Look Out! Ganim Wields Sledgehammer

City government can be a frustrating drip, drip, drip. That pol wants this; this pol wants that; city employees yammering about something else; pain-in-the-ass opponents slinging arrows; federals back in town probing missing cash (and other things) in the Public Facilities Department. Only one thing to do under the circumstances: pull out a sledgehammer.

Mayor Joe Ganim who turns 60 in October prides himself on his workouts. Lately he’s been promoting the various components of agility tests on behalf of prospective city firefighters simulating what firefighters do on the job. In video above Ganim uses a sledgehammer with a baseball swing. Who’s Ganim thinking about as the sledgehammer pounds away?

Could it be retired firefighters Donald Day and Ron Mackey? They’ve been pounding Ganim and City Personnel Director David Dunn for the scarcity of female firefighters citing the demands of the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT). For background see here.

While on the job in their respective roles on behalf of the Bridgeport Firebird Society, Day and Mackey helped to diversify the department. CPAT, they say, has been a detriment to the progress made more than a decade ago.

In an election-year response the city has launched a recruitment push to attract female firefighters.

In the coming months we’ll find out if the CPAT recruitment campaign is a success or failure to diversify the department.

In video above, Fire Chief Richard Thode explains some of the logistics of CPAT.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal says no thanks, I’ll just cheer on the mayor. Wouldn’t it be a riot if Dick got on that thing?



  1. This isn’t even a good dog and pony show. CPAT was never designed to be a hiring agility exam it was designed to test the fitness of current firefighters and their ability to be physically fit to do the job. Cities and local unions went berserk when they understood the consequences of having mass failures among their ranks. The cities concern was monetary, with mass failures it would remove firefighters that had to be replaced by overtime. The unions were concerned what would happen to union brothers with mass failures and would the cities want to get rid of all failures.

    Once that failed it was broached at the meeting of the IAFC, International Association of Fire Chiefs were some chiefs thought it would be a good idea for new hires. Once CPAT was implemented then every city in America that switched to CPAT saw an immediate decrease and in most cases NONE in the hiring of women firefighters across the board.

    I’m ashamed at Senator Blumenthal for acknowledging a program that clearly discriminates against women in hiring. I’m ashamed at Mayor Ganim for continuing to use a program that clearly discriminates against women in hiring. I’m ashamed at those women on the BFD that are assisting in the recruitment process that they know clearly discriminates against women. I’m ashamed at the Firebird Society that is assisting in the recruitment process when they know that it clearly discriminates against women and as an organization that was built to fight discrimination in the fire service.

    Mayor Ganim, Senator Blumenthal, the ladies of the BFD and more importantly to the Firebird Society, Do The Right Thing! ALL INVOLVED NEED TO BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES.

  2. .As Don said, CPAT was never designed to be a hiring agility exam it was designed to test the fitness of current firefighters and their ability to be physically fit to do the job. CPAT was a component of major a WELLNESS PROGRAM where departments would have on going physical training in all firehouses. This strictly a monetary issue with Bridgeport using CPAT because the candidate has to pay $175 to take the exam plus International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Fire Fighters make the money for giving the exam.

    If you notice Mayor Ganim, David Dunn and Senator Blumenthal have said a single word about why in the past 11 years NOT one female has been hired to be a Bridgeport firefighter, the question is, why? Fire Chief Thode didn’t have pass CPAT and he was a very good firefighter, in fact Thode was on Rescue Squad 5 and his officer was George Bryant a former President of the Firebird Society. No female firefighter has ever been hired by passing CPAT but they are good firefighters.

    Think about this, Bridgeport is the largest city in the state and here we had Mayor Joe Ganim running around the state asking voters to vote for him to be governor but his city hasn’t hired woman to be a firefighter I 11 years. Now we have Senator Blumenthal showing up for a photo-op about an exam that’s keeping women off the fire department , I’m also ashamed at Senator Blumenthal for putting his face into something that’s denying women a career.

  3. The failure rate for women taking the CPAT exam is in the middle to high 90 percentile. There isn’t a woman currently on the job today that have ever taken CPAT, yet all serve with distinction with two being lieutenants and one other is a pumper engineer.

    Is there or have there ever been a problem with female firefighters not being able to do the job which puts other firefighters or the public at danger? No there hasn’t and if that’s the case then why is there a need to change the physical agility to make it almost impossible for women to pass? Being the byproduct of a discrimination lawsuit that tried to exclude me because of race I can only assume that discrimination is the reason that women aren’t being hired now is that women are the new Black’s in the Bridgeport Fire Department. DISCRIMINATION REARS IT’S UGLY HEAD ONCE AGAIN.

    1. Donald Day, are you saying there is documented statistical evidence that the use of CPAT is not a valid measure for hiring and descriminates against females? Have there been court challenges?

      1. Valid measure for hiring is done by each department on their own, they can use CPAT or not. Cities like New Haven and Hartford have chosen not to use CPAT it does not provide a list of women passing and they understand the political implications of not hiring women and the potential legal implications. Bridgeport has not had a problem with hiring women until the past 11 years since they started using CPAT. The question should be why are women not being hired and how are the current women already on the fire department are performing their duties who didn’t have to pass CPAT to get hired and some have gotten promoted, so why CPAT?

  4. Follow the MONEY, Bridgeport DOES NOT pay for the CPAT exam, each candidate pays $175 in order to take just the CPAT exam thereby saving the Bridgeport the cost of giving a agility exam but denying women the opportunity to serve as firefighters. CPAT is not used by Hartford and New Haven and they have no problem hiring women hired as firefighter. In fact Hartford stop using CPAT because of the poor results of women passing. There is no magic in CPAT, it’s a exam that is given just once and after that the candidate is hired there’s NO follow up on that person’s ability to stay in shape or to pass CPAT ever again. Again, is there a problem on the Bridgeport fire department with firefighters not performing their duties as firefighters and if there is then what is that problem and what is the city doing about making sure that this problem is corrected with these firefighters who are serving as firefighters? Is CPAT is so good then why not have all Bridgeport firefighters take the CPAT exam in order to keep their job?

  5. *** Don’t know about now a-days but Joe’s always managed to stay in the gym back in the days; 6:am @ the Bpt. YMCA . He still looks like he can handle himself if he had to, no? ***

    1. Pound for pound, Mayor Ganim is as rugged as they come. I hope his critics notice he’s taking instructions from a female firefighter but the workout is all his own.
      He’s ruffling feathers with some of his proposals but what’s good for Webster Bank Arena is good for Bridgeport, too. The ghost of Machiavelli would smile on that kind of thinking.

      1. “Pound for pound, Mayor Ganim is as rugged as they come,” so what who the fuck cares about how rugged Joe Ganim is, what is he going to do, get in a fist fight with somebody. I wonder how many fights Joe got in when he was locked up?

          1. LE, do think that I care about you say, please. Keep padding yourself on your back because nobody else will.

        1. You are the one who has a dirty soul by bringing up a thug like behavior of Joe Ganim by saying, “pound for pound, Mayor Ganim is as rugged as they come.” Joe Ganim doesn’t go around acting like he’s rugged, like him or not Joe Ganim always carries his self like a gentleman even if some of his proposals are no good like not being concern that CPAT will continue to deny women from being firefighters.

      1. I have identified Ron Mackey as a proxy for the crisis that inflicts America, Connecticut and Bridgeport. All of them had no debt until RM started working there. It’s not a coincidence, either. There’s more-I disapprove of the way he “flows”, too.


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