait.

      1. I asked you a very simple question, “Do you think that it’s right for the City of Bridgeport NOT HIRE ANY WOMEN IN 12 YEARS in the Bridgeport fire department?” Dr. King would leading the fight against not hiring women if he was alive today, that’s what he did, he bought attention to those who were being left out. What say you?

  4. There are a few things to note. I feel this city is very diverse and where we pretty much are at 1/3 hispanic/latino, 1/3 black, and 1/3 white. Folks are annoyed because of the pandering of the black and brown communities for votes but few are decision makers. Miss Bond and Cheif Perez were hired by contract, much different from political appointment. Rebecca Garcia is a promotion, not a hire. The issue with the list is qualifications for the positions. I am only concerned with appointments to six figure positions with decision making capacity and the Spanish speaking community is always frozen out.

    Appointments are gifts with bows around them to a select connected few on the back of the voters. I just wish those appointments come with diversity and qualifications that lend itself to making Bridgeport better. We have amazing city employees with low morale because they have to report to people that can’t get the job done efficiently. These decisions are costly to tax payers and residents who have to deal with the mismanagement of resources.

    Lennie, I hate that this conversation becomes about race. It is about diversity. But if you put a list of white folks in city administration, you will have your answer as to why the community is pissed. Then go one step further and list how many of those ppl live in Bridgeport but they make key decisions that impact us and that’s the story.

    1. Kevin, race matters but too many people are afraid to talk about race. Race is America’s first sin, it’s written into law starting with the Constitution of the United States, a war was fought over race. Let’s not forget about the internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II. America had signs that said Only Whites, Blacks need not apply for jobs, college educated blacks with degrees couldn’t get jobs only because they were black, it nothing to do with qualifications, a lot blacks with college degrees could only find good paying jobs in the postal system even with college degrees from the 1940’s til the late 1970’s. But the answer to the question of race is let’s not talk about it or “I had nothing to do with slavery,” it’s always about race, how do you think President 45 got elected but let’s not talk about race.

  5. It’s sad that in 2020 we are still talking about the color of ones skin. I don’t care who you are, what color you are, where you’re from: If you are qualified, you deserve the job, and If you’re not qualified (as in some of the names on this list) then you shouldn’t get the job!! Period!

    1. Frank, how do you determine who is the best person for the job position? If it’s about taking an exam then who and what makes that the best way to evaluate that selection? How do you appoint someone and how do you determine who the best person for that position?

      1. Those are all valid questions…. we know Civil Service Commission is as corrupt as anyone! Rubber stamps!!!!! Gaston doesn’t know how to run a meeting and it’s an embarrassment!!! He never heard of Roberts rules…. I can teach him for a consultation fee…..

        1. Frank you are an embarrassment. Dr. Gaston is one of the most qualified persons in the city period and one of the most professional people on the commission. Frank who would hire you to teach someone anything when you know nothing? I met you on several occasions and you are an embarrassment and a straight fool. I have heard great things from my nephew and niece Shyala who went before the commission. You are a corrupt person who can you talk about??

        2. Frankie come let a black woman school you on public decorum. I want to teach you on the appropriate use of exclamation points when writing a sentence. As a teacher, let me teach you how to write. Let us start with the basics.

        3. Frankie, come out from hiding let us debate your flaws? You couldn’t hold a candle to Dr. Gaston. What I remember about you is that when you speak others are quiet, not because of what you are saying makes any sense, but because you need to invest in a dentist. Have a good day! I do sell personal hygiene items on the side, and conduct hygiene workshops on the weekend. Have a good day.

    2. Frank, my color matter. To not see color is to deny other people’s existence. Maybe they should put your name forward on this list of those being qualified. You are not qualified to change a tire on a car. Everybody knows your reputation in Bridgeport.

  6. *** Some are never content with Mayoral picks, either there not black or not black enough, or from out-side Bpt. If not its, don’t have the experience or education nor of the same political party, etc. Some claim its just a drop in the bucket if its not at 50% or more minority hires! It never stops, in Bpt. when you have unhappy wannabe’s or racial, political, religious & ignorant bias on all sides complaining. GO FIGURE? *** How about just pausing for a moment today & remembering a great man whom brought people together? *** HAPPY MLK DAY ***

    1. MoJo. I am with you. How would the people on OIB be qualified to say who and who isn’t qualified? All they do on this thing is tear people down instead of building people up. This is why i got off this thing for a while. Today is MLK day. Can we at least be positive for once!

  7. I think the mayor placed some of the best people in positions. Give the Mayor a chance. I don’t understand. Don’t we want qualified people in high ranking positions in the City?

    1. Many people in power told blacks and Dr. King, “Give the Mayor a chance.” Dr. King said, “The time is always right to do what is right,” well, women have been waiting for 12 years, how much longer must they wait? I don’t know this Mayor Joe Ganim during this G2 term but under G1, the old Mayor Joe Ganim he would NOT ALLOW something like this happen, he would demand what the hell is going. The old Mayor Ganim proudly made sure that there was diversify hiring practices especially in the fire department but this Joe Ganim, I don’t know who the hell he is.

      Let me ask you this, here’s a quote from Dr. King, “The ultimate measure of a man (woman) is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Where do you stand?

  8. The Mayor should not be blamed for everything. Have you spoken to the fire chief? Have you spoken to the other leadership in the fire department? Have you made your demands public outside of this platform? I advocate for women, of course we need more women, in leadership. I am all for that, but what about other people who feel kept out?

  9. Brother Mackey, why are you trying to justify anything to Casper when based on its answer, “Have you spoken to the Fire Chief?” That showed you that it doesn’t have any idea what they are talking about nor how city government works. Dr. Gaston is on the Civil Service board and not one word from him on this glaring omission nor one word on the use of a psychological exam being used for firefighters which has eliminated numerous Black qualified candidates!
    There are Negros that will never fight for freedom. There are Negros who will seek profit for themselves alone from the struggle. They are even some Negros who will cooperate with their oppressors. These facts should distress no one. Every minority and every people has its share of opportunists, profiteers, freeloaders and excapists.

    1. Don, wow, you got that right, I can’t believe their reply, it really shows that they have no knowledge of how the City is run but she knows how to standup and protect the man. As for Rev. Herron Gaston, ell he’s moved on up now he’s the Deputy CAO Herron Gaston. I thought that there might have been a little change but no, things have gotten worse.

      1. You can call me whatever you want. It is what I choose to answer to. I am proud to be from Bridgeport. I want to see better for our city and I do see some progress. Join the NAACP. Everyday my daughters are out here making a difference. Since you love girls so much and advocate for women advancement, how about you join Bobbi Brown’s organization who is actually mentoring young girls? Maybe you should speak there and mentor a young girl into a career.

  10. Don, you don’t know what you are talking about. I know what I am talking about. Go talk to the fire chief. Why are you taking the issue up with the Mayor? The mayor hires department heads, and department heads are supposed to handle these matters. Is that not how organizations work? Talk to Mr. Rogers on Civil Service he told me how Dr. Gaston and Grech fight for black and brown people and challenge the board members on being fair. Be fair to people. Go pull the record of the civil service and any other board you want to learn about. That is what I do so that I stay informed of what is happening in my community. Stop always trying to assassinate people on here. And what negro are you referring to in not fighting for freedom? Tell me what are you doing to help young black males and females advance in our community? Don’t talk about what you did 40 years ago, I am talking about today?

    1. It’s good to know that Rev. Gaston doesn’t care about women NOT being hired as firefighters for the past 12 years. “Don’t talk about what you did 40 years ago, I am talking about today?” I’m talking about 2020 and NOT ONE WOMAN HAS BEEN HIRED TO BE A FIREFIGHTER AND GASTON AND THE ENTIRE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION HASN’T DONE SHIT EXCEPT SIT ON THEIR ASS AND WATCH.

      1. Ron, all you do is sit on your fat ass and complain. Get your fat ass up off your big ass and do something. How about you get your fat ass on the civil service commission since you can solve all of bridgeport’s problems? Try getting your tired ASS on a board!

        1. You need to take your ugly ass back where ever you have been hiding and stay there and try to get educated about MLK Jr, like I said earlier, every sister ain’t a sister and you definitely are not a sister and by the way who the hell knows you who gave you the right to soeai for all blacks in Bridgeport?

          1. You are one fat ignorant hypocrite I have ever seen. You are an embarrassment to the black race. Stop running to Bennett’s church acting like you are a holy roller. He should be embarrassed to have you as a member. How dare you hide behind fighting for “black women” when you are a closeted sexist? Just look at how you speak to woman. You lowdown, dirty, trifling, MF. Don’t you ever make the mistake of addressing me.

      2. Sine you are everything black, please tell me what have you done to change this dynamic? If you were so-called so influential with the fire department, why haven’t you been able to help change the rules for the firefighter exam? That means for 12 years you have sat on your ass and done nothing. That means since you retired you have done nothing but complained. You are so miserable.

        1. I haven’t done anything, tell us all everything that you have done or tell us one thing e you have done to uplift the City and tells us a few people who know you?

        2. I’m just a black man who is retired, I have no power, I hold no position of power, I have no influence, now tell us all some of the wonderful things you have done, feel free to list as many items as you can because I’m sure that you have done so much. When you speak about the members on the Civil Service Commission please make sure that you spell their name correctly and let me thank you in advance for ALL of the great things you have done for the City.

        1. Frankie, you are irrelevant. Let me not give you anymore attention. You are a bigot and racist and always have been. You are simply a bully with no badge.

  11. Ron, I have educated so many children in the community. I spend my time tutoring kids. I spend my time loaning parents money to buy kids school supplies and clothes. I contribute to the United Way. I support my local soup kitchen. I placed my kids in the NAACP. I taught my kids to value each other and respect their community. I am a doer. I don’t complain and do nothing. I do the best I can do and work with others to get what I want done for my people. I don’t sit behind a computer all day for a living and try to bring other people down. But do know this about me, if you come for me you better be ready because I will put you in your place, and still smile at you when I see you in a community event. Simple as that! Have a good day and go volunteer at your local homeless shelter, or go mentor a kid at a school today. Thank you. Better yet, set up a meeting with the fire chief. Why don’t you start there. Make a difference in 2020, got it?

  12. I am not sure as to who may have responded and shared Hiring Diversity information. Here is my point of view to the response as it was a slap in the face to my concerns as well as to others that have looked at becoming City employees.

    The City has Fifty Departments that have day to day business activity, please provide this writer with statistical numbers on diversity. I will like to see how the departments are evened out with diversity. I will like to see how many current employees were hired through the application process and not simply brought in. I will like to see how many Black/Brown and Hispanics have six figure paying positions that are residents of Bridgeport. If all that the City of Bridgeport was able to provide to OIB was a total of nine people, what does that tell the City of Bridgeport? Let’s be clear on the appointed positions that were listed to OIB:

    Janene Hawkins was appointed to the Labor Relations Department as the Director after the numerous complaints from Dr. Ralph Ford along with her support to the Mayors election in 2015.

    John Gomes earned his appointed position after working non-stop during the 2015 election. Since appointed to Chief Administrative Office he has been demoted, and continues to fight to maintain his job.

    Chief Armando Perez had to wait two years before his contract was provided to the contracts committee and then to the Council before being appointed Chief of Police.

    Rebecca Garcia has earned her position as Assistant Chief, she has been way over due for this position. This definitely was not a favor done. Not to mention she now battles a lawsuit for removal of her position by others directly from within the police department.

    Herron Gaskin I have no complaints. He has earned his position and is beyond qualified for the current position he has been appointed to. He is a pillar of Bridgeport and has been an advocate for the City before supporting the Mayor this upcoming election.

    Eric Amado is not the Director of Labor Relations, he has been appointed Interim Director only, which means that if it was a position that he was going to be awarded it would have been done.

    M.I.R.A. current Director Earl Bloodworth is working under the discretion and direction of Career Resources so all he is carrying is a title.

    Small Minority Office Director Fred Gee is another position that Dr. Ralph Ford had to interject in and fight for this young man to be appointed to. With that being said they didn’t even want to pay him the salary for the position.

    Budget Director Nestor Nkwo has been in his position since the Finch administration he was one of the few that lucked out in maintaining his position.

    Deputy Fire Chief Lance Edwards… The key word is DEPUTY, why was he not the most recent appointed Chief to the Fire Department. That position required qualifications by passing an examination, he was not simply made Deputy Chief therefore he should of NEVER been listed.

    Let’s talk about the Bridgeport Guardians that have been stalled from being promoted to LT & SGT’s after passing the examinations. (Minorities) But others continue to be promoted to high ranking positions.

    Let’s talk about Captain Lonnie Blackwell how for years he had to fight for a promotion that he earned, was demoted, the community had to make noise before he earned his position not as easy as others have.

    Let’s go back down memory lane and talk about those that had great standing and qualification within the City of Bridgeport that were let go in 2015:

    Deborah Caviness, Robert Kennedy, Debra Sims, Willie Murphy, Jorge Garcia, Christopher Rosario, etc that’s just a reminder just to name a few.

    1. Councilwoman Eneida Martinez, the City’s Office of Affirmative Action would have the information that’s in question but does the City still have the Office of Affirmative Action, if not, why not? Does the City of Bridgeport have a Affirmative Action Plan?

  13. Partner
    I could not have said it better. In 1981-85 I got elected to the city council as President under than Mayor Lenny paoletta. I fought hard to see that blacks/and brown got appointed to Bd”s and Commission, Mayor Paoletta was a Republican he appointed blacks/and browns to his administration. He did’t fight the firebirds who had just Won its case in court on hiring blacks and browns to the fire department, after Mayor John Mandini took it to Court. I will give Mayor Finch credit he had More blacks /and browns in his administration than this one!

  14. Ernie, quit trying to interject falsehoods in the lawsuit that forced the city to hire Black and Latino firefighters. Len Paoletta had absolutely nothing to do with that lawsuit being settled other than being the Mayor at the time. The City of Bridgeport exhausted ALL of its remedies when the Supreme Court refused to hear its case and they were left with NO OTHER CHOICES BUT TO PAY! I told you this once before yet you continue to tell this falsehood to fit some false narrative for whatever reason. Again, you, the City Council or Mayor Paoletta had NOTHING to do with the settlement of that case, the city lost in Federal Court, lost in Appeals Court and the Supremes refused to hear the case. CASE CLOSED! Any questions?

    1. Don, Mayor Paoletta hired the first person to the Office of Affirmative Acton for Bridgeport with Joe Langston and then later Bishop Walter Plumber, both black men and Paoletta was a Republican. It was that office duty and responsible to track the hiring and appointments of City employees, well what is the Democrat mayor, Joe Ganim, doing about having Affirmative Acton Plan and a Affirmative Acton Office?

      1. Ron, Bishop Plummer was appointed by Mayor Tom Bucci, not Paoletta. Bucci was the first mayor in Bridgeport’s history to appoint based on the makeup of an evolving city. Paoletta did not do that, John Mandanici prior did not do that, nor anyone else before. Since Bucci’s time we’ve had Mary Moran, Joe Ganim, John Fabrizi, Bill Finch and Joe Ganim again. When it comes to black and brown hiring – whether you like the appointments/promotions or not – Fabrizi and Finch don’t come close to Ganim.

        1. Lennie, at 7:35pm Jan. 2020 I acknowledge the good job that Mayor Ganim did during G1 but I don’t recognize this Mayor G2. Lennie, Joe Langston did work as the Affirmative Action Officer. Why did the City get rid of that office when Senator Alvin Penn had that position?

          1. Lennie, why did the City get rid of the of the Affirmative Action Office when Senator Alvin Penn was running that office?

  15. Brother Mackey, I would like to say that was MAN talk, but I would lying to you. Stephanie or Steven whichever is an embarrassment and need to curb his enthusiasm.

  16. Don stop being sexist. Women have taken their rightful place and helping to put deadbeat men like yourself in their place. Women don’t need to know their place anymore. This is not the 1930s or the 60s. This is 2020. RESPECT.

  17. RESPECT? Don, how does a woman swear as much as this woman, that’s why I said that it had to be a drunken sailor, it like what President 45 did when he was over heard talking to Billy Bush on the bus in an interview for Entertainment Tonight where his male supporters said that’s locker room talk that men do.

  18. The article says that “diversity depends on your point of view, and It certainly DOES !

    Many of those questioned complained that the hires were not “black enough” or “Hispanic Enough” or “my kind of black” or “my kind of Hispanic”. But the big thing that I saw missing was ANY MENTION OF WHITES WHATSOEVER ! There still remain about 20% of the Bridgeport population of taxpayers who are White, you know and many of them are the homeowners who pick up the tab here in the City for everyone else.

    So how are we being represented or hired ? We are the first “minority group” that is not being given special treatment !


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