New Assistant Chief Rebeca Garcia is now on board with a six-figure salary while the last person to occupy the rank James Nardozzi is on his way to a six-figure settlement after filing a lawsuit contesting his 2016 termination.
The Miscellaneous Matters Committee approved the settlement Thursday night. It will be on the full City Council agenda at its next regular meeting January 6, the Three Kings Day feast of the epiphany. Who needs gold, frankincense and myrrh?
The Bible doesn’t tell us a whole lot about the three wise men’s visit to baby Jesus and so far we don’t know a lot about this settlement except that it’s six figures, or something in that range.
This story begins in 2012 when Mayor Bill Finch and Police Chief Joe Gaudett courted help reeling in police overtime. They looked around internally. Curtailing overtime in the police department is like getting between a doberman and a bone. For cops it’s the pasture to milk and honey. Who wants to take on that mess among a peer group?
The Civil Service Commission, validated by the City Council, approved the assistant chief position in 2008 as a non-competitive rank outside a collective bargaining unit. Lynn Kerwin was appointed to the position in 2009. She retired in 2011. Gaudett became familiar with Nardozzi via police channels as someone unafraid to tame overtime.
Even though Nardozzi was the guy they wanted, a national search commenced. Sometimes that’s good to curtail the meowing that comes with wiring the job for one person.
Nardozzi was hired and he went to work in ways that jabbed pins in his police-molded voodoo doll. Insert here, please.
Nardozzi cut back overtime by millions of dollars.
Fast forward to 2015. Joe Ganim’s on the campaign trail stumping for his old job. Finch and Gaudett had become pariahs among the police rank and file. Cops overwhelmingly supported Ganim. They wanted Gaudett and Nardozzi out.
Ganim won. In one of Finch’s last moves as mayor, he reappointed Gaudett to another five-year contract. In lieu of buying out the contract directly, Ganim crafted a deal with Gaudett to oversee the emergency operations center as a consultant. AJ Perez replaced him as chief. Gaudett’s no longer paid by the city. Nardozzi was handled differently.
Ganim hired former Chief Wilbur Chapman as a consultant to serve as his henchman. In January 2016, the assistant police chief position was “eliminated.” Nardozzi was out. He filed a lawsuit charging an illegal termination deal between the union and the mayor. For background see here.
Rather than risking larger taxpayer exposure in court a financial settlement reached between Nardozzi and the city does not include his return to the department.
Come Three Kings Day, Nardozzi will receive his pound of flesh.